Monday, January 29, 2018

PBT Redux #19 - Snowflake Bentley

We’ve had more snow than usual here in AL. After our last snow, I regretted not reminding you about this gorgeous book featured in PBT’s first year. I don’t dare wait for more snow here. It’s unlikely to come. Perhaps where you are it’s snowing, and you, like the man featured in this book, will marvel at God’s glory in the wondrous snowflake!
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 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 of this individual! 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. [Here] you'll find an 8-minute video about Wilson Bentley. You can easily find Bentley’s book on-line. It was reissued in 2000 and may be available in your local library. It would be a nice supplement to a lesson. You'll also find a few details and photos in the back of the book:
   
Original Publisher & Date: Houghton Mifflin, 1998
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Audio
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 our sacred individuality or the practice of contemplation.