CurriConnects Book List - Natural Disasters

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Natural Disasters
Natural disasters are a fascination for many students, but they can offer a new angle on many science and social studies topics, as well as current events. We can talk about WHY they happen and/or the results afterward: How did communities change? What did people do in response? This collection of books could accompany a unit on earth science, weather, or even communities and government as your students look at how disasters affect people and how individuals or governments respond to adversity. These books would also connect well to a character education or guidance unit about dealing with crisis. You could even include this list with a geography unit about differences in weather, climate, and landforms around the world. These books provide experience with both nonfiction informational texts and fiction that requires students to draw inferences about the "facts." If having students read independently, you may want to pose a big question or two related to your curriculum for them to think about as they read. Have them return and share their answers after reading, perhaps as a presentation or small group project.

Preschool and Picture Books

Clifford and the Big Storm - Norman Bridwell, (978-0590257558) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 350, ESL level: 2
Clifford helps keep everyone safe during a hurricane.

Flood - Alvaro Villa, (978-1623700010) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2
This wordless picture book shows the effects of a flood on a family and community, including both the tragic and touching aspects.

Kenta and the Big Wave - Ruth Ohi, (978-1554515776) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 560, ESL level: 2
Kenta's family has to leave their Japanese home in too big of a hurry for him to grab his floating soccer ball, but in the aftermath of the tsunami, another child rescues the ball and returns it to him.

Mama: A True Story in Which a Baby Hippo Loses His Mama during a Tsunami, But Finds a New Home and a New Mama - Jeanette Winter, (978-0152054953) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2
A baby hippo loses his mother after a tsunami strikes and they are both left floating in this nearly wordless picture book.

Monsoon - Uma Krishnaswami, (978-0374350154) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
People in India eagerly await the clouds that signal the start of monsoon season after the land and city have become very dry.

Panda's Earthquake Escape - Phyllis Perry, (978-1607180715) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 580, ESL level: 2
Two wild pandas become lost after they run for the woods during an earthquake.

Storms - Miriam Goin, (978-1426303944) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-1, Lexile: 500, ESL level: 2 - 3
If you have questions about different kinds of weather and why it happens, this is the book for you!

Tsunami! - Kimiko Kajikawa, (978-0399250064) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 620, ESL level: 2 - 3
An older rice farmer sets a fire in his rice field to warn community members of an upcoming tsunami.

Yesterday We Had a Hurricane - Deirdre Mercier, (978-0975434253) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
A very young child describes her experiences with a hurricane; how it was on the inside of the house, what the damage was, and how her family coped are all covered.

Early Elementary Books

The Tsunami Quilt: Grandfather's Story - Anthony Fredericks, (978-1585363131) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-4, ESL level: 2 - 3
Kimo does not learn why he and his now dead grandfather used to put a lei atop a monument until the older man is gone, but he finds the monument is a memorial to 24 children who died in the 1946 tsunami in Hawaii.

Attack of the Giant Flood - Kathryn Lay, (978-1602707580) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-3, ESL level: 3
Wendy frets about the dangers of a heavy rain in her community since it has been dry for so long.

Calvin Coconut: Hero of Hawaii - Graham Salisbury, (978-0385739627) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-4, Lexile: 460, ESL level: 2 - 3
Calvin takes on the flooding river and aids with a rescue during a hurricane in Hawaii.

Drought - Nathan Olson, (978-0736861519) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
This book gives an elementary-level introduction to droughts and their impact.

Drought and People - Nikki Bundey, (978-1575054988) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, ESL level: 3
Learn how extremely dry weather affects people from around the world; accompanying activities make learning fun and memorable (Science of Weather series).

Droughts - Anne Wendorff, (978-1600141843) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
This book explores the causes and effects of drought (Blastoff Readers series).

Earthquake in the Early Morning - Mary Pope Osborne , (978-0679890706) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-4, Lexile: 350, ESL level: 2 - 3
Jack and Annie fly in their magic treehouse to the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

Flood Warning - Jacqueline Pearce, (978-1459800687) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-4, Lexile: 590, ESL level: 2 - 3
Tom tries to emulate the Lone Ranger and save the cows on his farm when a flood threatens.

Gopher to the Rescue: A Volcano Recovery Story - Terry Jennings, (978-1607181316) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, Lexile: 740, ESL level: 3 - 4
Gopher bravely digs more tunnels after a volcano shakes the homes of many neighboring animals, and the animals appreciate the shade and safety of a new soft home.

