To Change a Planet by Christina Soontornvat

To Change a Planet

Christina Soontornvat, Author

Rahele Jomepour Bell, Illustrator

Scholastic Press, Nonfiction, Aug. 2,  2022

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Earth science, Climate change, Activism, Making a difference

Opening: “Our planet. Big, tough, dependable. Our planet has spun through eons of time. Mere moments ago, we arrived.”

Publisher’s Synopsis:

A clarion call to protect our planet, our only home.

One person. Small, quiet,

insignificant.

But when one person,

and one person,

and one person

become many,

they can change

a planet.

Spare, poetic text and breathtaking pictures invite readers on a stirring journey that gently illuminates the causes of climate change as well as how our individual and collective actions can make the world better.

Meticulously researched and brimming with hope and hands-on solutions that will edify and empower even the youngest readers. To Change a Planet is a loving ode to our only home and vital for every child, classroom, and family.

Why I love To Change a Planet:

To Change a Planet is an extraordinary introductory picture book about climate change and caring for our planet. Christina Soontorvat’s text is short and lyrical, but its powerful message will speak to the hearts of children in a hopeful and meaningful manner. There is so much beauty in this book.  Rahele Jomepour Bell’s eye-popping gouache illustrations are rich in detail and draw readers into the story. Beautiful collaborative work between the author and illustrator.  

I’m impressed with Soontorvat’s research for her informative book. As a result, children of all ages will enjoy this gem. She includes a little bit of earth history and science in her text, as well as a call to action. My favorite books to share are those that encourage children to make a difference in their world. Older children will want to read “More About Climate Change” in the double-spread at the end of the book. This is book is a beautiful addition to your home or school library, as it can be used in so many ways. 

Resources: The best place to start talking about climate change is at home. Use the information in the book to look at how you and your family can conserve energy and become more environmentally-friendly. At school there are many suggestions about getting involved from writing letters to your city council or legislators to talking with with neighbors and participating in marches..   

Christina Soontornvat began this book during a time when she was searching for hope. “As I wrote, I realized that the mechanism behind climate change — many small things coming together to make a big impact — also gives us a framework, for how we can work together to help  our planet. Hope is the first step in problem-solving, and I am hopeful we can change our future for the better.” Christina is a two-time Newbery Award honoree of A Wish in the Dark and All Thirteen, which also won the Kirkus Prize and Sibert Award. A former science educator, she holds a BS in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in science and education. Christina lives in Austin, Texas, with her family. Learn more at her website: http://www.soontornvat.com.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Reviewed from a library copy. 

 

Change Sings by Amanda Gorman


Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem

Amanda Gorman, Author

Loren Long, Illustrator

Viking Books for Young Readers, Poetry, Sep. 21, 2021

Suitable for ages: 4-8 

Themes: Poetry, Change, Community service, Activism, Tolerance, Healing

Opening:

I can hear change humming
In its loudest, proudest song.

I don’t fear change coming,
And so I sing along.”

Book Jacket Synopsis
In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves.

With lyrical text and rhythmic illustrations that build to a dazzling crescendo by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long, Change Sings is a triumphant call to action for everyone to use their abilities to make a difference.

A lyrical picture book debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long

Why I love Change Sings:

Change Sings is just that, a call to action for the youngest of children. Richly textured rhymes speak directly to children of love, hope and the power within to make the change in the world they want to see. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. They too can each make a contribution to better their communities and world. Their spirit can spread into a very large movement.

Loren Long’s joyful and colorful spreads of artwork bring Gorman’s text to life. Readers will follow a young Black girl with an oversized guitar as she gathers a group of children to help her clean up the playground, offer food to hungry children, bring groceries to an elderly woman, and build a ramp for a child in a wheelchair. The diverse group of children grows, with each claiming an instrument, as they march on to clean windows, paint and plant flowers. They are in harmony with one another.

Resources: There is a wonderful Teacher’s Guide for Change Sings, provided by Random House (click here).  Children may wonder why child hunger, intolerance and vandalism addressed in the book exist. Children are altruistic and will want to respond. There are so many ways they can in their own neighborhoods and at school.

Amanda Gorman is the youngest presidential inaugural poet in US history. She is a committed advocate for the environment, racial equality, and gender justice. Amanda’s activism and poetry have been featured on The Today Show, PBS Kids, and CBS This Morning, and in The New York Times, Vogue, Essence, and O. The Oprah Magazine.  In 2017, Urban Word named her the first ever National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. She is also the author of a poetry collection and a special edition of her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb.” After graduating cum laude from Harvard University, she now lives in her hometown of Los Angeles. Visit her online at her website or on Twitter @amandascgorman.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
 
*Reviewed from a purchased copy.

New Handbooks for Teens – Friendship, Hero Journey, and Managing Anger

All three of these Magaination Press guides or handbooks are perfect for teens ranging from middle grade to high school. The books are expertly written yet accessible for readers. The friendly tone in each book will engage and empower readers with sound advice from experts. Educators, school counselors and caregivers everywhere need resources for teens that help them become their best selves.  All three of these books belong in every school library.

The Friendship Book

Wendy L. Moss, PhD, Author

Magination Press, Nonfcition, Feb. 16, 2021

Suitable for ages:  8-12

Synopsis:  Do you know what it takes to be a good friend and make new ones?

Take a peek inside to see how your friends can help you feel accepted and connected through your shared time together and ways to make sure you are giving back the same appreciation and support in your friendship, so you can be a good friend too!

Teens will read about the definition of a friend, how you can make sure you are ready to be a good friend and the complications and joys of having a best friend. The book starts with a quiz for teens about what they want in a friendship, followed by the results which gives them a starting point as they begin to read. Throughout the book, readers will learn about how other kids have made and kept friends even though a variety of situations: bullying, peer pressure, trust, competition, changing interests, mistakes and forgiveness, And more quizzes at the end of each chapter.

The Hero Handbook

Matt Langdon, Author

Magination Press, Nonfiction, Jan. 27, 2021

Suitable for ages: 9-13

Publisher’s Synopsis: Heroes inspire us to take chances, do hard things, and sometimes even change the world. Heroes are all around us, so how can you be the hero of your own story?

To become a hero, kids can surround themselves with supportive people, boost their self-esteem and self-awareness, find their passion, and have the courage make things happen. This book shows them how to be the hero of their own story and discover their own hero journey.

What makes a hero? Activists. advocates, allies, and friends. Sometimes heroes are our parents, teachers, or siblings. The truth is, heroes are inside everyone, and kids can and discover their inner hero, too!

The Hero Handbook guides you on your own hero journey, helps you identify your goals, and gets you powered up to achieve them. Get ready and GO make a difference in your world!

Zero to 60: A Teens Guide to Manage Frustration, Anger, and Everyday Irritations

Michael A. Tompkins, PhD, Author

Magination Press, Nonfiction, Nov. 10, 2020,

Suitable for ages: 12-18

Publishers Synopsis: High-performance cars can go from zero to  60 in just a few seconds. Anger can feel a lot like that. One minute you are calm, but the next, something sets you on a course to speed out of control. Getting to anger’s edge too fast can cause problems with friends, family school and event self-esteem.

The author offers tips and tricks to help stall anger and leave it by the side of the road. Teens will learn how to calm their body, derail thoughts that fuel anger, and learn how to communicate and de-escalate situations. The book contains teen-appropriate examples, strategies, fun exercises, journaling, a heads-up plan, and vivid illustrations that will help teens improve their relationships, boost self-esteem and manage their anger.

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Review copies provided by the publisher in exchange for a review.