Written & Illustrated by: Stephanie Roth Sisson
For ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Historical Figures, Women in STEM, Activism, Environmental Activism, Trailblazers, Bravery, Courage.
Summary: Rachel is a little girl that LOVES nature. She loves walking through the woods and listening to all of the sounds that animals create around her. Birds, frogs, bats, and bugs! Rachel explores the world around her from every angle, staring at the sky and through a magnifying glass at the earth below her feet. She draws pictures and dreams of the ocean. Rachel’s favorite time of year is spring, when the animal sounds are most plentiful! When Rachel went to college, she was convinced she would be a writer, until she looked through a microscope. Rachel was blown away by the tiny life contained in a single drop of ocean water, and from then on she was hooked. Despite never having been to the ocean, Rachel wanted to learn as much as she could, and began to study biology. She became a scientist gathered information about the ocean, it was her job to swim around underwater and learn! Rachel also began to write books about the creatures that lived in the sea, and became very well-known. Around this time, Rachel also began to notice that nature’s voice was going quiet. Now Rachel had a new task, she wanted to figure out what was happening to the animals that used to be so loud and numerous.
Rachel began to learn about all of the ways scientists were using chemicals to kill bothersome insects, in attempts to help farmers have better crop yields. These chemicals seemed to be safe, but no one really knew for sure. Rachel started doing research, and found out that these chemicals were NOT safe, and harmed forest life. Rachel wrote a book entitled Silent Spring to let everyone know the dangers of using these chemicals. The book caused a huge stir and Rachel was even invited to speak with President Kennedy about her book! She was scared, but she did it anyway, just like all those years ago when she began going underwater for her job. Rachel was incredibly brave, and used this bravery to help let people know the dangers of putting chemicals into the environment. Because of Rachel’s testimony, some of the most harmful chemicals were banned, and animals began to return to the forest!
This book is a fabulous introduction to environmentalism, and a famous scientist! It repeatedly introduces bravery, and how bravery doesn’t mean a person isn’t scared when they do something. In the back there’s an Author’s Note, notes about specific pages with more detailed information, as well as sources for more information. Would definitely recommend to any group or classroom learning about nature or science!
- Have you ever listened to the sounds of nature in the forest before?
- What is something brave that you have done before, just like when Rachel went underwater even though she was scared?
- What would you like to do when you get older?
- Do you think it’s important to protect animals and natural habitats like Rachel?
Continuing the Conversation:
- Make your own coffee-can “microscopes” and see what you can find in a nearby pond or puddle. Draw your view!
- If you live near a town forest or woods, try taking a quiet nature walk once or twice every season and make notes about what you hear and see. Compare the notes of different seasons together and see if you can figure out which animals migrate and which ones hibernate!
- Learn more about what you can do in your community to help nature throughout the year. It might be making bird feeders to hang up, picking up litter on the bike path, or making sure that signs where animals cross the road frequently are visible from the road.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Stephanie Roth Sisson has been a traveler her whole life and these journeys have been physical (actually going places) and imaginative (through wonder and books) . Both are just as real. Her website is mostly photographs, which bring her adventures to life!