In Stories of the Aurora, her fifth book in the “Dot to Dot in the Sky” series, Edmonton author Joan Marie Galat explains the science and mythology associated with the auroras – both northern (borealis) and southern (australis). With diagrams and clear text aimed at middle school readers, Galat explains the modern science – the interaction of the earth’s magnectic field with the charged particles in solar winds. Much of this non-fiction narrative text explores the myths and legends that ancient cultures developed in their oral traditions to explain these phenomena. Some cultures felt the aurora were threatening, while other stories portray the dancing lights as fanciful and benevolent. Galat includes specific stories from Norse, Greek, Finnish, Chinese, Algonquin, French Canadian, and Inuit folklore. These stories are accompanied by full-page vibrant illustrations by Edmonton artist Lorna Bennett using colours that often mimic those found in the aurora. Interspersed throughout the stories are non-fiction fact boxes that extend the science with important information (e.g. magnetic storms, environmental impact, sounds, height and colour of the auroras). Additional non-fiction text features that will help young readers navigate the text and locate information easily include: Table of Contents, Glossary and Index.
An excellent complementary resource for Grade 6 students studying Sky Science; for language arts topics exploring mythology; and, for inquiring students fascinated by celestial phenomena and particularly by those dancing lights in the night sky.