March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Life on Surtsey by Loree Griffin Burns | SLJ Review

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

redstarBURNS, Loree Griffin. Life on Surtsey: Iceland’s Upstart Island. 80p. bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. HMH. Nov. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780544687233.

Gr 4-7 –A baby boy was born in Iceland on September 28, 1949. As is Icelandic tradition, he was not named until his parents got to know him better—eventually, he become Erling. In 1963, when he was 14 years old, an epic volcanic eruption gave birth to a new island, named Surtsey, just off the coast of Iceland. This provided scientists with a rare opportunity to study how life takes hold in a sterile environment, and so the Icelandic government made Surtsey a preserve. Science writer Burns tells two parallel stories in this fascinating and informative entry in series—that of Erling’s life and of his lifelong fascination with and study of Surtsey. The author traveled to Surtsey with Erling and a team of scientists in the summer of 2015. They stayed on the island for five days meticulously collecting samples of plants, insects, and soil, as well as counting birds and their nests. The fascinating, careful text not only explains the science cogently but adds insight into Icelandic culture and language. The book’s design is clean and eye catching, and full-color photographs of the island, the scientists at work, their living quarters, and the flora and fauna that they study are sprinkled throughout. VERDICT A plethora of curriculum connections make this a STEM title not to miss; budding scientists will return to this again and again.–Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ

This review was published in the School Library Journal December 2017 issue.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind