The best volcano books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about volcanos and why they recommend each book.

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Volcanoes of Northern Arizona

By Wendell A. Duffield, Michael Collier (photographer),

Book cover of Volcanoes of Northern Arizona

Who knew there were volcanoes in northern Arizona? Wendell Duffield takes readers on a visual and literary tour de force of this amazing region. The San Francisco Volcanic Field contains over 600 vents and cones with one large stratovolcano, a half a dozen or more silicic dome volcanoes, and hundreds of basalt cinder cones. All are explained in clear, concise prose. And who knew the Grand Canyon had volcanoes too, some of which spilled cascading lava flows into the canyon, damming the river at least 17 times. It’s all here in this little book that has a big impact.

Who am I?

Since my earliest memories, I have been fascinated with rocks, landscapes, and the movement of time. It was perhaps only fitting then, that I should have landed in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the 1970s working as a backcountry ranger where I discovered GEOLOGY! Since then, my world view has been shaped by the record of earth history that is held in sedimentary rocks, mountain belts, and the colorful and varied landscapes of the Desert Southwest and Colorado Plateau. I am in love with these landscapes and know them well. This love affair causes me to visit other landscapes around the world and ponder their development. 



I wrote...

Carving Grand Canyon: Evidence, Theories, and Mystery

By Wayne Ranney,

Book cover of Carving Grand Canyon: Evidence, Theories, and Mystery

What is my book about?

Geology may be the easiest topic to make boring. But I have devoted my 46-year career as a Grand Canyon geologist to make its illustrative geologic story accessible to everyone. In this book, I take readers on a journey through time in Grand Canyon. But the larger prize is won in learning how geologists have sequentially approached the mysteries for how the canyon formed.

With its immense size and the erosive force of the Colorado River and its tributaries, the Grand Canyon has an incomplete record of how it formed. This has confounded geologists for over 160 years and a complete picture is still elusive. But in this book, you will learn about the varied theories that have attempted to describe how the canyon formed.

Ashfall

By Mike Mullin,

Book cover of Ashfall

This is one of the novels I read in high school that stuck with me. Mike Mullin’s Ashfall is a story about a supervolcano that erupts and causes unimaginable terror and chaos for a vast amount of the population. The unfortunate event that takes place in this novel opened my eyes to the power of Mother Nature. My own novel centers around an apocalyptic rain event; Ashfall is comparable to my own book in a way that shows how quickly Mother Nature can become deadly when angered.


Who am I?

Apocalyptic novels have always been a favorite genre of mine. It’s interesting seeing the lengths that people will go through to survive when all factors are stacked against them. The list of novels below is some of the many great reads that opened my eyes to this genre. The characters in these novels are oftentimes faced with challenges that seem impossible to the reader but are left feeling so fulfilled after seeing a character complete the difficult tasks. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!


I wrote...

Briskwood Blood Rain

By Christopher Joubert,

Book cover of Briskwood Blood Rain

What is my book about?

When Miles Parker walks into one of his final classes of high school, the only thing on his mind is how poorly he is about to do on a Literature quiz he didn’t study for. Then, his teacher dies – and vanishes – in front of him. He thinks his day can’t get any stranger. He’s wrong. 

When severe weather roars into the small city of Briskwood and school is canceled for the rest of the day, Miles thinks nothing of it. Then, the rain suddenly turns red and mutates people into yellow-eyed, spike-covered creatures, hell-bent on terrorizing anything that moves. With the blood rain cutting off access to many necessary resources, Miles must use his limited supplies to fight an enemy that is much stronger than he is. 

Under the Mountain

By Maurice Gee,

Book cover of Under the Mountain

This book for younger YA’s has some of the creepiest villains you’ll ever meet and knuckle-biting tension as the heroes are chased by the evil Wilberforces, slug-like shapeshifters who live under Auckland’s extinct volcanoes. Their goal is the destruction of the world and only red-haired twins Rachel and Theo Matheson can stop them, with the help of the strange Mr. Jones, who helps the twins unleash their supernatural power.


Who am I?

I love Aotearoa New Zealand books! Our writers are brave, feisty, original - and living in ‘the land of the long white cloud’ at the bottom of the globe gives us a unique take on the world that permeates through everything we write. But we struggle to get our voices heard internationally, so far from the rest of you! This is your chance to push out your boundaries and explore stories that derive from a culture very different from your own, while sharing the same human emotions that bring us all together. As one of these writers, I challenge you to check us out – you won’t be disappointed!


I wrote...

