Dawn’s book pick about what is climate change for young readers

Title: What is Climate Change?, by Gail Herman

A recommendation by Dawn Drayton


Published by: Penguin Workshop

Age level 8-12 years, Grades 3-7

Although this is a US publication and focuses on developments and politics in the US, it is extremely relevant to the world who need positive action from the US on climate change decisions. The book begins by demonstrating the impact of climate change on polar bears. With simple black and white drawings Herman clearly shows how the habitat of the polar bear has been affected by the melting of polar ice. The weather, she points out, is softening permafrost, melting polar ice and threatening coastal homes.

Picture of book: What is Climate Change? The need for protective greenhouse gases are explained simply. “Greenhouse gases, however, can stop the heat from leaving. They trap it, like a blanket traps your body heat to keep you warm at night. Without greenhouse gases, the planet would be a cold lonely place. “ Unfortunately, new records for the highest ever global temperatures have been set in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and the reason given is that levels of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon, have risen.

I was particularly moved by the explanation of how much greenhouse gas is emitted by the things we do. Did you know that the cement, steel, and plastic industries produce 31% of the worlds greenhouse gases? Plugging in, the process of generating and using electricity, is responsible for another 27%. Our beautiful pastoral gardens and farms, plants and animals, produce 19% of the problem. The whole transportation industry including cars, planes, trucks and ships, produces 16% of emissions worldwide. Heating, cooling, and refrigeration cause 7% of emissions of which one third comes from furnaces and water heaters for the world’s buildings.

There is a historical review of climate change over millions of years and young readers can learn for themselves how climate affects living things by examining tree rings, which are wider in warm years and thinner in cold years. Although our planet settled into natural climate cycles, those cycles have sped up over the past 100 years. And it's humans and their impact that are making the difference.

Sixteen pages of photographs illustrate various aspects of climate change. Particularly sad are the "then and now" photographs of an Alaskan glacier which has lost mass and volume due to melting. Herman ends with a discussion of what is to be believed and why some people doubt. Finally, she discusses the link between fighting climate change and politics. Although the legislature discussed is American, it introduces the maturing child to how controversial and important climate change is.

Families For Change Program

If you and your family are concerned about climate change and plastic pollution but don’t really know where to start doing something about it, GBF has a program for you. It’s called Families For Change (F4C).GBF has identified different things cottagers and area residents can do to help combat climate change and protect Georgian Bay. To get started on a task list, click here . If you want to print it, here is a black and white version black and white version

A little bit about the reviewer

Dawn Drayton, pictured below at the cottage with her husband, has been an incredible volunteer for Georgian Bay Forever for years - including being an active member of the fundraising and education committees. We thank her so much for her passion. At GBF, we are always hoping to connect with passionate people. It can even start with a book and author recommendation. If you want to submit one, please contact the education committee for consideration. We are looking for books that tell stories and or provide information that will help to illuminate and engage our fellow Georgian Bayers on protecting the water. Email us with the subject line Book Club Reco at info@gbf.org.