Secrets of Sound by April Pulley Sayre

by April Pulley Sayre

(Suggested reading level: Grades 4-7)

Amber (10) loves science, especially topics dealing with animals, and the Scientists in the Field series is perfect for her. Amber and I read this together and we both enjoyed this look at bioacousticians, scientists who study sounds made by mammals, insects, birds, frogs and other creatures.

Squeaks. Wails. Whistles. Snorts. Songs. Drumming. Allover the globe, animals are making sounds, and these days, more than ever, scientists are listening to them. (pg. 7)

Dr. Christopher Clark listens whale songs.  Katy Payne studies elephants’ communication and their use of infrasound which is too low for humans to hear. Bill Evans listens to night migrating bird and has set up a website, oldbird.org, to help others listen from their own homes. Others work on projects studying hippos and kangaroo rats. The variety of information they collect and how they do it is fascinating. One thing they all seem to have in common, aside from their love of animals, is the importance they place on conservation. They hope to use their research not only to learn more about the animals, but also to protect them.

Besides learning a lot about scientific research, tools, and theories, I love how this book encourages children to follow their passions wherever they lead. Not all scientists started out in their fields. Some were musicians, some were working on other projects. Like life, a career is not necessarily a straight line. I also like how it encourages girls in particular, often showcasing women who are making huge contributions to the field.

“I think that one of my contributions has been as a role model, to women particularly,” says Randall. “We have more women student in our department than men. So I want to tell young women out there that they can be anything they want to be. If they want to be a field biologist, and go out in the desert alone at night, they can do it. There’s no limit to what women can do in biology.” (pg. 55-56)

That’s just great for our daughters to hear, isn’t it?

First published in 2002
Scientists in the Field
59 pages

Challenges: 100+

I purchased our copy and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.

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