Review of When the World Runs Dry @algonquinyr @ncastaldoauthor

When the World Runs Dry

Nancy Castaldo

January 18, 2022

Algonquin Young Readers


What would you do if you turned on the faucet one day and nothing happened? What if you learned the water in your home was harmful to drink? Water is essential for life on this planet, but not every community has the safe, clean water it needs. In When the World Runs Dry, award-winning science writer Nancy Castaldo takes readers from Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey, to Iran and Cape Town, South Africa, to explore the various ways in which water around the world is in danger, why we must act now, and why you’re never too young to make a difference.

Topics include: Lead and water infrastructure problems, pollution, fracking contamination, harmful algal blooms, water supply issues, rising sea levels, and potential solutions. 

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Water. It’s one thing we all need and one that we also take for granted until the turn of your faucet delivers nothing or a water analysis shows over-the-limit toxins or chemicals derived coal mining or plastic factories or even farming and ranching. I thought I was environmentally aware until I read Nancy Castaldo’s illuminating and informative When the World Runs Dry which describes many real events that have contaminated water, how human beings have turned ground water to muck, and the environmental concerns of flooding and drought.

When the World Runs Dry is written for young adult readers but is really a book that we all should read in order to be more aware of what is going on around us, especially when the powers that be would rather we were all kept in the dark. In fact, the level of corruption among politicians (as well as corporation leaders in the coal, car, plastic and other industries in which run-off creates environmental hazards for the neighboring communities) who evidently would rather people die from the effects of drinking contaminated water than take responsibility and act is stupefying and does make you wonder if you shouldn’t be regularly having your own water analyzed since you can’t always trust that the government will inform you if there’s an issue. (Yes, if you couldn’t tell, Castaldo has really set a fire under me!)

In tandem, we see the results of building communities or farming in areas that were not meant to handle it–like deserts. Is it any surprise communities and farmers trying to thrive in deserts might someday run out of water and face dire situations? We human beings are not very good at accepting responsibility for our own ignorance.

This review is very close to turning into a rant (if it hasn’t reached there already) so I’ll be summing it up. When the World Runs Dry is easily understand, informative, and covers the issues at hand adeptly. The author provides a lot of statistics and facts for the real life examples she’s shared and plenty of references. Castaldo doesn’t just inform, she also offers suggestions on how we can help, what we can do. It’s really time we stop taking nature and its resources for granted and act before it’s too late for future generations and the planet as we know it.

Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for sending along a copy of When the World Runs Dry for an honest review–or in this case, rant. Read this one, folks.



5 out of 5 butterflies

One thought on “Review of When the World Runs Dry @algonquinyr @ncastaldoauthor

  1. I’ll join the rant! Arizona has issues with water and yet we/they continue to build homes for more people to come without much thought (apparently) for the future. At one time, there was even talk of a water pipeline from Alaska! I now live in a climate where we seem to have a lot of water (based on rain) and perhaps we should be harvesting that. All very scary. Thank you for sharing this book.

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