Black blizzards. Toxic water. Killer smog. Deadly oil spills. In this compelling new narrative nonfiction series, readers will learn about the world's worst environmental disasters. Through riveting stories and first-person accounts, each book traces an ecological catastrophe from the beginning to its aftermath. Readers will uncover the truth about what caused the tragedy, the disaster's devastating toll on people and the environment, steps taken to remedy the problem, as well as what can be done to prevent another catastrophe from happening in the future. Fascinating photos of the actual events, maps, and fact boxes enrich the compelling text. The personal, and often heart-breaking, stories will grip and inspire young readers.
|Interest Level||Grade 2 - Grade 7|
|Reading Level||Grade 3|
|Genre||Nonfiction, Great for Hi-Lo Readers, Narrative Nonfiction|
|Number of Pages||32|
|ISBN||9781684022205, 9781684022748, 9781684023288|
|Title Format||Reinforced book, Hosted eBook, Savings Bundle|
|Dimensions||8 x 10|
Geo Librarian Blog Review of Deadly Mine: Libby, Montana
This book presents the shocking story of a town brought to it’s knees by the very thing that helped make it possible. Mining is a dangerous profession, but when miners carry home a poisonous dust, mining becomes deadly for everyone. Not only is the story eye-opening but it carries a powerful reminder of the importance of environmental stewardship. The company that came to own the mine did nothing about the poisoning of the whole town, even after they knew about it. The book documents the discovery and use of the mine followed by information about the discovery of its dangers and the efforts now underway to help clean up the mess. Unfortunately, those exposed will continue to deal with the nasty aftereffects of this environmental disaster. This is an important story that makes for a quick and easy read but leaves the reader wondering about the future of the human race.
Jean Little Library Blog Review of Sick Soil: The Dust Bowl
This new series from Bearport offers a unique look at disasters throughout history by framing them in light of the ecological causes and effects. The series includes famous incidents like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the Dust Bowl. It also includes more generic eco-disasters including incidents of high amounts of air pollution, climate change, and polluted water.
I was sent a copy of the title featuring the historical disaster of the Dust Bowl for review. The story begins with a dramatic recounting of the dust storms and what it was like to experience one. However, the main focus of this title is a little different than most historical disaster books. The geography of the great plains and the history of white settlement, emphasizing the planting of wheat, is covered in detail. A massive drought, combined with the economic turmoil of the Great Depression, started the disaster. This might have been mitigated by the natural protections of the plains; however, lacking the native grasses, the topsoil simply dried up and blew away. Millions of pounds of dust was blown off of the prairie, blackening the sky and coating cities as far away as New York. The human and economic cost of the disaster is shown in vintage photographs and quotes from people living in the Dust Bowl. Finally, in 1940, the combination of the economic impact of the New Deal and the return of the rain ended the drought and the black blizzards. However, the story doesn’t end there. Long-term changes in farming practices and from the migration of farmers to the cities changed history once again.
Back matter includes a discussion of measures taken to prevent similar catastrophes as well as a brief discussion of the possibility of similar or even worse events in the future due to climate change. A glossary, brief bibliography, and further reading is also included.
This is not a comprehensive history of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, or the environmental changes and farming choices that led to the ecological disaster. It’s an introduction meant to capture the interest of struggling readers and give them a basic overview of the topic as well as encourage students to complete further research on the many topics presented. As such, it’s an excellent resource.
Verdict: As I’m updating my resources on weather, history, and natural disasters, I think this is an excellent series that will see a lot of use both by individual students and in the classroom.
Bookworm for Kids Blog Review of Deadly Mine: Libby, Montana
With careful explanations and descriptions, this book gives young readers a glimpse into one of the largest environmental catastrophes in United States’ history.
The first pages set the mood with the tragic story of a miner and his family, who became sick from poisonous dust in the town of Libby, Montana. Young readers are emotionally pulled into the situation, which sets a perfect seen for the more historical and factual information. The next chapters explain how the mineral was discovered, what this discovery meant at the time, and how people were able to benefit from the mining during the early years. Like a mystery, the problems unfold. The information is concise but told with enough excitement and emotion to keep younger readers engaged. Everything for the chemical aspects, the medical results to the governmental policies is covered in a way readers of this age group will understand. More difficult words are highlighted and placed again in a glossary at the end of the book.
The seriousness of the situation is ever present, but never overwhelming. Readers are not talked down to, but given solid facts and arguments, which will lead them to thought. Information concerning how the situation is being taken care of is also included, allowing the book to end on a slightly higher note without undermining the horrible aspects of the occurrence. A website address at the end leads kids to a little information concerning the catastrophe and offers a crossword puzzle as well.
The real-life photographs are bright and bring clarity to the explanations found in the text. Young readers gain a greater appreciation for the event and can easily slip into the shoes of those effected by the disaster.
Children, ages six and up, who are interested in science, nature or world happenings are sure to enjoy this book and soak up the information. My own son thoroughly enjoyed this book and is determined to read through the entire series.
Bookworm for Kids Blog Review of Killer Smog: London, England
Natural disasters can come as unsuspecting as a fog, and this book explains how The Great Smog of 1952 occurred as well as the effects it had on all of London.
The first sentence opens like an eerie mystery and immediately draws young readers into the scene. Readers will sympathize with the little girl as she tries to make her way through the mysterious fog. The accompany photographs enrich the atmosphere, making the entire event come to life. The history behind the fog and its causes remains rooted in facts, while keeping the information from getting too dry. Quotes from people who experienced the situation as well as little bubbles of extra tidbits dabbled among the photographs make it fun to glimpse through the pages and grab up pieces of information on the way.
Although the seriousness of the catastrophe is never down-played, the ending offers a ray of hope and explains what has been done to hinder a future occurrence, and what is still being done to improve air quality in general. A glossary at the end offers definitions to the more difficult, high-lighted words in the book. There’s also a link to a website, where kids can discover more about the smog and play a crossword puzzle.
School Library Journal Review of Eco-Disasters
Gr 4-6–A dramatic introduction sets the scene of each event, followed by short chapters that describe it from start to finish or to its current status, with an emphasis on its immediate and continuing human costs. Each book clearly states who or what was responsible for the disaster, and discusses restitution or lack thereof to victims, as well as the ongoing or long-term detrimental effects. “Fixing the Future” sections detail continuing cleanup efforts or measures to prevent future calamities….VERDICT: This set will help readers understand the myriad large-scale ecological disasters that can happen and their lasting human and societal costs. A solid purchase.
Booklist Review for Deadly Mine: Libby, Montana
The Eco-Disasters series examines environmentally based catastrophes that have severely impacted human life. Here readers visit Libby, Montana, where a long history of vermiculite mining has afflicted its residents with deadly lung disease. This lightweight mineral became a popular building insulator in the 1960s, but unbeknownst to anyone, Libby’s vermiculite was contaminated with asbestos. Dust from the processing mill regularly blew over the town, exposing residents to asbestos for decades. Readers will connect with this tragedy through the compelling photos and personal stories threaded through the text. Rather than sensationalize the disaster, the book fosters a rounded understanding of how it occurred with a compelling mix of area history, science, and governmental action, along with the cleanup efforts in its wake. A fascinating history with numerous STEM connections.
|Glossary of key words|
|Online learning supplement|
|Sources for further research|
|Table of contents|
|Full-color illustrations, Full-color photographs, Historical photographs|