Book Title: 'Greta's Story: The Schoolgirl Who Went On Strike To Save The Planet' (available here)
Author: Valentina Camerini
Illustrator: Veronia “Veci” Carratello
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 2019
Most Suitable For: Years 2-6
Reviewed by: Jane Carter, Senior Lecturer in Primary Education
This is a simply written book that answers many questions children (and adults) may have about Greta Thunberg and about the Climate Emergency.
This ‘unofficial’ biography of the environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg includes an interesting disclaimer on the first pages, saying that this is a ‘work of fiction’ and ‘any resemblance to actual people living …is entirely incidental’. This, in itself, would make the book an interesting text to discuss in upper Key Stage 2 as this is clearly a book about a young girl who could never be described as fictional!
The book provides a really clear overview of the activist life of Greta Thunberg including her initial school strike, which took place just before the Swedish elections and was her attempt to draw her government’s attention to climate change and the climate emergency, as she named it. The book also provides some background to what had led up to this moment, dealing very sensitively with Greta’s Asperger’s Syndrome, which had contributed a few years earlier in her life to depression. During this time she had become absorbed by environmental issues, to the point of knowing much more than most adults and at a level of climate scientists. The description of this time in her life provides a helpful context for the activism that has made her a household name.
The book is divided into 9 chapters. These are written simply so as to be accessible to children and where more technical vocabulary or names of organisations are referred to, these are explained. The last part of the book is divided into shorter sections, one explaining climate change itself and another on what we can do to prevent climate change. There is a good glossary that gives explanations of everything from electricity to COP24. The final part of the book contains a timeline of how humans have polluted the world and some references for further reading.
The book is a good introduction for children from KS1 to KS2 to the activism of Greta Thunberg and would help children understand not just about climate change but also about Greta herself and how Asperger’s Syndrome has helped shape her and make her the committed and focused young person she is.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Jane for reviewing it.
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