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A Quest for Shiny Purple Crystals Johnny and Max’s Rock Hunting Adventure By Monica Tsang Rakovan

About the Author/Illustrator

Monica Tsang Rakovan is a geologist and an artist. She is the founder of Environmental Solutions AQ, LLC, an environmental consulting company. She also teaches glass art and brush painting at Miami University. Monica lives in Oxford Ohio.

Copyright Š 2015 by Monica Tsang Rakovan, Environmental Solutions AQ, LLC All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Printed in China by The Arkenstone and Monica Kitt. First Printing, 2015 ISBN 978-0-9863349-0-0 Library of Congress Control Number: 2014922091 Environmental Solutions AQ, LLC P.O. Box 6052 Oxford, OH 45056 For purchasing, please contact




Special thanks to The Arkenstone who sponsored this book for curious kids.

A Quest for Shiny Purple Crystals Johnny and Max’s Rock Hunting Adventure

By Monica Tsang Rakovan

This is John, but everyone calls him Johnny. He lives in this house with mom and dad and Max, his best friend.

One day after school, Johnny and Max are playing in the driveway. They notice many rocks on the ground. “Max! Look at this green one. It looks like a jelly bean!” Johnny says excitedly. Max jumps up and down as he agrees with Johnny. “This pink one looks like a star and this one looks like a seashell!” They notice many different colors and shapes. They are particularly interested in the shiny ones.

Johnny becomes fascinated with rocks. He collects rocks from the ground whenever he goes to parks, playgrounds, and beaches, even in driveways. He puts them in boxes and looks at them all the time. He wonders where they come from and how they form. “I wonder why they are all different, Max?� Max wags his tail. They have fun looking at the rock collection together.

Johnny goes to the Little Rhody Rock Shop because he has many questions about rocks.

Sal is the owner of the rock shop. He has many beautiful crystals and rocks in his shop and knows a lot about them.

“These green cubes are fluorite, from the state of Illinois,” Sal explains to the shop visitors. “Rocks are magical because they are each unique. Each rock has its own story, like a person.” “Why is that one purple, Sal?” a little girl looks inside the cabinet and asks. “Good question! Geologists are trying to figure that out too!” “What are geologists?” she asks. “Scientists that study rocks!” Sal explains. She asks him, “Sal, do you have a favorite rock?” Sal replies, “Yes, but I have too many favorites! That’s why I have a rock shop.”

“How many different kinds of rocks are there, Sal?” “There are many. So far, scientists have found about 5,000 different minerals from around the world,” Sal explains. “What is the difference between a rock and a mineral?” Johnny asks Sal. Sal explains to Johnny, “Scientists describe a rock as a naturally occurring aggregate of one or more minerals. So minerals are the building blocks of a rock.”

“Look at these crystals, Johnny,” Sal opens a box revealing beautiful shiny crystals in green, blue, and yellow. “The crystals have smooth sides and different shapes; this one has a square side, and this one has a triangle side. Every type of crystal has a specific shape”. “I want to find every one of them!” Johnny says excitedly. Sal is very impressed with Johnny’s enthusiasm and curiosity. Sal thinks Johnny is a budding geologist! Sal invites Johnny to come back to visit the rock shop. Johnny and Sal become good friends.

One day, Sal receives a phone call from his friend Mrs. Lopez, who owns a farm nearby. Something strange is happening at her farm.

“Sal! Chickens are digging up crystals. There are shiny crystals all over the chicken coop!” she says. “Very interesting! Let me gather some tools and come over right away,” Sal tells Mrs. Lopez. Then Sal pauses and says, “Mrs. Lopez, I have a request. May I bring a friend with me?” Sal tells her that he wants to bring Johnny, a young geologist. “Of course Sal, we need all the help we can get to find out what they are and why they are there!” she says.

Johnny and Max join Sal at Mrs. Lopez’s farm. They watch the chickens scratching up shiny purple crystals. “No way!” Johnny exclaims. “How did they get here?” Johnny is ready to investigate the strange scene. Johnny and Max are so excited that they join the chickens to find crystals.

“Look, Max, they are all over.” Johnny has never seen such pretty crystals. Soon they find many different crystals. Johnny notices that some of them are as big as Max’s paw. “They are so amazing, Sal!” Johnny shows Sal a perfect crystal, as big as his hand. “This is fantastic, Johnny, but we need to find out why they are here! Let’s take a walk around and maybe we can learn something about where the crystals come from.” Sal says. Then Johnny, Max, and Sal set off to look for clues about these beautiful crystals.

“The pretty purple crystal is amethyst,” Sal explains. “It is one kind of quartz. The white and clear crystals are also quartz. Quartz is one of the most common minerals.” They find different shades of purple and white quartz and many shapes. There are long ones, pointy ones, and even ones that look like a mushroom.

“This one is very rare and special,” Sal points at the mushroom-shaped amethyst. “This may be one of the finest amethyst I’ve ever seen from this area. We are extremely lucky, because it is very unusual that fine specimens are discovered on top of the ground.” “Most of the pretty crystals are buried underground and can only be found in mines or where people are digging.” Sal says. Sal and Johnny are very impressed.

“How and why are they here, Sal?” Johnny asks. Sal explains that the amethyst may have been formed in the rock veins millions of years ago. “Rock veins are like train tracks that run along the cracks in the rocks. These rocks have been buried for a long time, and now erosion has exposed some of these rock veins all around Mrs. Lopez’s farm.” Sal picks up a crystal from the rock veins.

