Article provided by Erin Twamley, Education Specialist
The Children’s Book Review | March 23, 2016
The Children’s Book Review: Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth, a book for middle grade students, aims to bring the discussion about climate change to the family kitchen table and science classroom. Please tell us about the book and what you feel makes it unique.
Erin Twamley: This book takes a pro-active, solution based approach to exploring climate science. There are no pictures of melting glaciers or polar bears without a habitat. Often times we make climate science scary and add on top to those images complex data, which makes people feel overwhelmed. We tell the story of climate science using fun analogies like Goldilocks and the Three Bears to help explain our planetary science, time traveling scientists, who can look back in time using Arctic ice bubbles, mud cores and more. We highlight amazing inventions and individual actions that are positively impacting our climate future. Students take this learning hands-on through STEM activities and online with digital journeys using videos, quizzes and interactive games.
You co-wrote this book with Joshua Sneideman. How did the two of you decide to pair up on this project? What vocational backgrounds do you both come from?
Joshua was a middle school science teacher and Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at U.S. Department of Energy. We were leading energy literacy outreach efforts for the Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. In fact we have a new book coming out about renewable energy!Our work at Department of Energy focused on engaging students and teachers with information and resources to help them teach about energy in the classroom. We recognized a gap, many teachers weren’t teaching about energy or climate. We partnered with Nomad Press to help bring climate science and the connection of energy to life.
A book based on science requires a lot of knowledge and research. How long did it take you to write the book and can you describe your writing process?
The book took us about 6 months to write as we were both first time authors. This was mostly because we were new to a collaborative writing process. We started with brainstorming ideas of how to tell the story of climate science. Our first product was a book outline followed by detailed chapter submissions. We worked closely with our editors at Nomad Press for about 3 months to revise and polish. The best part of the process was seeing the illustrations that really brought the climate science and activities to life.
Throughout Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth there are engaging hands-on activities. How did you decide which activities to include?
We wanted the activities to be fun, investigative and easily done at home or in a classroom. We selected the activities to relate to each chapter, like understanding our atmosphere by examining moisture in the air or creating a sundial. We wanted to include a variety of STEM skills across all the activities like making a hypothesis, observing, graphing information and drawing conclusions. All the activities use materials you can find at your house including things like an apple, wire, paper, markers and dixie cups!
The idea of climate change can feel a bit scary. How have young readers been responding to the concept delivered in your book?
The kids loved the illustrations we used in the books—we had a great illustrator. He really helped to bring the concepts to life. For example, how much carbon dioxide can the water on Earth absorb? The equivalent to the weight of 85,000,000 blue whales. Or Americans release the weight of more than 700,000 school buses of carbon dioxide into the air from transportation – everyday! Engaging illustrations including solar panels, vertical farms and Earth with a thermometer brought the concepts to life. On top of that, we have heard that the story line, the simple and fun analogies and the hands on labs all help kids understand the basics of climate science and climate change.
It makes for an excellent classroom-learning tool. What feedback have you received from teachers that have used it in a school setting?
Most of our Amazon reviews come from excellent teachers. The main themes we keep hearing from teachers are:
- Enthusiasm and praise because the book includes projects they can do in their classroom with limited resources;
- They love that the book material encourages students to be part of the solution; and
- The use of real studies from coral reefs to planetary science allows for in-depth exploration of key climate concepts in their classroom.
- Our digital links save teachers lots of time and enable them to take learning online.
Should we expect to see more books from you soon?
Our second book, Renewable Energy – Discover the Fuel of the Future, will be released April 14, 2016! (Earth Day). This book focuses on students being able to understand the nature and role of energy in their lives. We highlight five of the top Renewable Energy sources that are competing to power our future; those are Bio, Solar, Wind, Hydro, and Geothermal.
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
Yes, of course – multiple books! Reading helps me spark ideas for collaborations, new ways to talk about topics and can bring potential book ideas.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us about Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth?
Join the Renewable Energy revolution and #ActOnClimate. To receive updates, videos, articles or ways to stay involved, Follow Us on Twitter at: @ClimateEdu.
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Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth
Written by Erin Twamley and Joshua Sneideman
Publisher’s Synopsis: For more than 200 years, scientists have been observing, measuring, and analyzing information about our planet’s climate. Studies show that the earth is in constant transition and humans have an effect on what happens. In Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth, young readers examine real studies concerning planetary science, Arctic ice bubbles, and migratory patterns. Kids explore the history of human impact from the Industrial Revolution to our modern-day technology, as well as the innovations underway around the world to address global climate change.
The idea of climate change can be scary, but every one of us has the ability to make a difference. Focused on a pro-active approach to environmental education, Climate Change engages readers through hands-on activities and helps kids deconstruct myths about our changing world. Kids are directed to digital supplemental material that makes complex concepts easier to understand through visual representation. Climate Change offers a myriad of ways to think of our Spaceship Earth as the singular resource it is.
Climate Change meets Common Core State Standards for literacy in science and technology; Guided Reading Levels and Lexile measurements indicate grade level and text complexity.
Add this book to your collection: Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth
Learn even more about the book in the article New Kids Book About the Impacts of Climate Change
About the Authors
Erin Twamley is an energy educator, author and English Kindergarten teacher in Seoul, South Korea. Joshua Sneideman is Vice President of @LearningBlade, former Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at Department of Energy and a 10 year middle school math and science educator. Their books Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth and Renewable Energy: Discover the Fuel of the Future aim to positively engage youth in learning about renewable energy and addressing climate change through hands-on STEM activities.
Shop Now for their Book on Amazon
Follow them on Twitter, @ClimateEdu
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The Author Showcase is a place for authors and illustrators to gain visibility for their works. This interview with Erin Twamley about “Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth” was sponsored*. Learn more about marketing books and finding an Author Showcase book marketing plan that is right for you …
I love your blog. As a mom, I’m always looking for great books for my little ones. I wanted to share a book I recently found. It’s a beautiful children’s book called “Called With Mr. C.” by John Contratti. It has such a wonderful important message for kids. As a mom, it’s something I always look for in a book. I hope you get to read it. Keep up the good work. Mary G