Singing Home The Whale

By Mandy Hager,

Book cover of Singing Home The Whale

What is my book about?

The extraordinary story of how the arrival of a baby orca whale threatens to tear apart a fishing community and forever changes the life of the boy who finds it.

Will Jackson is hiding out, a city boy reluctantly staying with his uncle in small town New Zealand while he struggles to recover from a brutal attack and the aftermath of a humiliating Youtube clip gone viral. After he discovers a young abandoned orca his life is further thrown into chaos when he rallies to help protect it against hostile locals. The boy and whale develop a unique bond, forged by Will’s love of singing. An exciting plot-driven story full of drama, tension, and romance, this magical book captures both heart and mind from start to finish.

The Storm Runner

By J.C. Cervantes,

Book cover of The Storm Runner

This book is filled the Mayan mythology. I found that the magic was fascinating, and I couldn’t get enough of the monsters, gods, and giants. They make for an exciting read—even if you’re not a middle grader.


Who am I?

I’ve been hooked on adventure stories since I started reading. When I became serious about writing for young readers, I couldn’t resist creating fearless kids out to tackle. Indiana Jones-sized dangers. While I love writing these kinds of stories, I can’t resist reading them either. If there’s an added element of magic or sci-fi time-travel, I have to find out what happens and how. The most fun is to read these stories aloud to the young readers in my family in hopes they’ll also fall in love with adventure/fantasy—maybe one of them will even write a few of these books. That would be fabulous.


I wrote...

Sign of the Green Dragon

By C. Lee McKenzie,

Book cover of Sign of the Green Dragon

What is my book about?

Three plucky sleuths. A crumbling skeleton. A buried treasure.

Sam’s the new kid at school with enough hitting talent to bring the baseball trophy back to Haggarty Elementary. But Sam’s guardian is shipping him off to boarding school. When his teammates, Joey and Roger, hear his bad news, they plot to hide him until the big game. Their secret cave is a perfect place, but an earthquake shatters a wall and reveals a wooden chest with a red-eyed dragon carved into the top. Inside, a crumbling skeleton clutches a map with a cryptic note, promising treasure if the finder reveals the truth about an old murder and returns the remains of the victim to China. Is the note a hoax? Maybe.

The Little Book of the Icelanders

By Alda Sigmundsdottir, Megan Herbert (illustrator),

Book cover of The Little Book of the Icelanders: 50 Miniature Essays on the Quirks and Foibles of the Icelandic People

The Icelanders are remarkable people with some pretty strange habits. Optimistic, energetic, friendly in a very reserved way, armed with irony that can kill at ten metres, they do not fit the classic Scandinavian stereotype. Over the last decade, as I have researched Iceland for my various Magnus novels, the Icelandic-Canadian Alda has been my guide on all things Icelandic. She gets to the bottom of their quirks and foibles in this brilliant little book of fifty or so essays about the people who live on a treeless volcano with appalling weather. Very funny. Very illuminating.


Who am I?

In 2009, when I decided to set a crime series in Iceland, I embarked on a decade of research into the country, its people, its literature, its culture, and its elves. I visited the country, I spoke to its inhabitants and I read books, lots of books – I couldn’t find an elf, but I was told where they live. I needed to understand its criminals, its victims, its police, and most of all my detective Magnus Jonson. These are the best books that helped me get to grips with Iceland.


I wrote...

Where the Shadows Lie

By Michael Ridpath,

Book cover of Where the Shadows Lie

What is my book about?

One thousand years ago: An Icelandic warrior returns from battle, bearing a ring cut from the right hand of his foe. Seventy years ago: An Oxford professor, working from a secret source, creates the twentieth century's most pervasive legend. The professor's name? John Ronald Reuel Tolkein. Six hours ago: An expert on Old Norse literature, Agnar Haraldsson, is murdered.

Everything is connected, but to discover how, Sergeant Magnus Jonson must venture where the shadows lie...

Journey to the Center of the Earth

By Jules Verne,

Book cover of Journey to the Center of the Earth

A beautiful classic. To me, this is perhaps the book that started it all—my passion for exploration, nature, planet Earth. Featuring a geologist and his nephew as its main characters, this book tells the story of the ultimate trip to the unknown and is filled with old-fashioned mystery, suspense, and thrill. Verne is the master of painting through words and instills a fervid curiosity in the reader as they are accompanied through a fantastical subterranean world filled with endless seas, primordial forests, and prehistoric creatures. Needless to say, this story is magical and a gold mine for the imagination of adventure-lovers. 


Who am I?

