This is part 1 of a 4 part series of book reviews from E.L. Strauss from Thinxygen Publishers. I would highly recommend checking out their website along with their other books.
Global Explorer: The Southern Hemisphere
What to go on a journey? Want to dive to the Great Barrier Reef? Want to see Ayer’s Rock? Want to see ancient salt pans that look like glass when they are wet?
Then open this book! This book will challenge you, stretch you, and help you develop your logical thinking and problem solving skills.
This book covers the three most diverse continents you find in the southern hemisphere: Australia, Africa, and South America.
In the Australia section of the book the author discusses many aspects of the country along with their flag, how large the continent is, and some historical facts. The author also discusses the animal population on the land and in the ocean, and the environmental concerns of the Great Barrier Reef created by humans and by sea creatures. The author writes about the aborigine people of Australia. She not only gives us facts, but gives us some of their Dreamtime myths, and invites us to interpret what we see from their myths, and to take a different look at the Uluru inselberg that the aborigine people see as sacred.
In the Africa portion of the book the author focuses on Namibia and the Namib Desert. Here the author discusses the size and scope of the Desert. She also explores the unique geologic formations of the Desert, plant life and, unique animals that live there such as the Oryx. What I lied about this section is the author gives a small section on how to survive in the desert on little water.
The other area that is focused on is the Skeleton Coast, Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, the salt and clay pans of Namibia. I believe these areas are not covered as much in most science or geography books enough.
In this section the author focuses on two major areas: Bolivia and Patagonia. In the introduction to this section the author does touch on other countries and languages spoken in South America.
Salar de Uyuni a salt desert formed when parts of Lake Minchin, a prehistoric lake dried up. This ancient salt desert has different uses for modern people. It was pointed out the book that NASA uses this area to calibrate their satellites, and there is an abundance of lithium that is used in cell phone batteries. Again the author invites us to interact with the reading and create our own salt crystals.
In this section the author talks about the history of the area, and some of the myths that took hold here for centuries. One of those myths were giants living in the area. From journals from Magellan, the people he encountered were much taller than the average person for the times. It is thought these people were roughly 6 feet tall. These people the Tehuelches were tall, but the myths spoken back in Europe were these people were giants over 15 feet tall. The author shows how people who live in different climates can be different sizes. She also grow through the math, and invites the reader to also check out the math for themselves with data she provides.
What I love about this book
I love many aspects of this book. What struck me first was the first few pages where the author writes a series of questions that the reader will hopefully answer through the reading. This gets the reader engaged and prepped.
There are great color pictures with short explanations on them. Some pictures are warm and inviting, and some are vibrant and bright. The pictures are chosen to help bring more depth of knowledge to the reader about what they just read.
There are exercises that the reader is encouraged to participate in such as finishing a food web in the Barrier Reef section, and using their imagination to chart out similarities and differences in the Dreamtime section in the Australia chapter.
There are also sections of the book that the author encourages the reader to interact with the material they just read through Desert Survival 101, making salt crystals, and how to collect water in the desert.
Each chapter ends with a short quiz to help reinforce the material that was shared in the chapter.
In short, this is a great book for middle school gifted children. It uses vocabulary words from geography, geology, earth science, and biology. It also uses a more advanced vocabulary in general. It is a great book for children who love to read about far off places, peoples, and environments. I would recommend this book to students in traditional schools, and those who are homeschooled.