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Science, Dragons, and Revolutions: New Books for Older Readers

CarsonRachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor
This beautiful new picture book tells the story of Rachel Carson’s life, from her nature-loving childhood through her 1962 publication of Silent Spring, the book that launched modern environmentalism. Carson was a biologist by training at a time when few women entered scientific fields, and she struggled to keep her family fed. She persevered as a writer and scientist, and famously pointed out the long-term impact humans have on the earth, particularly the dangers of insecticide and DDT. Her inspiring story is beautifully represented in this book with classic paint and ink illustrations by Laura Beingessner. (Grades 2-5)

heatHeat by Joseph Midthun and Samuel Hiti
Building Blocks of Science is a fun new series for elementary school kids that uses comic-book storytelling to teach about various science topics. In Heat, a glowing red droplet character embodies the topic, and narrates the various ways that heat is experienced. The basics of thermal energy, conduction, and convection are presented in a lighthearted way that appeals to the target audience immensely. Other books in the series include Gravity, Matter, Magnetism, Light, and several others. (Grades 3-6)

seraphinaSeraphina by Rachel Hartman
In Goredd, young Seraphina is an apprentice music instructor at the castle. As she is preparing for the anniversary festivities that will celebrate 40 years of peace with the dragons, she learns that she is, in fact, half-dragon herself – having lost her dragon-in-human-form mother in childbirth. Tensions mount when Prince Rufus is found dead and the public assumes dragons are to blame. Seraphina must conceal her new secret, get ready for the celebration, and protect the city from battle with the dragons. And entirely unique “dragon book” that is immensely fun. (Grades 6 and up)

pandemoniumPandemonium by Chris Wooding and Cassandra Diaz
Seifer Tombchewer is your average, everyday, winged captain of his local Skullball team living an average, boring life in Crowscale Village. But it turns out that he’s also a dead ringer for the missing Prince Talon. In this dark and funny graphic novel, the classic Prince and the Pauper storyline gets a new twist with a pet cat the size of a house, night flights with a mysterious and magical new friend, and the ever-present threat of demons, kidnappings, and other creatures out to get our reluctant hero. Full of jokes to match the comic style, Pandemonium marks a strong first story in this new series. (Grades 6 and up)

RevEvelynThe Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano
In 1969 New York, a young girl argues with her mother, loses her bedroom to her activist grandmother, and struggles with her own Puerto Rican identity. Evelyn has recently chosen to go by her middle name so she can stand apart from all the neighborhood Rosas and Marias. She won’t speak Spanish to her parents, and takes a job away from their bodega. But when the activist group The Young Lords comes to the Spanish Harlem, Evelyn takes notice. Author Sonia Manzano, who is better known as Maria on Sesame Street, interweaves this coming of age story with historical facts to paint a picture of Puerto Rican pride. (Grades 6 and up)


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