Heat Waves and Droughts - Liza Burby, (978-0823952922) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, ESL level: 3
This book explains the causes and effects of heat waves and droughts (Extreme Weather series).

Help, I'm in Hot Lava! - Geronimo Stilton, (978-0545642903) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-3, ESL level: 3
Geronimo Stilton's new adventure to find help for his Grandmother's health problems leads him to geyser and volcano landscapes.

Hurricane Wolf - Diane Paterson, (978-0807534380) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 570, ESL level: 2
Noah helps his parents prepare for a hurricane and learns what to expect when it arrives.

Hurricanes! - Gail Gibbons, (978-0823422975) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-3, ESL level: 3
Learn about the terrific force hurricanes have, preparation in the event of a hurricane, and the devastating results it might have.

Lizzie Newton and the San Francisco Earthquake - Stephen Krensky, (978-0822590316) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-3, Lexile: 410, ESL level: 2 - 3
Lizzie cannot find her parents after the San Francisco earthquake, and she roams around viewing the devastation caused by the phenomenon.

Meteor! - Patricia Polacco, (978-0698114104) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 870, ESL level: 3 - 4
This book, based on a true happening, shows how one small town's reaction to a meteor crash brings about magic and lots of gossipy talk about its residents.

A Place Where Hurricanes Happen - Renee Watson, (978-0385376686) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-4, ESL level: 2 - 3
Free verse in four different voices describes the friends' separation during Hurricane Katrina, its devastating effects, and their reunion.

Sinkholes - Megan Kopp, (978-1621279563) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-4, ESL level: 3
This book describes how sinkholes form and the ground collapses.

The San Franciso Earthquake: 1906 - Lauren Tarshis, (978-0545206990) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-3, Lexile: 610, ESL level: 3
Leo is very familiar with the city of San Franciso since he sells newspapers there in 1906, but when the huge earthquake changes everything, he is on the scene recording the changes.

Tornado Alert - Franklyn Branley, (978-0064450942) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
This simple book describes how a funnel cloud forms and explains what to do in order to stay safe.

Tornadoes! - Gail Gibbons, (978-0823422746) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-3, ESL level: 3
The author explains tornado formation, the measurement scale, and how to stay safe with both words and pictures.

Twister Trouble - Ann Schreiber, (978-0439204194) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-3, Lexile: 520, ESL level: 2 - 3
Ms. Frizzle's class flies directly into a tornado and their lesson about such storms becomes very very real (Magic School Bus series).

Volcanoes! - Anne Schreiber, (978-1426302855) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, ESL level: 3
This book describes how volcanoes form and what the results are when they erupt.

Weather - Penelope Arlon, (978-0545505161) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-5, ESL level: 3 - 4
This reference book about weather includes sections on weather disasters and extreme climatological conditions.

What if There Were No Bees? - Suzanne Slade, (978-1404863941) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-4, ESL level: 3
Bees may seem very small but their pending loss will upset the balance of the entire ecosystem; this book shows the very important place bees play in the food chain.

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

A, Bee, See - Kenneth Eade, (978-1492787433) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, ESL level: 3 - 4
The text and illustrations in this book provide a beautiful introduction to the life of bees and the problems occurring that are preventing their flourishing.

Blizzard Disaster - Peg Kehret, (978-0671009625) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 730, ESL level: 4
Warren and Betsy time travel to 1940 because of their interest in the great Minnesota blizzard, but they find themselves victims of the storm when their time travel vehicle malfunctions.

Blizzards - Michael Woods , (978-0822568636) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
Read these fascinating accounts of the formation, characteristics, and results of a severe blizzard.

Bugged: How Insects Changed History - Sarah Albee, (978-0802734228) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
This history of science, health, and social history elucidates the role insects have in helping and harming humans.

Children of the Dust Bowl - Jerry Stanley, (978-0517880944) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 1120, ESL level: 3 - 4
This book focuses Dust Bowl study on the famous Weedpatch Camp where children lived and worked and struggled, augmented by wonderful photographs.

Disasters - David Burnie, (978-0545479738) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-9, ESL level: 4
This book has a collection of primary source material about many types of natural disasters and includes a discussion of them and their impact on our environment.

