Monday, October 29, 2012

Title: Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World
Author: Laurie Lawlor
Illustrator: Laura Beingessner
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date: 2012
Genre/Format: Picture Book/Nonfiction
Classification: Biography

Rachel Carson loved two things: being outdoors and writing.  In fact she loved writing so much she wanted to be a professional writer. But writing didn’t pay the bills and she had to help her mother and sister with household expenses. After a visit home, Rachel returned to college and entered a biology class and changed the focus of her studies. Eventually, she found she could do both things she loved; being outdoors and writing about what she experienced in the outdoors.  Rachel’s most famous book, Silent Spring, is a book that pointed out the dangerous effects of chemicals and pesticides have on animals and the air we breathe.

Personal thoughts and connections:  I love reading biographies. Even as a young child, reading about other people's lives was one of my favorite passtimes. I can remember my parents reading and talking to my brothers and I about the book Silent Spring. I remember how cool it would be to be some sort of scientist and travel the world. 

I like the way the author documents her research in the Epilogue and Source Notes at the end of the book. Included in the Source Notes is a recommended reading list of other books by Rachel Carson. In addition, there is a list of  books about Rachel Carson by several authors.
Read Together:  K-3
Read Without Help: 3-12
Other book connections: Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson, by Amy Ehrlich; A Clean Sea: The Rachel Carson Story, by Carol Hilgartner Schlank
Snippet of Text:
All her life, Rachel Carson was curious and determined. She was born on May 27, 1907, on the outskirts of Springdale, a small town in Pennsylvania. Since her brother and sister were much older and neighborhood seldom came to visit, Rachel often went on her own to explore her family’s sixty-five acres of woods, orchids, and fields. (Unnumbered page)
As early as 1945, Rachel had read about studies of the declining bird populations across the country. Each year researchers reported fewer nesting and migrating birds. The more she investigated, the more alarmed she became. Insecticides were deadly to birds, insects, fish, and other animals. But what about people? (Unnumbered page)
Connections to Writing--Expository (1) Explain how different the world might look if pesticides were not banned. (2)  Rachel Carson often observed fish and reef animals in a scuba diving suit.  Describe the steps it would take for you to learn how to scuba dive.
Connections to Writing--Narrative (1) Simulated diary entry--pretend you are Rachel Carson and write a journal entry about the time you went scuba diving off the coast of Nova Scotia. (2) Rachel Carson loved her job as a biologist and a writer. If you could have any career or job you wanted, what would it be? Why?

Connections to other content areas: Biology, Science, Social Studies
Other formats: None
I borrowed this book from my local public library.

Have you read this book? I would love to hear your ideas on how you used this in your classroom.


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