This Making a Better World series is beautifully illustrated and divided into understandable chapters that make reading a breeze. Any student who is doing a report or is simply interested in the environment would enjoy reading all these books. Protecting Our Air, Land and Water considers reasons behind pollution: people's waste, greed, and tendency to think that it's someone else's problem. It also introduces people who pose solutions, such as José Vila, an engineer who discovered that water vapor filtering over rocks produces fresh water. As the authors point out, there is much to be done. We must use materials that will not harm the environment, such as biodegradable soap. A most interesting new use for land occurs where railroads are torn out, replaced by bike and hiking paths. The book encourages everyone to pitch in and help with individual activities, and by voting for officials who will make sound decisions about our environment. Guardians of Wildlife relates how film can help save the endangered rhinoceros, as camera record their movements and habits without harming these animals, so difficult to trap. Armed with these filmed insights, scientists can help preserve the rhino. Another fascinating project trains villagers to train elephants to become manageable, and stop tearing up villages on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. After being trained, the elephants are released back into their herds; when they return to the villages, they understand the commands given by residents who have also attended training school. The inspiring Kids Who Make a Difference reveals how many young people have become involved in improving their environment. Melissa Pope saw a television show which made her imagine what the environment might be like in twenty years, so she wrote a letter to President George Bush. When he did not respond, she collected money to erect a billboard in Washington, D.C. to get his attention. As a result she received a form letter "asking her to stay in school and not to use drugs." Refusing to give up, Melissa continued to call attention to herself, and finally getting a letter from President Bush, apologizing for not answering her sooner. She continues her efforts to involve more young people and to bring her concerns to Washington. Many other youth have started planting trees, flowers, and become otherwise involved with our earth. They have spurred many concerned citizens to become active in local and national groups. The great strength of this series is in identifying all sorts of sources so that individuals can, and will, make a difference. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Further Reading. Note: This review was written and published to address three titles: Guardians of Wildlife, Kids Who Make a Difference and Protecting Our Air, Land and Water. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Gr 5-7-Three books that focus on people of different ages and walks of life and the environmental changes that they have effected. Alternative Energy Sources describes their efforts involving new solar and wind-power technology, house-building methods that gather and conserve heat, and alternative ways to power vehicles. Natural Foods focuses on global techniques to grow organic produce, using small spaces, environmentally sensitive methods, and ethical practices. Protecting Our Air, Land, and Water has a strong conservation bent, with standard fare about preserving wetlands, old-growth forests, and methods to make one's community environmentally aware. The two-to-four page chapters, which the authors refer to as stories about ordinary people achieving the extraordinary, are nevertheless packed with facts. Each book contains approximately 18 different endeavors, with frequent clear full-color photographs or diagrams. A particularly useful feature is an address and/or telephone number to contact for more information about each organization. Perfect for short reports that raise awareness of factors influencing our global environment.-Shannon VanHemert, Memphis/Shelby County Public Library, TN