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Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring The Earth To Life
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Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring The Earth To Life

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  217 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Living Sunlight shows children, teachers, and parents the remarkable magic of what makes us human.This informative yet dramatic book will mesmerize readers and help further a child's understanding of the energy we share with all living things in nature. We are all dancing sunlight. The book is co-authored by award-winning M.I.T. professor Penny Chisholm, a leading expert o ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by The Blue Sky Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Lisa Vegan
May 17, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Abigail A.
I deliberately also read Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas the same day as I read this book. This book was published in 2009 and the ocean book was published in 2012.

Outstanding illustrations: gorgeous and wonderfully detailed.

Somewhat boring text, in my opinion.

There are so many fascinating nature children’s picture books available, and this one just isn’t as interesting (in my opinion) as many others. I wasn’t enamored of the sun as the narrator, though others might like that bette
Apr 29, 2009 Pamela rated it it was amazing
If there was a prize for a book that contributes the most to basic science literacy, this should win. Most adults could learn something from "Living Sunlight," which works both as a lovely picture book for the first-grade set and as a brightly-colored science Cliff Notes for everyone else. The very lucid explanation of photosynthesis in the main text is expanded in the equally illuminating back matter, which explains what was left out of the main text, and why. (Just as I was getting cranky enou ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 17, 2009 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it liked it
Shelves: children, nature
The bright pictures in this book reminded me on every page of the power of the sun. I felt a glow radiating out of the illustrations. The text focused on the connections between people and plants and light and energy.

An unusual feature of this book was a note that explains the simplifications the authors made for the sake of their young audience. Interesting. I’ve never seen a note explaining what was omitted from a book.

The children liked the bright pictures and the interactive way the text be
Jan 19, 2009 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Through an amazing blend of poetry and science, children learn about the importance of the sun in our lives. There is a sense of wonder about the process of photosynthesis that elevates this book above that of a more scientific text. Here you see the beauty and glory of the sun reflected too. Bang's illustrations capture the depth of space, lacing it with waves of light, showing the same waves washing upon the earth, the plants and us.

This book's text comes in waves too. Waves of poetry that are
Feb 06, 2013 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This book offers a fascinating and enlightening look at the importance of plants to our existence on Earth. The narrative explains the chemical processes plants use to convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into sugars (energy) and oxygen.

The science isn't too overwhelming and the implications are enormous. Children can see how vitally important plants are to the Earth's ability to sustain animal life. The illustrations are wonderful and we enjoyed reading the expanded information by the au
Oct 30, 2010 Modboy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Modboy by: Brooklyn Library
Molly Bang's art really shines and helps to reinforce the magic of the sun. Well, I shouldn't say magic as it's really a lyrical telling of how photosynthesis works and what its benefits are to plants and all the other organisms of the world. It's hard science wrapped in poetry with detailed scientific explanations at the back of the book. Some of this is beyond my 3.5 year old son and although a 5-8 year old child may enjoy this more I feel younger kids can begin to fathom the wonder of the sun ...more
Feb 16, 2017 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: educ378-spring
Text-to-Teaching Connection
This book is a great science book for younger students. It explains how plants use the energy from the sun to grow and make fruit. The book explains how people need plants for food and energy and plants need CO2 to grow. We exhale CO2 and the plants use it and plants give off oxygen for us.

