Charles F. Barker

Books - Children's

I believe learning about geology and the geologic history of the place you live is not only fun, but also good for you.  Exploring that past in a fun and educational format is the goal behind my books. Although they are referred to as “Children’s Books”, I feel adults can get a lot out of them too. By exploring the amazing geologic history of a place, we might appreciate it even more.

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Bonnie the Friendship Sloop: A Story about Making It through Hard Times

(iUniverse, 2018)

General Description
This little paperback has a big message. It is the story of Cole and Clare and their toy Friendship Sloop that gets lost at sea and has a harrowing journey along the New England Coast and Nova Scotia before its rescue. The little lost Friendship Sloop struggles to find her way home–

And learns that it’s always darkest before the dawn.

Author’s personal notes
This story evolved over a long period of time and has some of my favorite sayings to help overcome challenges and hard times. The cover painting is of a Friendship Sloop (I didn’t know it at the time) in the window of a Toy Store in Bath, Maine. I wrote this book for all ages –Children, Teens, Adults, and the Elderly. For caregivers, sometimes you run out of things to say - For a new approach to spending quality time, try reading it to those who can no longer read for themselves. I hope you like it!

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Under New England: The Story of New England’s Rocks and Fossils

(University Press of New England, 2008)

General Description
This book covers the geology of New England in a fun and educational format. From colliding continents and chains of volcanic islands, to dinosaurs and the opening of the Atlantic Ocean, the book takes readers on a journey through geologic time showing the formation of New England. Targeted to grades 3-6+, adults will even enjoy learning about this unexpected sequence of events that created and sculpted the New England landscape. Includes passages from some of New England’s favorite writers and poets that tie in the literature of the land to its geology.

Author’s personal notes
This was a fun book to write and illustrate and had a lot of meaning to me. I viewed the project as a sort of tribute to New England and the many happy times I had exploring New England from the coast of Maine to the mountains of western New England. The addition of passages from New England poets and writers was fun to do, and I think adds a layer to the work that makes it even more uniquely reflect New England. This is the first book in which I used painting as the medium for the illustrations rather than colored pencil. Some of the illustrations used some sketches from 20+ years ago, I guess you never know when some sketches will come in handy, and take on a new life!

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Under Ohio: the Story of Ohio’s Rocks and Fossils

(Ohio University Press, 2007)

General Description
From continents splitting apart to mountains pushing up across the center of Ohio, this book presents the geologic history of Ohio as few have imagined the state to be. Under Ohio explains the ancient seas that once covered the state laying down layers of fossil rich limestone and shale. The book ties in the resources of the state such as clays for pottery and coal for energy. There is much to discover in, and under, Ohio!

Author’s personal notes
This was my second book after Under Michigan, and honestly after beginning the research for the book, I was amazed at the fascinating geologic history of Ohio. I discovered an Ohio I had not known before – one of huge rifting over a billion years ago, to the raising of the Grenville Mountains down the center of Ohio, and the rich fossils beds to be found near surface. I was pleased the Ohio Geological Survey granted permission to include a list of museums, science centers, and parks that focus on Ohio geology. The folks at Ohio University Press did a great job on production!

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Under Michigan

(Wayne State University Press, 2005)

General Description
This book reveals the underlying geology of Michigan that often is unknown or unappreciated by its surface features. Under Michigan is a huge basin of sedimentary rock extending more than two miles deep under the center of the state—some three times deeper than the sedimentary rocks of the Grand Canyon! The book explains how that basin structure defines the shape of the State, and the Great Lakes. The back of the book contains a list of museums and attractions with a geologic focus.

Author’s personal notes
When I first left Michigan for college at Arizona State University, one of the first things we learned about was the Michigan Basin – That stuck with me, and 30 years later, it turned into my first Children’s book on the geology of a state. It was fun to explain the geologic history of my home state to people that may not have known about the underlying structure of Michigan. I was happy to have permission from the State geologic survey to add a list of places to see Michigan’s geology in the back of the book.

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The Day the Great Lakes Drained Away

(Sky Pony Press, 2017)

General Description
This book introduces readers to the amazing lake floor features under the Great Lakes. The story unfolds with the Great Lakes drained away and revealing huge ridges of rock, craters and shipwrecks! The book prompts thinking of the protection of the Great Lakes and never taking them for granted. The last page of the book includes basic facts about the Great Lakes (maximum depth, volume of water, etc.)

Author’s personal notes
This book was inspired by seeing some maps of the floors of the Great Lakes from the National Geophysical data Center that revealed some truly amazing features – The Alpena-Amberley Ridge is a resistant ridge of limestone/dolomite that stretches under Lake Huron from northern Michigan to Canada, some 100 plus miles in length and 500 foot drops in some places, - A submerged potential meteor impact crater at the bottom of Lake Ontario, and other incredible features that I had no idea were there. The idea then sprang up to write a Children’s Book to show these incredible features –All I had to do was drain the Great Lakes away to show them! My publisher had the smart idea to work up more of a story line – That really helped in promoting the Great Lakes protection theme of the book.

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