Mario and the Hole in the Sky – How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch

Mario and the Hole in the Sky – How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.), Non-Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

The true story of how a scientist saved the planet from environmental disaster.

Mexican American Mario Molina is a modern-day hero who helped solve the ozone crisis of the 1980s. Growing up in Mexico City, Mario was a curious boy who studied hidden worlds through a microscope. As a young man in California, he discovered that CFCs, used in millions of refrigerators and spray cans, were tearing a hole in the earth’s protective ozone layer. Mario knew the world had to be warned–and quickly. Today Mario is a Nobel laureate and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His inspiring story gives hope in the fight against global warming.

Science is full of possibilities.

Mario had such a loving and supportive family. They even cleared out an unused bathroom in their house so he could perform science experiments when he was a kid! I smiled as I read about the many other ways they supported his interest in science even when it led to a few unpleasant mixtures of chemicals. That’s exactly the sort of home every child should grow up in!

This picture book didn’t seem to be written with a clear audience in mind. Some portions were lighthearted, playful, and seemed to be meant for preschoolers. Other sections were much more serious and complex and probably would be more appealing to middle schoolers or even adults. As much as I enjoyed learning about Mario Molina’s life and scientific achievements, I’d struggle to figure out who to share this with and how to simplify the science in it for kids who haven’t studied chemistry yet.

With that being said, it was so interesting to learn the history of who discovered that humans were causing the destruction of the ozone layer around Earth back in the 1980s and how he convinced the world to stop using products that were making this problem worse. It was inspiring to learn how everyone pulled together to solve this crisis, and it gave me a lot of hope for all of the current efforts to reduce pollution and slow down or maybe even figure out how to reverse climate change today.

Mario and the Hole in the Sky – How a Chemist Saved Our Planet was exciting.

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