Stormy weather elegantly explained.



From the Smithsonian series

Hurricanes, typhoons, and tornadoes bring disaster around the world.

In a companion to When the Earth Shakes (2016), journalist-turned-author Winchester explains these destructive weather events in pleasingly polished prose. A short introduction documents his increasing personal fascination with weather phenomena. “The Biggest, Baddest Weather,” the first and longest chapter, describes ocean-fueled superstorms using examples both familiar and unfamiliar to his American readers and weaving in explanations of formation, behavior, and prediction. He demonstrates that the effects of hurricanelike storms can be measured through human lives lost, property destroyed, economic cost, and, physically, through wind speed and minimum air pressures. He shows his readers how El Niño and the Southern Ocillation affect the weather all over the world. In “America’s National Storm” he turns his attention to tornadoes, demonstrating the geographical reasons for their prevalence in the central part of this country and describing ways some Native American peoples historically dealt with these events. In conclusion, he discusses climate changes and posits his hope that the Pacific Ocean can help ameliorate the worst effects of global warming. Each section is introduced with a stunning photographic spread, and the text is broken up with clearly captioned photographs. The language may challenge some of his intended readers, but his subject is so compelling and the packaging so engaging, his audience will surely persevere.

Stormy weather elegantly explained. (recommended reading, acknowledgements, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-451-47635-7

Page Count: 98

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

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



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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An important perspective on our changing climate.



Glaciers on this planet are vanishing—learn how we know, why we should care, and what we can do.

The author of Itch (2018) and Rotten (2019), both illustrated by Gilbert Ford, turns her attention to another underappreciated part of the natural world: glaciers. With a foreword by glaciologist Jill Pelto and an introduction laying out the problem, Sanchez prepares her readers for the cold hard truth to come. Chapter by chapter, she explains the important roles glaciers play in our world, how we know they are melting, and why that’s happening—clearly explaining climate change. She shows how ice cores reveal climate history, introduces animals and plants that thrive in glacier country, and describes what the future might bring. Sanchez concludes with suggestions for action, personal and communal. At several points, she brings in Indigenous points of view. The author addresses readers directly with compelling evidence for her thesis that this is yet another manifestation of climate change that will wreak havoc on the world we know. Unfamiliar words are bolded and defined in context as well as in a glossary. Encouraging readers to take action, Sanchez includes in the backmatter a long list of science specialties concerned with glaciers. There are occasional photographs, helpful diagrams, and artistic depictions of glacial scenes throughout, breaking up the text and adding appeal; people depicted in Padula’s illustrations are diverse.

An important perspective on our changing climate. (author’s note, additional resources, select bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0950-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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