“Erosion is the process of wind and water moving along the ground and loosening the dirt around the crystals, and the chickens are like little shovels that are digging up the buried crystals.� Sal explains. Johnny giggles at the thought of the chicken beaks as shovels.

Sal turns to Johnny, “But to find out how these minerals were formed, scientists have to examine the amethyst using scientific instruments and measure their properties.” “What are properties, Sal?” Johnny asks.

“You see, Johnny, minerals have many specific properties such as their colors, how hard they are, and many more. Sometimes scientists use microscopes to look at things inside the crystals, such as pockets of water. It is very difficult but very exciting when scientists find how the minerals formed!“ Sal says. “I wish the chickens could tell us how they got here.” Johnny says while thinking.

Sal, Johnny, and Max observe big rocks that have crystals in them. They find more rock veins. They also see pieces of crystals at the bottom of creek beds. They record in their notebooks where they see crystals, and they draw pictures of the rock veins and the creeks. “This is important information about where the crystals may have come from,� Sal tells Johnny. Johnny learns about being a geologist and has fun drawing his first map.

“Johnny, I think we need to dig a hole to find out if there are more crystals deeper in the ground,” Sal says. “But we can’t do it ourselves; we need help from a machine.” “Let me call my buddy Joe to see if he will help us find more crystals with his backhoe,” Sal tells Johnny. Johnny is happy because he loves heavy equipment.

Joe wears goggles to protect his eyes and a hard hat to protect his head.

Joe and his backhoe arrive quickly. Joe is the operator of the backhoe and he is happy to help Sal and Johnny find crystals because Joe collects rocks too! “This is very interesting. Where should we dig the hole?” Joe asks Sal and Johnny.

Sal and Johnny look at the map they have drawn together and say at the same time “Here!” they both point at the area where there are several rock veins. “All right, let’s go there then.”

Joe gets the backhoe into position. The backhoe is powerful and fast. Very quickly the hole is as big as a car. “We must be careful around the backhoe. It is not safe because of the loose dirt,” Sal says to Johnny as they watch Joe operating the big machine. “Guys, I see something shiny and purple down there!” Joe yells. “Amethyst!” Johnny shouts out.

Immediately, Max jumps into the hole to investigate the crystals. “Wait!” Johnny shouts to Max, but it’s too late! Dirt has fallen into the hole where Max jumped in. Now the hole has caved in, and it’s smaller than Max. He can’t get back out! “Oh, no, Max! You are stuck,” Johnny says worriedly. Max looks scared now.

Upset and afraid, Johnny rushes to Sal and Joe for help. Luckily they have tools to help Max. “Don’t worry, Johnny; I can help Max, “Sal says.

Sal uses a large shovel to dig the area around Max. Finally, Max is free, and he jumps out of the hole and runs around in circles. Johnny hugs Max, and then he sternly says to his best friend, “You really scared me Max; you need to stay with me and not run off!�

“The hole is unsafe because the walls are too steep,” Joe said to Johnny and Sal. “The walls should be sloped more gently so that the loose dirt does not fall into the hole,” Sal explains. Everyone learns a good lesson about safety and luckily Max is fine.

Soon the sun is setting, and everyone is tired. The crew decides to backfill the hole for now. It has been a good day for rock hunting, but it is time to finish up.

Sal, Johnny, Max, and Joe say goodbye to Mrs. Lopez, the pretty amethyst, and the chickens. They promise Mrs. Lopez that they will come back again.

Johnny marks the amethyst location on his map. Sal and Johnny plan to come back to collect the amethyst at a later time. “Johnny, you worked so hard today. Did you enjoy it?” Sal asks while walking home. “Sal, I love rock hunting. I want to be a scientist and study minerals,” Johnny tells Sal with his sleepy voice. “That is wonderful. I know you will be very good at it,” Sal tells Johnny, the young geologist.

Happy Rock Hunting! The End

In Memory of A Good Friend Sal Avella Apple Valley Minerals Smithfield, Rhode Island

Glossary Amethyst – A purple or violet variety of quartz. Erosion –movement of rock fragments (bolder, sand, silt, etc.) by streams, glaciers, waves, wind and underground water. Fluorite – A common mineral made up of the elements calcium and fluorine. It is found in the colors of green, blue, purple and pink but can also be colorless. Geologist – A person who is trained in and works in geology. Geology – The study of the earth which includes the materials of which it made of and the processes by which they form and change. Map – A representation on a flat surface of physical features of an area.

Microscope- An instrument used to magnify and see objects that are too small to see with the naked eye. Mine – An underground excavation for the extraction of mineral deposits. Mineral – A naturally occurring solid element or compound having an orderly internal arrangement of atoms (its structure) and characteristic chemical composition. Properties - The physical properties of minerals can used to determine their identities. They can also be used to help make things work, for example the quartz in a watch. Some common properties include color, hardness, fracture, odor, taste but there are many more. Quartz – A mineral made of the elements silicon and oxygen, it is a very common and important rock-forming mineral. Rock – An solid aggregate of one or more minerals.

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ISBN 978-0-9863349-0-0


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A Quest for Shiny Purple Crystals-Monica Tsang Rakovan  

A Quest for Shiny Purple Crystals - Johnny and Max's Rock Hunting Adventures written by Monica Tsang Rakovan