It’s National Poetry Month, so it’s time to feature a book of poems that makes me wonder at the creativity and determination of the latest generation of young activists, the movers and shakers, protectors, caretakers, reformers and makers.
NO WORLD TOO BIG features youth activists and how they’re raising awareness about climate change and making a difference in Sudan, Sweden, Philippines, United States, Canada, Brazil, Uganda, Ukraine, Indonesia, and Marshall Islands.
Every spread includes a paragraph describing one young activist and a poem about their actions, each written by a poet using a different form. One young woman (at age 14) became the chief water commissioner of the Anishinabek Nation; one pair started school composting; one created a line of upcycled clothing; others have raised money to protect different environmental areas; and several have used their words to testify at United Nations Climate Summits and to write letters or newspaper articles.
These individual stories will not only inspire and help kids generate ideas for what they can do where they live, they also will show kids that they are not too young to make a difference.
The poem, written by JaNay Brown-Wood, paired with the image of Leah Namugerwa planting trees in Uganda starts out:
GROW The change you sow will grow like the sapling of a tree or the volume of a plea when you spurn the status quo. The change you sow will grow.
And the final stanza:
What a triumph it will be when she plants that millionth tree. And the youth who watch will know: the change you sow will grow.
Leah Namugerwa went from planting trees to heading Fridays for Future Uganda, an organization that provides thousands of saplings for planting each year and has called for Uganda to ban the use of plastic bags. When I hear about something like this, I hesitate to call these young activists “kids.” They’re more like ancient, wise souls.
I love the book’s design, and how the brown paper pages create a sense that the poems have been written on the Earth itself. Beautifully done!
Back matter includes actions that each person can take, and actions that can be taken by a family, school, town, or country to combat climate change. It also includes a glossary, a way to visualize greenhouse gas amounts and the way scientists estimate climate “footprints,” a description of poetic forms, and brief biographies of the poets and authors involved in the making of this fabulous book.
Reading NO WORLD TOO BIG gives me so much hope for our collective future. I hope the activists’ stories and poems get shared widely, and that it creates a snowball of activism, science, and global policy-making that will slow or stop climate change permanently.
Pair this book with CLIMATE WARRIORS: Fourteen Scientists and Fourteen Ways We Can Save Our Planet by Laura Gehl
Pick one of the poems in the book, and write your own poem in response.
Pick one of the poetic forms in the book, and write a poem about climate change or a celebration of Planet Earth using that form.
Use this book (or NO VOICE TOO SMALL) as inspiration to start your own climate activism at home, school, or in your community.
Title: No World Too Big: Young People Fighting Global Climate Change
Editors: Lindsay Metcalf, Keila Dawson, Jeanette Bradley (plus 12 additional poets)
Illustrator: Jeanette Bradley
Publisher: Charlesbridge, 2023
Ages: Elementary school
Themes: Climate change, activism, poetry
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.
8 thoughts on “No World Too Big – Perfect Picture Book Friday”
Thanks so much, Jilanne!!! I just picked up this book at the “We Are All Readers” bookfair in Rhode Island and your review makes me wants to sit down and read it as soon as possible!!!
Oh, fantastic! I hope you find it inspiring!
This sounds so wonderful! Thanks for sharing.
Gloria, it is! These kids (and poets) are amazing!
Both kids and us adults need hopeful inspiration like this Jilanne. Thanks! And it sounds like some impressive back matter also.
Yes, we do! The amount of back matter, as Goldilocks says, is “just right.” I hope you have a chance to read a copy!