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Children's Nonfiction Environmental Conservation & Protection

Chemical World

Science in Our Daily Lives

by (author) Rowena Rae

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Apr 2020
Environmental Conservation & Protection, Environmental Science & Ecosystems, Chemistry
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2020
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


Chemical World: Science in Our Daily Lives explores some of the materials—all of which are made of basic chemical elements—that humans use or come into contact with in their day-to-day lives. Some of these chemicals are naturally occurring—clay, mercury, lead. Others have been synthesized by chemists during the past 150 years and used in a bewildering array of products ranging from roof shingles to toothpaste. Many chemical inventions, as well as naturally produced chemicals, have had profound effects on food supply, developing medicines and creating hosts of useful items for modern life.
Despite people using both natural and synthetic chemicals with (mainly) good intentions, some chemicals have had unintended negative consequences. Chemical residues have contaminated ecosystems the world over and are compromising the health of many ecosystems, animals and humans. The goal of Chemical World: Science in our Daily Lives is to introduce readers to basic chemistry and chemical history, and to show how chemicals are used for particular reasons but sometimes turn out to be harmful to environmental and human health. It invites readers to take a look at the world around them and ask questions about what’s in their environment and how the things they use and eat every day can affect their own health and the planet’s health.

About the author

Rowena Rae worked as a biologist specializing in aquatic ecosystems in Canada and New Zealand before becoming a freelance writer, editor and children’s author. She is the author of Rachel Carson and Ecology for Kids, as well as Chemical World and Upstream, Downstream in the Orca Footprints line. Rowena writes both fiction and nonfiction from her home in Victoria, British Columbia.


Rowena Rae's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection
  • Commended, Junior Library Guild Selection

Editorial Reviews

“Gives young eco-activists a leg up on the uses and dangers of classes of chemicals.”

Kirkus Reviews

“An easy and condensed scientific look at chemicals and their interactions with the natural world…Would do well in a middle school classroom.”

School Library Journal

“Leads the reader logically through the facts about chemicals as they impact everyday life...Grabs your attention firmly on the first page and ensures it won’t waver throughout. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“An important book to help children understand and protect their world.”


“Clearly well researched, the text presents organic/inorganic and natural/synthetic issues in a balanced, factual manner...For those readers interested in the subject, and in the environment and activism, it will prove very helpful.”

School Library Connection

Other titles by Rowena Rae