I've always been fascinated by stories of fantastical lands where people have powers and meet a variety of otherworldly obstacles that they have to surmount. During my travels as an environmental researcher, I found myself in the depths of the Amazon rainforest and the frozen terrains of Iceland and have become inspired by the nature that surrounded me, as well as the myths and legends of other cultures. Through my words, I try and evoke a sense of enchantment and escapism, in the attempt to invite the reader to travel with me to mysterious lands full of unexpected challenges, inhabited by eccentric people and the persistent threat of powerful enemies.


I wrote...

The Lightbringer: Through the Elder Stone

By Dael Sassoon,

Book cover of The Lightbringer: Through the Elder Stone

What is my book about?

All that Jason wanted was to be a travel photographer. When his ship sinks on the coast of Greenland and he crosses through a magical portal, his life takes an unexpected turn. Waking up in a fantastical world, the legendary Flare now rushes through Jason’s veins. He is given the chance to save an enchanted world from the ominous grasp of the tyrant Emperor Darkstrom, who spreads death across the land. Before he can go back home, Jason must embrace his new identity as a Lightbringer and learn how to control his newfound powers. The people and nature of Valkadia depend on it. Will he be able to come to terms with his new identity, or will the journey get the better of him?

The Day the World Ended

By Gordon Thomas, Max Morgan-Witts,

Book cover of The Day the World Ended

In early May 1902, the Mount Pelée volcano at the northern tip of Martinique rumbled and smoked. On May 8 it released its fury, killing approximately 30,000 people. It remains an active volcano. The authors tell this story with elan, using original sources to bring in the experience of victims and survivors. But the book is much more than a narrative history, as it uncovers how authorities in this French overseas department in the Caribbean neglected the threat posed by the volcano and obfuscated and stalled in the horrid aftermath.


The Day the World Ended joins these other books in questioning the interpretation of natural disasters, underlining human culpability.


Who am I?

Writing my history of the 1746 earthquake and tsunami that walloped much of Peru taught me that disasters serve as great entryways into society. They not only provide a snapshot (today's selfie) of where people were and what they were doing at a given moment (think Pompei) but also bring to light and even accentuate social and political tensions. I have lived my adult life between Peru and California and have experienced plenty of earthquakes. I continue to teach on "natural" disasters and have begun a project on the 1600 Huaynaputina volcano that affected the global climate. 


I wrote...

Shaky Colonialism: The 1746 Earthquake-Tsunami in Lima, Peru, and Its Long Aftermath

By Charles F. Walker,

Book cover of Shaky Colonialism: The 1746 Earthquake-Tsunami in Lima, Peru, and Its Long Aftermath

What is my book about?

On October 28, 1746, a massive earthquake ravaged Lima, a bustling city of 50,000, capital of the Peruvian Viceroyalty, and the heart of Spain’s territories in South America. Half an hour later, a tsunami destroyed the nearby port of Callao. The earthquake-tsunami demolished churches and major buildings, damaged food and water supplies, and suspended social codes, throwing people of different social classes together and prompting widespread chaos. I examine reactions to the catastrophe, the Viceroy’s plans to rebuild the city, and the opposition he encountered from the Church, the Spanish Crown, and Lima’s multiracial population.

The Viceroy devised a classic Enlightenment plan to rebuild --only to receive the full-scale opposition of virtually all of the city's population as well as nearby Indigenous communities.

Old Rock (Is Not Boring)

By Deb Pilutti,

Book cover of Old Rock (Is Not Boring)

Old Rock's friends think that he has a boring life. Yes, he's been sitting in the same spot for many, many years. But Old Rock tells them about the time he flew (out of a volcano!) and the dinosaurs he met and the time he lived inside a glacier. Seems Old Rock's life has not only been long, but very exciting! With the various characters in the book, there's fun dialogue begging to be read aloud. Your budding geologist, paleontologists, and historians will love to hear you read this book aloud.


Who am I?

I'm an award-winning children's book author who loves everything about kid's books--including the smell! With over 50 books on bookstore shelves-- which have been read aloud hundreds of times all over the world-- I feel that I've become an expert on the subject.


I wrote...

People Don't Bite People

By Lisa Wheeler, Molly Idle (illustrator),

Book cover of People Don't Bite People

What is my book about?

People Don't Bite People is a humorous, yet helpful, look at a common early childhood problem. As the book says...It's good to bite a carrot. It's good to bite a steak. It's bad to bite your sister. She's not a piece of cake! Yes, there are a lot of things that go into toddler and preschool mouths. A person should not be one of them!

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