Climate change is a major issue on the world’s political agenda but it has also become the motivator for a major campaign by young activists across the globe. Inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, there have been waves of pupil strikes to ensure the voice of the younger generation is heard and to try and galvanise politicians and world leaders into action before it’s too late.
‘We Are All Greta’ has been written by Valentina Giannella to help readers understand the climate emergency and what can be done to help.
This book aims to inform but not frighten. It sets out the facts surrounding climate change (taken from reliable sources) in short, readable chapters, making use of graphs, illustrations and quotes to break up the text.
Although it may be a challenging read for primary-aged children, I would think ‘We Are All Greta’ would be enjoyed by some of the most-able Year 6 readers and tweens. The fact that chapters are kept short and tricky vocabulary explained in the glossary at the back help make this book more accessible to its youngest readers.
I was able to ask the author, Valentina, some questions about the process of writing this fascinating book:
Q1. Why did you decide the time was right compile a book about climate change for younger tween readers?
Greta Thunberg has sparked interest in Climate Change in teens all over the world, and whilstpreparing my children and their classmates for their first global climate strike, I realized there was so much that needed to be explained and understood on this topic. Not only from the students’ side but also for us adults: we didn’t have reliable sources to look into. The only reliable source was the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports, but thesereally needed to be translated for a wider audience. This was when the idea of the book was born.
Q2. How did you decide which concepts were the most important to address?
I simply followed Greta’s speeches and the IPCC highlights and warnings; then I worked together with climatologists from the European Environment Agency, to sum up the info that would allow the reader to have a comprehensive,yet essential, perspective on the topic.
Q3. Was it difficult to represent data in a way which would be easy for young people to easily interpret?
I have two children – one in upper primary and one at secondary school. I studied the reports and then summarised them in a way that could be understood by them. Of course, I had to take into consideration the fact that the topic could also been quite frightening, and scaremongering was something that I wanted to avoid. Knowledge, notfear, was the aim of all this.
Q4. What was the greatest challenge in creating this book for its intended age range?
Positive communication was the constant challenge.
Q5. Why do you think young people have been so inspired by Greta Thunberg to take up the cause of climate change?
Because she is not afraid of speaking up to those who are not listening to scientific fact. She is a hero and a role model for them: someone who wants to be in the know so that she doesn’t have to sit back and wait for someone else to decide on her future. I think this is something most teenagers could relate to, all over the world.
Q6. Can you give three key messages you’d like readers to take away and implement in their own lives?
1) Keep yourself informed by following the most reliable scientific sources. Don’t listen to opinions, look for facts and for those who study them.
2) Take two types of climate actions: your personal ones (reduce, reuse, refuse) but also public ones: asking your representatives to take the necessary measures to tackle climate change, with no compromises.
3) Ask yourself in what kind of future you want to live in – and work in that direction. Research and choose a job that does not exploit natural resources but can support your professional ambitions whilst protecting or enhancing our planet.
‘We Are All Greta’ will answer young readers’ questions and inspire them to do what they can to protect our planet.
*Thank you to Laurence King Publishing for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. Make sure you visit all the other stops too!*