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Washington Reads (Spring 2005) - Mount St. Helens

Twenty-five years ago, people around the world learned of Washington State when Mount. St. Helens exploded with the force of 24 megatons of heat energy. The explosion sent a column of ash and rock miles into the sky, flattened forests, darkened some Washington cities, and created mudflows. Many people died, most of whom were outside the so-called red zone where public access was prohibited. Since that memorable day in May 1980, life on the volcano has returned and Mount Saint Helens stands as a testament to nature’s remarkable ability for recovery. 

ADULT
Return to Spirit Lake: Journey through a Lost Landscape. Colasurdo, Christine. Return to Spirit Lake: Journey through a Lost Landscape.

The author spent much of her childhood in the Spirit Lake area of Mount St. Helens, and had planned to settle there permanently. Those plans were disrupted by the eruption. This work is a gentle blend of what she observed before and after the eruption, factual information about the volcanic activity, and her love of nature, with the unexpected regeneration of the landscape. The book reflects her personal journeys and insights.

Echoes of Fury: The 1980 Eruption of Mount St. Helens and the Lives It Changed Forever. Parchman, Frank. Echoes of Fury: The 1980 Eruption of Mount St. Helens and the Lives It Changed Forever.

This is a highly readable, true story of the volcano and eight people whose lives were changed forever on May 18, 1980. The characters, followed from 1980 to 2000, include a young couple nearly killed in mud and debris on the Toutle River, a badly burned crew of loggers, a sister of one of the victims who was camped outside the red zone, a thrill seeker determined to find his way into the blast zone, a geologist and a young reporter. Readers, following these eight, will be intrigued by the drama and adventure, as well as their recovery. This is a compelling story of “fury and rebirth” that reads like fiction.

Roadside Geology of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Vicinity. Pringle, Patrick. Roadside Geology of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Vicinity.

This road guide describes and interprets various geologic features in the Mount St. Helens Monument. It includes: the mountain’s geologic history, eruptions from 1980 to 1986, geologic processes and terminology. Pringle’s road guide is useful to have when observing the sites. This book is quite technical, but appealing to those who are knowledgeable or curious about this unique geology.

ADULT/YOUNG ADULT
Mount St. Helens: The Eruption and Recovery of a Volcano. Carson, Rob. Mount St. Helens: The Eruption and Recovery of a Volcano.

Through striking before and after photographs and splendid text, Carson maintains that we should not look at the eruption as devastation, but rather as a disturbance and rebirth of the mountain. Carson describes man’s attempts at dealing with the aftermath as well as the natural rebirth of the area as a testament to the resilience of nature.

CHILDREN
Mount St. Helens: The Smoking Mountain. Furgang, Kathy. Mount St. Helens: The Smoking Mountain.

With excellent photographs and clear text, this book takes children into the world of volcanoes by describing the eruptions of Mount St. Helens. The book includes a glossary and index. (Ages 4 – 8)

Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mount St. Helens. Lauber, Patricia. Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mount St. Helens.

This Newbery Honor Book provides a clear description of the awakening of a sleeping volcano, describing the eruption and the slow return of natural life afterward. The emphasis is on how volcanoes help make the earth a planet of life. The dramatic color photographs are integrated with text to help young readers understand the geologic forces and devastation, as well as the rebirth. (Ages 9 – 12)