and Her Book That Changed the World
“Once you are aware of the wonder and beauty of earth,
you will want to learn about it,” wrote Rachel Carson.
Determined and curious even as a child, Rachel Carson’s fascination with the natural world led her to study biology, and pursue a career in science at a time when very few women worked in the field.
This lyrical, illustrated biography follows Carson’s journey—from a girl exploring the woods, to a woman working to help support her family during the Great Depression, to a journalist and pioneering researcher, investigating and exposing the harmful effects of pesticide overuse.
Best known for writing Silent Spring, Rachel Carson was a major figure in the early environmental movement, and her work brought a greater understanding of the impact humans have on our planet. Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World offers a glimpse at the early life that shaped her interest in nature, and the way one person’s determination can inspire others to fight for real change.
An author’s note delves into how Silent Spring helped shape the modern environmental movement and inspired a generation of readers to get involved in conservation.
Detailed source notes and a list of recommended reading are included.
Awards and Recognition
- Amelia Bloomer Project List, 2013
- American Association for the Advancement of Science Top 10 Summer Book
- Bank Street Children’s Book of the Year, 2012
- Green Earth Book Award Honor Book, 2013
- Illinois Reads List, 2014
- International Reading Association Teachers’ Choice Book, 2013
- Macy’s Multicultural Collection of Children’s Literature
- National Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Trade Book, 2013
- Riverby Award for Exceptional Nature Books for Young Readers from the John Burroughs Association, 2012
Teachers’ Activity and Discussion Guide for Rachel Carson and Her Book that Saved the World
“25 Children’s Books to Nourish Curiosity,” Eva Perroni, FoodTank: The Think Tank for Food, undated
“Earth Month Book—Rachel Carson,” Sue Heavenrich, Archimedes Notebook, 6 April 2012
“10 Fave #WomeninSTEM Picture Book Biographies,” Melissa Stewart, Celebrate Science, 25 September 2020
Reviews and Comments
“…Rachel Carson’s story cannot be folded easily into 32 pages. … Her Silent Spring, which carefully documented the effects of insecticides such as DDT on bird and animal life and ultimately on people, launched a huge governmental effort to eliminate that threat. The story ends with her death, at age 56 in 1964.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Beingessner’s light-filled paint and ink illustrations have an understated, 1950s-era grace, which is complemented by Lawlor’s quietly contemplative prose. Carson emerges as a proud, conscientious woman who never allowed the constraints of her era to interfere with her convictions. An epilogue elaborates on the significance of Silent Spring. Ages 6–10.” (Publishers’ Weekly)
“[Lawlor] discusses Carson’s early years, including her innate love of nature and her early desire to become a writer. She describes Carson’s struggles to support her frequently impoverished family as well as her fight to carve a place for herself at a time when women scientists were scoffed at. … this book is a worthy introduction to a woman whose work still influences environmental decisions today.” (School Library Journal)
“Lawlor interweaves the most salient facts of the naturalist’s life (1907–1964) with such illuminating details as needy extended family members camping outside the Carsons’ overflowing house; or the chief of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, where she finally got a job (‘one of only two professional women’), turning down a piece Carson had written for radio but suggesting she send it to The Atlantic—a move that set off her literary career. … this accessible account folds a commendable amount of significant information into picture book format.” (The Horn Book)