Eoin Colfer’s Global is a Poignant Intro to Environmentalism for Kids

April is Earth Month! It is a time to celebrate the planet and recognize environmental issues.

Global by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin is a graphic novel that highlights the idea that changes in the environment impact us all, no matter where we live. The story follows two children living in completely different parts of the world but are both impacted by climate change. The narrative alternates between characters: Sami, who is living in a small fishing village on The Bay of Bengal on the Indian Ocean and Yuki, who lives in northern Canada inside the arctic circle. Both children have their daily lives upended due to rising temperatures. Sami’s village is being destroyed by increasing ocean levels and frequent storms. Yuki watches the frozen habitat of the arctic melt away, causing starvation amongst the wildlife. Bears come into conflict with the townspeople and are often shot as a result. Sami and Yuki both grow tired of feeling powerless and take matters into their own hands, only to have their very survival put at risk.

This story is a great introduction to Earth Month for middle grade students. Instead of being shown a lot of facts and figures, Global tells the human side of environmental issues. Sami’s livelihood is fishing. A dwindling number of fish means his family can’t make a living. Moving is a difficult option as the surrounding areas are being destroyed by drought. People in his area are becoming uprooted and there is conflict over what little resources remain. Yuki worries what will happen when a frozen methane gas lake melts and is released into the air. Although they are fictional characters, both situations are very real. Rising temperatures do impact the way of life for people all around the world.

As the story goes on, it becomes a struggle for survival as both Sami and Yuki are put in conflict with the elements. Sami battles the ocean, while Yuki is lost in the icy wilderness while being hunted by a bear.  The fast-paced plot will captivate even the most reluctant readers, making it a great choice for a class study.

Lesley L.
Library Assistant, John M. Harper Branch

Lesley fell in love with books years ago when her Mom introduced her to The Littles – a story about a miniature family that lived inside the walls of a house owned by the Biggs family. After that, she read anything she could get her hands on: Ramona the Pest, Nancy Drew and of course, The Baby-Sitters Club. Now Lesley works at the John M. Harper Branch as a Library Assistant, helping introduce children to a world of reading. Her favourite part of working in a library is connecting young readers with different kinds of materials – Playaways, magazines, non-fiction – reading comes in all forms!