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Earth Day 2015

chancellor_changing environmentChancellor, Deborah  The Changing Environment
Gr. K–3     48 pp.    Kingfisher/Macmillan

Kingfisher Readers series. In two-page chapters, the book introduces foundational environmental concepts, including animal species, ecosystems, climate, and fossil fuels, then seamlessly unites these concepts in discussions of environmental threats and possible resolutions. Complex connections (e.g., the relationship between global warming, habitat loss, and endangered species) are illuminated. Captions lend substance to bright stock photos; simple maps and diagrams offer additional points of engagement. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Pollution and Conservation; Environment—Endangered species; Environment—Conservation—Natural resources; Global warming; Environment—Ecology

fleischman_eyes wide openFleischman, Paul  Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines
Middle school, high school
 204 pp.    Candlewick

A wake-up call about the environmental crisis, this book homes in on five “key fronts” — population, consumption, energy, food, and climate — and explores historical and sociological contexts. Fleischman writes urgently, conversationally, and inspirationally, in a flow of ideas that can be dizzying. Yet none of the concepts is dumbed-down. A refreshingly opinionated approach to informed action. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Pollution and Conservation; Climate change

kutner_soda bottle schoolKutner, Laura and Suzanne Slade  The Soda Bottle School: A True Story of Recycling, Teamwork, and One Crazy Idea
Gr. K–3
 32 pp.    Tilbury

Illustrated by Aileen Darragh. In the Guatemalan village of Granados, a teacher gets the idea to expand the too-small school by building walls with “bricks” of discarded soda bottles stuffed with trash, and one student mobilizes the townsfolk to complete the construction. The included author’s note is somewhat redundant, but the story of resourcefulness and cooperation is well paced and illustrated with friendly, gestural watercolors. Glos.
Subjects: Pollution and Conservation; Guatemala; Teachers; Environment—Recycling; Environment—Refuse and refuse disposal; Behavior—Teamwork; Schools; Construction

mcpherson_arctic thawMcPherson, Stephanie Sammartino  Arctic Thaw: Climate Change and the Global Race for Energy Resources
Middle school, high school
     64 pp.     Twenty-First Century

Illustrated with excellent photos and charts, here’s an up-to-date, well-informed overview of international interest in and controversies over the Arctic region, with a balanced look at effects on its resources as the polar ice cap diminishes. From potential energy sources to impacts on indigenous people, McPherson covers the “high hopes and harsh realities” of the region. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Pollution and Conservation; Climate change; Arctic regions; Environment—Conservation—Natural resources; Polar regions

newman_plastic, ahoyNewman, Patricia  Plastic, Ahoy!: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Gr. 4–6     48 pp.    Millbrook

Photographs by Annie Crawley. Here readers travel to the Pacific Garbage Patch—a part of the Pacific Ocean where millions, perhaps billions of discarded pieces of plastic have accumulated — with three graduate-student scientists as they try to determine the effect of plastics on the sea. There’s solid explanation of their hypotheses and research, and emphasis on the researchers’ experiences lends a personal feel. Questions of how plastic may harm the oceans, its inhabitants, and even humans encourage further inquiry. Reading list, websites. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Pollution and Conservation; Marine ecology; Environment—Refuse and refuse disposal

From the March 2015 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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