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The Secret Life of a Snowflake: An Up-Close Look at the Art and Science of Snowflakes

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Before a snowflake melts on your tongue, it makes an epic journey. This is the beautiful, full-color story of that journey, step by step, from a single snowflake’s creation in the clouds, through its fall to earth, to its brief and sparkling appearance on a child’s mitten. Told by a scientist who knows snowflakes better than almost anyone, the story features his brilliant ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Voyageur Press
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  186 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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The Secret Life of a Snowflake has to be one of the most beautiful children's science books I've seen. The author, Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht, is a professor of physics and studies crystals. Not only does the book contain many photographs of Dr. Libbrecht's snowflake finding's, it also teaches facts about them. Many of these facts I never knew as an adult which makes this a book for everyone.
Melissa Coyle
This book is a good companion to Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. This book by Kenneth Libbrecht who is a professor of physics at Caltech, where he studies how crystals grow, will inform young ones what a snowflake is and how it develops and how beautiful each snowflake is by his gorgeous photography. This book even gives you directions to make paper snowflakes. A definite must for your children's science shelf.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Many of us won't pick up a "children's book" unless we are reading with a child. By doing so, we may miss out on a lot.

This book is suitable for children and young adults but it was also beneficial to me. It relates a great many things about snowflakes that I didn't know or forgot. Libbrecht communicates both his passion and understanding of his subject. His photographs are exquisite and reinforce his discussion of both the science and artistry of snowflakes and how they come to be.

It is
Julia Blake
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! A wonderful follow up to Snowflake Bentley. Beautiful photos and very interesting.
Sarah Nelson
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Doing some weather reading this summer, and this book about snow and snowflakes is lovely. Libbrecht is a scientist who has devoted his career to studying snow, but writes about it in lay-friendly language. I learned so much! I will appreciate this winter's snow on so many new levels this year.
Karen Ball
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
What do snowflakes have to do with the Cal Tech Physics Department? A lot, come to find out! Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht uses snowflakes to study how crystals grow, and how temperature affects the direction and depth of crystal growth. Everyone's heard that no two snowflakes are alike, but because Libbrecht has documented the many different ways snowflakes develop and form, he's also managed to do the math to tell how many different kind of snowflakes there can be, and it's a bigger number than the ...more
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was thrilled this book arrived from the library just in time for a unit study on snow I did with my "love to learners" (see Thomas Jefferson Education). The science is written in such a manner that the kids were FASCINATED, not bored. The photographs are beautiful, there is instructions on how to produce a geometrically correct snowflake using paper, and illustrations to represent the reality of size. On a scale of 1-5, I give this book a SIX. Yes, it's that good.
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting book and written well for young people to understand and enjoy. There are lots of pictures and projects to interest young minds, and older ones as well!
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome! I grabbed in from the seasonal shelf at the library because there weren't a lot of Christmas books left and I thought my kids might be mildly interested. Turns out they were completley fascinated by it, and so was I!

Kenneth Libbrech is a scientist who takes photos of snowflakes under a microscope. The book is filled with his beautiful images, as well as lots of interesting facts about how snowflakes are formed. I definitely learned some things I didn't know before.

On one
Amanda Knowles
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: informational
Summary: This book tells the journey of a snowflake as it is created in the clouds, to the way it melts on your tongue. It is told by a scientist and includes photographs of actual snowflakes. You will learn about the development of snowflakes, how they form and more.

Review: This book is fabulous to spark students’ interests in the many wonders of science as well as photography! Students will be amazed by the close up photographs of snowflakes that are included within this book. They will see
Jenna (Falling Letters)
Plucked this off the shelf at the library the other evening after spotting it while I was putting stickers on some books. Incredible photographs of all sorts of up close snowflakes, along with easy to follow descriptions of how they’re formed. I had never seen a lopsided snowflake before! I also like how Libbrecht narrates the book by explaining how photographing and studying of snowflakes is his hobby.
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
I find the book’s descriptions and photographs to be intriguing and very good beginner book about snowflakes.
I also like how he shows that not all snowflakes are symmetrical, as much as they try to grow symmetrical, but all are beautifully unique.
It gives me comfort when I have tried to make pretty paper snowflakes and can say they are pretty snowflakes.
I hope to read his other books to learn more about snowflakes.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
This is such an excellent book! Not only does it go into the science of how snowflakes form, but the stunning photographs get you up close and personal with the snowflakes themselves. I also really love that the author goes behind the scenes to show how he takes photos of snowflakes. It's also great that he shows the reader how to correctly cut a paper snowflake - with 6 sides. :-)
This is a really fascinating read, and, I think, a book worth buying!
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book about snowflakes for elementary age students. The pictures are bright and colorful. The book has lots of interesting information about how snowflakes form and why all snowflakes have six-sides. I'm hoping to share this book in my STEM library program for children.
Adrianne Rosal
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is very fitting for this time of the year. It was cool to learn the science behind a snowflake.
Dinesh Cherupalla
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s a cool quick read!

