Happy Book Talk Tuesday!
This week I’m featuring one of my favorite biographies – Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. I love stories about little known people who have made major contributions! When I was a student teacher in a fourth grade classroom I taught a biography unit and kicked it off using this book. My students found Snowflake Bentley to be sooo fascinating. You will love this book and the illustrations; It is a Caldecott Medal winner, after all.
“There lived a boy who loved snow….”
Wilson Bentley grew up on a farm in Jericho, Vermont in an area known as the “snowbelt.” Although, snow was his favorite, he was fascinated by everything in nature. He examined butterflies during the spring and flower petals in the summer. He would show his family the beautiful things that he found…. but he was unable to share his favorite thing – snowflakes. Of course, because they would melt!
One day, his mother gifted him with a microscope. Let’s just say it was a game-changer. He was able to see snowflakes as they truly were for the first time! He even tried drawing them, but they would melt before he could finish. While his peers were throwing snowballs, Bentley was discovering that snowflakes usually had 6 branches, were symmetrical, and that no one design was ever repeated.
Bentley yearned to capture a snowflake to share with the world. He stumbled upon a camera with its own microscope and told his family about it. Although, his father thought his studies were foolish, he relented and when Bentley was seventeen his family spent their savings and bought him the camera! The first winter with his fancy camera was a bust. The second winter he continued experimenting and finally discovered how to photograph snow crystals. It was his eureka moment.
He shared his pictures with everyone! He hosted slideshows in the summer and even sold his prints for a few cents. His life’s achievement was his book, “Snow Crystals.” Bentley said it was “his gift to the world.”
Soon after his book was published, Bentley passed away at the age of sixty-six. He ventured out into a blizzard and caught pneumonia soon after. His passion for snow was truly lifelong. Today, you can find a monument dedicated to William “Snowflake” Bentley in the little farm town of Jericho, Vermont. Seriously, I want to go there! This is truly a story that all children need to hear. It’s a beautiful tale of hard work and perseverance.
I love this story so much that I wanted to make some freebies that you can use in your classroom!
This little freebie includes:
Fun Facts: Assess your students’ abilities to recall details!
You can capture this freebie by clicking HERE. If you have any troubles accessing my google drive link, please let me know!
Thanks again for visiting! I’ll be back tomorrow for Wild About Books Wednesday!