Friday, September 16, 2016

Spring Reading 2016 Science Comics: Volcanoes: Fire and Life


A desolate world covered in ice. Scattered tribes of humans scavenging for fuel to burn for warmth. Dependence on solar power hampered by frequent cloud cover, which also prevents the sun from warming the Earth's surface. It sounds like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie, but it's actually the setting for a new graphic novel from First Second Books in their Science Comics series.

In this installment of the series, Aurora and her siblings are out on a fuel mapping expedition. The mappers explore the barren surface of the earth and look for burnables that can be gathered and hauled back to their tribe. The tribe lives underground and depends on these scavenged items to heat their living space. As they go from building to building the group come across a library. (I know - I cringed just thinking about the fate of those poor books!) Luckily, they have a scanner that digitizes all the books before they are marked for pickup. Aurora spends the night reading one of the books and learns all about volcanoes. The next day she is very excited about the possibility of using geothermal energy to supply heat for the tribe, but her siblings (Luna and Sol) and their leader Pallas don't believe her. How can there be such heat inside the Earth when the surface is frozen? It is up to Aurora to convince them that finding access to that heat is better than spending all their time scavenging for fuel.

The idea of sharing science concepts through a graphic format is not new - look at the Magic School Bus and the Max Axiom books for proof of that. This series follows in that tradition. The "hook" for young readers is the futuristic setting and the life or death consequences that depend on Aurora's knowledge of volcanoes. There is typical sibling banter and squabbling, with her brother's obsession over food causing some humorous moments. Aurora's use of an holographic display to share the images from the book and the I-cycles powered by solar cells offer a glimpse of future tech possibilities. While Rory (her nickname), tries to convince the others that geothermal energy still exists to be found, she shows them diagrams of famous volcanoes throughout history and explains the different types of volcanoes and eruptions as well as their causes.

Whether they are looking for a book on volcanoes, a story about possible future conditions on Earth, or simply enjoy the graphic novel format, young readers will have fun reading about Aurora and her quest to save her tribe.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

No comments:

Post a Comment