After reading this book I would have my class plant some seeds, maybe some lettuce seeds we could eat. I would also bring in some fruit and discuss how fruit grows on trees for us t
Oct 02, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it
Wow! This book is remarkable. I really, really, really love the illustrations. I also enjoy the sun being the narrator and explaining the process of photosynthesis in child friendly terms. My (3rd grade) students were enraptured by both the text and illustrations and it was a great text to read aloud during our study of living and nonliving things. However, when I read the authors' note that goes into more depth about the details of photosynthesis as well as explaining how they illustrated these ...more
Mar 30, 2011 Leah rated it liked it
This books tackles the daunting task of explaining photosynthesis, which seems both complicated and dry. Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm make this process both easily comprehensible and awe-inspiring. The magic of how sunlight transforms into sugar becomes apparent and even moving. The story is told from the perspective of the sun, much like in her earlier book, "My Light". The illustrations capture the life-giving energy of sunlight in a glowing yellow, which stands in contrast to the palette of ...more
Oct 24, 2009 Cassandra rated it it was amazing
THE best picture book on photosynthesis that I have ever seen. Ever. Ever-ever. And it's gorgeous to boot. It really makes me wonder about this Molly Bang person. I have been reading her books my entire life, which, I am not shy to admit, is 40 years, (although I suppose I didn't read the first few of those years). For a long time my favorite Molly Bang book was the GREY LADY AND THE STRAWBERRY SNATCHER. Remember that one? And then she did WHEN SOPHIE GETS REALLY ANGRY. Remember that one? Sigh. ...more
Dec 18, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
I have yet to find a book about photosynthesis that explains this process in a way that kids can understand and in a way that is relevant and interesting to them. Living Sunlight, however, does that in a nice circle-of-life way. I swear, that after reading this book I am sure my vegetable-phobic niece and nephew will start to eat more plants! After reading this book, my nephew ate a tangerine, then proudly exclaimed to his sister, "SISTER! I'M EATING A PLANT!! I'M GETTING ENERGY!" Awesome! Now. ...more
Apr 21, 2009 Robin rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book! Incredible illustrations and a relatively spare yet accurate text work together to explain the process of photosynthesis. This book manages to use scientific terms and poetically explain the singular importance of photosynthesis. I love how it begins by asking the reader to feel their heart -- to feel the living sunshine inside of them. Personal, poetic, scientific and lovely -- the total package here. Great for Earth Day and for any day!
This is an example of an informational book because it provides facts and information about a certain topic. The topic in this book is the importance of the sun and plants in sustaining our lives, including details and scientific facts about photosynthesis that explain the chemical processes plants use to convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into sugars (energy) and oxygen. The content is delivered in simple, poetic language. Illustrations are beautifully crafted and captivating, which is ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Ed added it
Bang, Molly & Chisholm, Penny. (2009). Living Sunlight. New York: Blue Sky Press/Scholastic. 40 pp. ISBN 978-0-545-04422-6 (Hardcover); $16.99

Folks who know me are aware of the fact that I lead a somewhat schizophrenic sort of life. During the day, I devote my life to raising future scholars, artists, and thinkers in my first grade classroom. My classroom library is large; books are essential to my teaching. I use thousands each year to help students investigate questions and become wonder s
Becky B
Explains photosynthesis, how sunlight stimulates photosynthesis, and how the products of photosynthesis provide oxygen and energy for other life on Earth.

This book does a fantastic job of breaking down photosynthesis in easy to understand language while not mangling the science of that complicated process. Some of the language used to describe how energy is passed on from plants to other organisms was a bit...ummm, overly-sentimental bordering on ridiculous at times (...'feel the sunlight withi
Jun 30, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
Told from the perspective of the sun, Molly Bang and Penn Chisholm describe the role of plants on earth. They tell about photosynthesis, explain how carbon dioxide and oxygen are important to plants and animals, and describe how living things get energy. The illustrations are vibrant, interesting, and a wonderful compliment to the story. A very thorough but complete overview of the role of plants on earth.

Recommended for grades 2 - 5, though obviously with different levels of support; best when
Michelle Cummings
Summary: Living Sunlight, by Molly Bang is a book about the process of photosynthesis. This book is unique in that it is written from the perspective of the sun and discusses photosynthesis at the molecular level in a simple way that children can understand.

