Books, Nature, Outside, Reading

Nonfiction Friday: Snowflake Bentley

Family friend Carol Hopper always has given the boys the most wonderful books. From Eric Carle’s The Very Quiet Cricket to the The Mitten, she has introduced us to fantastic stories. Last year (at least I think it was last year), she introduced us to Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (Houghton Mifflin Company 1998), the true story of Wilson Bentley, the man who loved snowflakes.

Wilson Bentley’s life’s work was photographing snowflakes. As a young boy with little schooling, “Willie,” as he was called, used an old microscope to study nature, including snowflakes. He discovered that each snowflake had a unique design, and he looked at hundreds each winter. When he was 15 years old Willie started to record his observations by attempting to draw snowflakes. When Willie turned 17, his parents bought him a camera so he could capture snowflakes before they melted.

From that day forward, Willie spent each winter photographing snowflakes. Sometimes he captured just a few. Some years, he photographed hundreds. He wrote and published his pictures, and when he was 66 years old, his book was published.

We love this book because of Willie Bentley’s inspiring passion for his work. He was often laughed at and ridiculed, but he still carried on. The book contains notes in the margins giving additional details about his story. I’m wrapping this one up and adding it to our basket of advent books.

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