A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book on global warming contains almost exactly the same information as the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. A few images -- like those from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- are disturbing, but the really upsetting part for kids will be that they get 166 pages of dire scientific evidence followed by just one brief chapter (#15) of ways people can impact the earth for the better. Parents may want to tackle this important subject with tweens more carefully than how it's presented here -- perhaps referring to chapter 15 every two or three chapters. A related website provides additional tips and reading.
What's the story?
Is it any good?
Kids may find the book a bit alarming and overwhelming -- and may need proactive parents to present the content with a hopeful tone. If you saw the documentary An Inconvenient Truth and were left feeling overwhelmed by what could be in store for our fragile planet and our fellow humans, now you can pass that feeling on to your kids; the content here is basically the same, generously illustrated with Gore's slides. What the publisher failed to grasp in the repurposing process was that kids need a different approach. You don't have to dumb the message down, but you don't have to spend all your time trying to convince them with graph after graph, either -- they're already much greener than the older generations.
Blink and you'll miss the brief mentions in Chapter 15 of alternative forms of power, fluorescent lightbulbs, green roofs, hybrid cars, and hydrogen fuel-cell buses. After that, a two-page spread (out of 190 total pages) encourages everyone to take action: Ride your bike, recycle, turn off lights, spread the word.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about where they stand on this issue and their concerns for the planet. Does this book and its warnings worry you? If so, what's the best way to deal with your concerns?
The current youth generation is already very aware of envirmnemental issues. Does the activism section go far enough or would you have liked a wider variety of ideas?
What can you start doing now to help the environment? Check out the activism tips from this website.
For kids who love helping the planet
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