Before a snowflake melts on your tongue, it makes an epic journey. This is the beautiful, full-color story of that journey, step by step, from a single snowflake’s creation in the clouds, through its fall to earth, to its brief and sparkling appearance on a child’s mitten. Told by a scientist who knows snowflakes better than almost anyone, the story features his brilliant photographs of real snowflakes, snowflakes forming (in the author’s lab), water evaporating, clouds developing, ice crystals, rain, dew, and frost--all the elements of the world and weather that add up, flake by flake, to the white landscape of winter. Aimed at readers from 6 to 12, The Secret Life of a Snowflake gets to the heart of one of nature’s most magical phenomena while making the wonder of the snowflake all the more real.
Kenneth Libbrecht is a professor of physics at Caltech, where he studies the molecular dynamics of crystal growth, especially how ice crystals grow from water vapor, which is essentially the physics of snowflakes. He has authored several books on this topic, including The Snowflake: Winter's Secret Beauty, The Snowflake: Winter's Frozen Artistry, The Art of the Snowflake, and Field Guide to Snowflakes. Dr. Libbrecht served as science consultant on the Disney film Frozen. He lives in Pasadena with his wife, Rachel Wing. They have two children.
Extraordinary photographs of individual snowflakes are the true highlight of this informational book. With crisp detail and lit up with colored light, the crystals are mesmerizing in their clarity and brilliance. Libbrecht uses a first-person narration to describe the microphotography process that he uses to create the images and then goes on to outline the life cycle of a snowflake…A solid addition to any science collection, this book will draw in young enthusiasts, and the beautiful photographs will engage casual browsers.
Most children are naturally interested in snowfall and snowflakes; they are a favorite subject of art activities in schools in the winter months. This book will captivate readers. It does an excellent job of integrating the science behind snowflake formation and the beautiful natural art that is the end result.
Written by a physicist who studies snowflake form, the text is very informative and covers many science concepts related to the subject (such as light and color, the water cycle, crystal formation, and molecular structure). The accompanying photographs are exquisite, and the diagrams clarify the scientific content in an effective manner.
There are a few suggested activities in the text that a classroom teacher could easily do with students, such as making paper snowflakes and observing snowflakes under a microscope. This is a great resource for integrated lessons at the elementary and middle school level.