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A volcano is an opening in the earth’s surface where gas, hot magma (lava), and ash can escape from beneath the crust.
There are currently more than 500 active volcanoes on earth, and another 1,000 that are considered potentially active. More than half of the world’s active volcanoes are in a horseshoe shaped area around the Pacific Ocean known as the “Ring of Fire.”
Volcanoes can be incredibly destructive; one eruption can obliterate everything within miles of a volcano.
Nonetheless, more than 80% of the earth’s surface was formed by volcanic eruptions. Further, volcanic lava and ash break down over time to produce nutrient-rich soil that is great for growing crops. So while humans often fear volcanoes, we also owe a lot to them.
In this post I am sharing more than a dozen children’s books about volcanoes that include both non-fiction and fiction selections. These books are good for children ages 4 to 13.
Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story by Terry Catasús Jennings
Gopher to the Rescue! is a fictionalized account of a real-life gopher that was in its burrow when Mount St. Helens erupted. Because its burrow was underground, the gopher was able to survive the blast and its destruction. Who would have guessed that such a little creature would help bring life back to the area? Fiction. Ages 4 to 9.
Vacation Under the Volcano and Ancient Rome and Pompeii are two books that are terrific for connecting literature and history. Vacation Under the Volcano is a fictional story about two children who go back in time to Pompeii and witness the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Ancient Rome and Pompeii is its nonfiction companion that delves into the history of the eruption and how life in the town of Pompeii was affected by it. These books can be read together or separately. Fiction and nonfiction. Multicultural (Ancient Rome). Ages 4 to 8.
The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top: A Book About Volcanoes by Joanna Cole and The Magic School Bus Presents: Volcanoes & Earthquakes by Tom Jackson
The Magic School Bus series continues to be wildly popular among teachers and students since its release in the 1990s. Ms. Frizzle is a science teacher who loves taking her students on unimaginable… but educational… field trips. In The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top, children will enjoy a fictional story and learn interesting facts about volcanoes. The Magic School Bus Presents Volcanoes and Earthquakes is a nonfiction companion for the story. These two books can be read together or separately. Fiction and nonfiction. Ages 4 to 8 years.
These three books about volcanoes are popular selections among classroom teachers and homeschooling parents. Nonfiction children’s books can be a challenge for some children to read, but these three books are written in such a way that early readers can read them, learn about volcanoes, and not feel overwhelmed by the text. Nonfiction. Ages 5 to 9 years.
Pop-Up Volcano! by Fleur Daugey
Pop-Up Volcano! is a nonfiction children’s book… but with a fun twist. There are pop-up illustrations throughout the book! As children read and learn facts about volcanoes, they will be able to see 3D images of volcanoes, layers of the Earth, and more. Nonfiction. Ages 6 to 8 years.
The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh
The Princess and the Warrior is a Mexican folktale retold by Duncan Tontiuh. It tells the story of Itza the princess, Popoca the warrior, how much they loved each other, and how the volcanoes Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl named for them were created. Fiction. Multicultural (Ancient Aztec). Ages 6 to 9 years.
When the Giant Stirred: Legend of a Volcanic Island by Celia Godkin
When the Giant Stirred is about a village on the edge of an island volcano. Life in the village is peaceful until everyone needs to evacuate when the volcano erupts. Even though the village and everything around it is destroyed during the eruption, life finds a way and returns to the island. Fiction. Multicultural (Pacific Islander). Ages 6 to 9 years.
Pompeii… Buried Alive by Edith Kunhardt
Even though Pompeii… Buried Alive was written in 1987, it continues to be a popular book for many parents and teachers. Children who enjoy learning about volcanoes will learn about Mount Vesuvius and how its eruption devastated the neighboring town of Pompeii. Nonfiction. Multicultural (Ancient Rome). Ages 7 to 9 years.
Can You Survive a Supervolcano Eruption? is an interactive children’s book. Children read the story and become the main character who visits Yellowstone National Park. While they are at the park, Yellowstone erupts! What are they going to do? How will they survive? Fiction. Ages 8 to 11 years.
Volcano, Where Fire and Water Meet by Mary Cerullo
Although volcanoes can often be violent and destructive, they can also create life. Children will learn about how volcanoes create new land, encourage life in and around coral reefs, and create fertile soil for trees and plants while reading Volcano, Where Fire and Water Meet. This book describes the 2018 Kīlauea eruption in Hawaii, its effects on the Leilani community and the surrounding environment, and the story of Pele… the goddess who makes her home in the volcano. Nonfiction. Ages 8 to 12 years.
Science Comics: Volcanoes: Fire and Life by Jon Chad
More experienced readers may enjoy reading Volcanoes: Fire and Life. This is a science-based comic book that takes place in the future. The Earth is trapped in another ice age and the main characters have to find ways to harness the energy produced by volcanoes in order to survive. Fiction. Ages 9 to 13.