Didn’t know it was a children’s book but it goes through how snowflakes are made and has some beautiful pictures.
Amanda Megee
Title: The Secret Life of A Snowflake
Author: Kenneth Libbrecht
Illustrator: -----
Genre: Photographic Essay
Theme(s): Snow, winter, photography
Opening line/sentence: “Have you ever taken a close look at the falling snow?”
Brief Book Summary: Kenneth Libbrecht is a scientist who studies the molecular dynamics of crystal grow, which is basically the physics of snowflakes. He starts by sharing how he takes the pictures of individual snowflakes. Throughout this book, he shares his photographs of
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classroom-use
This is another great book to use when you are looking at snow in your classroom or particularly Snowflake Bentley. In this book I like the variety of snow pictures. There are not only pictures of snowflakes from under the microscope, but also clumps close up and big piles with depth. Like Snowflake Bentley, this author also photographs snow and discusses how he does it. He shares why snowflakes are "white" and "colored" and "clear." He also does a great job looking at the forming of snowflakes ...more
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M Lee
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A scientist and photographer brings his passion of snowflake into a wonderful children non-fiction book.
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
Libbrecht, Kenneth. (2009)The secret life of a snowflake: an up-close look at the art and science of snowflakes. Minneapolis: Voyageur Press.

category: informational book

In-depth look at snowflakes, at how they are formed, the different kinds. There are incredible photographs of snowflakes taken by the author and even a picture of him with his equipment. I love the 2-page spread showing the relative size of these tiny crystals against a penny, magnified to fill the 2 pages. It explains the
Leslie Kress
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely stunning book. The book is written by a scientist/photographer who studies and photographs individual snowflakes. He starts the book by describing how he takes pictures of individual snowflakes and the book has the most beautiful photos. The pages are clean and crisp and all of this makes the book fun and interesting to look at. Not only are the photographs amazing, but this book is filled with great information. The pages have a clear heading and the author explains ...more
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Winter lovers, science boffins
Recommended to Martyn by: A patron at my library
A stunningly beautiful book. There is little in the way of text, although I learnt a lot from what there was, but this book is aimed at the junior market. I was entranced, though by the photographs. This was certainly the first time I had seen close-ups of snowflakes and I thought they were mesmerizing. They reminded me a lot of fractals, another subject that fascinates me. The photo on page 41 alone is worth hunting this book down for.

...and the best thing was that after reading this book with
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Stunning photography accompanied by clear text that outlines the science behind snowflakes. I read it out to K. and she read some parts out loud to me. We managed it in one sitting as the presentation is captivating. Nice graphics highlight different points like: relative sizes of cloud droplet and raindrop (Raindrop 100 times bigger than cloud droplet.), how a snowflake forms and the shapes of the crystal structures.
Cheryl Meibos
Gorgeous photographs of snowflakes with easy to understand scientific explanations. Some basic questions are answered: Why is snow white? Why do snowflakes have six sides? How is a snowflake created?
Katie Lawrence
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-books
To me this seemed like a much more complicated version of The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino. I thought the images were gorgeous, but some of the explanations may be too complex for the age group they are intended for.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good science book about snowflakes and water vapor for kids. Quick read aloud with just the right amount of content to answer their questions but not bore them. Gorgeous photographs of real snowflakes.
Emily Yao
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I used this book for my book project book, and it gave me great information. It answered all my questions, such as: how are snowflakes made? What shapes are there? This book is what made my book project successful.
Allison Armstrong
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Snowflakes are beautiful sure, but this author explains how they are formed. It was fascinating.
A great book for kids! The stunning photographs of snowflakes were the best part of the whole book.
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