Earth Day 2019

Today (as every day should be!) is Earth Day, and this year's theme is:  "Protect Our Species."

The books below celebrate our precious planet, educate about the crises it faces, and offer age-appropriate models for environmental activism. The list includes both fiction and nonfiction titles for a range of ages, all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and Guide at the time of their publication; reviews are reprinted from The Horn Book Guide Online. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion. See also our starred review of Moth: An Evolution Story by Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus (Bloomsbury), in the upcoming May/June 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: The Coretta Scott King Book Awards at 50.

For more on this topic, see Kathleen T. Isaacs's Horn Book Magazine article "Fostering Wonder" and the tag Earth Day.


Bajaj, Varsha The Home Builders
32 pp. Penguin/Paulsen 2019
Trade ISBN 978-0-399-16685-3

Illustrated by Simona Mulazzani. This picture book invites children to observe nature as a variety of creatures busily create homes to live in with their babies. Bajaj's text is simple, specific, and active, reflecting the hard work of each type of creature to stay alive. Mulazzani's mixed-media illustrations use soft colors and have a generally cozy feel, yet are clear and precise enough that viewers can spot even the smallest insects.

depalma_two little birdsDePalma, Mary Newell Two Little Birds
40 pp. Eerdmans 2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-8028-5421-6

Two adorable bird siblings (based on the orchard oriole of North and Central America) hatch and begin their first year of life. Each milestone they encounter is portrayed effectively through the soft colors of DePalma's emotive mixed-media illustrations and simple, repetitive-sound sentences that explain the actions of the birds and underscore the instincts that drive each behavior.

elliott_in the wildElliott, David In the Wild
32 pp. Candlewick 2010
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-4497-0

Illustrated by Holly Meade. In full-spread woodcut and watercolor art, Meade captures both the essences and habitats of fourteen worldwide animals: a jaguar prowling the jungle floor, an evanescent polar bear immersed in a blue-green sea, etc. Elliott's deftly composed verses include paradoxes ("Big, yet moves / with grace") and wry thoughts. A beautiful book, not quite as lighthearted as it first appears.

Freedman, Deborah Carl and the Meaning of Life
32 pp. Viking 2018
Trade ISBN 978-0-451-47498-8

Earthworm Carl is always moving underground, digesting leaves and "turning hard dirt into fluffy soil." When a field mouse asks him why he does that, Carl suffers an immediate identity crisis and asks other animals if they know his purpose. Freedman's light ending allows readers to deduce an earthworm's role in maintaining ecological balance. Carl's existential woes are illustrated via delicate earth-toned watercolors on expansive, full-bleed double-page spreads.

step gently outFrost, Helen Step Gently Out
24 pp. Candlewick 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-5601-0

Photographs by Rick Lieder. This paean to some of nature's smallest creatures, including ants, crickets, and fireflies, invites children to "be still, and watch." The spare verse is set in large type; dazzling close-up photographs show the insects against soft-focus backgrounds. The overall effect is lovely and contemplative and fosters an appreciation for the small wonders in our world. Additional information about each insect is appended.

wateriswaterPaul, Miranda Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle
40 pp. Roaring Brook/Porter 2015
Trade ISBN 978-1-59643-984-9

Illustrated by Jason Chin. An evocative rhyming text and verdant watercolors introduce the water cycle, linking water's forms to seasonal changes and an interracial family's kid-friendly activities. The narrative moves from what water is (rain, fog, cloud, snow) to what it makes (mud, which feeds trees, which grow apples, which make cider). Additional information about the water cycle and a call for water conservation are appended. Reading list. Bib.

Portis, Antoinette Hey, Water!
48 pp. Holiday/Porter 2019
Trade ISBN 978-0-8234-4155-6
Ebook ISBN 978-0-8234-4201-0

In this playful and informative book, a girl named Zoe speaks directly to water while considering its role inside and outside a home, and its different forms. Portis's spare and accessible main text makes effective use of figurative language. Water's many permutations are the focus of the crisp, uncluttered, primarily aqua-colored illustrations. Back matter includes notes on conservation and water forms and a simple water cycle diagram. Reading list.

Swirl by SwirlSidman, Joyce Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature
40 pp. Houghton 2011
Trade ISBN 978-0-547-31583-6

Illustrated by Beth Krommes. "A spiral is a snuggling shape...coiled tight, warm and safe..." Krommes's scratchboard illustrations, vividly depicting spirals in nature, suffuse every page with color, shape, and movement. Each spread presents an entire landscape in varying palettes, with a treasure trove of details that will captivate the youngest readers. Sidman's very simple text is powerful, poetic, and good for reading aloud and reading again.

Tamura, Marikka Penguins Don't Wear Sweaters!
32 pp. Penguin/Paulsen 2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-101-99696-6

Illustrated by Daniel Rieley. After an oil spill, well-meaning offstage "Big Boots" try outfitting penguins with sweaters to protect them. The be-sweatered penguins look adorable in Rieley's crisp-lined, ice-cool-colored mixed-media art. But as Tamura's author's note explains, sweaters are almost as bad for penguins as spilled oil. The last pages of this gentle cautionary tale hint at this point: beware the easy fix, even when the fix is unbelievably cute.

teckentrup_treeTeckentrup, Britta Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book
32 pp. Doubleday 2016
Trade ISBN 978-1-101-93242-1

Text by Patricia Hegarty. It's wintertime in the forest, and "Owl sits watching in his tree. / No one sees as much as he." The "peek-through" die-cuts are used to great advantage, allowing Owl and several animal friends to be constant or semi-constant presences as pages are turned and seasons go by ("Birds are singing, foxes play. / Summertime is on its way").


Alexander, Kwame Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures
48 pp. National Geographic 2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-4263-2767-4
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4263-2768-1

Photographs by Joel Sartore. With Mary Rand Hess and Deanna Nikaido. Striking, detailed photographs of animals appear against black or white backgrounds as descriptive, sometimes metaphorical text plays loosely with the haiku form. Word placement and font size vary across the pages, adding dynamism to the images. Three gatefolds each present smaller labeled photos and a longer poem. The slim volume invites awe of and appreciation for endangered animals. Photographer and poet notes are appended.

