Told as a series of vignettes about her life, each located in a different environments that influenced her, Amy Erlich’s Rachel – The Story of Rachel Carson, tells the story of her life beginning as a little girl and ending with the legacy that she left behind. Wendell Minor’s beautiful paintings help the reader to imagine what Rachel felt when surrounded by nature, whether on top of a mountain or by the seaside. There is plenty of detail about where she lived and what she studied, but Erlich presents it in a personal way so that the reader feels like they know Rachel and can follow her path. She shows what inspired her and how she used her education and her writing skills to teach people about the importance of conservation and the dangers of using chemicals that affected the animals she loved. Rachel Carson was a quiet figure who led an amazing life and Erlich writes about her in a way that honors her personality as well as her legacy.
Suggested Ages – This is a great story for readers in grades 3-5, particularly students studying biography in school. It is a neat example of a technique for outlining a life through chronological snapshots and settings. The details provided help students to understand how to incorporate facts into a story-like book.