Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World

What It Is

This book, which has been fittingly released in time for Earth Day, is about Rachel Carson, a pioneer of the global environmental movement. Rachel became fascinated with nature as a child in rural Pennsylvania and spent more of her time studying birds and trees than she did engaging in typical childhood activities. Later, Rachel took a college biology class, and it changed her life. She discovered a passion for animals and plants, and decided to dedicate her life to learning all she could about them. Rachel’s career led her to experience things few women had at the time, from diving deep in the ocean to tracking alligators across the Florida Everglades. Her biggest accomplishment came in 1962 with the publication of her revolutionary book, “Silent Spring.” The book was the culmination of several years spent studying the growing chemical industry and its effect on the environment. This work spawned tremendous controversy and backlash from major chemical companies in the early 60s. The book also, however, caught the attention of President Kennedy and the media, which ultimately led to pro-environment legislation and set the course for future “green” awareness and activism.

Why It’s Fun

A reading experience with the children is even more special when you both can learn something new. The origins of the environmental movement are likely unknown to many, as it’s not typically taught in schools. Fortunately, today’s young generation is more aware of key environmental concerns than mine was at a young age. The beauty of Rachel’s story isn’t just her achievements in environmental awareness; it’s also the underlying message that it’s okay to follow your dreams and interests at any age, even if they may stray from societal norms. As a child, Rachel was encouraged by her parents to follow her passion and dreams, and look where they led her. As parents, this is a great lesson. While we want to protect our children, make them happy and “fit in,” we also need to know when to step aside and let them grow like the flowers Rachel wanted to protect.

Who’s Going To Love It

It’s never too early to start teaching children to be mindful of their environment and impact they can make on it. This selection is definitely for elementary school children, who should relate to Rachel’s story, and would be great for either at home or in the classroom. For younger children, I Can Save the Ocean, which I reviewed previously, is a great option. Either way, use Earth Day as a way to learn together how we can do our part to protect the environment.

Reading Time

About 5-6 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

8 out of 10

Book Information

Written by: Laurie Lawlor; Illustrated by Laura Beingessner
Published by: Holiday House (2012)
Approximate retail price: $16.95 (hardcover only)
Publisher’s recommended ages: 6-10


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