Monday, January 12, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 268

Picture Book: Snowflake Bentley

Author: Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Illustrator: Mary Azarian

Summary: In 19th century Vermont, Wilson Bentley had a passion for snow. When he was given a microscope, Willie began looking at snowflakes and studying the ice crystals. He became fascinated and wished he could save them somehow to show others. He tried drawing their designs, but they always melted too quickly. Despite the high cost, at 17 Willie’s parents gave him a new invention, a microscope with a camera. Painstakingly, Willie was able to successfully photograph the best examples of snowflakes and show them to others, sell them, or give them as gifts. Willie believed his knowledge was a gift to the world, but some neighbors and peers thought his work was a waste of time. Soon he began to understand the influences on and structure of snowflakes; then he realized that no two snowflakes are alike. Artists, designers, and professors began to be interested in his work. For 50 years, Willie shared his knowledge by giving presentations, and eventually, with financial support from scientists, created a book of his best photographs and acquired knowledge. Sadly, “Snowflake Bentley” died soon after the publication of this book, a book that is still read today. A monument and museum were eventually built in his memory.

Hanna’s Comments: I love the passion and perseverance in this story! Wilson Bentley is a quiet hero of science who has truly given the world a beautiful gift. As faith communities nurture their children and youth, it behooves these communities to encourage the discovery of individual passions and explore ways in which each young person can benefit their world with ideas, skills, and enthusiasm. Willie’s faith in his vocation and the beauty and importance of his work, even though it was with a small and fleeting object, is inspiring.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Houghton Mifflin, 1998

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio book, There is an amateur video of this book being read on as well as an 8 minute video about Wilson Bentley.

PBT Category: Award Winner (Caldecott Medal), Biography, Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, action, aspirations/dreams, attentiveness/observation/seeing, awe, beauty, call/calling/vocation, care of creation, challenges, commitment, creation, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, discovery/invention, diversity, the environment/nature, evangelism, gentleness/meekness, gifts/talents, God’s nature, gospel/good news, heroes, individuality/uniqueness, labor/work, mission, obstacles, parents/parental love, passion, patience, perseverance, perspective, pleasing God/the Shema, purpose, questioning/questions, sacrifice, satisfaction, secrets, sharing, snow, steadfastness, treasure, truth, variety, vision, water, weather, wonder

Scripture Connections: the charismatic passions of Elijah, John the Baptist, or Paul 

Idea(s) for Application: In addition to the other ideas that I’ve shared above, this book could be used as an exploration of the concept of contemplation.

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