Regardless of tone, this clear and wide-ranging introduction to essential energy issues has much to offer.

MELTDOWN!

THE NUCLEAR DISASTER IN JAPAN AND OUR ENERGY FUTURE

A physicist examines the latest nuclear disaster and its ramifications for the world’s energy future.

On March 11, 2011, at 2:46 p.m., the biggest earthquake in Japan’s history hit the Tohoku region, northeast of Tokyo. A wall of water as high as 128 feet and 110 miles wide surged onto the closest land, damaging or destroying more than 125,000 buildings. Thirty thousand people were killed, injured or missing, and more bad news was to come: Three nuclear reactors were about to undergo meltdowns. Using the disaster as a case study to examine how earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear reactors work, Bortz offers a clearly written volume, nicely embellished with photographs, maps and diagrams. All lead into the key question: “Why would any government take the risk of using nuclear power?” In a straightforward, dispassionate tone, he proceeds to answer his own question and lay out the potential of other energy options—hydroelectric, wind, geothermal and solar. Given the catastrophe that spawned this volume, the discussion is curiously non-alarmist, telling young readers that future energy decisions are theirs to make and that wise choices rooted in solid information will be crucial.

Regardless of tone, this clear and wide-ranging introduction to essential energy issues has much to offer. (glossary, source notes, bibliography, further reading, websites, index, author’s note) (Nonfiction. 11-18)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7613-8660-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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Wordplay and wry wit put extra fun into a trove of fundamental knowledge.

BILL NYE'S GREAT BIG WORLD OF SCIENCE

With an amped-up sense of wonder, the Science Guy surveys the natural universe.

Starting from first principles like the scientific method, Nye and his co-author marvel at the “Amazing Machine” that is the human body then go on to talk up animals, plants, evolution, physics and chemistry, the quantum realm, geophysics, and climate change. They next venture out into the solar system and beyond. Along with tallying select aspects and discoveries in each chapter, the authors gather up “Massively Important” central concepts, send shoutouts to underrecognized women scientists like oceanographer Marie Tharp, and slip in directions for homespun experiments and demonstrations. They also challenge readers to ponder still-unsolved scientific posers and intersperse rousing quotes from working scientists about how exciting and wide open their respective fields are. If a few of those fields, like the fungal kingdom, get short shrift (one spare paragraph notwithstanding), readers are urged often enough to go look things up for themselves to kindle a compensatory habit. Aside from posed photos of Nye and a few more of children (mostly presenting as White) doing science-y things, the full-color graphic and photographic images not only reflect the overall “get this!” tone but consistently enrich the flow of facts and reflections. “Our universe is a strange and surprising place,” Nye writes. “Stay curious.” Words to live by.

Wordplay and wry wit put extra fun into a trove of fundamental knowledge. (contributors, art credits, selected bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4676-5

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Suggest to able teen readers who already have the appropriate background knowledge.

EYE OF THE STORM

NASA, DRONES, AND THE RACE TO CRACK THE HURRICANE CODE

From the Scientists in the Field series

A high-altitude drone built for the Air Force is repurposed to investigate hurricane behavior in a NASA–sponsored project headquartered at Wallops Island, Virginia.

This latest title in a long-running series looks at cutting-edge meteorological research with implications for the billions of people around the world who live in the paths of tropical cyclones. Opening with a chapter about the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, it goes on to explain hurricane formation and NASA’s Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel mission. Cherrix introduces the Global Hawk drone project and describes preparations for a sample flight over the intensifying Hurricane Edouard in 2014. Finally she shows how another tropical storm, the 1970 Bhola cyclone in the Indian Ocean, led to the creation of a new nation, Bangladesh. This is real science, which, as the author points out, takes time—time to amass and analyze data and then to submit and have it vetted before publication. But it doesn’t make for very compelling reading. Readers drawn in by the dramatic cover and opening description of a tragic teen death as a result of Hurricane Sandy may get bogged down in the scientific and engineering detail, which uses appropriate but unfamiliar technical terms and acronyms, defined in context but hard to remember. They may struggle to keep straight the many scientists involved.

Suggest to able teen readers who already have the appropriate background knowledge. (hurricane preparedness, glossary, chapter notes, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-41165-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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