Old Enough to Save the Planet by Loll Kirby, illustrated by Adelina Lirius, foreword by Kallan Benson

 

Old Enough to Save the Planet: 
Be Inspired by Real-Life Children Taking Action Against Climate Change
illustrated by Adelina Lirius
foreword by Kallan Benson, co-founder of Fridays for Future


Kirby, a primary school teacher, profiles twelve contemporary climate activists from around the world who are also children. Using a picture book format to present these diverse mini-biographies, Kirby and Lirius, who has the challenge of illustrating the acts of conservation and education, have created an engaging way to inform and inspire the youngest readers. A thoughtful format keeps information organized across each two-page spread and throughout the book, which has much to offer. The efforts and impact of Greta Thunberg make a book like this possible (and needed) and are recognized by Kallan Benson, co-founder of Fridays for Future, in her foreword. Sharing her realization at age nine that she do more than worry about climate change, she quotes Thunberg, who says, "You are never too small to make a difference," adding her own motto, "Everyone is a changemaker."

Starting with cameos of the twelve young activists that include their name(s) and countries, along with brief descriptions of their efforts, Old Enough to Save the Planet then devotes a two-page spread to each child, their name, country and changemaking efforts noted in the lower, righthand corner of each spread. Each spread leads with an introduction that begins with the word, "I'm." Starters like "I'm big enough to save our trees . . . " and "I'm powerful enough to preserve the environment . . ." empower readers from the start. A paragraph details the efforts of each climate activist, with campaigns ranging from planting trees and reintroducing native plants and animals, cleaning trash off the shore and creating community gardens to reduce food waste and promote pollination as well as educating others about the dangers of single-use plastic, poaching rhinos and the responsible use of palm oil to reduce the destruction of rainforests. Throughout illustrations, small word chunks add to information, giving the illustrations an active feel.

Back matter includes Kirby's excellent suggestions for helping to save the planet (buy less stuff, eat less meat, save energy at home whenever possible) that are genuinely doable for young readers. She goes on to give inspired readers a list of ten things "you can do to make your voice heard and further reading.

Old Enough to Save the Planet is a superb starting place, for young and old, to educate, inspire and encourage us to do more.

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