Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has been declared as Time magazine person of the year for her defiant and impassioned plea to have the world take note of the climate emergency we are in the middle of. Thunberg has certainly led the way with her unusual protest, but this is a year which has seen the youth come forward to fight the good fight across the world — from Chile to Hong Kong to India, the young have mounted spirited civil resistance to uphold economic, academic and civil rights:
“I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic…I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.” Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg’s urgent plea is the crux of Jeanette Winter’s picture book, Our House Is on Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call to Save the Planet (2019, appropriate for 4+ years). Winter speaks of Thunberg’s early years of solitary protest outside the Swedish Parliament every Friday and how she comes to slowly gather together a group of like-minded young climate activists who don’t hesitate to hold the powers that be accountable for their unconscionable exploitation of nature. A quick introduction to Thunberg’s story, it speaks of how little people can often bring about big changes.
Thunberg’s story is also the subject of Greta’s Story: The Schoolgirl Who Went On Strike To Save The Planet, written by Valentina Camerini, Veronica Carratello and Moreno Giovannoni, but for slightly older readers (appropriate for 10+ years). Told in greater detail, it speaks of how the Nobel Prize nominee ushered in a movement simply by speaking up.
All Malala Yousafzai wanted as a child was a shot at magic that would allow her to draw herself a new reality. After all, her dreams were a reality for so many other girls like her across the world: a shot at education and an opportunity to become more. In Malala’s Magic Pencil (2017, appropriate for 5+ years), Pakistani youth icon Yousafzai speaks of the perilous quest for education that nearly killed her and the hope and determination that eventually restored her.
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