THE MANATEE SCIENTISTS

SAVING VULNERABLE SPECIES

From the Scientists in the Field series

This latest addition to an always-intriguing series describes the work of Fernando Rosas, John Reynolds and Lucy Keith studying manatees in different parts of the world. Gentle, slow-moving vegetarians, these curious aquatic mammals are distant relatives of elephants and live in the Amazon, in Florida and nearby ocean waters and in West African rivers. The three different but similar species are all listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as extremely vulnerable to extinction. Florida’s protected manatees are a tourist attraction, easy to see in the clear waters of the Crystal River and in discharge zones of power plants, where they congregate for warmth in cold spells. The more mysterious manatees of Brazil and West Africa lurk in murky rivers and are sometimes killed and eaten. These three researchers track the animals in different ways, use biological techniques to learn more about their lives, work with people of the area toward protection and even, in Brazil, experiment with returning some to the wild from captivity. Like other books in this series, this is distinguished by clear, realistic explanations of scientific fieldwork and well-reproduced photographs, many taken by the author. The text, on the advanced side for the intended audience, is broken up by captioned photos, some mounted as snapshots. Overall, it lives up to the standards set by others in this stellar series. (maps, resources, glossary, author’s note, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-15254-7

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A SHOT IN THE ARM!

From the Big Ideas That Changed the World series , Vol. 3

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) narrates this entry in the Big Ideas That Changed the World series, presenting the story of the development of vaccines.

Lady Mary, an intelligent, lovely White Englishwoman, was infected with smallpox in 1715. The disease left her scarred and possibly contributed to the failure of her marriage, but not before she moved with her husband to the Ottoman Empire and learned there of what came to be called variolation. Inoculating people with an attenuated (hopefully) version of smallpox to cause a mild but immunity-producing spell of the disease was practiced by the Ottomans but remained rare in England until Lady Mary, using her own children, popularized the practice during an epidemic. This graphic novel is illustrated with engaging panels of artwork that broaden its appeal, effectively conveying aspects of the story that extend the enthralling narrative. Taking care to credit innovations in immunology outside of European borders, Brown moves through centuries of thoughtful scientific inquiry and experimentation to thoroughly explain the history of vaccines and their limitless value to the world but also delves into the discouraging story of the anti-vaccination movement. Concluding with information about the Covid-19 pandemic, the narrative easily makes the case that a vaccine for this disease fits quite naturally into eons of scientific progress. Thoroughly researched and fascinating, this effort concludes with outstanding backmatter for a rich, accurate examination of the critical role of vaccines.

Essential. (timeline, biographical notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5001-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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