Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Laura Perdew
Publisher: ABDO Publishing Company
Droughts afflict California, spawning job loss, agricultural failures, wildfires, endangered species, and disease. Since 2012—the start of the region’s worst drought in 1,200 years—Californians have faced more pressure to control their water usage, including letting their green lawns lapse. However, the weather cannot be controlled, and in recent years, temperatures have risen, less rain has fallen, and less mountain snowpack has accumulated. In short, California’s water supply is not meeting the demand for water, and drought may become a way of life. From farming to local businesses, citizens have reduced usage, but political decisions and scientific discoveries must also contribute. No single solution will resolve the drought in California or globally, but becoming aware of the issue through this book is a start.
Part of the new Essential Library series on ecological disasters, this book will be useful for middle-school teachers and budding student scientists. Written in a professional yet approachable tone, the text invites readers to dig deeply to answer thoughtful questions such as, “How do humans influence droughts?” “What environmental factors are at play in a drought?” “What is the history of droughts?” and “What can be done to sustain life in a drought?” Teachers will appreciate the up-to-date information and solid nonfiction text features—a table of contents, glossary, index, and list of sources. Students will gravitate toward the easy-to-access text with many headings, a summary page of key facts, and a cause-and-effect flowchart. With colorful photographs of nature and people on each page, interesting quotes from those affected by droughts, and sidebars with additional news updates, the book provides an all-encompassing look for middle-school readers at this ecological disaster and a call to action for decision-makers and ordinary citizens alike.