Between her well-tempered writing style and her atypical subject, Young will have readers enthralled.

Humans have polluted the land, the seas, the top of Mount Everest—next stop: outer space.

Well, surprise, writes science journalist Young in this limpid and engrossing (two words not normally associated with trash) overview: we’ve been leaving our junk in space for over 60 years now, even on the moon. Fortunately, we never got to the point of launching our nuclear waste into low orbit as once proposed, but we have sent over 6,600 satellites into space—some as big as your head, some as big as a school bus—for a number of scientific and military reasons. Their current status: 1,000 are still at work; 3,000 entered orbital decay and hurtled Earthward, mostly to burn up in the upper atmosphere due to friction, though some found terra firma. That leaves 2,600 “zombies.” Young delivers a concise history of our flinging objects into outer space—along with some excellent illustrations and photographs—and explains the numerous terms such as zombies (“nonoperational satellites”) and space junk (“any human-made debris in space,” with about 20,000 pieces at the moment and an anticipated 60,000 in 15 years). Young also looks into work being done on NASA’s Visual Inspection Poseable Invertebrate Robot to retrofit the zombies. In addition, wonder of wonders, countries are working on projects simply to go pick up the trash.

Between her well-tempered writing style and her atypical subject, Young will have readers enthralled. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-5600-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015


From the Pocket Change Collective series

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change.

Teen environmental activist and founder of the nonprofit Hannah4Change, Testa shares her story and the science around plastic pollution in her fight to save our planet.

Testa’s connection to and respect for nature compelled her to begin championing animal causes at the age of 10, and this desire to have an impact later propelled her to dedicate her life to fighting plastic pollution. Starting with the history of plastic and how it’s produced, Testa acknowledges the benefits of plastics for humanity but also the many ways it harms our planet. Instead of relying on recycling—which is both insufficient and ineffective—she urges readers to follow two additional R’s: “refuse” and “raise awareness.” Readers are encouraged to do their part, starting with small things like refusing to use plastic straws and water bottles and eventually working up to using their voices to influence business and policy change. In the process, she highlights other youth advocates working toward the same cause. Short chapters include personal examples, such as observations of plastic pollution in Mauritius, her maternal grandparents’ birthplace. Testa makes her case not only against plastic pollution, but also for the work she’s done, resulting in something of a college-admissions–essay tone. Nevertheless, the first-person accounts paired with science will have an impact on readers. Unfortunately, no sources are cited and the lack of backmatter is a missed opportunity.

Brief yet inspirational, this story will galvanize youth to use their voices for change. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22333-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020



The Manhattan Project is a complex subject for a book for young readers, but Sullivan does a fine job of relating the fascinating story in clear and lively prose. The three-year Project was huge, secret and desperate, an all-out effort to beat the Nazis in the arms race. The people and places are now legendary: Oppenheimer, Los Alamos, Trinity, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Little Boy, Fat Man and Paul Tibbets. It’s a tale of brilliant scientists, shadowy spies, dreadful war, secret cities and secret lives. Despite the complicated history, this book is completely compelling, a straightforward narrative told with a light touch. Only toward the end does the voice falter, lapsing into a bit of editorializing. Still, the solid writing, attractive design, abundant photographs, suggestions for further reading that include works for young readers, websites and a glossary make this the best work on the subject for young readers. A great match with Ellen Klages’s novel The Green Glass Sea (2006). (appendix, chronology, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12+)

Pub Date: June 15, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8234-1855-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2007

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