Monday, January 22, 2007

The Story of Salt

Kurlansky, Mark. 2006. THE STORY OF SALT. Ill. by S.D. Schindler. New York: Putnam. ISBN 0399239987 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]

The Chinese used it for trade so successfully that it funded the Great Wall of China. The Egyptians used it so well to preserve their dead that centuries-old mummies exist today. George Washington’s army used it to make gunpowder, and today it is used in ketchup and soft drinks. Who knew salt was so interesting? Kurlansky’s thorough presentation of the history of salt is factual without boring the reader, and visually appealing with Schindler’s colorful, ink drawings featuring period clothing and scenery. Sidebars break up the pages with factual tidbits about salt, like the discovery of a 2,000 year old Celtic miner preserved in salt, and the story of a French prisoner who died, whose body was preserved in a barrel of salt for seven years to be brought to trial. THE STORY OF SALT is an engaging choice that will provide readers with a thorough introduction to this common household ingredient.

Find a few salt related experiments that can be done individually or as a group. Look at different types of salt (common table salt, kosher salt, sea salt) under a microscope and see how they differ. Do a taste test with several types of salt.

Other books for children about salt and experiments with salt:
Nelson, Robin. FROM SEA TO SALT. ISBN 0822509466
Tocci, Salvatore. EXPERIMENTS WITH FOODS. ISBN 0516278061

By Tammy Korns

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