Two Nonfiction Titles for Teens About Climate Change and the Fight for a Greener Future

These two titles focus on the climate crisis, providing accessible information and ­up-­to-date scientific data.

Climate change and global warming are not fake news. Young climate advocates such as Greta Thunberg, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, and Vanessa Nakate are tirelessly working to push environmental activism to the forefront of social discussions. These two titles focus on the climate crisis, providing accessible information and ­up-­to-date scientific data. Klein’s impassioned text will encourage readers to take action. McPherson offers a readable work that spotlights real people around the globe.

Klein, Naomi. How To Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other. adapted by Rebecca Stefoff. 336p. S. & S./Atheneum. Feb. 2021. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534474529.
Gr 8 Up–Do you remember learning the three Rs of environmentalism—reduce, reuse, and recycle? Klein says a fourth, more important, R exists—the root. This root has many fibers (primarily capitalism and consumerism), but they all grow from humanity’s subjugation of the Earth. Humans have arrived at a climate change cliff formed in the last 300 years due to mankind’s insatiable hunger for fossil-fueled energy. Some damage to the ground, air, and water by extracting and burning those fuels is irreversible, but by acting now, the planet can be saved from disaster. Industrialized countries caused the biggest share of this damage, according to Klein. Because these countries created most of the problem, they should be responsible for reversing the effects, which disproportionately impact poorer and marginalized people. Klein discusses the need for a Green New Deal: a systemic, comprehensive, and permanent overhauling of the capitalistic and consumer-driven cultures of industrial society. She reminds readers that the United States has done it before. FDR’s New Deal and the Marshall Plan were successful restructuring efforts that overhauled domestic and international systems. Klein encourages young people to get involved in groups that will work to reverse climate change. At more than 300 pages, this is still a daunting abridgment of Klein’s adult title. However, her well-presented ideas are engaging and comprehensible. She reminds readers there is no Planet B. VERDICT A necessary purchase to educate teens on the seriousness of climate change and the imperative to enact change now.–Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area Dist. Lib., Holt, MI

McPherson, Stephanie Sammartino. Hothouse Earth: The Climate Crisis and the Importance of Carbon Neutrality. 136p. Lerner/Twenty-First Century. Mar. 2021. Tr $37.32. ISBN 9781541579170.
Gr 6-8–This title explores climate change in an accessible yet slightly academic way and will help students understand the causes and consequences of this issue. McPherson does a fantastic job of breaking down the science behind global warming and climate change. She uses examples that spotlight real people in different parts of the world. The language can be challenging but is not overwhelming or inaccessible. McPherson connects climate change to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which many schools are currently exploring. This aspect of the work could allow educators to use the book for more than one class. The reading level and subject are perfect for middle school students. The text could be used as a reference source or it could be read cover-to-cover without feeling tedious. VERDICT A great addition to middle school libraries, particularly in schools that are incorporating the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in their curriculums.–Carol Youssif, Taipei American Sch., Taiwan

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