Literature Connections to
Vitamin C Testing

Teacher's Guides > Vitamin C Testing

An obvious connection is to books in which vitamin deficiencies play a role. We found one such strong connection in a book about a boy living alone in the mountains that even links animal behaviors to the need for vitamins. There certainly are other books that would provide this same kind of connection, perhaps relating to long ocean voyages or other situations of hardship where the results of vitamin deficiencies are evident.

A book about oranges tells about the lengths to which humans go to ensure constant sources of vitamin C rich foods in all seasons and all regions. Another book explores food and nutrition through fun activities, features, and historical anecdotes. While not related specifically to vitamin C, this book and others like it can provide a larger context for the unit.

Finally there are several books that focus on experimentation. In one, the scientist is young, and his experiment pertains to vitamins and plant growth. In the other, an army surgeon learns from a somewhat grizzly but fascinating situation—a patient with a healed bullet hole in his stomach. This leads to an improved knowledge of the digestive system and its processes.

Doctor Beaumont and the Man with the Hole in His Stomach
Elliot’s Extraordinary Cookbook
June 29, 1999
My Side of the Mountain
Oranges
Russell Sprouts

Doctor Beaumont and the Man with the Hole in His Stomach
by Beryl and Samuel Epstein
Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, New York. 1978
Grades: 4–6
Interesting experiments about digestion are described in this biography of an army surgeon who in the 1820s had a patient with a bullet hole in his stomach. By inserting a tube, the doctor was able to directly observe and monitor the circulation of gastric juices and bile fluids. The surgeon eventually published a book on these experiments, including findings on acidity in the stomach.
Return to list of titles.

Elliot’s Extraordinary Cookbook
by Christina Bjork; illustrated by Lena Anderson
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York. 1990
Grades: 3–6
With the help of his upstairs neighbor, Elliot cooks wonderful recipes (including cinnamon buns and rye bread made with live yeast) and investigates what’s healthy and what’s not so healthy. He finds out about proteins, carbohydrates, and the workings of the small intestine. He learns about the history of chickens and how cows produce milk. His friend shows him how to grow bean sprouts, and he sews an apron. A nice context of food and nutrition.
Return to list of titles.

June 29, 1999
by David Wiesner
Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin, New York. 1992
Grades: 3–6
The science project of Holly Evans takes an extraordinary turn—or does it? This highly imaginative and humorous book has a central experimental component, and conveys the sense of unexpected results.
Return to list of titles.

My Side of the Mountain
by Jean C. George
E.P. Dutton, New York. 1959
Penguin Books, New York. 1991
Grades: 5–12
Classic story of a boy who runs away and spends a year living alone in the Catskill mountains, recording his experiences in a diary. He struggles for survival and is supported by animal friends. Ultimately he realizes he needs human companionship. In the winter when his food is running low, he suffers nose bleeds and other symptoms of scurvy or vitamin deprivation. Page 134 describes how he finds sources of vitamins, such as liver, and what he notices about other animals’ nutrition, such as a squirrel seeking the bark of a sapling and birds sitting in the sunlight as if they were trying to replenish Vitamin D. “Hunger is a funny thing. It has a kind of intelligence all its own.” Winner: Newbery Honor Book, ALA Notable Book, Hans Christian Andersen International Award.
Return to list of titles.

Oranges
by Zack Rogow; illustrated by Mary Szilagyi
Franklin Watts, New York. 1988
Grades: K–5
Describes the long journey and the combined labor of the many people it takes to bring a single orange from the tree to the table. Reveals the multicultural patchwork of our nation.
Return to list of titles.

Russell Sprouts
by Johanna Hurwitz; illustrated by Lillian Hoban
William Morrow, New York. 1987
Viking/Penguin, New York. 1989
Grades: 1–4
In the “The Science Project” Russell’s class is studying vitamins and plant growth. Since potatoes contain vitamin C, he chooses to sprout a potato for his project. His positive attitude that science is fun involves his whole family in his project. Poses the delightful question “Do kisses contain vitamins?”
Return to list of titles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Reason and experiment have been indulged,
and error has fled
before them.


— Thomas Jefferson
Notes on the State of Virginia


 

top

Lawrence Hall of Science    © 2018 UC Regents. All rights reserved.    Contact GEMS    Updated February 06, 2015