Looking for a way to help your children understand global warming, without scaring them to pieces? Consider getting them the new Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming by Laurie David (producer of An Inconvenient Truth) and Cambria Gordon. It’s informative, witty without being flip and serious without being sinister.
This is just the thing to help your elementary or middle school kid really understand what global warming is, why it’s a problem and how “warming” can cause flooding and hurricanes as well as heat waves and drought. Chock full of references to pizzas, dirt bikes, pets, wildlife and sports, it keeps the discussion at child level, and engages with youthful metaphors like explaining that a few degrees of warming can make a big change in the earth just like it does with a popsicle: The popsicle is frozen solid at 32 degrees, but falls off the stick at 33 degrees.
This colorful book (printed with soy inks on recycled paper by Scholastic) covers the gamut, from monarchs to monsoons, from fossil fuels to farting cows. It uses lots of pictures, fun graphics and suggestions for what a kid can do, including a section on finding a “sustainable career.” The bright tone and perpetual highlighting of positives – Did you know that one tree can absorb the CO2 of an average car driven for 4,000 miles? – helps offset the necessary weightiness of the many dire topics covered, such as animal extinction, extreme storms, deforestation, CO2 overload and suffering oceans. Unfortunately, California wildfires and other extreme weather events around the world make this book all too relevant for children trying to make sense of climate change. They should find this to be an eye-opening, extensive, but still friendly and empowering reference.