Free World U top bar image
Free World U Blog Graphic

More on the weather: Books and information for the middle grades

by Miriam Downey 12. April 2012 12:53

There is a man in a community near me who has been tracking the weather as a hobby every day since he was about twelve years old. In the days before computers and the Internet, he kept track of the weather, weather history, and weather trends with charts and notebooks. The local newspaper would contact him to ask if the weather was following trends or if it was veering off into something extreme, much like this March behaved in Michigan. He became the regional amateur weather expert. I think about him often--a man whose passion turned him into an expert. If he were doing it currently, he would probably have a website and a blog, and people all over the world would be checking into his weather report.

The middle grades are when many young people find the interests that will last them a lifetime. And although most kids won't pick meteorology as a career choice, nearly everyone is interested in the weather. Here are some supplemental books and websites to aid with the weather studies in the FWU curriculum or to spark an interest in the curious reader.


The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting by M. Breen and K. Friestad. Lots of good weather activities. You might also want to connect this book with a weather station kit.

Peterson First Guide to Clouds and Weather by Jay Pasachoff and Vincent Schaefer. This is similar to other Peterson guides--concise, easy to read, and very complete.

Inside Hurricanes by Mary Kay Carlson. Stunning photographs. Includes eyewitness accounts.

Eye of the Storm: Inside the World's Deadliest Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Blizzards by Jeffrey O. Rosenfeld. A fascinating look at extreme weather and the people who risk their lives to give us an understanding of these phenomena.

Restless Skies: The Ultimate Weather Book by Paul Douglas. Questions answered by a meteorologist.

The Water Cycle

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss. A look at all the water on Earth and the water cycle. Also discusses our limited resource.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. This is a true story of a boy who built a windmill from junkyard scraps in Malawi. With that windmill, he powered a well which watered the crops to feed his village. It is also available as a picture book.

Climate Change

The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon. Will help kids get interested in the environment.

Weather and Climate by Seymour Simon. Lots of pictures.

All of these books are available at your local library or bookstore.

Here are some weather websites:

The National Weather Service has a lot of information and books about weather. Also videos and other online resources:

Careers in meteorology from the Weather Channel:

A whole list of weather websites from

In your search for weather materials, please also look at the books and websites on my previous posting. You might find some helpful books there as well.


Tags: , ,

It's Spring! Or Is It Summer? Books for the Seasons

by Miriam Downey 25. March 2012 10:31

Every day for the past couple of weeks, I have heard people say, "Such crazy weather!" and "I can't believe it's still March." Old-timers in Michigan where I live are fond of saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes."

FWU has excellent flashcard units on weather. If your children haven't done the weather flashcard units yet, this is probably the time to do them. In this posting, I have included a list of books and a couple of websites that will go with the weather units. I have grouped them by season. Most all of these books are available at your local library or bookstore. The books that are available online are linked to the website where they can be found. The books listed are most appropriate for elementary-age children. Another posting will include informational books and websites about weather for middle school children.

For fun, everyone should begin by reading Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judith and Ron Barrett. After you read that crazy book, the real weather will never again seem so crazy!


Weather in General

A Drop of Water by Walter Wick. Experiments about water, clouds, rain, and snow.

Books by Seymour Simon: Lightning; Storms; Weather; Tornadoes; and Hurricanes. Lots of facts and great photographs about weather.

Eye Wonder: Weather by John Farndon. The power of the weather in photographs.

The Kid's Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Breen. Everything any kid would want to know about weather forecasting.

Two Websites about Weather Resources

USA Today's alphabetical listing of hundreds of weather resources:

NOAA's weather website:


Twisters by Kate Hayden. Facts about tornadoes.

Come a Tide by George Ella Lyon. What happens in the spring when there has been a lot of snow during the winter.

And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano. This is a brand new, award-winning book.


Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. A summer storm is on the horizon and the little girl is afraid of thunder. Grandma comes up with a great solution.

Come on, Rain by Karen Hesse explores a summer drought and how the children celebrate the rain.

Peter Spier's Rain. Another summer rain story.

A Prairie Boy's Summer by William Kurelek. Also, A Prairie Boy's Winter. Life in the 1930s.

When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow. A summer day's story.


Hurricane by David Wiesner. The adventures of two boys when a hurricane knocks down a big tree in their yard.

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert. An explosion of autumn color.

The Story of Johnny Appleseed by Aliki. Why did Johnny Appleseed plant apple trees all over the Great Lakes states?

Picking Apples and Pumpkins by Amy Hutchings. What every child wants to do in autumn.

Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro. An explanation of autumn weather.


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. The classic story of a child and the snow.

It's Snowing! It's Snowing! by Jack Prelutsky. Poems about winter.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Wilson A. Bentley took photographs of snowflakes for many years and discovered that no two snowflakes are alike. Here is the website about him:

Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. There is a wonderful You Tube video of this book that you can find here:

Blizzard: The Storm that Changed America by Jim Murphy is about the blizzard of 1888.

So, dear readers, enjoy the weather and everything it brings us.


Tags: ,

About the author


Page List

Month List

Free World U bottom bar image