Monday, April 25, 2011
Nonfiction Monday - Energy Island
Don't you love it when you find a book at exactly the perfect moment?! That's what happened with this great nonfiction picture book Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World by Allan Drummond.
I found this book last Saturday. This Tuesday begins some learning about renewable and nonrenewable energy sources in our classroom. How timely was that? I was absolutely meant to buy this book!
Energy Island is a story based on a real island, Samso, located in the middle of Denmark. Drummond actually read about this island in The New Yorker magazine, and knew right away that the topic had potential as a picture book for children. How right he was! He went to Samso and interviewed the people there, specifically Soren Hermansen, who was chosen by the Danish Ministry of Environment and Energy to lead a project that would allow Denmark to become independent of nonrenewable energy.
Drummond's text clearly tells a story about people on an island who are very typical of many others - in how they live, play, and use energy. One of the reasons I enjoyed this story so much is that Drummond keeps coming back to the point of how slowly change came to the people of Samso. More than that, the powerful message is that the young children were some of the first to embrace the need for change; most adults came to the idea of changing energy habits much later.
In the end, though, Energy Island is a story of huge success -- the islanders of Samso harnessed energy from the sun, the wind, straw, and fuel oil from canola crops. Some people embraced big ideas for how to use more renewable sources of energy; others started smaller. But everyone became part of the solution.
In addition to this great storyline of gaining command of renewable energy sources, Drummond has wonderful illustrations that are very kid-friendly and easy to understand. But, the final piece that I love about this nonfiction picture book is the sidebar information he inserts from time to time to better aid the understanding of what these big concepts are.
All this packed into one picture book makes Energy Island a true winner in my book! I can't wait to share it with my class this Tuesday so that hopefully they can start to make a difference in the world in which they live much like the children of Samso.
For more great nonfiction titles and ideas, check out Writing Nonfiction for Children for the entire Nonfiction Monday roundup.