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Children's Nonfiction Earthquakes & Volcanoes

Fault Lines

Understanding the Power of Earthquakes

by (author) Johanna Wagstaffe

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Oct 2017
Earthquakes & Volcanoes, Safety, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2017
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


Earthquakes are a terrifying yet fascinating force of nature.

Seismologist Johanna Wagstaffe takes you through her own journey of understanding the earth beneath our feet. Along the way you’ll learn the science behind what makes the earth rumble and hear from kids around the world who have experienced the wonder, and terror, of an earthquake.

About the author

Johanna Wagstaffe is the meteorologist and science host for CBC Vancouver and CBC News Network. She is the author of Little Cloud: The Science of a Hurricane and Fault Lines: Understanding the Power of Earthquakes. With a background in seismology, geophysics and earth science, Johanna has covered a wide range of science stories, from the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire and the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami to the Paris Climate Change Conference. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Johanna Wagstaffe's profile page


  • Short-listed, Young Readers' Choice Book Awards of British Columbia (YRCABC) Red Cedar Book Awards
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
  • Short-listed, Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable Information Book Award
  • Commended, Resource Links, The Year's Best Books

Editorial Reviews

"The use of personal stories keeps interest high, and changes in color and typeface, as well as well-placed, colorful art, prevent fatigue. Vocabulary words are flagged in colored italics, and analogies and comparisons heighten clarity. There is even some humor…Thorough, engaging, and accessible."

Kirkus Reviews

"Despite the quantity and complexity of material, the subject matter is clearly presented…The contrast between factual information and the first-hand experiences of children living through a quake is powerful…This is a valuable tool for public libraries as well as junior and middle schools, and a must-read for those living in earthquake zones."

Canadian Children's Booknews

"Almost every page includes a sharply reproduced photo, while clearly drawn digital drawings, diagrams, and maps also provide insights into the topic. Kids concerned about the topic will find the section chapter on preparedness both useful and reassuring. The conversational tone of the text is engaging, while the interplay of information and narrative will appeal to many readers. A colorful, useful introduction to earthquakes."


"From our earth's core to quakes on other planets, Johanna brings seismology to life through a delightful combination of science and story. Her tales from the frontlines of fault lines are sure to inspire other young scientists to learn more about the wonderful world around them."

Jennifer Gardy, Microbiologist and author of <i>It's Catching: The Infectious World of Germs and Microbes</i>

"Fault Lines is a perfectly clear guide to earthquakes and why we should pay attention to them. The science in presented with colourful, easy to understand illustrations, the devastation, through photos from around the world, and the impact on people with person testimonies, including the author herself. Canada's favourite meteorologist and seismologist, Johanna Wagstaffe takes us deep into the earth to see the rumblings beneath our feet and provides a survival guide for when the big one strikes. A must read for anyone living in a earthquake zone."

Bob McDonald OC, Host, <i>Quirks & Quarks</i>, Science Correspondent, <i>The National</i>

"What makes the book particularly interesting is Wagstaffe's knowledge of the many earthquakes she has reported for CBC, and frequent sidebars that provide information about specific quakes, including their magnitude, date, and location. Simple graphic art provides clear visual backup for the running text. Excellent photos show the aftermath of many quakes, and illustrate what many people do to prepare for them…This highly recommended title would be an ideal read for Junior and Intermediate level readers interested in this topic."

Resource Links

“This generously illustrated, cleanly formatted volume uses clear scientific prose to explore earthquakes.”

The Horn Book Online

"Johanna is a gifted communicator, who makes this complex and unsettling topic easy to understand. As she writes, 'Be prepared, not scared'."

Ian Hanomansing, host <i>CBC News Now</i>

"Loaded with earthquake facts, stories, and well-selected visuals, Fault Lines: Understanding the Power of Earthquakes will certainly appeal to budding seismologists…The book could easily prove a valuable nonfiction resource for middle and secondary school library collections and support curricular studies of plate tectonics…Highly Recommended."

CM Magazine

"The book's layout and use of colorful, contemporary photographs make this an attractive eye-pleaser and will draw readers into the world of seismology. An excellent addition for STEM collections and a usable title in science classrooms."

School Library Journal

"There are plenty of bright photographs, which aid in understanding the topics. This is an interesting, fun read that will make a wonderful addition to science collections. Useful for teachers looking for motivational and visual texts that will grab students' attention."

School Library Connection

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