A solid pick among many similar titles for its positive approach and breadth.

OUR WORLD OUT OF BALANCE

UNDERSTANDING CLIMATE CHANGE AND WHAT WE CAN DO

A survey of global threats to our environment and what can be done.

From human-caused climate changes to too much trash, our world is out of balance. Appropriately, this clear introduction to the whats and whys of environmental degradation balances sad facts with examples of what can and is being done. Chapter by chapter this Italian import covers 15 environmental problems: global warming, rising sea levels, shrinking forests, growing cities, melting ice, disappearing wildlife, extreme weather, plastic in the ocean, desertification, polluted air, dying corals, overfarming, water pollution, fires, and waste management. Each four-page chapter includes an introduction to the issue, with descriptions of circumstances both before and after recent climate changes, and a spread explaining why and how the damage happens (usually described step by step), personal ways to help, and what others are doing. There’s a concluding call for readers to speak out, as other young activists do. The organization of this survey is clear, the information accessible, the translation smooth, and the backmatter U.S.–centered. The illustrations have the appearance of prints, with blocks of undifferentiated color. They’re full of details, humans (whose skin color is usually paper white but sometimes tan or black) doing all sorts of things, visual explanations, and scenes from all over the world.

A solid pick among many similar titles for its positive approach and breadth. (websites for action, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7350005-3-4

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Blue Dot Kids Press

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

FLASH FACTS

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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