This beautifully illustrated picture book is a biography of Rachel Carson (1907 - 1964); it is aimed at children grades 3 - 5. It is part of Thomas Locker's Images of Conservationists series, which also includes John Muir and Walking with Henry. Renowned Native American writer Joseph Bruchac provides the text.
Although she was raised on a farm in Pennsylvania, Rachel loved the ocean and all its power, beauty, and mystery. Her mother taught her the names and songs of birds and to see "the spirit in all things." Rachel studied biology in college and always was interested in writing. She discovered that "Sometimes nature lends a heart strength." As a young woman she was pleased to write radio scripts on the romance of the waters. Her first book was Under the Sea-Wind. This was followed by several other books on the sea which were written from her cottage on the coast of Maine. But the work which had the greatest impact on the world was Silent Spring where she charted the dangers of pesticides and other chemicals for the earth, the animals, and all life. As Joseph Bruchac puts it in the text: "[Her book] helped people understand that if we break one strand in the web of life, every other strand is in danger."
Rachel Carson's story is enhanced by Thomas Locker's painterly illustrations, a brief time-line, and a few quotes from her writings. Children will be inspired by this woman whose wonder and love of nature were fused together in her writing that helped many to see that we must save the planet by changing our ways. Here are two quotes from her:
• "Take time to listen and talk about the voices of earth and what they mean the majestic voice of thunder, the winds, the sound of surf or flowing streams."
• "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."