10 Books About Volcanoes for Kids

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V is for Volcanoes (a Book List) from LibraryAdventure.com

Why V for Volcanoes? Well, apart from my name starting with V, we have lots of volcanoes in New Zealand. Much of our nation’s landscape was shaped by them, creating many of our mountains and our largest lake. Today, volcanic activity provides geo-thermal energy to a large area of the country.

There are 50 volcanic mountains in my home town of Auckland. The largest is Rangitoto, a much beloved landmark which stands in the middle of our beautiful harbour. All the Auckland volcanoes are extinct and are now friendly grass covered hills where families picnic within the city.

However, not far off our coast is White Island, constantly rumbling and puffing white clouds into the air, and every few years, the central North Island ski fields are closed due to activity for Mt Ruapehu or its neighbor Mt Ngauruhoe.

When looking into books about volcanoes, there is an amazing number to choose from. These are just a few that will appeal to your young volcano enthusiasts and will provide a great place to start researching for that school project. There are books for early readers through to upper middle grade readers.

Eruption! The Story of Volcanoes, by Anita Ganeri

Aimed at the early readers who are just beginning to read alone. The sentences and explanations are short and easy to understand as are the diagrams. New terms are provided with a phonetic pronunciation, however there is no glossary to explain what they mean.

Magic School Bus Blows Its Top, a TV adaptation by Gail Herman, illustrated by Bob Ostrom

All the fun of the Magic School Bus tv show, with a field trip with the wonderful Miss Frizzel (where does she get her fantastic, crazy outfits?). This time the class gets to experience how an island is created by going into an underwater volcano as it erupts. Packed with fun cartoon style illustrations and a great blend of fact and entertainment.

The Krakatau Eruption, by Peter Benoit

This book encourages readers to ‘find the truth’ as they read, by asking them to find the answers to two ‘true or false’ questions. The Krakatau eruption took place in 1883 and the book is divided into chapters that explain the history, the lead up to the eruption, and also the after effects; all in easy to understand language. A glossary with phonetic pronunciation is included, as well as a list of websites to visit for more information.

100 Facts – Volcanoes, by Chris Oxlade

These ‘100 Facts’ books are great for kids: they are easy to read and fun. The facts are grouped into sections and are presented in short paragraph form (one per fact), in child friendly language and accompanied by photographs. Readers can dip into the book at random, or can search for the relevant fact using the contents. Scattered throughout the book are cartoon pictures, quick quiz questions, and activities.

Volcano Explorers, by Pam Rosenberg

With big text and simple sentences, this book is great for the younger, independent readers. It gives basic information about the how, where, and what of volcanoes, as well as some information about the scientists who study them: what they look for and how they get their data. Kids are sure to love the photos of scientists walking on lava. There is a glossary and resource list to point you to more information.

Rangitoto – Te toka tu moana/The rock standing in the ocean, by Maria Gill, illustrated by Heather Arnold

The story of my home town’s volcano (thankfully extinct!). At the bottom of the page, almost in story form, you follow the stages of the eruption that created Rangitoto, and the rest of the page space is given to illustrations (lovely combinations of painting and photography) that support the story’s progress, and facts. It includes word definitions, Maori folk lore, history and information about the wild life that live on the mountain today.

A Project Guide to Volcanoes, by Claire O’Neal

Looking for a fun science project? What you need is a book with several projects based on volcanoes. After a brief introduction, twelve projects are presented, each with an introduction to the why and how of a real volcano and followed by instructions, materials list and diagrams. In addition to building various kinds of volcanoes (one is made of chocolate, marshmallows and rice krispies!), there are also projects that demonstrate how scientists measure eruptions and how geo-thermal power works. The instructions are easy to follow and offer questions for kids to consider as they test their projects.

Volcano Disasters, by John Hawkins

Opening with an introduction to volcanoes in general, this book then investigates nine well known eruptions, dating from Pompeii n 79CE, to Iceland in 2010. Relevant facts about each disaster are presented along with eye witness accounts, and information about the eruption and its after effects. The book is well set-out, with simple paragraphs and concludes with a glossary and further information list. A book about disasters has to acknowledge the loss of life that occurs and this one does so in a manner that is appropriate for young readers.

Eye Wonder: Volcanoes

With double page sections, large well-labeled photographs, and text presented in small, readable paragraphs, this is another great DK book for middle grade (and older) readers. Fact boxes are sprinkled throughout which add to the appeal. In addition to the glossary at the back, there are ‘look and find’ quizzes – clues lead readers back through the book to find the facts. There is even a maze game to test your knowledge.

Everything Volcanoes and Earthquakes, by Katy Furgang

All the information presented in this book is accompanied by amazing photographs so typical of National Geographic. The facts and information itself is set out in fun, easy to follow sections and in kid friendly language and format. Activities and fun quizzes help to present information ranging from what volcanoes and earthquakes are, to legends, to questioning whether animals can predict these events, and more. The interactive glossary combines the word definition with a quiz to check for understanding.

About Vanessa Hatley-Owen

A book lover and children's story writer from New Zealand.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” - Dr Seuss.

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