One Earth

Illustrated by Rogério Coelho

“One Earth, so beautiful / Remember—only one”

An Earth-themed counting book, One Earth starts with a field trip story. A boy walks across the meadows. He meets a girl by the woods. They meet another girl in the hills and a boy by the seashore. The journey across these unique landscapes (see concept nature) is paced by the narrator’s voice counting the sky, honeybees, bunnies, trees, and other wonders of nearby nature. By the middle of the book, the children approach a little town. As they enter it, the narrator sets another task: “Celebrating Earth—counting backwards now.” The rest of the book features a series of activities that young children can do: cleaning trash, recycling glass bottles, repurposing plastic bags by weaving them into mats, reusing old towels as pads for shelter cats, mending socks and clothes, using less lights, planting seeds, or repairing bikes. All these are represented as practical activities through which we can each show our appreciation of one Earth, “so beautiful—and only one.”

One Earth combines simple words and rich visual imagery to nurture the appreciation of the beauty, wonder, and interconnectedness of all life which are central components of early-age climate literacy. An empowering book for its untended audiences, One Earth is a good example of planetarianist fiction: stories that articulate hope for the planet which, in this case, is grounded in collective, everyday actions. Young audiences are first drawn into a series of vignettes they may know from personal outdoors experience (nearby nature) or its media representations (concept nature)—vignettes that align the audience’s position with the experience of the four child characters. While climate change is not mentioned directly, the book involves the audience in green living activities of the characters—especially recycle, reuse, repair (see zero waste)—showcasing how even very young people can be part of a climate and environmental action for the planet. All of these activities are shown as collective and intergenerational, communicating that care for Earth is our shared responsibility. One Earth does not attempt to frighten young people into caring. Instead, it stresses the precious wonder of the world we live in. It projects curiosity about nature and caring for our environments as what makes our lives fun, especially when done together. While the setting and contexts are clearly North American, One Earth succeeds in communicating the wonder of Earth’s community and the uniqueness of our planetary home. ©2021 ClimateLit (Marek Oziewicz

Publisher: Hatchette Book Group, Worthykids, 2020

Pages: 32

ISBN: 978-1546015390

Audience: Little People (4-7)

Format: Counting book, Picturebooks

Topics: Activism, Biosphere, Climate Action, Climate Literacy, Collective Action, Concept Nature, Earth Stewardship, Green Living, Individual Action, Interconnectedness, Nature, Nearby Nature, Planetarianism, Recycling, Reuse, Solutions, Youth Climate Activism, Zero Waste