AIt's Our Gardenncona, George It's Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden
48 pp. Candlewick 2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-5392-7

From spring planting to winterization, full-color photographs chronicle a year in the life of an elementary school garden in Santa Fe; students are shown composting soil, watering plants, and sampling the edible delights. While green is visually ubiquitous, the real star is the white space, which keeps each spread from becoming crowded. Ancona's no-nonsense text is perfectly suited for newly independent readers. Websites. Bib.

Arnold, Marsha Diane  Galápagos Girl / Galapagueña
40 pp. Lee/Children's 2018
Trade ISBN 978-0-89239-413-5
Illustrated by Angela Dominguez. Translated by Adriana Domínguez. This bilingual picture-book biography chronicles the early life of biologist Valentina Cruz, born in 1971 on Floreana, a Galápagos island. Readers accompany Cruz on an introductory tour of Floreana and its animals that she vows to protect, brought to vivid life through Dominguez's vibrant, digitally-colored pencil illustrations. Translation of the English text into Spanish (including the appended author's note and animal descriptions) is concise and accurate. Bib.


Bang, Molly and Chisholm, Penny  Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water Around the Earth [Sunlight]
48 pp. Scholastic/Blue Sky 2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-545-80541-4

Illustrated by Molly Bang. Bang and Chisholm bring their Sunlight series’ energy-centered perspective on Earth systems to the water cycle. The sun serves as narrator, showing us how its energy, upon reaching the Earth, interacts with water and supports life. The science is superb, moving well beyond the typical water cycle representations to emphasize the dynamic, constant, nonlinear movement of massive amounts of water. Bang’s illustrations feature yellow dotted waves of energy and translucent water molecules sparkling over green and brown lands, blue skies, and indigo seas. The sun ends with a warning about the need for conservation and management of water resources. Look for companion books My Light, Living Sunlight, Buried Sunlight, Ocean Sunlight.

Bauer, Marion Dane The Stuff of Stars
40 pp. Candlewick 2018
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-7883-8

Illustrated by Ekua Holmes. From darkness, we experience the Big Bang, the birth of the universe, and the emergence of life on Earth. Holmes breathes life and depth into Bauer's ambitious poem with marbled paper and collage, with representational shapes subtly emerging from the mottled background. By book's end, we see an adult and child together: "You, / and me / loving you. / All of us / the stuff of stars."

chin_grand canyonChin, Jason Grand Canyon
56 pp. Roaring Brook/Porter 2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-59643-950-4

Vacationing in Grand Canyon provides a father and daughter — and readers — numerous opportunities to explore this national park's geology and ecology. Travel guide–like narration presents accurate scientific information, as do page perimeters filled with delicate sketches and diagrams. Detailed, scenic watercolors portraying actual sites cleverly feature selected objects through subtle die-cuts that transport the girl back to ancient geologic environments. Reading list. Bib.

Island by Jason ChinChin, Jason Island: A Story of the Galápagos
32 pp. Roaring Brook/Porter 2012
Trade ISBN 978-1-59643-716-6

Readers witness the six-million-year development of classic biogeography example the Galápagos. The organizational structure — five chronological chapters — echoes the story line and underscores the ecological message. Gorgeous illustrations include sweeping double-page spreads and panels arranged to show dynamic changes (e.g., species adaptation). Back matter addresses natural selection, volcano formation/plate tectonics, and endemic species. An author's note discusses scientific facts versus speculation.

cole_magic school bus and the climate challengeCole, Joanna The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge
40 pp. Scholastic 2010
Trade ISBN 978-0-590-10826-3

Illustrated by Bruce Degen. Magic School Bus series. In the magic school bus (temporarily a plane), Ms. Frizzle's class gathers information for a play about climate change. Cole and Degen are straightforward about the seriousness of global warming but eschew gloom and doom, focusing on day-to-day changes individuals can make. Prolific sidebars provide background information, deepening the discussion and empowering the book's audience. Throughout, humor keeps readers engaged.

cousteau_follow the moon homeCousteau, Philippe and Hopkinson, Deborah Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles
40 pp. Chronicle 2016
Trade ISBN 978-1-4521-1241-1

Illustrated by Meilo So. Many newly hatched loggerhead turtles die when house lights lead them away from the ocean. For a community action project, Viv and her summer-school classmates follow five clearly outlined steps and ask beachfront vacationers to turn off their lights. The strong narrative culminates with a moonlit mass turtle hatching, reverently depicted in quiet blue and brown watercolors. Websites.

Davies, Nicola Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth
40 pp. Candlewick 2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-9483-8

Illustrated by Emily Sutton. Davies begins her consideration of biodiversity by discussing that there can be many species of one living thing (e.g., two kinds of elephants), and gradually explaining that these many kinds of things can live and interact with one another. Descriptions of the disruptive effects of human activities on the environment stress the importance of protecting biodiversity. Sutton's spectacular illustrations are dense yet delicate, full of color, life, and movement.

davies_promiseDavies, Nicola The Promise
48 pp. Candlewick 2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-6633-0

Illustrated by Laura Carlin. "When I was young, I lived in a city that was mean and hard and ugly," begins the narrator of this book about the healing power of nature. She tries to steal the bag of a woman who tells her she can have it if she promises to plant what's inside. The illustrations begin as harsh cityscapes, gradually softening with bursts of color.

