From School Library Journal
Grade 5–9—The mantra of the environmental movement is “think globally, act locally,” and this book offers examples of local heroes who are helping to save the planet. Maps, illustrations, and photographs are used to good effect. Each of the 12 chapters tells the story of a person doing his/her part to preserve our environment. Debby Tewa works to bring solar energy to Indian Country, and Sarah James speaks on behalf of the Gwich’in Indian Peoples of Alaska and Canada who want to save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling. Judy Bonds, a community activist in West Virginia, works to bring an end to mountaintop removal mining; and Omar Freilla founded ReBuilders Source, a New York City-based company that recycles building materials. Stories come from all across America and include a diverse group of men and women, making this volume of interest to a broad audience. A final section offers information on how readers can get involved in their own communities.—Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel, IL
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Rather than featuring the usual roundup of environmental heroes, this title spotlights 12 contemporary conservationists who are working to fight pollution in cities, oceans, and wetlands, from Alaska to Mexico City. Many of the featured activists are young people. At age 11, Alex Lin started a campaign in Rhode Island for the safe disposal of electronic waste (“Today’s technology should not become tomorrow’s toxic trash”). Erica Fernandez, a teenage Mexican immigrant in California, led a successful fight to prevent a pipeline that would transport highly explosive gas through her neighborhood. Julia Bonds, a coal-miner’s daughter in Appalachia, is working to replace coal with wind power. The book’s format is lackluster, but the black-and-white photos do show the individuals at work in their communities. The powerful mix of personal stories with crucial environmental and social issues will be a call to action for young readers, who will want to move on to the final section: “How You Can Get Involved.” Grades 6-10. –Hazel Rochman