The Dust Bowl Through the Lens - Martin Sandler, (978-0802795472) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-9, ESL level: 3 - 4
The great photographs in this book tell the story of the Great Depression during its Dust Bowl years; the impact the photos had included waking up the public consciousness enough to force the administration to take steps to help the impoverished citizens.

Earthquake Escape - Jan Burchett, (978-1434245922) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, Lexile: 580, ESL level: 3 - 4
Ben and Zoe get to go rescue a giant panda baby, lost after the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake in China.

Earthquakes - Michael Woods, (978-0822547112) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
This book goes into depth describing causes, effects, and results of theoretical and historical earthquakes.

Environmental Disasters - Michael Woods , (978-0822567745) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
This book explores the effects on the environment of oil spills, chemical leaks, and other environmental nightmares.

Eruption - Roland Smith, (978-0545081740) , Fiction
Interest level: 5-8, Lexile: 590, ESL level: 3
Chase and Nicole help with rescuing escaped circus animals after a huge earthquake (Storm Runners series).

Escaping the Giant Wave - Peg Kehret, (978-0689852732) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 750, ESL level: 4
Kyle frantically tries to outrun a tsunami after a coastal earthquake, hoping to get his sister and himself to higher ground.

Fires - Michael Woods, (978-0822547136) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
Read about the deadly destructiveness of fires and also hear about some of history's worst fire events.

Flood Disaster - Peg Kehret, (978-1416991090) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, Lexile: 780, ESL level: 4
Time travelers Warren and Betsy try to prevent the Johnstown Flood in 1889 when they become sympathetic with a man who lost everything after it occurred.

Floods - Michael Woods , (978-0822547129) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
Learn about the impact of a flood whether it be from too much rain, huge waves, water accidents, or other sources.

Hurricane - Terry Trueman, (978-0060000189) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-12, Lexile: 730, ESL level: 3 - 4
A young boy relates his experience with a Caribbean hurricane.

Hurricanes - Michael Woods, (978-0822547105) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
Learn about hurricanes and how their occurrence has affected the towns and cities where they have happened.

The Legend of Zoey - Candie Moonshower, (978-0440239246) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-7, Lexile: 650, ESL level: 3 - 4
Zoey time travels from modern times back to visit Prudence in 1811 when the New Madrid earthquake occurred.

Life as We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer, (978-0152061548) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 770, ESL level: 3 - 4
Miranda's family eagerly anticipates a predicted meteor, but its impact on the moon causes worldwide climactic changes and weather disasters.

Moomin and the Comet - Tove Jansson, (978-1770461222) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, ESL level: 3
The beloved Moomins have to get away from their home after disastrous weather and an upcoming comet appears.

Mudflows and Landslides - Michael Woods, (978-0822565741) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
This book provides copious information about and illustrations of mudslides and landslides.

On the Other Side of the Hill - Roger MacBride, (978-0064405751) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, Lexile: 860, ESL level: 4
Rose Wilder's family faces a series of natural and weather disasters on their Missouri homestead (Little House Books series).

Out of The Dust - Karen Hesse, (978-0590371254) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, ESL level: 3 - 4
After Billie Jo loses her parents during the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression, she struggles to keep her life together and continue playing the piano despite burned hands.

Quake!: Disaster in San Francisco, 1906 - Gail Karwoski, (978-1561453696) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, Lexile: 770, ESL level: 4
A young Jewish boy describes his experience of the terrible 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach - Brenda Woods, (978-0142421864) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-12, Lexile: 660, ESL level: 3
Saint escapes from the evacuation center to search for his lost dog in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Sinkholes - Sandra Friend, (978-1561642588) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-8, Lexile: 1150, ESL level: 3
This book describes how sinkholes form and the ground collapses.

Tsunamis - Michael Woods, (978-0822566809) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
This book contains lots of interesting information about the formation and destructiveness of tsunamis as well as giving details about countries prone to tsunamis and how others might help affected victims.

Volcano Disaster - Peg Kehret, (978-0671009687) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 770, ESL level: 4
Warren and Betsy go back in time to experience the Mt. St. Helen's eruption because their special time travel computer malfunctions while they are working on a science project.

Volcanoes - Michael Woods , (978-0822547150) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
View the photos, charts, and other graphs that make the formation, eruption, and devastation of a volcano very real.

