Climate change is a vast subject to tackle in a children’s book, but this 72-page illustrated nonfiction guide does so with boldness and determination, not to mention a solid grasp of the facts.
Aimed at readers ages 8-12, Our World Out of Balance demystifies some of the changes that are happening to—and harming—our planet, with clearly labelled sections covering global warming, deforestation, urbanization, and plastic pollution, among others. The color-coded, block layout is similar throughout, enabling young readers to navigate the content with ease. In each section, author Andrea Minoglio provides an overview of the topic and ‘before/after’ snapshots showing how the world was in the past, is now and is likely to be in the future. He also highlights the importance of taking action, providing examples of what we can do at an individual, organizational and global level.
The content might sound overwhelming but making the complex understandable and relatable is a hallmark of this guide, which has been expertly translated from Italian by Emma Mandley. Paired with bright, bold (and highly informative) illustrations by Laura Fanelli, the text is broken down into manageable chunks and factual snippets. Everyday analogies are used to explain abstract concepts in simple terms. The atmosphere is likened to a blanket that “has now begun to keep us a little too warm,” and microplastics described as “floating in the water like grains of pepper in a soup.” Key terms, like guerrilla gardener, permafrost, biodiversity, are bolded in the text with a straightforward explanation of each provided in a glossary at the end. The back matter also includes a list of environmental organizations, a helpful index and a passionate call to action for young readers to “Spread the Word”.
Despite the enormity of the subject it addresses, Our World Out of Balance shows readers that they can make a difference. Little acts, such as turning off the faucet when brushing our teeth and using public transport instead of a car to go out, are things we can all do.
So, readers wherever you are, spread the word! This book is an excellent introduction to climate change and the action we can take to protect our planet.
Our World Out of Balance: Understanding Climate Change and What We Can Do was originally published in Italian by Dalcò Edizioni.
Note: I read the Kindle version of this book. The hardcover edition is printed on responsibly sourced paper with soy inks.
Our World Out of Balance: Understanding Climate Change and What We Can Do
Written by Andrea Minoglio
Illustrated by Laura Fanelli
Translated from the Italian by Emma Mandley
Blue Dot Kids Press, 2021
Laura Taylor is the founder of world children’s literature blog Planet Picture Book. She is a small business copywriter, NAATI-certified translator of French into English and member of AUSIT and IBBY Australia. When she is not writing, she is reading, and chasing after her two young children. She tweets regularly @plapibo and posts at www.planetpicturebook.com