Book review: The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in a Changing Sea, by Bryn Barnard

Barnard, Bryn. The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in a Changing Sea. Knopf, 2017. $18.99. unp. ISBN 978-0-375-87049-1. Ages 9-12. P6 Q9

Pollution, global warming, overfishing—these are all problems that are creating a “new ocean,” more similar to the simplicity of the past with the loss of many of its 230,000 species. Four pages about each of six different species—jellyfish, orcas, sea turtles, tuna, coral, and blue-green algae—detail their history, characteristics, and problems they face from the carelessness of humans. The two-page conclusion briefly describes five extinctions of the past with ways that young people can help reverse the tragedy.

Verdict: Although heavy in text, the narration sometimes uses generalities, for example with no specific information about the extinctions, that make the book more accessible to younger people. The full-page oil illustrations cross the fold for a more magnificent image, and the two double-page maps in the end papers show the areas of garbage and the ocean acidification during the past two decades. A thought-provoking wake-up call to the world of the future.

May/June 2017 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: Renewable Energy: Discover the Fuel of the Future With 20 Projects, by Joshua Sneideman and Erin Twamley, illustrated by Heather Jane Brinesh

Sneideman, Joshua and Erin Twamley. Renewable Energy: Discover the Fuel of the Future With 20 Projects. (Series: Build It Yourself). Illus. Heather Jane Brinesh. Nomad Press, 2016. $17.95. 128p. 9781619303607. Ages 9-12. P8Q9

Schneideman Renewable EnergyThe rapid depletion of the earth’s fossil fuel supply and resulting disastrous global warming has led to the development of alternative methods to power homes, cars, factories, businesses—in short the entire world. The authors explain these sources, including solar, wind, biofuel, hydro, and geothermal, and provide fascinating tactile exercises to illustrate how these work. The timeline that begins each of the book in the series has been reformatted in a far more visually appealing manner, and the usual cartoons showing young people working on projects has been minimized. The rapid growth of these industries will cause many opportunities for future jobs as scientists, engineers, and other careers. Relevant, current, and age-appropriate, this book may be the best thus far in the series.

April 2016 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: It’s Getting Hot In Here: The Past, the Present, and the Future of Global Warming, by Bridget Heos

Heos, Bridget. It’s Getting Hot in Here: The Past, the Present, and the Future of Global Warming. HMH, 2016. $17.99. 224p. 9780544303478. Ages 12+. P6Q9

Heos Getting HotClimate change in the 21st century cannot be denied, and Heos explains its science and history. The beginning narrative describing the universe’s formation and periods of earth’s climate changes morphs into drastic shifts after people spent the global fossil fuels during the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. Full-color photographs depict effects of rising sea levels and changing weather patterns throughout the world. Beneficial are the “Be the Change” sections concluding each chapter, showing the readers simple ways in which they can make lifestyle changes to slow global warming. People of all ages should read this accessible, well-researched work on a issue that affects everyone lives.

April 2016 review by Nel Ward.