Today is September 11 and it is the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States of America. That Tuesday morning in 2001, I was working for the Ithaca City School District in Upstate New York and along with a class full of my husband’s middle school ICT students, we watched incredulously as the second plane flew into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, live on national television. We could not imagine that we had actually watched a terrorist attack in real time. The depth of our disbelief and horror remains with us.
As the United States and the world commemorates this day, I have been reading about the lessons we did and did not learn from 9/11. What looms large in my mind is that we have failed to mitigate our reliance on oil and other non-renewable energy sources. Our climate is changing faster than scientists projected with disastrous environmental and political problems that are likely to continue. We need to come to grips with how this has been allowed to happen and, most importantly, what can be done to save our planet and ourselves before it is too late.
Palm Trees at the North Pole: The Hot Truth about Climate Change is just the kind of nonfiction book for children that we need, a book to educate and encourage young readers to consider solutions to global warming and other environmental issues. After all, they are the ones who will inherit the future ramifications of our decisions about tackling climate change. Author Ter Horst has packed this book full of scientific facts and insights that pull no punches about the whys and hows of the deterioration of the Earth’s climate, while outlining succinctly how complicated our alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels are despite their potential. He has written an accessible narrative nonfiction text that balances complex scientific processes, discoveries, and experiments with a refreshing dose of pragmatic Dutch humor and clear, straightforward historical contexts. Brightly illustrated double page spreads include flora and fauna, scientists and activists, diagrams and charts, all worthy of second and third looks. Presented in chronological order and organized into ten chapters, each two-page essay focuses in on a fascinating fact, event, or issue:
Each entry can be read and analyzed as standalone essays and are the perfect length for reading aloud or having students read and take notes for further discussion. Of course, there will be readers like myself who read the entire book straight through! And let’s face it, “Farts from the Sea” is exactly what kids want to read about:
A quick flip through the sturdy, hardcover edition is a feast for the eyes and useful to share the book with readers of all ages. This will definitely stand up to multiple readings and readers:
This month there is also the opportunity to attend the virtual Reading is Magic Festival session on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 where Ter Horst will be co-presenting with author Emma Shevah “Looking after our Planet with Emma Shevah & Marc ter Horst,” sponsored by Bath Children’s Literature Festival and New Dutch Writing, an exciting campaign that promotes “Dutch authors in the UK & Ireland and celebrating the important work of literary translators in making Dutch literature available to English language readers.”
Check out the Reading is Magic Festival Guide here for more information and all the details about how to attend.
Palm Trees at the North Pole: The Hot Truth about Climate Change
Written by Marc ter Horst
Illustrated by Wendy Panders
Translated from the original Dutch by Laura Watkinson
Published by Greystone Books, 2021
Originally published 2018 as Palmen op de Noordpool: het grote verhaal van klimaatverandering by Gottmer
You can buy a copy of Palm Trees at the North Pole: The Hot Truth about Climate Change here.
“It’s great to have everything explained in such a straightforward and unsensational manner, and the book’s message, that co-operation is the way forward, gives one hope.” — Financial Times
“An entertaining… overview of climate change…. this visually appealing account is inviting and ultimately reassuring.” — Booklist
“A comprehensive account engagingly presented.” — Kirkus Reviews
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