Wildfire Run - Dee Garretson, (978-0061953507) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, Lexile: 690, ESL level: 3
The President's son is thrown into survival mode when a faraway earthquake and a fire trap him and his friends at Camp David.

Years of Dust - Albert Marrin, (978-0525420774) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-9, Lexile: 1040, ESL level: 3 - 4
This book describes the losses of the plains farmers during the Dust Bowl of the depression years, focusing on the man-made causes and the massive impacts they had.

Middle School to Young Adult Books

Ashfall - Mike Mullin, (978-1933718743) , Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, Lexile: 750, ESL level: 4
After a supervolcano erupts in Yellowstone, Alex and his family find their world totally changed both geographically and socially.

The Dust Bowl - Ken Burns, (978-1452107943) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 4
Famed author and TV producer Ken Burns tells the story of the Dust Bowl with fascinating facts and timely photographs.

Flood - James Heneghan, (978-0374350574) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, ESL level: 4
Andy's life makes an about face when his mother and stepfather die in the aftermath of a flood.

Monument 14 - Emmy Laybourne, (978-1250027382) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 590, ESL level: 3 - 4
Teen friends band together in a huge store, trying to protect themselves from worldwide disasters including a hailstorm.

Slow Burn - Renee Jacobs, (978-0271036816) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5
This photo essay describes the coal mining town of Centralia, Pennsylvania and how it turned into a ghost town overnight when the mine started burning and why the fire continues.

The Battle Against Invasive Species - Sneed Collard, (978-0618756360) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-9, Lexile: 1110, ESL level: 4
This book explains how scientists are developing techniques to control and lessen the environmental impact of invasive species.

The Dead and the Gone - Susan Beth Pfeffer, (978-0547258553) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, ESL level: 4
After an asteroid hits the moon, Alex' life is forever changed; he has the responsibility of caring for his two sisters and also finding a way to live in a decimated New York City.

Three Rivers Rising - Jame Richards, (375-858857) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-9, Lexile: 780, ESL level: 4
This love story plays out against the backdrop of the Johnsonstown flood of 1889.

Books for Mature Teens and Adults

The Avalanche Handbook - Mountaineers Books, (978-0898868098) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 4
Learn how to recognize an upcoming avalanche and how to stay alive if you experience one.

The Deluge - Mark Morris, (978-1477807200) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5
This novel for mature teens depicts a world after an incapacitating flood has covered everything

Fire Undergrond: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire - David DeKok, (978-0762754274) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5
Find out how the coal mining town of Centralia, Pennsylvania turned into a ghost town overnight when the mine started burning, and learn why the fire continues.

Haboob - Leslie LeRoux, (978-3868283457) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5
This photographic essay examines the city of Phoenix and shows how its uncontrolled growth and the Arizona sandstorms or haboob have engulfed the small towns and the normal desert habitat.

How to Protect Yourself from Solar Flares - Marc Remillard, (978-1466421394) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5
This book explains how solar activity is intensifying and how it might affect life on the earth.

Invasive Species - Daniel Simberloff, (978-0199922031) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 4 - 5
Scientists team with policy makers in this book to examine the problem of invasive species, evaluate their damage, and attempt to control them.

The Johnstown Flood - David McCullough, (978-0671207144) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 4 - 5
Famed historian David McCullough examines the causes and effects of the preventable Johnstown flood of 1889.

Khamsin: The Devil Wind of the Nile - Inge Borg, (978-1481041959) , Fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5
This romance for mature readers recreates a court setting in 3080 BC that features love, murder, war, and backstabbing, all against the backdrop of the khamsin.

Mt. St. Helens: The Eruption and Recovery of a Volcano - Rob Carson, (978-1570612480) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 4 - 5
The author describes events leading up to this gigantic eruption and also details how the mountain recovered in its new form.

Solar Flares: What You Need to Know - Whitley Strieber, (978-1101616338) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 10-12, ESL level: 5
Learn how the massive electrical grids many nations are using are in danger of interacting with solar flares and destroying life on earth as we know it.

The Worst Hard Time - Timothy Egan, (978-0618773473) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5
This historical book describes 12 families and the effects living through the Dust Bowl years had on their future lives; their horrors included experiencing black dust blizzards, crop fails, and deaths.

The West Without Water - B. Lynn Ingram, (978-0520268555) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 9-12, ESL level: 5
This text explores the history of the climate changes in the Western part of the U.S. and its impact on extreme weather.