CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 29 . . . . April 3, 2015
This pair of aptly titled books, which belong to the “Examining Canadian Energy” series, invite readers to investigate the various sources of energy they use to power their homes and communities. Narratives, based on the fictional research journals of enterprising students, inform readers of the science behind each energy source in question, including an exploration of its development and use throughout history, as well as an explanation of its present application and future potential. In following this format, every chapter features interactions with a new set of professionals whose expertise vary considerably but are each, nonetheless, important for the breadth of knowledge they impart. Preceding this main narrative, an opening chapter frames each book topic within the context of renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy, environmental degradation and climate change, and notions of cost and demand. A concluding chapter offers a summary of main points covered, along with a series of questions which encourage rigorous discussion. A glossary, activity page, relevant books and weblinks are included to promote independent learning.
In Examining Solar Energy, Sage Cooper (the book’s narrator) is researching the merits of solar power to help her school decide if the installation of solar panels would be a wise investment. Her first interview takes her to the Ontario Science Centre and Dr. Ben Mitchell, a solar astronomer, who explains the type of energy emitted by the sun, and how the origins of fossil fuels can be traced back to the remains of “plants and animals that died long ago…” which under “[h]eat and pressure from overlying rocks turned them into carbon rich energy sources we can burn to run factories.” On her fact finding mission, Sage also travels to British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, the Yukon, rural Alberta (to visit a solar farm), and Quebec (where she tours a lab producing nanoparticles and discusses future solar technology).
In Examining Wind Energy, school journalist Megan Gorski is investigating wind energy for a feature she is preparing to write about alternative energy sources. Megan’s research takes her to destinations both near and far: first to a local park (with a meteorologist and a ‘green’ community organizer), the shores of the Red Sea, Amsterdam (to view the inner workings of windmills), and an abandoned mine pit in Southern Ontario (to explore the possible application of storing excess wind power).
Written in clear precise prose, the narratives are easy to follow. In lieu of a bevy of facts, the dialogues carried within instead focus on concepts and overarching themes. Sidebars help reinforce the main text throughout, as do the occasional colour diagrams; beautiful large coloured photographs provide much needed visual interest to what are otherwise rather plain spreads which—thanks to oversized margins— exhibit an overabundance of empty space.
Aesthetics aside, both titles (and one must concede the “Examining Canadian Energy” series as a whole) are stellar resources which would make wonderful additions in the classroom or as part of a public library collection.
Andrew Laudicina is a MLIS graduate from the University of Western Ontario in London; he currently resides in Windsor, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.