I’ve recently read two fantastic books about the total solar eclipse that will sweep across the United States on August 21, 2017. One is geared toward kids, while the other could be a useful tool for serious adult eclipse chasers.
The Big Eclipse (Orbit Oregon, 2016), written and illustrated by Nancy Coffelt, is a beautifully done 16-page book that children will love and easily understand. It’s a lighthearted and playful eclipse primer that explains what will happen and how to watch it safely, looks at odd effects of eclipses, shows how to make a pinhole projector, and has a glossary with meanings for all of those new words like totality and umbraphile. While aimed at children the book is not dumbed down, and it’s certified “astronomically accurate” by an eclipse expert at the American Astronomical Society.
Sold separately is The Big Eclipse Activity Book that supplements The Big Eclipse. It is packed with games, puzzles, art and imagination projects, and even has a recipe for “eclipse cookies” that you can make and serve at your total eclipse viewing party. It would be great for school projects, family fun and learning, or just for a kid who loves to read and figure things out solo. Grab both volumes; they’re perfect for kids around ages five to eleven.
We did an earlier article and podcast with Michael Zeiler, who along with his wife Polly White operates the dandy eclipse website GreatAmericanEclipse.com. Zeiler also has come out with a book, a compact 44-pager titled simply See the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017 (Great American Eclipse LLC, 2016). The book is packed with maps and information, touching on the splendor and science of the event, safe viewing, best places to see the eclipse, strategies for success, and lots more maps. It’s super informative, and small enough to slip into your satchel or even a larger pocket and head out for some eclipse chasing.
As discussed in the podcast, Zeiler works hard to make his maps not only accurate and informative but visually pleasing. He dose marvelous work, and he has a selection of poster-size maps suitable for framing on the website.
Safety tools are included with both books. The Big Eclipse comes with a rectangular solar viewer, while a copy of See the Great American Eclipse will also get you a couple of pairs of eclipse glasses.
You can snag all three books by visiting the links above. Buying through Seattle Astronomy helps us defray the costs of bringing you great space and astronomy articles, and we thank you for that.