At one point or another, many of us leaned over to see a rock that caught our eye on a beach or trail again. Rocks can be especially fascinating for children, whether it’s collecting them, jumping them, sorting them, or sharing them.
The new book by Madison children’s author Pat Zietlow Miller, What can you do with a rock? explores how rocks spark creative play and curiosity in children.
Zietlow Miller shares that his youngest daughter, Sonia, was the inspiration for his book.
“[Sonia] was just in awe of them. How did they look? How did they feel when she held them? How did they make him feel inside? And it was this wonder, that a really cool rock can evoke, that I really wanted to share in the book I wrote, ”says Zietlow Miller.
Zietlow Miller shares that his daughter was not necessarily interested in science, but rather fascinated by the wonders of rocks. His books focus on this wonder of how a rock can evolve, and the illustrations help convey it.
The book is illustrated by Katie Kath. Zietlow Miller says she has never worked with her before. Although Kath based her illustration on a geology museum near her home, it bears a striking resemblance to the UW-Madison Geology Museum.
Miller worked with the UW-Madison Museum of Geology to make sure his facts were solid. She calls it a happy coincidence that the museum in the book looks alike.
“If you haven’t been to the UW Geology Museum, it’s beautiful. It was a bit closed during the pandemic, [but] it’s open again. And if you like the rocks, this is just the coolest place to be, ”says Zietlow Miller.
The book includes rocks of all spectrum found in Wisconsin. Some are ordinary and others flashy, she says. Zietlow Miller has also included two pages at the end of the book which cover all scientific topics for readers particularly interested in this aspect of rocks.
Zietlow Miller says there are so many different ways to love a rock, whether it’s admiring its beauty or its scientific history.
“I hope that will encourage them [readers] to notice things both in the natural world: rocks, sticks, seashells and that sort of thing, but also when they look at the people next to them, ”says Zietlow Miller.