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Mountains and Volcanoes Topic

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Best Books For a Mountains and Volcanoes Topic 

Mountains are areas of land that are elevated higher than the land around them, usually formed over millions of years. Volcanoes are openings in the Earth’s crust that can let out gasses, ash and lava. From the mightiest of mountains to the most vicious volcanoes, we’ve put together a list of recommended children’s books for budding explorers to find out more about our awesome Earth. Look out for snow-capped adventures, mountain-side flora and fauna, ancient eruption escapes and elevated animal rescues in our hand-picked selection of the best children’s books about mountains and volcanoes…

Chapter books about mountains and volcanoes

Jess Butterworth
Chapter book

When the Mountains Roared is the much-enjoyed second novel from Jess Butterworth, and one that has gone down a storm in Key Stage 2 classrooms. The physical book itself is actually really beautiful both inside and out, with its stunning cover by Rob Biddulph and the leopard-print design of its pages.

The story follows Ruby, a twelve-year-old girl who is grieving the recent death of her mother and has become filled with fear since her mother’s car accident. Ruby is an animal lover and she enjoys photographing wildlife. At the beginning of the story, Ruby faces the devastating news that her Dad is planning to uproot them from their Australian home and relocate to a remote mountain village in India to run a hotel.

Unimpressed when she arrives in her new home, Ruby does manage to find some things to like about the foreign setting. Jess Butterworth’s descriptions of the mountain landscape are beautiful and evocative as nature-lover Ruby takes in the new smells, colours and wildlife of the Himalayan habitat. Although the hotel is quite isolated, Ruby quickly befriends a local shepherd boy called Praveen, who shares Ruby’s admiration of the natural world.

Together, Ruby and Praveen set about to protect the few remaining leopards from the threat of poachers. The story is full of danger and adventure as Ruby undertakes a perilous trek through the mountains and comes face to face with some very hostile poachers, putting aside her own fears in order to save the leopards.

This is an atmospheric and enticing animal rescue story that explores an important theme about preservation and it will appeal to readers in Years 4-6

Eva Ibbotson
 & Jamie Littler
Chapter book
Another novel on the theme of mountains, but this one is a more light-hearted choice, popular with lower KS2. Full of humour and imagination, this laugh-out-loud book tells the story of a young woman who is kidnapped by the Yetis of the Himalayan Mountains and given the tasks of bringing up their unruly children. Although this book is very funny, it also carries a strong message about caring for our planet.
Michael Morpurgo
Chapter book
If you are looking for a gripping novel on the theme of mountains, this one could be for you. This story, from the popular children's author Michael Morpurgo, recounts the perilous journey of Ashley and his Uncle Sung across the Himalayan Mountains as they battle for survival.
Roderick O'Grady
Chapter book

Set in North America, this is the story of Minnie and her step-Dad Dan, who still live in the remote cabin where she was born at the foothills of the pine-forested mountain. One day Minnie sets off up the mountain with her friend Billy to search for the forest fire that has been raging on the other side of the mountain, only to find instead a set of huge footprints that could only belong to one thing… a sasquatch (an ape-like creature from North American folklore, also known as a bigfoot)!

The story sensitively explores the process of bereavement while also balancing the differing views of two different ‘peoples’ by telling the story from the dual perspectives of Minnie and a juvenile Sasquatch, Kaayii, with their ancient culture and beliefs so closely entwined with nature…

Jess Butterworth
Chapter book

This story, set on top of a super volcano in Yellowstone Park in America, starts with an act of senseless and terrifying violence but turns into a beautiful story of friendship and bravery. Two children are dealing with the events they have been through – Seb is struggling with both the prospect of losing his best friend as well as with his memories of a horrific shooting, while Vivi is mourning the loss of her much-loved grandmother. Set against the stunning volcanic backdrop of Yellowstone Park, this is both a thoughtful depiction of children dealing with life-changing events which are beyond their control, whilst also being a high-paced adventure with a thrilling climax deep in the heart of Yellowstone Park.

Linda Newbery
Chapter book
This is the story of Tomas, whose father is a climbing guide in the Swiss mountains. When his father disappears, Tomas worries that a mountain monster called the Brockenspectre might be at work and sets about to brave the treacherous mountain terrains to find his father before it is too late. Covering themes of family relationships and grief, this is a gripping story for upper KS2.
David Long
 & Stefano Tambellini
Dyslexia-friendly Non-fiction

Nearly everyone has heard of Mount Everest. Towering over the Himalayas, it is probably the most famous mountain in the world. Equally, Edmund Hillary and the Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, became household names when they became the first climbers to reach the top and descend safely again in May 1953. But what of all the climbers who tried and failed? What are the challenges and obstacles facing a team trying to reach the 8,849 metre-high summit of the ‘Peak of Heaven’?

This fascinating book by the award-winning David Long looks at the history of the race to reach the top. It is packed full of fascinating information about the challenges climbers face on the mountain, about the differences between modern climbing equipment and that used in the past, as well as the personal stories behind some of the attempts (he goes into detail about the failed attempt by Mallory and Irving in 1924, as well as the successful Hillary/Norgay expedition).

The illustrations by Stefano Tambellini not only help to set the scene but also provide extra information. The picture comparing Mount Everest to other well-known mountains, for example, is simple yet effective. The book ends on a thought-provoking note – apparently, Everest is now littered with rubbish. At such a high altitude doing a litter pick is dangerous, yet there are teams of intrepid people trying to safeguard Everest’s natural beauty. Even at these high altitudes, humans are still managing to leave their mark, and not always in a good way.

