In this illustrated story, two children and their mother discuss the impacts of climate change, concluding that young people must create new technologies to stop exploitation of the natural world.
The mother and her children, Tom and Kate, are watching television when a press conference with Greta Thunberg comes over the air. The reporter and Thunberg discuss climate change. Afterward, Tom and Kate mention the Children’s Rebellion, a climate change protest movement in the UK.
The mother then asks Kate and Tom if they can “remember some of the extreme events that we believe have been due to temperature changes.” Kate responds first. “Yes, THE FLOODS,” she says. “Our teacher at school, Mrs. Khan, taught us that in the UK there have been many more cases of flooding in recent years. Whole towns have lost their homes and businesses…” The children then name a host of other climate-related issues, including fires, damage to coral reefs, diminishing wildlife, the breaking up of ice sheets in the Antarctic, and more.
The book’s illustrations are soft and engaging, supporting the narrative well. But overall, the book feels more like an essay meant to persuade than a story. Many pages offer dense text blocks filled with language that will be difficult for young readers (“technological attempts,” “gelatinous,” “ecosystems,” “cross-breed”) and include challenging concepts with little explanation (e.g., cobalt and lithium mining for electric batteries).
With their mature analysis of the situation, the children sound like adults. And the story ends on an abrupt note with the mother telling her children it’s “up to young people” to invent a way out of the problem. Stated so flatly, her final message doesn’t fit the urgency expressed earlier in the narrative.
While the author’s aims are admirable, the book’s presentation falters. Revision is required to more closely target the intended readership and to make the book seem less like a report and more like a story with credible characters and conversation.
Also available as an ebook.