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Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World Hardcover – February 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laurie Lawlor's books have appeared on many notable lists, including the ALA Notable Children's Books, the ALA Best Books for Young Adults, and the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. She lives in Illinois.

Laura Beingessner has illustrated five books for children. School Library Journal has called her artwork "luminous" while Kirkus Reviews has praised it as "enticing." She lives in Toronto, Canada.

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Product Details

  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823423700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823423705
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 10 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on June 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Rachel Carson once wrote,"Once you are aware of the wonder and beauty of earth, you will want to learn about it." Rachel Carson not only learned about the world around her, she meticulously documented all that she observed and experienced, and wrote a groundbreaking book that had a positive impact on the way people perceived the environment.

This book traces Rachel Carson's early beginnings from a young girl fascinated by nature (fostered by an equally enthusiastic and supportive mother) to a shy young college student who preferred to study and document her observations than be a social butterfly. Rachel went on to graduate school, but the Great Depression put an end to her aspirations to become a biologist, at least for a time.

Rachel Carson is someone I consider a true hero - her life is one that inspires and teaches us not to take the world around us for granted. Though Rachel had a hard life, trying to provide for her mother, sibling, and relatives, she never gave up, not for a moment, until she finally realized her dreams of becoming a biologist. Ms. Carson went on to write and publish "Silent Spring", a book that made specialists and the layperson more aware of the dangers of chemicals on our natural surroundings, and how the pervasive use of chemicals could pollute our environment. Her book was an important catalyst in bringing about legislative changes to the use of chemicals on the environment.

The book ends with an informative epilogue on the events that followed after Silent Spring's publication. Though Ms. Carson died in 1964, she left an indelible imprint on the world. "I could never again listen happily to a thrush song, if I had not done all I could," she explained (p. 28). The world needs more people like Rachel Carson.

Recommended for ages 9 and up.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Rachel Carson And Her Book That Changed The World"
Written by Laurie Lawlor
Illustrated by Laura Beingessner
(Holiday House, 2012)
This well written, beautifully illustrated picturebook is a sympathetic portrait of nature author Rachel Carson, whose essays on marine life made her nationally famous, and whose final book, 1962's "Silent Spring," became a touchstone for the global environmental movement. "Silent Spring" documented the harmful effects of DDT and other chemicals used as insecticides and herbicides, compounds which due to their widespread and unregulated use had been killing, deforming or depopulating various species of wild animals. Carson was one of the first science writers to take these concerns seriously and, more importantly, to write about them in a way that average, lay readers could understand.

This book presents Carson's life from early childhood, showing how her interest in nature and science was fostered at a young age, and how she overcame the professional challenges that faced her as a young woman pursuing these interests in the more patriarchal culture of the 1940s and '50s. Although the presentation is quite strong, the narrative does end abruptly with Carson's death (she was gravely ill while writing and editing "Silent Spring") and the book's public policy impact is explained in tiny text, after the illustrated portion of the book, so younger readers might not quite "get" what was so important about Carson's work. Still, it's a very good introductory biography, and an excellent launch pad for further discussions about these issues.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By KK on November 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw this book suggested on *A Mighty Girl* website. My 4 & 5 year old home educated girls LOVE this book. I highly recommend it for boys or girls who are interested in learning about historical scientists, environmental issues, etc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gail Gauthier on April 11, 2015
Format: Hardcover
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. Picture book bios are often problematic to me. They sometimes seem too old for picture book folks, too young for older ones, so who are they for? This one, not so much. Definitely for mid-grade school readers. Maybe third or fourth grade.

The first thing that struck me about this book is that very early on we hear that Rachel as a child explored the outdoors by herself and had a mother who had an interest in nature. This child got her start without any formal environmental instruction, such as we would want for children these days, and, yet, she turned into Rachel Carson.

Another thing I liked is that it describes a woman's story. Carson as a young woman had needy family to deal with. As often happens with achieving women of her era, she had help. In her case, her mother hustled to pull together money for school. She was encouraged by a female college professor. A male superior at the Bureau of Fisheries advised her to submit work to The Atlantic. She was a professional woman without a personal family. If you read the Epilogue, you'll find that after Silent Spring was published critics referred to her as "an hysterical woman." Someone asked "why a spinster with no children was so concerned about genetics."

Loved the period illustrations, too.
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