Wind: Discovering Air in Motion – Olga Fadeeva

Wind: Discovering Air in Motion by Olga Fadeeva
Also by this author: Water: Discovering the Precious Resource All Around Us
Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers on April 11, 2023
Genres: Children's, Children's Educational
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A browsable, appealing introduction to an important weather phenomenon.

If your hair has ever blown back on a breezy day, you’ve noticed the wind at work. But what causes the wind? Are there different types of wind? How do we measure and name them? How does the wind shape our ecosystems, plants, and animals? What about people: how have human beings used the wind in the past and the present? Can you really sail into the wind, and would a tailwind help or hurt your plane’s takeoff? Up, up beyond the clouds, does the wind affect other planets, too?

Created with help from a meteorologist, this beautiful book is a fascinating exploration of the wind’s role in world history and earth science. Playful prose and colorful illustrations invite children to bring their questions along as they learn more about this powerful—but sometimes overlooked—natural element.

In a book called Wind: Discovering Air in Motion, the illustrations are paramount. Wind is invisible. You don’t see it, but you see what it does. Translating the effect of wind to pictures is the key to success for a book like this and Olga Fadeeva absolutely nails it with broad brush strokes and colorful hues that bring the book to life. This is an educational book. It’s a science book for kids. It gets pretty in-depth. As an adult, I learned things about wind in this book. But it’s the illustrations that give the book it’s uniqueness. Fadeeva’s illustrations for Wind were actually shortlisted for art exhibitions in Italy and China and they won the Image of the Book award at Moscow’s International Illustration and Book Design Competition.

The text of the book takes readers through an exploration of wind. Each two-page panel answers a different question: Where does wind come from? What is wind? What are the different types of wind? Are there other types of wind? How do we describe wind speed? What happens in a hurricane? How do sand grains travel? How does the wind help animals and plants? Which way does the wind blow? How does wind help sailing ships travel? How can you sail into the wind? How has the wind affected history? What are ways we harness wind power? How does wind affect birds? Airplanes? Are there winds in outer space? Wind is fairly comprehensive and written for upper elementary to lower high school (ages 10-14).

For a translated book (translated from Russian by Lena Traer), the text of the book comes across as natural and original. I often find that a lot of translated books lose something in the translation. The word flow or word choice can just seem a bit off. I didn’t feel that here. Possibly it’s because greater care was taken in the translation since facts were being translated and not just poetry or fiction. Perhaps it’s the more straightforwardness of fact-based non-fiction that lends itself to cleaner translations. Whatever the case, I don’t think you would know this book wasn’t originally written in English if no translator were credited.

Wind is one of those books probably best suited to school libraries. I think it would have a greater impact and a wider audience if it was written more simply at a lower reading level. But again, the strength of this book is its illustrations, which serve as a beautiful backdrop for learning all kinds of things about wind.