Oil Spill! Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

Oil Spill! Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico by Elaine Landau is a succinct account of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in April of 2010 and the subsequent oil spill. The book has been nominated for a Cybils award in the MG/YA nonfiction category.

Although the oil-soaked pelican on the cover might suggest something else, Landau chose to concentrate on how the spill occurred and the technological challenges involved in trying to stop the spill and cleaning it up in the first three chapters. The disastrous effects of the spill are limited to four pages in Chapter 4, and the remainder of the book is devoted to what can be done. In the back matter is a two page spread of past oil spills.

The book is illustrated with color photographs and detailed drawings of the drilling equipment.

I liked that the book was factual and straightforward, not at all alarmist. It is perfect for middle grade readers, and would be appropriate for earth science units or Earth Day studies.

Here’s a fabulous hands-on science activity to accompany Oil Spill.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
School & Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Press (March 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 076137485X
ISBN-13: 978-0761374855

Be sure to look for more information about children’s books at today’s Book Talk Tuesday.


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