Friday, March 1, 2024

In this corner ... Climate Change

Animal Climate Heroes
by Alison Pearce Stevens; illus. by Jason Ford 
104 pages; ages 8-12
‎Godwin Books, 2024

Just as every story needs a hero, every hero needs a supervillain. In this book that supervillain is Climate Change. “It’s not a living, breathing supervillain,” writes Alison Pearce Stevens, “but it acts like one just the same.” Every year the effects of climate change worsen: record-breaking disasters; wilder wildfires; more severe storms bringing floods – or no rain at all.

It’s time to call in the superheroes! And just who might these heroes be? You could be one. Your voice and actions are your superpowers. But you – and your human friends – are not alone. There are already superheroes out in the wild working to help keep our climate in check. They are the great whales, sea otters, forest elephants, and echidnas, each a hero in their own way. 

They aren’t the only climate heroes in nature. Indeed, there’s a whole bunch of unsung climate-fighters, from algae to trees. But these four are the ones Alison focuses on because of the impact they have on maintaining carbon balance on our planet. Each animal superhero gets its own chapter that details how it captures carbon through its life cycle. There’s also a section in each chapter that shows how we humans can help these animal heroes.

At the end there’s a section on how you can be a climate hero, with practical actions kids – and other humans – can take. They range from the simple (turning off lights and electronics not in use) to those that take more planning, such as planting gardens and trees. The book is illustrated throughout with cartoon drawings, which help keep the Superhero Vibe going.

I wanted to know more about how Alison came up with her idea, so I asked her a question:

photos: Images for a Lifetime
Me: How did you come to the idea of casting climate change as the supervillain instead of, say, fossil fuel corporations? And by doing that, how did it structure the story you wanted to tell?

Alison: Interesting question. No one has asked that before! I honestly never considered casting the fossil fuel empire as the villain, so your question really made me stop to consider why not. It comes down to the spark behind the idea for the book—I heard someone say their favorite fact was that sea otters help fight climate change. Right off the bat, that set up the clash as it’s described in Animal Climate Heroes—animals taking on climate change, itself. As for structure, I initially set it up like a boxing match, with the opponents in opposite corners of the ring, but it morphed into a superhero book during the writing process.

I really don’t know that I could have recast the supervillain as anything else, because animals can’t fight the fossil fuel empire. There simply isn’t a direct interaction there, at least not in a way that animals can have any kind of impact. They can and do, however, help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which helps us fight climate change. These animals (and others) really are superheroes, and we need to protect them—and other natural spaces—if we want to keep our planet from warming too much.

Thanks, Alison. Alison is a science writer and award-winning children’s author who is also a member of STEAMTeam2024. You can find out more about her at her website.

Thanks for dropping by today. On Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copies provided by the publishers.


  1. What a great idea for a book. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. Such an important topic to keep educating everyone about its impact. This sounds like an excellent source that is presented in a fun, motivational way. Thanks for the review and Happy MMGM!

  3. Love the premise that animals are fighting climate change/the supervillain. Such fun.

  4. I agree with Greg's and Brenda's comments. It's such a cool concept to consider animals as climate heroes.

  5. Great question to the author. And yes, cool way to present a very present topic. Nice work! Carol Baldwin

  6. That was a great question to ask Alison. I really like what you wrote about this book. I will try to check it out. Thanks for the post.

  7. I'd love to learn more about echidnas! And hero animals are always appealing! Thanks for sharing!