STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books


Volcano Rising and Eruption: Two New and Very Different Books About Volcanoes By Elizabeth Rusch

Elizabeth Rusch has two new books about volcanoes coming out this summer. They show the vibrant range of children’s nonfiction, as well as Rusch’s versatility as an author.


Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives, with photographs by Tom Uhlman, is part of Houghton Mifflin’s Scientists in the Field series for ages 10 and up. It follows the nail-biting experiences of USGS volcanologist  John Pallister and his team from of the Cascades Volcano Observatory as they race to provide the most advanced equipment and information to those evaluating the potential of volcanoes to erupt around the world.

Formed after the deadly eruption of Colombia’s Nevado del Ruiz in 1985, the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program or VDAP, is an international effort to provide assistance to any country impacted by volcanoes that asks for help. Rusch reveals how VDAP works by closely following the events of the Mount Pinatubo volcano eruption in the Philippines. She shows the science of positioning and monitoring seismographs, determining  gas content and amount of ash, and even how satellite images can help predict when the next volcano will erupt. The case study also demonstrates that human responses to orders to evacuate are almost as unpredictable as the volcano itself.


In contrast, Volcano Rising, illustrated by Susan Swan, is a children’s picture book for ages 6 to 9 that explains not only what volcanoes are, but also how volcanoes can be a positive force by creating new land and adding nutrients to the soil.

Perhaps too often we focus on the sensational, explosive aspects of volcanoes. In this book, Rusch presents an alternative way of looking at volcanoes that is both age-appropriate and more informative because it presents are more rounded, less dramatized view.

Looking for information on volcanoes? Wanting to learn more about the science and scientists behind volcano eruption predictions? Elizabeth Rusch has the books for you!


See Growing With Science for some suggestions for hands-on activities to accompany these books.

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STEM Friday

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