A crack primer to a strange new world.

A thorough introduction to the ever evolving world of 3-D printing.

Though it is difficult not to be shocked and awed by the capabilities of today’s 3-D printers, Koch doesn’t affect a gaga tone. She keeps a steady pace and lets the subject wow for itself. Readers learn that 3-D printing, though still in its infancy, holds the promise to make medical, fashion, industrial, what-have-you innovations that will change our world in fundamental ways. Koch starts the whole business off by comparing her subject to a mud dauber wasp that uses a variety of materials instead of wood pulp and saliva—and those materials can now be combined to make a range of items from human tissue to flavored sweets, from teeth to 3-D printers that make other 3-D printers. A good selection of engineers and inventors, both men and women, are given pleasingly anecdotal profiles, and Koch lays down some fundamentals that may not occur to readers, such as the fact that each printer is designed to do one job and that job only. The book’s layout can get somewhat hectic, with boxes, separate spreads, or abrupt color shifts signaling particular information for emphasis. Occasionally Koch will leave readers stranded—just how, for instance, do archaeologists study digs by using 3-D printers “in a way that will not damage or destroy [artifacts and sites]”? Otherwise, the writing is smart and engaging.

A crack primer to a strange new world. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-1570-4

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017


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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