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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Power Up: A Visual Exploration of Energy. Text by Shaker Paleja and art by Glenda Tse. Annick, 2015. $12.95 ages 10 and up

"Electricity can be generated,
or produced, from just about
every energy source. Almost
all of it comes from transferring
a mechanical source of energy -
usually a spinning turbine (like
a big fan or propeller) - into
electrical energy, with the help
of a generator (a device kind of
like a big electric motor)."

This is a book that I would have used to help me learn about the importance of all forms of energy and how we should be use them. It is perfect for sharing in classrooms, as it  is written thoughtfully and with great care to give readers an accessible look at needed information.

It has been divided into four topics, listed in the table of contents: Introduction to Energy, Non-Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy, and finally, The Future of Energy. Each listed topic is then divided into topics that provide readers with a clear understanding of energy in its many forms. For instance, in the Non-Renewable Energy discussion the concerns are oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and unconventional oil sources.

I was surprised by some of the facts shared; I am sure that middle graders will be as well.

"Our planet has lots of oil, but we're quickly using up the 'conventional' oil that's easy to access. If we keep using oil at the rate we are now, we will have to turn increasingly to sources that are much harder to find. Most of the oil we have left is in hard-to-reach places, or in forms that are tough to extract and use."

Using pertinent and current information in text, maps, well-placed and designed images, the author assures that his readers come away from sharing this excellent book with a much better understanding. I very much enjoyed seeing the section on the amount of energy that is used daily to power common household appliances. It gives me pause to consider what is truly important, and how we can eliminate consumption with careful thought. It makes me really happy that I no longer have a freezer (which uses 723 litres of natural gas each year)!

The artwork definitely aids in the comprehension of such an important topic. A glossary, index and bibliography are most helpful. Thoughtfully done, informative and thought-provoking, this is a book that will be most useful in middle grade classrooms.

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