Readers, I receive a HUGE number of nonfiction titles to preview. I’m doing my best to tell you about many of them, but sometimes I run across one that demands I share it with you immediately. This book, Who on Earth is Aldo Leopold? Father of Wildlife Ecology, will not wait its turn.
Written by Glenn Scherer and Marty Fletcher
Series: Scientists Saving the Earth
Other scientists in the series: Dian Fossey, Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle , Archie Carr
Publisher’s Description: Aldo Leopold was an American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. He helped create the world’s first designated wilderness area. He was also influential in the development of modern environmental ethics and in the movement for wilderness preservation. In this biography, authors Glenn Scherer and Marty Fletcher chronicle the life and work of Aldo Leopold, who has been called the most significant conservationist of the 20th century.
When I opened the box and saw this title, Who on Earth is Alan Leopold?, I echoed that several times "Who is that? Why is he important? Why haven’t I seen a biography on this person before?" Once I began reading, I wondered again why publishers haven’t shared more on Alan Leopold. Then I remembered… Ah! publishers are publishing only the biographies that they have determined school librarians will purchase. They don’t take huge risks these days.
Publishers know the state curriculums around the country include people like Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr.,. Cesar Chavez, and George Washington Carver. Look at how many biographies you have already on your shelves for a limited number of people. Where are the new and interesting people that we want to learn about? Librarians, whenever you see new people, you need to purchase those books and send the message that we are a diverse group and we need a more divergent group of biographies to offer our students – especially in middle school when they are sick & tired of rehashing the same biographical information year after year. Give them something new this year. Give them the Scientists Saving the Earth series.
I went around to the middle school science teachers in my building and asked them what they knew about Aldo Leopold. Can you imagine their frustration when his name didn’t ring any bells? Science teachers are like librarians and they want to KNOW their subjects – all of them. The teachers were happy to tell me lots of facts about all the other members of this series and they practically snatched this title out of my hands to skim quickly so they could discuss him intelligently. We agreed that his contributions to science and his view of "the land ethic" were so significant, that our students must study this father of wildlife ecology.
I love this book! I like the way it is laid out, the mixing of black and white and color photos throughout the text, how fluidly the text reads, and the design features that break a great deal of information into manageable chunks of text. I love how the authors do not shy from controversy but they point out the positions and ideals that Aldo Leopold expressed that WERE controverisal at the time. The authors write:
"Leopold’s belief that all plants and animals in an ecosystem are valuable and have a right to exist for their own sake is still controversial."
Mom, that means you cannot continue to kill every snake you see, set them on fire, drown them, and then jump up and down on their remains. According to Aldo Leopold, those snakes form an integral part of our ecosystem because "the elimination of one "problem" species leads to other, unanticipated problems."
Readers, these titles are an excellent addition to your middle school science collection. Expect heavy usage.