Well-informed inspiration.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE BIRDS GONE?

NATURE IN CRISIS

This pithy book more than fulfills its promise to introduce readers to the importance of birds, the state of avian research, and how they can contribute to birds’ well-being.

The text is both graceful and accessible. It begins with how and why passenger pigeons rapidly became extinct and is unsparing in detailing the deaths of thousands of migratory birds in Philadelphia in October 2020. These sobering accounts are balanced by success stories, such as the rebounding of dwindling raptor populations thanks to wildlife protection laws, a raptor sanctuary, and the ban on DDT. However, along with mentioning how critical birds are to the ecosystem, the text clearly states that 40% of bird species worldwide are shrinking in numbers. There is also a sobering chapter about climate change and its impact on seabirds. A full chapter devoted to the threat posed by domesticated cats uses gentle humor and shows compassion in its recommendations to cat owners. Up-to-date research—including interviews with scientists—highlights the urgency of sustainable farming, bird-friendly skyscrapers, and better placement of wind farms. A cutting-edge discovery by an entomologist, further researched by an urban ecologist, shows how selecting native plants over lawns supports caterpillars, the mainstay diet of most baby birds, turning backyards into habitats. The final chapter exhorts readers to follow the recommendations for reversing the trend toward bird extinctions. The excellent layout, informative sidebars, and attractive images are noteworthy.

Well-informed inspiration. (author’s note, glossary, source notes, bibliography, further information, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72843-177-2

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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ENDANGERED

From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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Immediately actionable: use less, think more, and do something.

CHALLENGE EVERYTHING

THE EXTINCTION REBELLION YOUTH GUIDE TO SAVING THE PLANET

A youth activist’s blueprint for mitigating climate catastrophe.

Although Sandford, a 17-year-old Extinction Rebellion Youth London coordinator, knows the relevant research, she isn’t concerned with making the case for anthropogenic climate change in her authorial debut. Per scientific consensus, ecological collapse is a pressing reality that demands action, and writing—or reading—a manifesto isn’t akin to activism. Indeed, it’s a form of greenwashing: making a superficial improvement (taking a reusable tote to the grocer) while perpetuating systemic issues (purchasing unsustainable products). To make meaningful change, one must acknowledge complicity and take ultimate responsibility for individual decisions. This concise, personable, and unpretentious book contains three illustrated sections, each concluding with a self-questionnaire to aid readers in gauging their own engagement. The first, on combatting big business, shares primers on boycotting, petitioning, and conscientious consumption relative to agriculture, beauty, fast fashion, and travel. The second, on inadequate governmental responses, urges civic participation and outlines procedures for protesting, striking, and taking nonviolent direct action. The third models self-sufficiency through reclamation and rewilding; scavenging for food and goods; community-building; and consuming art, the natural world, and human experiences rather than commodities. Throughout, Sandford implores readers to constantly interrogate and amend their own beliefs: question what you’re told, choose your own morals, and know that your opinions matter. All merits aside, a bibliography is sorely lacking.

Immediately actionable: use less, think more, and do something. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84365-464-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Pavilion Children's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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