Desmond, Jenni The Elephant
48 pp. Enchanted Lion 2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-59270-264-0

A brown-skinned boy in a red crown shown reading the very book youngsters are holding lets his imagination take him into the narrative as he joins a pachyderm caravan and discovers facts about elephants, with visual elements accompanying expository text. The mixed-media illustrations are both informative and beautifully executed, with varied motifs and an overall design that imparts complicated facts through clear and clean layouts.

drummond_energy islandDrummond, Allan Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World
40 pp. Farrar/Foster 2011
Trade ISBN 978-0-374-32184-0

On Samsø, an island "in the middle of the middle of the sea," the inhabitants decided to "harness the wind" and become as energy-independent as possible. Drummond's vignette illustrations perfectly capture the community spirit as the Danes realize their dream. Helpful sidebar information expands the science introduced in the descriptive first-person narrative.

drummond_green cityDrummond, Allan Green City: How One Community Survived a Tornado and Rebuilt for a Sustainable Future
40 pp. Farrar/Foster 2016
Trade ISBN 978-0-374-37999-5

On May 4, 2007, a tornado leveled Greensburg, Kansas. The citizens who stayed decided to rebuild a community as environmentally sound as possible. Drummond creates a first-person narrator from a composite of experiences "meant to reflect [those] of many town residents." Concise informational sidebars explain the processes. Watercolor illustrations — a vibrant blend of vignettes, full-page art, and double-page spreads — reflect the town's can-do attitude.


drummond_pedal powerDrummond, Allan Pedal Power: How One Community Became the Bicycle Capital of the World
40 pp. Farrar 2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-374-30527-7

Drummond (Energy Island; Green City) takes young readers to Amsterdam, a city that turned automobile- and carbon monoxide–clogged streets into bicycle- and family-friendly boulevards. His straightforward text and near-impressionistic illustrations show citizens, led by activist Maartje Rutten, who took to the streets (on bicycles) in the 1970s to protest constructing more roads for automobiles. As a united community, they effected (worldwide) change. Bib.

duke_in the rainforestDuke, Kate In the Rainforest
40 pp. HarperCollins/Harper 2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-445197-0
Paperback ISBN 978-0-06-445197-0

Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. This series entry takes readers on a tour through the rainforest, describing the special features of the area. Unfamiliar vocabulary is presented in bold-face type, defined, and repeated in the text. Cheerful mixed-media illustrations show the visiting children climbing trees (with ropes and clamps), journaling, and exploring the ecosystem. A list of rainforest exhibits to visit is appended, as are directions for making a rainforest terrarium.

Fishman, Seth A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars
40 pp. Greenwillow 2017
ISBN 978-0-06-245578-9
Illustrated by Isabel Greenberg. Fishman and Greenberg engagingly highlight the wondrousness of numbers, stars, and just about everything about our home planet. Fishman exchanges science writing's traditional stiffness for a confiding tone. Greenberg, too, eschews physical correctness in her kinetic digital art: she presents kids who hoist the earth, fly around the world, and otherwise defy the laws of physics in order to illustrate the ideas presented.

Douglas Florian UnbBEElievable coverFlorian, Douglas UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings
32 pp. Simon/Beach Lane 2012
Trade ISBN 978-1-4424-2652-8

Working in gouache, colored pencils, and collage on paper bags, Florian evokes the world of bees with repetitive patterning that cleverly references their honeycombs and the fields of flowers they frequent as well as the bees themselves. His humorous rhythmic verse, too, echoes bee behavior, as much with sound as with sense. A paragraph of more straightforward facts elucidates each spread. Bib.

george_buffalo are backGeorge, Jean Craighead The Buffalo Are Back
32 pp. Dutton 2010
Trade ISBN 978-0-525-42215-0

Illustrated by Wendell Minor. In George's compact ecodrama, we first see the buffalo slaughtered to decimate the Indians and open the prairie to settlers. Moving to the somber Dust Bowl migrants, we then turn to the reversal: the discovery, instigated by President Theodore Roosevelt, of three hundred remaining wild buffalo. With illustrations that both document and dramatize, it's another small triumph from a seasoned team. Websites. Bib.

Can We Save the Tiger?Jenkins, Martin Can We Save the Tiger?
56 pp. Candlewick 2011
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-4909-8

Illustrated by Vicky White. This volume provides a gracefully organized overview of how some of our endangered fellow creatures are doing. Jenkins's narrative voice is engagingly informal and lucid. White's pencil and oil paint illustrations fill the large pages; the pictures are mostly in sober black and white with occasional blushes of color. A stunningly beautiful book as well as an eloquent appeal and consciousness raiser. Websites. Ind.

Kirk, Daniel Rhino in the House: The True Story of Saving Samia
40 pp. Abrams 2017

Anna Merz, a conservationist working to save wildlife in Kenya, raised abandoned baby rhino Samia at her home. Samia behaved rather pet-like, but Anna also taught her skills for living in the wild when fully grown. Earth-toned pencil and Photoshop illustrations accentuate Samia’s affection for Anna and effectively depict the setting of this warm story. An author’s note explains more about the unlikely pair. Bib.

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the WorldLawlor, Laurie Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World
32 pp. Holiday 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-8234-2370-5

Illustrated by Laura Beingessner. From the naturalist's early fascination with wildlife to her determination to finish her landmark work, Silent Spring, before her death, this accessible account folds a commendable amount of significant information into picture book format. Beingessner's spacious ink and tempera spreads reflect the upbeat tone and Carson's most passionate concerns. An epilogue describes the watershed effect of Silent Spring. Bib.

lester_sophie scott goes southLester, Alison Sophie Scott Goes South
40 pp. Houghton 2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-544-08895-5

Sophie Scott is embarking on an Antarctic adventure with her father, captain of the Aurora Australis. She spots penguins, seals, and whales, and one night she's dazzled by the southern lights. Sophie's scrapbook-style journal is written in a likable, conversational style. Most pages are decorated with appealing childlike art; thumbnail photographs are also used to great effect on several spreads.

Puffling PatrolLewin, Ted and Lewin, Betsy Puffling Patrol
56 pp. Lee 2012
Trade ISBN 978-1-60060-424-9

Fledgling puffins journeying from their nests to the sea are confused by nighttime lights from towns. In Iceland, on the island of Heimaey, children take part in a generations-old puffin search-and-rescue tradition. As they tour the island with researchers, then join a night patrol, the Lewins capture the beauty of the landscape and the awkwardly amusing appeal of the birds.

