Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Friday, September 7, 2018

Back from the Brink

Back from the Brink: Saving Animals from Extinction 
by Nancy F. Castaldo
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018
Grades 4-8

In her latest science book for middle grade readers, Nancy Castaldo travels across the globe to highlight seven endangered animals. Readers are given a first-hand look at how scientists and conservationists are working to increase the population of animals that are on the brink of extinction.

The author travels to Wisconsin where the whooping crane population plummeted to just sixteen birds in 1941. In the Galapagos, tortoises are endangered due to climate change, pollution, tourism, and overpopulation. Other featured animals include gray wolves, alligators, bison, California condors and bald eagles.

Each chapter includes historical information and factors that contributed to the animal's decline as well as laws passed to protect them. Most of the book focuses on the actions of conservationists and the creative ways scientists have worked to increase populations such as using ultralight aircraft to teach whooping cranes new migration patterns. Photographs capture animals in the wild as well as scientists banding birds and treating condors for lead poisoning.

In addition to being an informational book, Back from the Brink is also a persuasive text that calls readers to action. Castaldo shares tips for what we can do to help including planting native plants and contacting elected officials. Back matter includes a list of films, books websites and organizations related to saving endangered animals.

Share Back from the Brink with kids who have a passion for animals and the environment. It would also be an ideal book for middle school students who are writing persuasive essays or debating topics related to the climate change, pollution, the environment and endangered animals.

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