of the Center for Children's Books
|The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based list of titles available only
on-line. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin,
we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra
one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please
feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you
cite the source. See the archive for lists from
Reading Rocks!: A Dozen Books about Rocks, Stones, and
--selected by Jeannette Hulick
The Illinois statewide summer reading theme this year is "Reading Rocks"
(read more about it at the Illinois Library Association's website at http://www.ila.org/pub/iread.htm).
To help celebrate this theme, we've created a list to salute the wonder
of (what else) rocks. Somewhat surprisingly, there was a pile of geological
gems just waiting to be mined, and below you'll find the results of our
literary dig. We unearthed everything from monolithic statues and creepy
medieval cathedrals to skipping stones and unassuming pebbles. Check out
some of these titles and you're sure to discover that good summer reading
is just a stone's throw away.
--Jeannette Hulick, Reviewer and Editorial Assistant
- Arnold, Caroline. Easter Island: Giant Stone Statues Tell of a Rich
and Tragic Past; written and illus. with photographs by Caroline Arnold.
Clarion, 2000. Gr. 4-8
In twelve concise chapters, Arnold thoroughly presents information about not
only the famous and mysterious moai themselves but also their cultural context.
Lots of crisp, color photographs appear throughout, and an index, glossary,
and brief bibliography are also included. (BCCB 4/00)
- Arnold, Caroline. Stories in Stone: Rock Art Pictures by Early Americans;
illus. with photographs by Richard Hewett. Clarion, 1996. Gr. 4-6
Here Arnold turns her attention to the Native American petroglyphs and petrographs
found in the Cosos Range of California in this fascinating and well-researched
title about another unsolved mystery. Clear color photos enhance the text
and provide a good up-close look at the rock art itself. A glossary and index
are included. (BCCB 1/97)
- Christian, Peggy. If You Find a Rock; illus. with photographs
by Barbara Hirsch Lember. Harcourt, 2000. 6-9 yrs
Hand-tinted photographs add to the quiet thoughtfulness of this contemplative
musing about different kids of rocks (chalk rocks, fossils, skipping stones)
and their significance to children. This title would easily fit into a rock-themed
storytime or could be used as a warm-up or cool-down for a summer nature hike.
- Coulter, Laurie. Secrets in Stone: All about Maya Hieroglyphs;
illus. by Sarah Jane English. Madison/Little, 2001. Gr. 3-6
An ancient culture, mysterious codes, opportunities for kids to try their
hands at decoding and encoding hieroglyphs, and a highly browsable format
make this title an excellent choice for middle-graders and detective wannabes.
Color photos, helpful diagrams, and a raised-type "Glyphmaster" for making
rubbings are included. (BCCB 12/01)
- Crossley-Holland, Kevin. Arthur: The Seeing Stone. Levine/Scholastic,
2001. Gr. 7-10
The year is 1199, and what young Arthur de Caldicot (born to noble parents)
wants more than anything is to train for knighthood. Meanwhile, a magical
slab of obsidian (given to Arthur by family friend, Merlin) mysteriously shows
him scenes from a parallel life: that of King Arthur. A jealous older brother,
family secrets, the differences between the poor and noble classes, and Arthurian
legend all come into play into this riveting blend of fantasy and historical
fiction. (BCCB 2/02)
- Goble, Paul, ad. Iktomi and the Boulder: A Plains Indian Story;
written and illus. by Paul Goble. Orchard/Watts, 1988. 5-7 yrs
Tired of carrying his blanket on a hot day, lazy Iktomi magnanimously gives
it to a boulder but reconsiders his act when a storm comes up. When he takes
back his gift to shelter himself from the rain, the boulder chases and traps
Iktomi until he manages to trick some bats into helping him in this humorous
retelling of a Plains Indian trickster tale. (BCCB 7/88)
- Hunter, Mollie. The Walking Stones; illus. by Trina Schart Hyman.
Harper, 1970. Gr. 5-7
When the building of a hydroelectric power station necessitates the flooding
of a Highland glen, a mysterious old storyteller and a young boy team up to
postpone the flooding from taking place until the stones of the glen's Stone
Circle have made their pilgrimage to the river, as they do once every hundred
years. This is an excellent choice for kids who want to believe that there's
still magic in the modern world. (BCCB 6/71)
- Hurst, Carol Otis. Rocks in His Head; illus. by James Stevenson.
Greenwillow, 2001. Gr. 3-5
In this serene picture book, Hurst recalls the ongoing love for and fascination
with rocks and minerals that sustained her father through a variety of jobs
during the Depression era; his passion and acquired knowledge eventually pay
off when he works his way up to a position as a curator in a science museum.
- Kimmel, Eric A. Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock. Holiday House,
1988. 4-7 yrs
Greedy trickster Anansi finds a mysterious moss-covered rock that allows him
to steal the food of his forest friends-until Little Bush Deer discovers what's
going on and turns the tables on him in Kimmel's humorous retelling. (BCCB
- Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble; written and illus.
by William Steig. Windmill/Simon and Schuster, 1969. Gr. K-2
"Be careful what you wish for"-Sylvester the donkey learns this lesson the
hard way when he finds a magic wishing pebble and foolishly wishes himself
into a rock, only to find that he can't undo the wish on his own. Thank goodness
his parents come to the rescue and a happy ending prevails in this classic
picture book. (BCCB 4/69)
- Westall, Robert. The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral. Farrar, 1993.
When rural steeplejack Joe Clark gets a job working on one of the towers of
Muncaster Cathedral, he gradually becomes aware of mysterious evil forces
that seem to emanate directly from the tower's gargoyle and that cause fatal
accidents. With the help of a local cop and a clergyman, Joe tries to uncover
the secret behind the menacing statue before it takes any more lives. (BCCB
- Yacowitz, Caryn. The Jade Stone: A Chinese Folktale; illus. by
Ju-Hong Chen. Holiday House, 1992. 4-7 yrs
Sculptor Chan Lo has a special way of determining the subjects for his
carvings-he lets the stones tell him what they want to be. Trouble occurs
when the emperor commissions him to carve a marvelous jade stone; the emperor
insists on a dragon but the stone wants to be sculpted into fish shapes. What
will Chan Lo do? (BCCB 8/92)
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