All the Water in the WorldLyon, George Ella All the Water in the World
40 pp. Atheneum/Jackson 2011
Trade ISBN 978-1-4169-7130-6

Illustrated by Katherine Tillotson. Lyon celebrates the essence of life itself in a lyrical poem about the water cycle. In sweeping, digitally rendered art resembling watercolor and collage, Tillotson creates luxuriant ocean swirls and pelting streaks of rain. It's a familiar subject but a vital one, to which author and illustrator bring a passion and artistry that give it the power of story.

martin_chiru of high tibetMartin, Jacqueline Briggs The Chiru of High Tibet: A True Story
40 pp. Houghton 2010
Trade ISBN 978-0-618-58130-6

Illustrated by Linda Wingerter. The antelope-like chiru of northern Tibet were hunted nearly to extinction for their soft wool. Wildlife champion George Schaller hoped to save the chiru by protecting their birthing ground — but first he had to find it. Martin's account, brief and dramatic, is nicely amplified in Wingerter's art, evoking Tibet's windswept plains and peaks in rosy sunset colors and twilight blues. Bib.

Nivola, Claire A. Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle
32 pp. Farrar/Foster 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-374-38068-7

Earle's intimate knowledge of the creatures she's spent over half a century observing, whether while snorkeling near the surface or walking on the ocean floor, permeates this enthusiastic biography illustrated with exquisitely detailed watercolor art. An author's note explains why we all need to get involved in efforts to curtail the threats of overfishing, climate change, oil spills, and other pollutants. Bib.

paul_one plastic bagPaul, Miranda One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia
32 pp. Millbrook 2015
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-1608-6
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4677-6299-1

Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. In 1980s the Gambia, ever-growing piles of discarded plastic bags were attracting disease-bearing insects and killing domestic animals. Paul has written a clear and sensitive account of Isatou Ceesay and her fellow activists' ingenious solution to the problem. Zunon's collages, with vivid colors, elegant patterns, and varied textures — especially those from plastic bags — provide a beautiful entry into the story. Reading list, timeline. Glos.

peterson_leopard & silkiePeterson, Brenda Leopard & Silkie: One Boy's Quest to Save the Seal Pups
32 pp. Holt/Ottaviano 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-8050-9167-0

Photographs by Robin Lindsey. The Seal Sitters is a Pacific Northwest watch group that educates human beachgoers and protects harbor seals when they come ashore to give birth to and care for their young. Newborn seal Leopard is fortunate to have "kid volunteer" Miles on the case. In the excellent photographs, Leopard's large, dark eyes and expressive mug seem to be smiling right at the viewer.

preus_celebritreesPreus, Margi Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Trees of the World
40 pp. Holt/Ottaviano 2011
Trade ISBN 978-0-8050-7829-9

Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon. This picture book gallery of impressive trees, illustrated in friendly folk-art style, offers substantive information on what makes each specimen unique. Preus discusses world-record holders as well as fascinating oddities; a number of the trees have cultural significance. Gibbon's mixed-media paintings bustle with life, including birds and squirrels in the high branches and people in the shade. Conservation tips are appended. Websites. Bib.

Reynolds, Paul A. Sydney & Simon: Go Green!
48 pp. Charlesbridge 2015
Library binding ISBN 978-1-58089-677-1
Ebook ISBN 978-1-60734-913-6

Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Mice Sydney and Simon (Full Steam Ahead) use STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Science) skills to address pollution at their school: they make a sculpture out of trash and build their own musical instruments with which they record an inspirational song about recycling. Cartoony, neon-colored illustrations add verve to the informative story, which offers kids a constructive approach to environmentalism. Glos.

root_anywhere farmRoot, Phyllis Anywhere Farm
32 pp. Candlewick 2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-7499-1

Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Upbeat rhyming text details all the places one can grow things: "Plant a farm in a truck! / In a box on a bike! / Plant an anywhere farm / anywhere that you like." The book then goes on to suggest what one might plant ("Kale in a pail. / Corn in a horn") and who might come to visit one's "anywhere farm" (bees, butterflies, birds — and neighbors). Mixed-media illustrations focus on one little girl who starts everything off with a single plant but eventually include a whole neighborhood that participates in transforming a barren urban space into a lush, flourishing garden.

root_plant a pocket of prairieRoot, Phyllis Plant a Pocket of Prairie
40 pp. Minnesota 2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-8166-7980-5

Illustrated by Betsy Bowen. There isn't much prairie left in the U.S., thanks to human farming and development. Readers are encouraged to reverse this trend by planting native plants in their own backyards and watching what animals are attracted by each plant species. Mixed-media illustrations are placed on white backgrounds, their chunky outlines a modern twist on botanical illustration. The conservation and restoration message is universal.

roth_parrots over puerto ricoRoth, Susan L. and Trumbore, Cindy Parrots over Puerto Rico
48 pp. Lee 2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-62014-004-8

Illustrated by Susan L. Roth. This gorgeously illustrated history of the endangered Puerto Rican parrot underscores the environmental consequences of human populations on indigenous animal species. With stunning paper-and-fabric artwork, the book is laid out vertically to give a sense of height. Ruffly-feathered parrots, colorfully clothed people, and Puerto Rican landmarks are located within dense, intricate illustrations that capture the lushness of the landscape. Timeline.

roth_prairie dog songRoth, Susan L. and Trumbore, Cindy Prairie Dog Song: The Key to Saving North America's Grasslands
40 pp. Lee 2016
Trade ISBN 978-1-62014-245-5

Illustrated by Susan L. Roth. The authors detail the plight of the prairie dog, whose numbers have been greatly reduced by farming and development. Two independently strong texts — one a modified song lyric, the other in-depth nonfiction — provide details on the biology and ecology of grassland environments. Roth's painstakingly precise mixed-media illustrations are bursting with rich, varied colors. Extensive notes include resources and photographs. Glos.

roy_neighborhood-sharks_170x218Roy, Katherine Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands
32 pp. Roaring Brook/Macaulay 2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-59643-874-3

This impressive account of great white sharks off the Northern California coast examines fascinating details about the predator. The dramatic main narrative describes a shark swimming and hunting, while well-integrated information-rich sections tell more about shark biology and about the scientists who study them. Roy's illustrations masterfully employ color and perspective as blood-reds flow through the blues and grays of the ocean. Reading list, websites. Bib.

