Being the mother of an elementary aged girl it is hard to avoid reading the Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows. The series, eight books in length, features two girls that are very different, but the best of friends. Instead of their differences causing a problem, they instead make possible wonderful adventures and creative solutions to a variety of problems and challenges they encounter.
Book 7 of the series, Ivy and Bean; What’s the Big Idea, begins with a global warming presentation to Ivy and Bean’s second grade glass by a fifth grade science class. The presentation begins with one fifth grade girl saying “Global warming is a total disaster and it’s all our fault.” As a parent who tries to still shelter my children from the reality of my day to day work, my heart sank. I wondered how the book could get better and I worried that it wouldn’t. I wanted to quit reading the book, but my daughter, always persistent about finishing books that we begin begged that we continue and so we did. The good news is, it does get better, much better.
After the presentation from the fifth graders, the second grade class are challenged by their teacher to find their own global warming solutions. Ivy and Bean struggle to find one, working through a number of ideas from inventing their own clean energy from rice to to making humans less powerful so that animals could take over. Their final solution however, is so touching and real it honestly brought tears to my eyes.
The solution comes to them while Ivy and Bean are outside watching ants and discussing their parents and how they are “scaredy cats” when it comes to nature.
“…If grown-ups weren’t scared of nature, they’d probably try harder to save it from global warming.”[said Ivy] “You’re probably right,” said Bean. She sat up. “What if we did our science project on teaching grown-ups to be happy in nature? Is that a global warming solution?” Ivy sat up too. “Sure it is,” she said. “It’s definitely fighting global warming because if they loved nature, they wouldn’t drive stinky cars.”
To carry out their solution, Ivy and Bean lead all of the parents that attend their science fair out into the field behind their school at night and ask them to lay down in the grass and “look up into the sky. Smell how nice the grass is. Listen to the trees. And just rest. Don’t talk. Don’t do anything…”
Simple solution perhaps, but definitely part of the greater solution and something we all need to remember.