Advice for what the author has called “the Greta generation” but no answers.



From the Earth Action series

Human actions have damaged animal habitats; what can we do to avoid another mass extinction?

Experts on talking about climate change, especially with young people, emphasize making personal connections, staying hopeful, and focusing on solutions. This British import does just the reverse. It’s a litany of examples of the ways the natural world is changing. Prolific nature writer de la Bédoyère has had plenty of experience presenting animal facts to young readers, but in this case, the sad, scary examples far outnumber the hopeful ones. Her opening chapter introduces the concepts of animal habitats, overpopulation, climate change, pollution, and mass-extinction events. “We haven’t cared enough about the harm we’ve been doing” to animal homes, she writes. Subsequent chapters are organized by habitats: forests, grasslands, oceans, and mountains and poles (dealt with together). Within each chapter each spread serves as a subsection: open oceans, coasts, coral reefs, the ocean floor, and plastic pollution in the marine section, for example. The text, barely more than infobits, is set in boxes decorated with photographs which themselves are set on larger photographs. There are also charts and maps, more boxes with useful suggestions for “What You Can Do,” and quizzes with choices that are “Totally True or Foolishly False?” (Answers in the back of the book.)

Advice for what the author has called “the Greta generation” but no answers. (glossary, suggested websites) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78312-652-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Welbeck Children's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...



With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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From the Big Ideas That Changed the World series , Vol. 3

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) narrates this entry in the Big Ideas That Changed the World series, presenting the story of the development of vaccines.

Lady Mary, an intelligent, lovely White Englishwoman, was infected with smallpox in 1715. The disease left her scarred and possibly contributed to the failure of her marriage, but not before she moved with her husband to the Ottoman Empire and learned there of what came to be called variolation. Inoculating people with an attenuated (hopefully) version of smallpox to cause a mild but immunity-producing spell of the disease was practiced by the Ottomans but remained rare in England until Lady Mary, using her own children, popularized the practice during an epidemic. This graphic novel is illustrated with engaging panels of artwork that broaden its appeal, effectively conveying aspects of the story that extend the enthralling narrative. Taking care to credit innovations in immunology outside of European borders, Brown moves through centuries of thoughtful scientific inquiry and experimentation to thoroughly explain the history of vaccines and their limitless value to the world but also delves into the discouraging story of the anti-vaccination movement. Concluding with information about the Covid-19 pandemic, the narrative easily makes the case that a vaccine for this disease fits quite naturally into eons of scientific progress. Thoroughly researched and fascinating, this effort concludes with outstanding backmatter for a rich, accurate examination of the critical role of vaccines.

Essential. (timeline, biographical notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5001-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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