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Haven Jacobs can’t stop thinking about the climate crisis. Her anxiety about the state of the planet is starting to interfere with her schoolwork, her friendships, and even her sleep. She can’t stop wondering why grownups aren’t even trying to solve the earth’s problem—and if there’s anything meaningful, she can contribute as a seventh grader. Her empathetic teacher, Mr. Hendricks, suggests that Haven focuses on something local and specific where she can make a difference.
So, when Haven’s science class begins a study of a local river and discovers the river has vastly changed from just two years ago (when her brother, Carter, did the project), Haven’s anxiety ramps up. Haven channels her eco-anxiety into a mission to save the water from pollution she believes is being caused by the town’s new glass factory—where her dad works. Haven’s father works at Gemba, and Haven worries about what she suspects, as it may jeopardize her father and her friendship with Kenji, the son of the man running the company.
This book would be a great addition to discussions or units focusing on climate eco-anxiety, an environmental justice issue or protection of the environment. Students could research an environmental issue in their community and prepare a plan that engages them in active citizenship to address the problem. Activities could include letter writing, measuring and analyzing components of a nearby stream, or researching and reporting on how hazardous waste is handled in their community. In the book, Haven’s heroine is a fictional Inuit teen climate activist named Kirima Ansong. Have students choose a real-life teen activist and write a report about them, the issue they support, and their actions.
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