REVIEW: Tracking Trash by Loree Griffin Burns

Today we bring you a review of a title nominated in this year’s middle grade and young adult nonfiction category: Tracking Trash, by Loree Griffin Burns (Amazon link, BookSense link), reviewed by Mindy from Mindy was the administrator for this category last year, and is on this year’s nominating committee. She is a Collection Development Librarian at a book distributor, and was previously a young adult librarian. She’s been blogging since 2003 (an eternity in the kidlitosphere), and says on her blog: "I try to blog each and every book I read, which results in an odd mix of children’s, teen, and adult books. Occasionally I post book lists or other book related tidbits I found interesting." Her blog is professional, varied in content, and frequently updated: a must-visit among children’s book blogs.

Mindy reviewed Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion back in March, after working with author Loree Griffin Burns on the 2006 Cybils (Loree was a volunteer on the MG/YA nonfiction committee). Although Mindy acknowledged her potential bias in having worked with Loree, she said: "I didn’t want to let that deter me from reviewing the title because it really deserves the attention. Particularly with all the attention on the environment with the popularity of the global warming message, Tracking Trash is not to be missed." Here’s more from the review:

Cleaning up the ocean "would be like mowing the state of Texas… twice."

Most of us probably don’t think about trash once we throw it out, but some scientists actually spend their careers studying what happens to the trash that ends up in our oceans. Particularly the nearly 1,000 nautical miles of floating plastic trash that is stuck in a swirling vortex of ocean currents between California and Hawaii. That’s twice the size Texas and 3 million tons of plastic refuse that scientists refer to as "The Garbage Patch."

One scientist actually said that "plastic debris [has come] to be the most common surface feature of the world’s oceans."

Tracking Trash follows the research of several scientists and shows how floating garbage has helped them in their oceanographic research from a scientist who is obsessed with what washes up on beaches to another who tracks "ghost nets"-abandoned fishing nets…

Click here to read the full review, with links to additional resources, and recommendations for a target audience for the book.

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