Subway StorySarcone-Roach, Julia Subway Story
40 pp. Knopf 2011
Trade ISBN 978-0-375-85859-8
Library binding ISBN 978-0-375-95859-5

Subway car Jessie begins service during the 1964 New York World's Fair. After approximately fifty years she's dismantled and dumped into the ocean. There she happily resides as an artificial reef, home to myriad sea animals. Sarcone-Roach allows her theme of reuse and recycling to emerge naturally from a fine tale. Cozy-looking illustrations emphasize the story's tone. An author's note is appended. Bib.

schaefer_lifetimeSchaefer, Lola M. Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives
40 pp. Chronicle 2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-4521-0714-1

Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. The concept of quantity is cleverly examined in the context of animal lives. Schaefer presents the number of times an animal "performs one behavior" in its lifetime, starting with the single egg sac spun by a spider, up to the thousand babies carried by a male seahorse. Bold and beautifully composed, Neal's retro illustrations contain the actual number of items mentioned. Supplemental information is appended.

shingu_traveling butterfliesShingu, Susumu Traveling Butterflies
40 pp. Owlkids 2015
Trade ISBN 978-1-77147-148-0

This simple, elegant picture book traces the migration of the monarch butterfly from its northern home to its "winter sanctuary" in Mexico and back again. Shingu's account is at once poetic and informative. Spare text, translated from the Japanese, is reproduced in a clean, open typeface. Each spread features the artist's vivid paintings of the insects, brilliant close-ups alternating with sweeping butterfly's-eye vistas.

simon_global warmingSimon, Seymour Global Warming
32 pp. HarperCollins/Collins 2010
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-114250-5
Library binding ISBN 978-0-06-114251-2

With his outstandingly straightforward and logical prose, Simon leads novices through such tricky concepts as greenhouse gases and the differences between observable daily weather and long-term climate change. The book ends with the reassurance that we can help reverse the rate of change. Full-page photographs range from decorative enhancements to comparative evidence of the effects of a rise in global average temperature. Websites. Glos., ind.

Sisson, Stephanie Roth Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement
40 pp. Roaring Brook 2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-62672-819-6

Environmental scientist Carson's (1907–1964) childhood was primarily spent outdoors, and Sisson emphasizes her subject's love of animals, keen observation skills, and enthusiasm for the natural world before turning to Carson's adult work. The illustrations' warm, sunny earth tones and varying compositions--which include the use of panels, circles, and small insets--fill the pages with detail. Further notes about Carson's life round out this informative biography. Bib.

stewart_no monkeys no chocolateStewart, Melissa and Young, Allen No Monkeys, No Chocolate
32 pp. Charlesbridge 2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-58089-287-2

Illustrated by Nicole Wong. Stewart and Young explain where chocolate comes from: working backward from cocoa beans (dried and processed by humans) to cocoa pods (which come from cocoa flowers pollinated by midges) to monkeys dropping cocoa seeds on the rainforest floor. Full-bleed ink and watercolor illustrations zoom in on each step along the way; in a corner of each spread, two little worms provide humorous running commentary.

thompson_faraway foxThompson, Jolene Faraway Fox
32 pp. Houghton 2016
Trade ISBN 978-0-544-70711-5

Illustrated by Justin K. Thompson. A lone fox observes its environs — once a forest, now suburbia. The first-person narrative is straightforward, with twinges of nostalgia; the angular illustrations feature retro-looking architectural details. Then the tone shifts: the fox sees construction workers — but what they're building is a wildlife preserve and "highway wildlife underpass," a safe pass-through for the animals. An author's note tells more about these types of structures.

meadowlandsYezerski, Thomas F. Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story
40 pp. Farrar 2011
Trade ISBN 978-0-374-34913-4

Yezerski adroitly captures the sometimes adversarial, sometimes beneficial relationship between humans and the environment in this marvelous ecological history of the Meadowlands of New Jersey. Each main double-page-spread illustration is bordered by tiny images with a wealth of additional taxonomical information (and sly humor) about the diverse flora and fauna (and mobsters and sports enthusiasts) of northern New Jersey. Websites. Bib.

Secrets of the GardenZoehfeld, Kathleen Weidner Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard
40 pp. Knopf 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-517-70990-0

Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. Alice and her family grow edible plants, raise chickens, and enjoy the wide variety of living things in their backyard ecosystem. Scientific information is included about such topics as composting, plant life cycles, food chains and food webs, and nutrition, with anthropomorphized chickens explaining the underlying facts. Changes during the garden growing season are attractively portrayed in Lamont's cheery illustrations.


One and Only IvanApplegate, Katherine The One and Only Ivan
307 pp. HarperCollins/Harper 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-199225-4

Illustrated by Patricia Castelao. In short chapters that have the look and feel of prose poems, Applegate captures the voice of Ivan, a captive gorilla who lives at the "Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade." When a new baby elephant arrives, Ivan realizes they deserve more than their restrictive environment. Ivan's range of thoughts and emotions poses important questions about kinship and humanity.

Barnard, Bryn The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in a Changing Sea
40 pp. Knopf 2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-375-87049-1
Library binding ISBN 978-0-375-97049-8
Ebook ISBN 978-0-307-97403-7

Barnard profiles six marine species — jellyfish, orcas, sea turtles, tuna, corals, and blue-green algae — and speculates on these creatures' fates in light of climate change, overfishing, and pollution. The discussion touches on how science and innovation can help slow down or counteract damage, but Barnard doesn't sugarcoat the situation. Detailed (uncaptioned) paintings accompany the dire warnings. Bib., glos.

