Snowflake Bentley

Brief Description: Wilson Bentley, obsessed with snow from a young age, developed a way to photograph snowflakes in a small village in 19th Century Vermont.

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Historical Era: ,

Date Range: 1865-1931 (lifespan)

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Original Publication: 1998

Suitable for Grades: K-3rd

Target Audience: Picture Book

Librarian's Review

This is a sweet story about the real-life Wilson Bentley, who developed a technique to photograph snowflakes that is still used today.  As depicted in this Caldecott Medal winning story (illustrated by Mary Azarian) for readers ages 4 to 8, young Wilson is obsessed with snow and snowflakes.  Upon obtaining a microscope, he studies the intricate, unique patterns of the flakes.  Because he wants to share his discovery and passion with others, he draws the flakes.  When he was seventeen years old, his parents bought him a camera with a built in microscope and Bentley perseveres until he perfects his technique.  This book contains a great lesson about pursuing one’s passion.

Educator’s resources and hands-on project ideas can be found on author Jaqueline Briggs Martin’s website, original photos can be viewed on the Snowflake Bentley website, the Jericho Historical Society Museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of Bently, and this 15-minute YouTube video on The Life and Legacy of “Snowflake” Bentley is very informative (be forewarned that the video explains how Bentley died of pneumonia.)

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