Genre: Informational text

Classroom Use: I would use this in a unit on plants to help students to understand the process of photosynthesis. I would use this as a read aloud when introducing the topic of photosynthesis to help engage students i
Oct 03, 2012 Jenne rated it it was amazing
It is the combination of artistic illustration and poetic description of photosynthesis and the life cycle that makes this book so recommended for young readers, especially for ages 3-8 years old. My three year old understood the overarching concept and it served to expand her understanding of how plants grow and feed us. She especially enjoyed the concept that we take the energy of the sun into our bodies and it becomes part of us. I did not like how the sun portrayed as speaking in the first p ...more
An amazingly complex tale of earth's life cycle (photosynthesis) between plants and humans/animals, told simply and powerfully for young children. Great for booktalking because the illustrations catch the eye and the text is straightforward and dynamic. The author's notes at the end give more detail, providing an apology for the over-simplification of photosynthesis, while it acknowledges other ways living things extract, split and exhale periodic elements. The notes are most appropriate for muc ...more
Ruth Ann
This is a visually beautiful book and a scientific gem. Readers will be able to comprehend the complicated process of photosynthesis and gain an appreciation for the importance of plants in our world.

Of course, some parts of the explanation are overly simplified and thus not completely scientifically precise. I appreciated this, but my son who has a great mind, objected to this. I told him to read the end pages and then he felt better. The rest of us will appreciate the picture book format to un
Bree Bosse
This is an absolutely wonderful book that explains how all living things on Earth exist. It really brings the topic to life and allows for text to self and text to world connections. Ask questions and really gets the students involved- has wonderful, detailed, vibrant illustrations. Would be an excellent read-aloud.
Jun 24, 2010 Charlyn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Gr. 3 and up
Molly Bang's bright illustrations guide the reader through this primer on photosynthesis. The narrative is written in first person in the voice of the sun who reveals the sun's role in creating the cycle of energy that continually flows through every living creature. After the poetic narrative of the body of the book, a detailed scientific explanation of photosynthesis is given.
A science book for kids that explains the importance of the sun's energy, why plants and green life are so necessary for our survival and how everything is connected. We're all living sunlight. :) Explains photosynthesis in simple, easy to understand terms.

Not a big fan of the illustrations but they're bright and colourful and each page is very busy and detailed.
Kim Bogren Owen
Apr 11, 2016 Kim Bogren Owen rated it it was amazing
This book explains the process of photosynthesis and how most life on earth depends on plants for food and oxygen. This gorgeously illustrated book celebrating the ability of plants to turn sunlight into energy is a joy to read. While the concept of photosynthesis can be complex, this book makes it understandable to toddlers on up to early elementary aged children.
Aug 22, 2009 Mandy rated it liked it
Beautifully written and illustrated. Makes complex concepts accessible to children, even involving them physically in the understanding of the process.

Interesting notes at the end about oversimplifications and omissions in the main body of the book.
Jun 16, 2012 Shannon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
My least favorite of Bang's three books on sunlight and energy on Earth. But this text is still CRITICAL to the study of life cycles in elementary school all the way up through high school. I ESPECIALLY appreciated the explanation at the end of the book of several oversimplifications in the text.
Oct 20, 2010 Tiffany rated it really liked it
A bit new age-y at times, but this book made photosynthesis completely accessible. I studied that process in Jr. High, High School, and college, and this book did a better job for me than any of my former classes. I find that pretty impressive.
Gabriel Dubransky
Apr 30, 2010 Gabriel Dubransky rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Gabriel said that this had some hard words to read in it (like chlorophyll), which is why he gave it 3 stars. I would have given it 4 or 5. The pictures are lovely and its whimsical while being informative. He's an amateur book reviewer. ;-)
Shaeley Santiago
Jan 30, 2012 Shaeley Santiago rated it really liked it
Basic book about plant's use of the sun's energy through photosynthesis. Written with easily understood vocabulary and notes at the end of the book for those who want a deeper understanding of the process.

Diana Hanke
Jan 06, 2011 Diana Hanke rated it liked it
I liked the bright illustrations in this book and the simple clear way that it described photosynthesis and our connection to the sun. It is especially appropriate for the study of scientific concepts in younger grades.
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