Microplastics and Me

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An inspiring first-person account of a contemporary middle school girl tackling a global environmental problem through engineering.

Microplastics—the broken down byproduct of plastic items we toss out every day—are choking our oceans. But middle-schooler Anna Du is on the case! Now a top science fair winner, Anna shares her account of how she went from worrying about the environment to designing award-winning solutions. Writing for kids her own age, Anna alerts her readers to the threat of microplastics pollution and urges them to care about the environment. She leads them through the frustrating-yet-rewarding process of design, engineering, and invention. This book could inspire a generation of inventors and engineers!


Author: Anna Du
Age Range : 9-12
Grades: 3-6
SKU: N/A Category: Product ID: 16254

Book Details:

  • ISBN: 9781943431502 
  • Genre: Children's Nonfiction: Science & Nature/Environmental Conservation & Protection
  • Page Count: 32
  • Age Range: 9-12
  • Grades: 3-6
  • Pub Date: 01/02/2020

Anna Du is a student in Massachusetts. Her interest in saving the ocean from plastics pollution helped her place first in her state science and engineering fair, become a nationally recognized Broadcom MASTERS semifinalist, and win scholarships. Anna’s work over the past few years, has evolved substantially in both complexity and scope. Following up with her internationally recognized, and award winning work on microplastics for the past 4 years, she has been trying to solve two major problems encountered during her previous phases of research on how to identify, collect, and eliminate microplastics from the ocean. However, she encountered major issues with how to continously power an autonomous underwater vehicle for extended periods of research, and what to do with the plastics that were found, since there is no way to recycle bio-contaminated plastics such as the ones found on the ocean floor.

So, she proceeded to study various means of converting biofouled plastics into useful carbon materials such as graphene, diamond and nanotubes — and she researched how to do so, using an advanced form of pyrolysis (a means of turning plastic back into usable fuel or other materials). Using the byproduct from this process as one potential source of feedstock, Anna theorized a new patent-pending process to create a stack of diamond-like materials, in conjunction with waste nuclear fuel, to make a new photo-thermo-betavoltaic device, capable of producing highly efficient renewable energy, in remote environments such as space, extreme climates, oceanic applications and more. Her device not only produces renewable energy in locations that are otherwise difficult to produce reliable energy, but helps in reducing both nuclear and plastic waste. Realizing the importance of her invention, she filed a patent, and intends to use these technologies to help the world meet its carbon emission net-zero goals in the coming years. Her success has been documented in newspapers, magazines, and national television programs.

Anna’s latest bio and achievements can be found at: www.annadu.org and deepplastics.org/  See her Tumbleocity workshop linked here.   And see her book trailer linked here.   Learn more about microplastics in this cool video by Anna.



“[…] More than just another educational survey of conservation issues, this proactive, ‘can do’ model for conservation activism is essential reading for elementary to middle grade learners also concerned about environmental degradation. The first thing to note about Microplastics and Me is that it’s narrated in the first person by the young author and includes a wealth of colorful photographs capturing not just issues, but her love of collecting sea glass on the beach in the lovely environment of the New England shoreline.
[…]Microplastics and Me is a highly recommended, unique standout in the world of children’s conservation writing. Its young author’s enthusiasm, research, and concrete science fair tips are extraordinarily helpful and hopeful for fellow would-be young conservationists.”
– Midwest Book Review 
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