Thursday, August 30, 2012

Society for the Promotion of Under-Appreciated Deserts

This is the group that evidently needs to be created. I have created Stonehenge in books on the rug in my kitchen and have spent more than a few hours sitting inside of it and planning our school year. My thought was that we would spend the year studying the deserts of the world. This seemed very easy in my head. I would go to the library and look up deserts and check out of few books. I would bring them home and read them so that I would know which areas needed further research and create our unit study. It sounds like a good plan, huh?

Well, if the books existed it would be a good idea. There are a couple of books about deserts and they served their purpose of helping me define the parameters of our unit study, but the problem came when I went to do more in-depth research. There just are not a lot of books on the individual deserts of the world. I can find enough material on the Sahara and the Sonora (plus, I grew up in the Sonora desert, so that's easy), but the other deserts? Not so much. Or more accurately, none at all. 

You would think I could type in "Gobi desert" into a search engine and several books, at least one or two aimed at the juvenile market, would pop up. Unless I'm doing something terribly wrong, it just doesn't happen. I get a couple of dinosaur books, but nothing about the actual desert. It seems to be a big hole in the juvenile non-fiction market.

And it's a shame, because as I research these deserts, there are some really interesting things about each of them. (And there's more than a few... there are over 10 major deserts in the world.) It's going to be a really interesting study, but it's just taking a whole lot more work than I anticipated. I mean, what's not to like about learning about camels, how sand moves like waves, mirages and refraction, date palms and oases, caravans, the Silk Road, nomads, a whole list of interesting animals, salt, and oil? This is just some of what is on my list, and doesn't even start to include the polar regions which we will also be covering because they are also deserts. (The only deserts we won't be covering in depth will be those in Australia because we studied Australia last year.)

Time to head back to the library... again... and continue with my research. My high school and junior high students' years are all planned. They were the easy ones. I know my life would probably be easier if I could just use something already created, but I know myself well enough that I would just redo it all anyway, so it's better to just start that way and create the study I actually want.

I'll get back to the second mother in my story tomorrow.


Lucy said...

You could always switch to stuyding underappreciated "desserts". That's of course what I thought at first glance of your title anyway :-)

Lori said...

ha ha me too...Here are some publishers for children's nonfiction books: Heinemann, Raintree, Heinemann-Raintree, National Geographic for Kids (magazines but also books), Redbrick, Scholastic, Benchmark, and Learner. Good nonfiction for children is a challenge to find using a regular search engine. U Penn has resources for African units of study. Good luck. Have fun.

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