Have you heard about the huge patches of plastic debris that have accumulated in our oceans? Plastic, Ahoy!: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman, with photographs by Annie Crawley is a middle grade book that follows three young graduate students who take a voyage in 2009 to observe and sample the patch that has formed in the northern Pacific. Although I already shared this book on my science blog, I thought it was worth a second look for Nonfiction Monday.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was not discovered until 1997, although it has probably been in existence much longer than that. No one knows how much plastic debris is in the patch or what it is doing to the ocean ecosystem. Miriam Goldstein, Chelsea Rochman, and Darcy Taniguchi were at the forefront of some of the first discoveries, including that most of the plastic is broken bits the size of “confetti.” Not what you would probably visualize at all.
Author Patricia Newman keeps the text interesting for young children by including details that might intrigue them, for example recounting how the soda machine breaks down during the trip and how the team pulls a smelly dead squid onto the boat. Newman also spends time explaining how each of the graduate students developed her individual interest in science. Young readers will probably be able to relate to wading in tide pools, trips to Monterey Bay Aquarium or picking up trash for Earth Day.
The color photographs by Annie Crawley from the actual expedition make you feel like you are right there on the boat. They really make this book special, capturing all the action right down to that broken soda machine.
Plastic, Ahoy!: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an exciting and relevant introduction to science. You will want to share it with children interested in marine biology, chemistry or conservation. It would make perfect reading for Earth Day (April 22, 2014) or World Ocean Day (June 8, 2014). It would be a useful addition to a unit on the environment as well, particularly the marine ecosystem.
For the book trailer and suggestions for related activities, check out Growing With Science.
Library Binding: 48 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Pr Trade (January 1, 2014)
Disclosures: This book was provided for review via Blue Slip Media. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Join us at the new Nonfiction Monday blog.