Bradbury, Jennifer Outside In
280 pp. Atheneum/Dlouhy 2017
Trade ISBN 978-1-4424-6827-6
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4424-6829-0

In the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, fictional street boy Ram's life intersects with that of a real self-taught artist, Nek Chand, creator of an amazing garden of sculptures fabricated from recycled materials. Ram helps save the garden from destruction in this compelling contemporary story that also successfully weaves in parts of the Ramayana, the great Indian epic. Author's note. Glos.

broach_wolf keepersBroach, Elise The Wolf Keepers
343 pp. Holt/Ottaviano 2016
Trade ISBN 978-0-8050-9899-0

Illustrated by Alice Ratterree. In this mystery-adventure, twelve-year-old zookeeper's daughter Lizzie discovers that a boy, Tyler, is living in the zoo. Despite Tyler's gruff demeanor, they become friends. When the zoo's wolves begin to mysteriously get sick right after Tyler notices odd comings and goings at night, they work together to solve the mystery. Lizzie's wry humor and the page-turning adventure give the novel solid middle-grade appeal.

burns_citizen scientistsBurns, Loree Griffin Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard
80 pp. Holt 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-8050-9062-8

Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. Burns brings much-deserved attention to four remarkable scientific projects that enlist regular people in data collection: the Monarch Watch butterfly tagging project, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, a project documenting ladybug species, and a frog study. Detailed accounts of the procedures along with the handsome color photography make the idea of participation highly appealing. Bib., glos., ind.

Casey, Susan Dolphins: Voices in the Ocean
198 pp. Delacorte 2018
ISBN 978-1-5247-0085-0 LE ISBN 978-1-5247-0086-7 Ebook ISBN 978-1-5247-0087-4

After Casey's encounter with a pod of dolphins in Hawaii, she began to research dolphins worldwide. She here explores the spirituality of the human-dolphin connection, our shared characteristics, as well as how humans have abused dolphins through hunting and captivity. Adapted from the adult book Voices in the Ocean, the engaging and thorough account will move young dolphin lovers. Includes an eight-page photo insert. Bib.

Castaldo, Nancy F. Back from the Brink: Saving Animals from Extinction
168 pp. Houghton 2018
ISBN 978-0-544-95343-7 Ebook ISBN 978-1-328-47667-8
While many American animals are endangered, the seven profiled here have come back from the brink of extinction. Each chapter discusses the reason for the species' decline and the efforts that resulted in rising numbers; a final chapter suggests actions to help endangered wildlife. Plenty of photos illustrate the clear text, and sidebars provide additional information about related topics and "eco-heroes." Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.

cate_look upCate, Annette LeBlanc Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard
64 pp. Candlewick 2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-4561-8

The book starts by encouraging children to sharpen their awareness of their surroundings and to notice the presence of birds in pastoral and urban settings. Next are the basics of bird identification, then it's on to habitat, range, and migration. The discussion is lighthearted; Cate and the birds, portrayed in illustrations with speech balloons, poke fun at themselves as they teach bird observation. Bib., ind.

Cherrix, Amy Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife
73 pp. Houghton 2018
ISBN 978-1-328-85868-9

Scientists in the Field series. Humans are encroaching on black bears' natural habitat in and around Asheville, North Carolina. In this encouraging account, Cherrix accompanies a team of biologists conducting the North Carolina Urban/Suburban Black Bear Study. Photographs capture the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain environment and the care scientists take in collecting data to manage the bear population. A chapter on wild animals in other communities emphasizes the problem's global nature. Websites. Bib., glos., ind.

connor_crunchConnor, Leslie Crunch
330 pp. HarperCollins/Tegen 2010
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-169229-1
Library binding ISBN 978-0-06-169233-8

When a severe fuel shortage strands their parents, the five Marriss children hold down the fort — and the family's bike business. With fewer cars on the highway, the now-growing shop is about to overrun the kids' abilities. Connor's narrative ambles pleasantly along; a feel-good denouement brings the community together, with neighbors willing to learn how to help themselves and others.

davies_lion who stole my armDavies, Nicola The Lion Who Stole My Arm
89 pp. Candlewick 2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-6620-0
Ebook ISBN 978-0-7636-7022-1

Illustrated by Annabel Wright. After losing his right arm in a lion attack, young Pedru thinks of revenge. And he does kill a lion, but it's not the same one; it's tagged with a collar from the Madune Carnivore Research Station. Thus begins Pedru's relationship with lion researchers sympathetic to the concerns of the villagers. Davies's story, both subtle and thoughtful, is also an exciting adventure tale.

farley_wild at heart

Farley, Terri Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them
196 pp. Houghton 2015
Trade ISBN 978-0-544-39294-6

Photographs by Melissa Farlow. Beginning with "Wild Horse Annie," the 1950s activist who secured protections for America's wild horses, this wide-ranging volume explores horses' prehistoric ancestors, herd dynamics, the horrors of government roundups, and today's young activists fighting to make a difference. Emotional language and first-person sidebars try to recruit readers to the cause, while crisp color photos depict beautiful horses in their natural habitats. Bib., glos., ind.

furstinger_mercyFurstinger, Nancy Mercy: The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh, Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals
178 pp. Houghton 2016
Trade ISBN 978-0-544-65031-2

Illustrated by Vincent Desjardins. After witnessing a man beating his horse, Henry Bergh established an agency much like England's RSPCA and championed the passage of an animal anti-cruelty law. In short chapters, Furstinger details these events, allowing descriptions of specific incidents to create drama and tension. Digitally rendered illustrations mirror mid-nineteenth-century political cartoons and color-wash engravings. A collection of archival photographs concludes the volume. Timeline. Bib., ind.

ChompHiaasen, Carl Chomp
290 pp. Knopf 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-375-86842-9
Library binding ISBN 978-0-375-96842-6

Wahoo Cray's pop, a well-known South Florida animal wrangler, can't work after getting a concussion, so a lucrative job offer seems like a godsend. Expedition Survival!, a TV program featuring a bumbling, egomaniacal star, wants to use their backyard zoo and faux Everglades pond. The serious environmental message behind the madcap antics isn't heavy-handed; the fast-paced story sticks to easy laughs and good fun.

