Stormy weather elegantly explained.



From the Smithsonian series

Hurricanes, typhoons, and tornadoes bring disaster around the world.

In a companion to When the Earth Shakes (2016), journalist-turned-author Winchester explains these destructive weather events in pleasingly polished prose. A short introduction documents his increasing personal fascination with weather phenomena. “The Biggest, Baddest Weather,” the first and longest chapter, describes ocean-fueled superstorms using examples both familiar and unfamiliar to his American readers and weaving in explanations of formation, behavior, and prediction. He demonstrates that the effects of hurricanelike storms can be measured through human lives lost, property destroyed, economic cost, and, physically, through wind speed and minimum air pressures. He shows his readers how El Niño and the Southern Ocillation affect the weather all over the world. In “America’s National Storm” he turns his attention to tornadoes, demonstrating the geographical reasons for their prevalence in the central part of this country and describing ways some Native American peoples historically dealt with these events. In conclusion, he discusses climate changes and posits his hope that the Pacific Ocean can help ameliorate the worst effects of global warming. Each section is introduced with a stunning photographic spread, and the text is broken up with clearly captioned photographs. The language may challenge some of his intended readers, but his subject is so compelling and the packaging so engaging, his audience will surely persevere.

Stormy weather elegantly explained. (recommended reading, acknowledgements, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-451-47635-7

Page Count: 98

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

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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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