Into the Volcano: Donna O'Meara,
A Volcano Researcher at Work

Author: Donna O'Meara
Pages: 56
Publisher/Date: Kids Can Press/2005
ISBN: 1553376927
Age Levels: 9-12

Book Review

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano rumbles under my feet with thunder I feel in my stomach. The air reeks of burning metal. A towering dark steam cloud looms over me. Without warning, a football-sized chunk of gooey lava drops out of the cloud and plops on the ground near me. I duck and run as more hissing red chunks spatter everywhere. These "lava bombs" could crush a skull as if it were an eggshell. What on Earth am I doing here, on the world’s most active volcano?
What O’Meara is doing there is research. Volcanoes are her passion. Along with husband Steve, O’Meara has traveled the world studying and photographing volcanoes.

What sets this book apart from others on the same topic are O’Meara’s personal stories. In the chapter titled "Walk on the Wild Side," for example, O’Meara recounts her attempts to photograph—from the edge of a cliff—a lava tube pouring orange lava into the ocean. Her words and images combine to paint a vivid, compelling tale of both adventure and serious science.

Incorporated throughout the text are beautifully illustrated sidebars filled with factual information. Readers will learn about volcano types, pyroclastic flows, types of lava and more. Along the way they will also learn about O'Meara—about how she returned to college at age 32, fell in love with volcanology, and dedicated her life to studying them. A glossary and well-done index are included.

If volcanoes are a part of your curriculum, you must have at least one copy of Donna O‘Meara’s Into the Volcano in your classroom. Extremely accessible, informative, and entertaining.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2005 Education Oasis http://www.educationoasis.com

About the Author

Donna O'Meara is recognized worldwide for her photography, writing, and research. Donna and her husband, Stephen James O'Meara, have climbed roughly one hundred erupting volcanoes searching for scientific secrets to help predict volcanic eruptions, and thus save lives. Donna and Stephen are among a group of explorers supported by the National Geographic Society. They have been the subject of three National Geographic television documentaries and numerous others.