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Book Review: Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World


Librarian: Joy Worland, director, Joslin Memorial Library, Waitsfield

Book: Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World, by Laurie Lawlor, illustrations by Laura Beingessner

Age range: 2 to 5


Worland's Summary: This poetic biography chronicles Carson's childhood love of nature, her study of biology and her eventual success as a writer, including publication of the influential Silent Spring. Portrayals of Carson's professional perseverance and personality are well balanced, as she battles sexism, poverty and the chemical industry while also caring for her family and enjoying the outdoors.

Why it's appealing: Carson was a groundbreaking researcher and writer, and it's important for kids to know about her. But her life was also fascinating — full of adventure, travel, and trying things others never had. Packed with facts, including an informative epilogue, the book nevertheless reads like a story, with colorful illustrations that bring to life nature scenes as well as the many people Carson encounters. Sentences such as: "She lost her heart to a world of restless water and sky" and "I could never again listen happily to a thrush singing if I had not done all I could" engage readers on an emotional level, inspiring them to think about their own lives in a new way.

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