Behind the Headlines
Explore our world, one headline at a time.
World Book Editors break down the news in our Behind the Headlines feature allowing for a deeper understanding of the complex events that shape our world today. Behind the Headlines articles are carefully crafted presenting the latest national and world news, science discoveries, current events and other top stories and are simplified for young readers.


Ophelia Harries Ireland

On Monday, October 16, tropical storm Ophelia roared through the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, killing three people in Ireland and causing damage in parts of the United Kingdom. Ophelia, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in that part of the Atlantic, was an unusual occurrence.

Recovering Puerto Rico

On the heels of Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Katia, Hurricane Maria churned through the Caribbean Sea in mid-September 2017. The storm hit the islands of the Lesser Antilles hard, but Maria saved its worst for Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States.

California Wildfires

On Monday, October 9, multiple wildfires swept across northern California, destroying some 2,000 homes and other buildings, killing 17 people and displacing tens of thousands of others. California Governor Jerry Brown declared states of emergency in Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma, and Yuba counties, where the destruction is worst.

Central Mexico Shakes

Two days ago, on September 19, a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico, collapsing buildings and killing more than 240 people in Mexico City, the capital, and in the states of Guerrero, México, Morelos, Oaxaca, and Puebla.

Irma’s Heavy Impact

Last week, on September 6, the massive storm known as Hurricane Irma began ravaging the Leeward Islands of the eastern Caribbean Sea. The storm then roared over Puerto Rico and Cuba before reaching southern Florida on September 10.

Mexico’s Terrifying Temblor

​Just before midnight on Thursday, September 7, a powerful earthquake caused death and destruction in southern Mexico. The 8.1-magnitude quake, the strongest in the region in decades, centered just off the Pacific coast states of Chiapas and Oaxaca.

Mudslide Disaster in Sierra Leone

​Last week, in the early hours of August 14, heavy rains and flooding caused a massive mudslide on the outskirts of Freetown, the capital city of the small west African nation of Sierra Leone. The mudslide buried parts of Regent, a settlement perched on the slopes of Mount Sugar Loaf overlooking Freetown.

London’s Grenfell Tragedy

​Last month, on June 14, a fire destroyed much of Grenfell Tower, a 24-story apartment building in London, England. The fire, which took place in the city’s Kensington district, killed at least 80 people—the deadliest fire in London since World War II (1939-1945).