Hirsch, Rebecca E. The Monarchs Are Missing: A Butterfly Mystery
56 pp. Millbrook 2018
Library binding ISBN 978-1-5124-5250-1 Ebook ISBN 978-1-5124-9866-0

Some methods of studying monarch butterfly migrations--such as tagging and measuring resting colonies--show that populations are decreasing, and Hirsch investigates why? A readable narrative, illustrated with excellent photos and infographics, discusses the environmental culprits (deforestation, herbicides, climate change) and how scientists are helping. Kids, too, can help conserve monarch populations with the appended "citizen scientist" suggestions. Reading list. Bib., ind.

Moonbird by Phillip M. HooseHoose, Phillip Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95
148 pp. Farrar 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-374-30468-3

Flying nearly from pole to pole twice a year, one robin-sized rufa red knot known as "Moonbird" has flown some 325,000 miles over a twenty-year lifespan. In lucid, graceful prose, Hoose details the birds' characteristics, profiles scientists and activist kids, and takes a sobering look at long-term prospects for survival. Glorious full-page and smaller photographs alternate with helpful maps in an informative progression of images. Bib., ind.

tree-ladyHopkins, H. Joseph The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever
32 pp. Simon/Beach Lane 2013
Trade ISBN 978-1-4424-1402-0

Illustrated by Jill McElmurry. Kate Sessions, the first woman to graduate from Berkeley with a science degree, was responsible for populating San Diego's Balboa Park with lush, green trees, just in time for the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. Hopkins's text succinctly captures the highlights of his subject's life, and McElmurry's gouache illustrations document the gradually changing landscape from barren desert to verdant garden.

jenkins_animal bookJenkins, Steve The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest — and Most Surprising — Animals on Earth
208 pp. Houghton 2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-547-55799-1

This thoughtful and coherent book begins with a survey of the animal kingdom, then covers "Family," "Senses," "Predators," and "Defenses." A section on "Animal Extremes" provides Guinness Book–type facts kids love, and the concluding section, "The Story of Life," explores evolution. The paper-collage art throughout is taken from Jenkins's many previous books; each image is recontextualized to serve the book's purpose. Bib., glos., ind.

king_me and marvin gardensKing, Amy Sarig Me and Marvin Gardens
250 pp. Scholastic/Levine 2017
Trade ISBN 978-0-545-87074-0

Sixth-grader Obe lives at the edge of a massive housing development being built on land that once belonged to his mother's family. One day he spies a strange creature whose favorite food is plastic and whose scat is toxic. A. S. King's middle-grade debut is a smart, environmentally conscious underdog story with a lot of heart and a little sci-fi.

leavitt_blue mountainLeavitt, Martine Blue Mountain
163 pp. Farrar/Ferguson 2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-374-37864-6
Ebook ISBN 978-0-374-37865-3

Mankind encroaches upon the bighorn sheep's habitat; wolf and puma feed on their dwindling herd. Biggest lamb Tuk must save the herd by finding a way west to "blue mountain," a place he sees in visions and may not be real. With its omniscient third-person narrator and mythic feel, the book celebrates the power of story and the beauty of the mountain world.

McConnochie, Mardi The Flooded Earth
328 pp. Pajama 2018
ISBN 978-1-77278-049-9

In a futuristic world suffering the effects of a catastrophic flood, twins Annalie and Will set sail in search of their father after agents of the dictatorial Admiralty come looking for him. McConnochie creates memorable images of abandoned waterfront communities and effectively develops technical and governing structures. The plot-driven adventure is deepened by interactions and revelations that shape the characters

Montgomery, Sy Amazon Adventure: How Tiny Fish Are Saving the World's Largest Rainforest
71 pp. Houghton 2017
ISBN 978-0-544-35299-5

Photographs by Keith Ellenbogen. Scientists in the Field series. Montgomery travels up the Río Negro in Brazil with a group promoting sustainable fish harvesting practices, and shares her endless zeal as she meticulously details her adventures. Inviting photographs bring the experience to life. Interspersed text boxes include profiles of other Amazon animals and an extended look at how Ellenbogen produces his photographs on and under the dark, murky river. Websites. Bib., ind.

Nelson, Jo Destination: Planet Earth
40 pp. Quarto/Wide Eyed 2018
ISBN 978-1-78603-062-7

Illustrated by Tom Clohosy Cole. A plethora of information is included in this large-format picture book, good for repeated browsing. Each page depicts a geological or geographical theme, such as weather, biomes, and tectonic plates, culminating with a look at pollution and conservation. The digital illustrations include inset graphs, charts, and maps, making the pages busy but not cluttered. Foldout poster included.

newman_plastic ahoyNewman, Patricia Plastic, Ahoy!: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
48 pp. Millbrook 2014
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-1283-5
Ebook ISBN 978-1-4677-2541-5

Photographs by Annie Crawley. Here readers travel to the Pacific Garbage Patch 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.

o'connell_bridge to the wildO'Connell, Caitlin Bridge to the Wild: Behind the Scenes at the Zoo
202 pp. Houghton 2016
Trade ISBN 978-0-544-27739-7

Photographs by Caitlin O'Connell and Timothy Rodwell. O'Connell and co-photographer Rodwell present an in-depth (and in this case favorable) view of the workings of a major zoo — Zoo Atlanta — and the personalities of many of its residents. Through her first-person narration, full of curiosity, enthusiasm, humor, and respect for animals, O'Connell exposes a biologist's thinking process. The final chapter emphasizes the important conservation and education missions of zoos. Bib., ind.

