Fact-based, well-documented, and accessible, this publication serves its purpose well.

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PLANET UNDER SIEGE

CLIMATE CHANGE

The urgency of the Earth’s changing climate is detailed in this slim, up-to-date volume.

Without pulling punches, Nardo (Ancient Mesopotamia, 2019, etc.) lays out the facts and offers an overview of different responses: 97% of climate scientists argue that human-driven climate change is endangering our future; climate change deniers are influenced by politics and/or a misunderstanding of science; and climate change skeptics disagree that human activity is the primary factor in the warming atmosphere. Evidence is presented in five chapters covering severe weather, rising sea level, the impact of climate change on global food production, species loss and biodiversity, and current efforts to fight and adapt to climate change. The journalistic narrative voice convincingly argues that climate change is not just coming; it is upon us, and its often deadly consequences affect the world’s populations in different measures, with the gap between wealthier and poorer countries widening. This unflinching call effectively conveys Earth’s dire situation; while the main text lacks a section on how readers can fight climate change and can therefore leave readers feeling discouraged, the backmatter includes references to organizations, some of which offer action steps. Readers already interested in the topic will devour this volume; for others, the large font, clear subheadings, and numerous color photographs make it easy to engage with.

Fact-based, well-documented, and accessible, this publication serves its purpose well. (source notes, organizations to contact, further research, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-17)

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68282-757-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: ReferencePoint Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010).

EXOPLANETS

WORLDS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

An enticing overview of tools, techniques, and discoveries in what the author rightly characterizes “a red-hot field in astronomy.”

Alas; it is perhaps too red-hot. Not only is Kenney’s count of accepted and potential exoplanets (as of May 2016) well out of date already, but her claim that “Wolf-1061” (sic: that’s actually the name of the star and its system) is the nearest Earthlike planet in the habitable “Goldilocks Zone” has been trumped by the recent discovery of a closer candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri. Still, along with describing in nontechnical terms each tool in the researcher’s kit—from space- and ground-based telescopes of various types to instruments that detect subtle stellar wobbles, spectrum changes, microlensing, and other telling signs—the author fills in the historical background of exoplanet research and profiles some of its weirder findings. She also casts side glances at extremophile life on Earth and other, at least tangentially related, topics. The small format gives the assortment of photos, artists’ renditions, diagrams, and generic star fields a cramped look, but readers curious about how researchers could possibly detect such dinky, distant objects as planets belonging to other star systems will come away satisfied and intrigued.

A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010). (index, source notes, bibliography, websites) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0086-1

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Tech-centered empowerment for those who feel voiceless.

GIRL CODE

GAMING, GOING VIRAL, AND GETTING IT DONE

The teens behind the web video game “Tampon Run” tell how they got started in programming.

This is a first-person account of how Filipina Andrea “Andy” Gonzales from the East Village and the Bronx and white Sophie Houser from the Upper West Side met at the Girls Who Code summer program and joined forces to create a video game that received viral media attention. The chapters are organized chronologically and, inside each, switch between the two authors’ lively narrations. First, they introduce themselves and their backgrounds with programming: Sophie was a high achiever crippled by self-doubt and terrified of public speaking who was drawn to the GWC program to learn a new way to express herself; Andy was a lifelong gamer and programmer’s daughter who had already attended coding programs by the time she attended GWC. What brought the two together for their project was a desire to combine social commentary with their coding, resulting in their successful game. The game (and networking opportunities from GWC) has brought them attention and many more opportunities, but it also took more time and energy than they had to spare. By book’s end, they find themselves evaluating their futures with technology. The psychology of self-doubt and value of persistence are well-presented—the co-authors stress that the greater the frustration, the better the payoff.

Tech-centered empowerment for those who feel voiceless. (coding appendix with glossary, sample code, resources) (Memoir. 12-17)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-247250-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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