The perfect choice to inspire young readers and listeners, with just the right amount of detail to inspire, entrance, and...

SPRING AFTER SPRING

HOW RACHEL CARSON INSPIRED THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT

“It was dawn when the chorus began.”

As a child, Rachel Carson awoke to a symphony of birds, and she listened, watched, and wrote as other animals joined in. Innovative, appealing illustrations show Rachel in comic-book panels, vignettes, and full- and double-page spreads as she explores, observes, and deeply appreciates nature. A profusion of dialogue balloons reproduces the vocalizations of the animals around her. As a student, Rachel intends to write but instead focuses on the microscopic world in a drop of water, which in turn leads to underwater scientific study and, later, well-received books about the sea. However, it’s when she realizes that the symphony she loves has grown quiet—effectively represented by both the absence of sound bubbles and negative-space outlines of creatures now disappeared—that she makes her greatest contribution by revealing the destruction caused by pesticides in her book Silent Spring, which contributed to the formation of the EPA and the environmental movement. Resilience and dedication are strong underlying themes here; relevant details, such as her mother’s background in music, are seamlessly incorporated; and while the focus understandably stays on her work—her overwhelming success as an activist and scientist in a field dominated by men goes unmentioned—there is certainly room for outside discussion. Carson and her family are white; people of color appear in scenes depicting her impact.

The perfect choice to inspire young readers and listeners, with just the right amount of detail to inspire, entrance, and encourage further investigation. (notes, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-819-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era.

I AM RUBY BRIDGES

The New Orleans school child who famously broke the color line in 1960 while surrounded by federal marshals describes the early days of her experience from a 6-year-old’s perspective.

Bridges told her tale to younger children in 2009’s Ruby Bridges Goes to School, but here the sensibility is more personal, and the sometimes-shocking historical photos have been replaced by uplifting painted scenes. “I didn’t find out what being ‘the first’ really meant until the day I arrived at this new school,” she writes. Unfrightened by the crowd of “screaming white people” that greets her at the school’s door (she thinks it’s like Mardi Gras) but surprised to find herself the only child in her classroom, and even the entire building, she gradually realizes the significance of her act as (in Smith’s illustration) she compares a small personal photo to the all-White class photos posted on a bulletin board and sees the difference. As she reflects on her new understanding, symbolic scenes first depict other dark-skinned children marching into classes in her wake to friendly greetings from lighter-skinned classmates (“School is just school,” she sensibly concludes, “and kids are just kids”) and finally an image of the bright-eyed icon posed next to a soaring bridge of reconciliation. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era. (author and illustrator notes, glossary) (Autobiographical picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75388-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention.

OUR PLANET! THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE EARTH

From the Our Universe series , Vol. 6

The sixth in McAnulty’s Our Universe series focuses on Earth’s human-caused problems, offering some family-level activities for mitigation.

Vivaciously narrated by “Planet Awesome,” the text establishes facts about how Earth’s location with regard to the sun allows life to flourish, the roles of the ocean and atmosphere, and the distinctions between weather and climate. McAnulty clearly explains how people have accelerated climate change “because so many human things need energy.” Soft-pedaling, she avoids overt indictment of fossil fuels: “Sometimes energy leads to dirty water, dirty land, and dirty air.” Dire changes are afoot: “Some land is flooding. Other land is too dry—and hot. YIKES! Not good.” “And when I’m in trouble, Earthlings are in trouble, too.” Litchfield’s engaging art adds important visual information where the perky text falls short. On one spread, a factory complex spews greenhouse gases in three plumes, each identified by the chemical symbols for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Throughout, planet Earth is appealingly represented with animated facial features and arms—one green, one blue. The palette brightens and darkens in sync with the text’s respective messages of hope and alarm. Final pages introduce alternative energy sources—wind, hydro, solar, and “human power—that’s from your own two feet.” Lastly, Earth provides excellent ideas for hyperlocal change, from buying less new stuff to planting trees. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention. (author’s note, numerical facts, atmospheric facts, ideas for action, sources) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-78249-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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