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ARC Review: Kids’ Nonfiction for April 2023 – Our Changing World Edition

Evolution Under Pressure: How We Change Nature and How Nature Changes Us by Yolanda Ridge

Publication Date: April 25, 2023


Immersive non-fiction with STEM and social justice themes that proves that the future of the environment is in our hands–and helps pave the way forward.

Evolution isn’t just a thing of the past. It is happening right now, in every species across the world–and our influence on the future of the plants and animals around us is much bigger than we might think. A closer look at the science behind evolution shows how human behaviors like hunting, farming, and urban development have contributed to major physical changes in everything from rhinos to pigs to lizards. And these changes impact us in turn–triggering environmental shifts and contributing to climate change. The good news is there’s hope: by learning to see how everything is connected, we can weigh the consequences of our choices and help shape a world that works for plants, animals, and humans alike.

Making connections across anthropology, biology, and ecology, award-winning author Yolanda Ridge takes an intersectional approach to a challenging topic–examining the factors that influence human behavior while looking forward to explain the changes we can make and the ethics of those choices. Profiles of young activists and innovators highlight the ways readers can contribute to restoring ecological balance, while vibrant illustrations by Dane Thibeault evoke the energy and beauty of the natural world we are working to preserve.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is an excellent introduction for kids age 8 and up to evolution and the way humans impact it and the planet. There is a lot of very good information here, and it is presented in a clear and easy-to-understand way. All of the information presented is vital to understanding our world and our place in it and very important for kids and teens to know. It provides specific examples of ways humans have altered the world and animals around us, predictions of what will happen if we continue to do so without thought for the consequences, and ideas for ways to mitigate the damage. It also provides just enough of the relevant science to give a deeper understanding of each point.

It runs the risk of being very depressing, but I think there is enough of a message of hope at the end to alleviate most of that. Definitely something to be aware of though, if your kid is sensitive (like mine). I will be reading it with him and helping to provide context, more information, and reassurance as we read.

Topics tackled include urbanization, poaching, the rise of agriculture and industry, climate change, genetic modification and gene editing, and, of course, evolution and natural selection.

This would be great as an introduction to the topics for elementary students (especially those who are interested in science) and a refresher for older students or to be taught alongside more in-depth material on the subject matter. It would also be great as an introduction for adults who are not well-versed in science.

I just finished reading this to kiddo (8) as a break from the series we’ve been binge-re-reading at bedtime and he was VERY into it. We read it over the course of three nights. He listened, engrossed, each night and then chattered about what he had learned from it to me and his dad the next day. He has always been very into nonfiction, especially science books, and he loves animals, but I suspect many kids his age and a bit older would really enjoy this.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Annick Press for providing an early copy for review.

Climate Warriors: Fourteen Scientists and Fourteen Ways We Can Save Our Planet by Laura Gehl

Publication Date: April 4, 2023


Who do you think of when you imagine a climate scientist? Maybe a biologist? Or a chemist? But economists study the climate too!

Meet fourteen different scientists who are working to solve the climate crisis and the surprising ways they are doing it. Along with explanations of different areas of science and the many ways scientists are working to save the climate, readers will find tips for how they too can work for change. Climate Warriors informs young readers and gives them the tools they need to make a difference.

Author and neuroscientist Laura Gehl introduces readers to these incredible scientists, the projects they are working on, and what inspired them to choose their fields of study. From ecology to civil engineering, computer modeling to food science, we have lots of ways to combat climate change. Along with explanations of different areas of science and climate solutions, find out what you can do to make a difference.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Kiddo listened, engrossed, as we read this at bedtime. Whenever I paused to see if he was ready to put the book down and sleep he would say “Why are you hesitating? Read another one.” Which, to me, says he was definitely enjoying it.

It was great to read about what scientists from different disciplines are doing about climate change. There were many that you don’t usually hear about, like economists. The text was written at a level my third grader could understand with minimal explanations and he definitely found it interesting.

I also really liked the “what you can do” sections at the end of each chapter, with suggestions for what individuals and children can do to help with fighting climate change. The whole book felt very empowering. It was very much “yes, this is a major problem and an urgent one, but there is still a chance to change things”

Kiddo says “I liked everything about it.”

I would definitely recommend this to all upper-elementary school students. Maybe 3rd grade and up. And younger students who are interested in science and have the vocabulary and background to understand the text.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Millbrook Press for providing an early copy for review.


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