The Books

Our goal in producing The Sunlight Series is to help children – and the adults who teach them – understand how the Earth works, so they can better understand how human activities affect it. Our emphasis is not only to present complex but essential scientific concepts, but also to elicit a sense of awe at the workings of our world. The Sunlight Series explains how the Sun powers and shapes geologic, chemical and biological systems on Earth. These are complicated systems, and yet we explain them in a way that even young children can understand the basic concepts. At the same time, the material is advanced enough that adults will find it useful for appreciating the most fundamental features of the natural world and how our lives depend on them.

Penny Chisholm and Molly Bang


Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring The Earth To Life
This is a book about how life works. It explores how plants catch sunlight through photosynthesis, the most important process on Earth, and how photosynthesis is the necessary food source for all of life. Using clear text and detailed images, the book shows how all life shares the same atoms and how these atoms cycle round and round on our planet. For more about Living Sunlight, click here.


Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas
Dive into the oceanic world and experience the miraculously balanced system sustaining each life cycle and food chain throughout our sea. Clear and simple science explores how the whole ocean system of life depends on a thin film of phytoplankton – tiny green plants living on the surface waters – and how the ocean currents enable a constant recycling of marine animal wastes to feed this life-giving layer. For more about Ocean Sunlight, click here.


Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth
This book tells the story of fossil fuels. It describes how coal, oil, and gas are really “buried sunlight” energy, captured millions of years ago through photosynthesis and trapped beneath Earth’s surface. Now, in just seconds of geologic time, we are digging up the fossil fuels and burning them, changing the carbon balance of our planet.  For more about Buried Sunlight, click here.