Thimmesh, Catherine Camp Panda: Helping Cubs Return to the Wild
60 pp. Houghton 2018
Trade ISBN 978-0-544-81891-0
In an engaging and balanced narrative, Thimmesh describes Chinese conservation researchers' groundbreaking efforts to reintroduce pandas to the wild and the challenges this vulnerable species faces given their small numbers and vanishing habitats. Numerous photographs show adorable pandas and their human caregivers--innovatively dressed in panda suits to shield developing pandas from human contact. "What Can You Do?" section included. Bib., glos., ind.

young_mission sea turtle rescue

Young, Karen Romano Mission: Sea Turtle Rescue: All About Sea Turtles and How to Save Them
112 pp. National Geographic 2015
Library binding ISBN 978-1-4263-1894-8
Paperback ISBN 978-1-4263-1893-1

National Geographic Kids Mission series. With Daniel Raven-Ellison. Spectacular photos, fascinating facts, anecdotes about individual turtles, and updates from field scientists give a thorough overview of the species' survival threats and current status. Unfortunately, the design is busy and page inserts of stories and interviews interrupt the flow of the narrative. Each chapter ends with "rescue activities," such as holding an awareness-raising art show and writing to politicians. Reading list, websites. Ind.


bergin_h2oBergin, Virginia H2O
331 pp. Sourcebooks/Fire 2014
Trade ISBN 978-1-4926-0654-3

Ruby Morris heard about the asteroid that almost collided with Earth — "honestly, it was boring" — but years later, dust from that boring asteroid infects water molecules with an alien virus that kills humans on contact. Alone and thirsty, Ruby holds tightly to the unlikely hope that her father is still alive. Ruby's diary-style narration lends some dark comedy to the post-apocalyptic doom and gloom.

castaldo_story of seedsCastaldo, Nancy The Story of Seeds: From Mendel's Garden to Your Plate, and How There's More of Less to Eat Around the World
136 pp. Houghton 2016
Trade ISBN 978-0-544-32023-9

In this wake-up call about the fragility of our plant-based food supply, Castaldo speaks clearly to the importance of plant diversity, presenting engaging scientific and historical information about agricultural science, genetics, and biodiversity along with accounts of global politics, industrialism, and activism. Numerous photographs of the plants and people involved in plant and seed preservation are included. A "Call to Action" section is appended. Reading list, timeline, websites. Glos., ind.

crossnan_breatheCrossan, Sarah Breathe
373 pp. Greenwillow 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-06-211869-1

In an environmentally ravaged world with four percent oxygen in the air, people live inside glass domes (and pay for air) or struggle to survive outside. Privileged Quinn, his poorer friend Bea, and rebel Alina travel outside of the dome and are stranded there with little hope of survival. Sci-fi fans with an environmental bent will find this book particularly engaging.

fleischman_eyes wide openFleischman, Paul Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines
204 pp. Candlewick 2014
Trade ISBN 978-0-7636-7102-0
Paperback ISBN 978-0-7636-7545-5
Ebook ISBN 978-0-7636-7407-6

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.

heos_it's getting hot in here

Heos, Bridget It's Getting Hot in Here: The Past, Present, and Future of Climate Change
231 pp. Houghton 2016
Trade ISBN 978-0-544-30347-8

This thoughtful, in-depth account examines earth and human history from a climate-change perspective, the scientific evidence for human-produced global warming, global energy policies, and future societal changes that need to occur. Heos's narrative is straightforward, occasionally conversational, and mostly jargon-free. Sections labeled "Be the Change" encourage practical actions that readers can take to make a real difference. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.

layborne_monument 14Laybourne, Emmy Monument 14
296 pp. Feiwel 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-312-56903-7

A devastating hailstorm, an earthquake, and then a dangerous chemical spill lead to a school bus of kids (teens and younger) seeking refuge in a superstore — abundant resources and no adult supervision. In this intriguing, fast-paced dystopian novel, Laybourne gradually deepens the characterization and includes some touching scenes before bringing it all to an exciting conclusion. Also look for sequels Monument 14: Sky on Fire and Monument 14: Savage Drift.

lloyd_momentumLloyd, Saci Momentum
215 pp. Holiday 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-8234-2414-6

London, in the not-so-distant future, is home for both Hunter, a Citizen, and Uma, an Outsider; these star-crossed protagonists meet during a military crackdown on the Outsiders. Lloyd's latest eco-thriller features a taut plot, a rapid-fire tour of London and its bridges and rivers, and well-developed secondary characters. What's really riveting is Lloyd's writing, which buzzes with a tense, organic energy.

schrefer_endangered199x300Schrefer, Eliot Endangered
264 pp. Scholastic 2012
Trade ISBN 978-0-545-16576-1

When Sophie, fourteen, arrives for her yearly visit to her Congolese mother's animal sanctuary, she becomes attached to a baby bonobo. So when the political situation destabilizes dangerously and she's scheduled to be airlifted back to Miami, she can't bear to leave him behind. Schrefer packs a wealth of incident into a compelling survival story set in contemporary conflict-ridden Congo. Look for companion novels Threatened and Rescued.

Shusterman, Neal and Shusterman, Jarrod Dry
390 pp. Simon 2018
Trade ISBN 978-1-4814-8196-0 Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-8198-4

A major drought in Southern California culminates in taps running dry. As people become increasingly desperate and institutions break down, Alyssa, her brother Garrett, and their doomsday-prepper neighbor Kelton wind up on a road trip to survive, picking up strangers along the way who may or may not be allies. This compulsively readable, unnerving dystopia raises important questions about how our current world would handle the similar crises we've created.

vacco_my chemical mountainVacco, Corina My Chemical Mountain
186 pp. Delacorte 2013
Trade ISBN 978-0-385-74242-9
Library binding ISBN 978-0-375-99057-1

Jason and his friends roam the industrial zone near their neighborhood, swim in the toxic creek, and ride their dirt bikes around a landfill they call Chemical Mountain. Vacco's thought-provoking modern-day dystopian novel, set in a fictional upstate New York factory town, is plausible and action-packed. She captures both the disheartening helplessness of the situation and the boys' reckless resistance from Jason's complex perspective.
Horn Book
Horn Book

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.