Juliette Forrest
Chapter book

A gripping mountain-based adventure with strong female role models. Clova has grown up with the mountains and moors as her playground, with her Mum and Dad’s love of the outdoors shared passionately since the day she was born. When her Mum’s life is lost during a search and rescue mission, Clova loses not just her Mum, but her Dad, her best friend and the freedom to run wild that, to her, is the very essence of life itself. By chance she meets Taffy, an abandoned collie, and a bond develops between them that might just save more than one life, including their own.

This is a story filled with loss and heartbreak, hope and fear, and a delicate web of characters, each experiencing and dealing with loss in their own way.  I found myself wanting to pack a rucksack and hiking boots and head straight off to the highlands of Scotland, then became mindful of the dangers that might arise if I did just that. Masterful and sweet, each character is introduced, sometimes fleetingly, only to return at a poignant point later as their paths cross again and the elaborate tapestry that Forrest sews comes together.


Picturebooks about mountains and volcanoes

Christina Balit

Escape from Pompeii tells the story of a young boy called Tranio who lives in Pompeii at the time of the famous eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. This captivating picture book allows readers to follow the footsteps of Tranio and his friend Livia as they come to terms with the destruction of their city and find their own routes to freedom.

There is also an accompanying 2-week English unit available from KS2History.

Lara Hawthorne
In this beautifully illustrated picture book from Lara Hawthorne, a mysterious creature from a secluded volcano crater explores the outside world for the very first time . . . but is it not what he expects it to be! Will his adventure teach him there is no place like home?Ratty lives deep inside the crater of an ancient volcano nestled in the rainforest. One day, he spies a particularly delicious-looking fruit high in the treetops, and sets out to reach it. From this high vantage point a spectacular view stretches before him - the world outside his mountain crater. In this big outside world, Ratty imagines, the fruit must be much sweeter, the bird songs more beautiful and the other animals far more interesting and sophisticated, and so he sets off in search of better things. But when is he is asked to attend a dinner party by a crocodile who seems just a bit too friendly, Ratty realises that perhaps there is no place like home after all.Inspired by the recent scientific breakthroughs of Mount Bosavi, in which over 40 new species of animals and plants were identified, Lara Hawthorne seamlessly combines story and fact in this picture book which celebrates the diversity of life, even in extreme habitats.
Alexandra Stewart
 & Joe Todd Stanton

With a beautiful foreword by the greatest living explorer of our time, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, this brilliant book combines fresh and contemporary illustrations by Joe Todd-Stanton with Alexandra Stewart’s captivating writing and publishes in time to celebrate the centenary of Edmund Hillary’s birth. This unique narrative tells the story of how Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made their mark on the world from birth right up to their final days and the impact they’ve had on Nepal today.

Libby Walden
 & Richard Jones
Our mountain watches over us – steadfast and strong...Discover the secrets of the mountain in this stunning picture book. Watch the world transform as day turns to night and explore the never-ending possibilities of nature as you travel up and down the mountain.

Non-fiction books about mountains and volcanoes

Tom Vaillant
Open this book and step into the fiery world of volcanoes! Find out why they erupt, what scientists can learn from them and which animals call them home. Explore volcanoes at the bottom of the sea, gaze upon the volcanoes of Mars, and travel back in time to find out what happened to the city of Pompeii...
Kate Baker
 & Page Tsou
Do you know how tall the tallest mountain on Earth is? Or how deep the deepest ocean goes? Do you know which creature was the largest to ever live? Or how old the oldest tree is? Learn all this and more in this exquisite book of comparisons. Page Tsou's extraordinarily detailed illustrations have a lithograph aesthetic that is at once vintage and contemporary. A gorgeous Big Picture Press title that will fill readers with wonder at the world we live in.
Izzy Howell
Learn about volcanoes and find out how they form, where they are most likely to be and how scientists study them through diagrams and case studies. Fact Planet is a lively, information-filled geography series, packed full of colourful illustrations, clear explanations and fun quizzes to test your knowledge. The eye-catching flat illustrations combined with occasional photos bring geography and environmental issues to life.
Rebecca Kahn
Explore ten of the world's most awesome mountain ranges! From the Rockies to the the Great Dividing Range, discover some of the most famous and important mountain ranges on the planet. Zoom in on their most interesting features, with the help of engaging artwork and key information. Each mountian range 'profile' is accompanied by unique illustrations and clear photos. The World Feature Focus series brings a fresh perspective to the world's most significant elements and landforms. With artwork that emphasises the otherworldliness and beauty that exists within the make-up of Earth, children aged 7 upwards will be equally entranced and informed about the world's geography.
Mia Cassany
 & Marcos Navarro
Which animal lives on top of the Everest? Where can you spot the majestic condor? How does the ibex climb up rocks?Mountains are home to 25% of terrestrial biodiversity and a multitude of fragile ecosystems. What if you could fly and discover those places and the incredible wild animals hidden at high altitude?This large format book transports you to inaccessible places and helps you discover the incredible fauna that live in these mountains, volcanoes, hills or valleys.Throughout the book is a search and find counting game enabling you to spot bats ready to take flight, sloths hanging from branches, wallabies and their babies, and butterflies aplenty.

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