Note: This is part of a monthly series of posts focused on integrating literacy and climate science and energy issues. The posts are based on discussions in the “Not So Serious Climate and Energy Book Club,” last Friday. The book club evolved out of some informal virtual discussions between a number of us involved in climate and energy education around the country and is sponsored through ICEE: Inspiring Climate Change Education Excellence in Boulder, Colorado. Book suggestions, (especially hopeful ones!) are welcome in the comments area below.
Our October bookclub book up for discussion was the book, Gecko Boy: The Battle of Fracking. Written by 12 year old, Pavan Raj Gowda, the book is a short fictional story about a boy that is given the magical powers of a snail and a gecko to save his town from environmental degradation resulting from fracking. It is written at an upper elementary level, with engaging comic illustrations, but because of supplementary reference material in the back, could be used in a middle school classroom as well. It is a great example of a project middle and high school students could do themselves. A secondary topic in the book is biomicry, as the hero gains powers based on actual traits of the gecko and snail.
We generally liked the book because of the great example set by such a young author, but also because of the good job he does at going through the proper steps for environmental problem solving including; talking to scientists, pleading his case to the owner of the company doing the fracking and appealing to the government for help. The need to have super powers to solve the problem in the end is a great illustration of how students can often feel stuck and unaware of what they can do next. It offers the opportunity for a great discussion on civic engagement and how far someone might be willing to go to bring about change.
Here is a video of Pavan talking to a school about his organization, Green Kids Now.
The next Not So Serious Climate and Energy book club will be November 30, 3:30 MT/4:30 CT/5:30 ET, and we will be discussing Exodus by Julie Bertagna. For more information join the ICEE forum or email Susan Buhr, Susan Buhr, Susan.Buhr@colorado.edu. Upcoming books include : Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson and Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.