Just like The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming, A Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids is a book explaining climate change and what children can do about it. It is exciting to see children’s authors addressing the topic in an accessible, age-appropriate manner. It is also encouraging to see the information about climate change presented along with inspiration for change, hopefully preventing children from experiencing the environmental depression I sometimes feel.
One difference between these books is the publishers. The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming is published by Scholastic, a major publisher of children’s books whom I have criticized in the past. In contrast, A Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids is the first publication of the independent company Green Goat Books. According to Green Goat Books,
We strive through planet friendly, progressive, and challenging books to support the development of progressive kids, so that the next generation will be prepared and motivated to care for our planet and the many forms of life that live on it.
Green Goat Books’ parent company is Progressive Kid, which defines a “progressive kid” as having these seven values:
- Love and protect living things
- Act on principle
- Strive to be self-aware
- Live healthfully
- Honor difference
- Challenge gender roles
- Think creatively
These values also reflect my goals as a parent for my children. All of the products sold at Progressive Kid support these principles, including their very first publication of Green Goat Books, A Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids.
There are many ideas in A Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids for school teachers and home school parents. For example, one action item is called, “Replace Fear with Solutions.” I find this a refreshing perspective, given the fear mongering of our politicians and media. For this activity, the children are asked to write down five things that scare them about climate change and then brainstorm solutions. Children are also encouraged to share their thoughts with friends and families, as well as find out how that person feels about it. This is good advice for adults too! So here are five things (there are more!) that scare me about climate change:
- It will become inhospitable where I live, where summertime temperatures can reach 100 degrees already.
- We will run out of fresh water to drink and our creek will dry up, causing us to lose our off-the-grid power source.
- We will be unable to grow enough food to support the global population.
- The poor will suffer the most, creating a widening of the socioeconomic gap.
- There will be mass extinctions of animal and plant life.
A Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids has been endorsed by one of my heroes Bill McKibben. He writes,
What’s so dangerous about global warming is that it leaves many people feeling hopeless, as if nothing they could do would matter. This fine book makes it clear that that’s not the case, and from changing light bulbs to changing laws it shows young people how they are able to help.
This book is recommended for children ages nine and up. I highly recommend it, as I feel it is important to support independent publishers that represent your values. Informing and empowering children is key to solving our current climate crisis.