The Tantrum That Saved the World co-authored by Megan Herbert and Professor Michael E. Mann and illustrated by Megan Herbert, is a timely book that would make an invaluable addition to any library collection about climate change, activism and hope. This empowering and highly engaging solution focussed story, written for readers 5-9 years, in rhyming couplets is about the science behind climate change, its effects and the positive steps that can be taken for world saving action (which are in the story and also documented on an aesthetically attractive poster included on the final endpapers). This story highlights the effects of human impact on the earth and the role everyone can play to help restore nature’s balance. It is an inspiring call to action to inspire young readers to adopt sustainable practices and environmental responsibility.

In this story, a young girl, Sophia, is visited at home by a number of unexpected and surprising guests. To her astonishment her house becomes filled with animals and people who have been displaced because of climate change which has adversely affected their homes, land and habitats. These climate refugees each have their own unique story, but share in the common threat which the people of the world can collectively take action to help. The first visitor is a polar bear whose home is threatened by global warming, causing the sea ice to melt making it impossible for the polar bear to source food. Next a family from Kiribati affected by rising sea levels arrives at Sophia’s home. Animals promptly follow including a swarm of bees who are unsure of the season and are adversely affected by climate change. The shifting temperatures are disrupting and changing the natural rhythm of the seasons and this in turn negatively impacts the relationship between flowering plants and the pollinators. A poorly flamingo joins the group as its food chain has been disrupted and this displaces the flamingo who is usually a nonmigratory bird. Farmers and a seaman also turn to Sophia as drought has devastated the farmers who are unable to produce crops in severe and prolonged droughts. The fisherman has been affected as some fish species have migrated to waters where the temperatures are cooler and this upsets the delicate balance and leads to gaps in the food chain. One of the final unexpected visitors is a Bengal tiger whose home, the mangrove forests, has been threatened by deforestation and habitat loss. Rising sea levels will exacerbate the critically dangerous situation and destroy its home.

Initially Sophia is confused as to why these animals and people in trouble have come un-invited to her. She feels powerless to resolve their problems. Then, in an epiphanous and powerful moment, it becomes crystal clear these people and animals need Sophia’s help and “compassion is key”. Sophia takes charge and visits City Hall to speak to the powers that be. They are dismissive and display a parochial view. However, Sophia is on a mission to ameliorate the situation and she has every reason to continue the fight, with or without the authorities support. Sophia, armed with the knowledge about the impact of climate change on how it is affecting the seasons, weather, farms, food chain, habitats and homes of people and animals all around the world, starts educating the people and calling them to action through a protest. She is confronted by a man in a suit telling her that “we’ve done all we can. You don’t understand”. Sophia more than understood and this man’s egregious actions fuel her to begin a “tantrum to save the world”. Immutable in her conviction, she unifies people, spreads the message about the importance of cooperative action. She speaks to groups advising of strategies they could employ, puts pressure on the government and this has a far reaching ripple effect and helps enact mass change.

Together, a difference had been made, all of the people and animals now have a second chance and leave Sophia’s home, happy and confident with a sense of purpose. Sophia’s important work does not stop here, she continues to galvanise her community and speak to world leaders.

At the end of this story is information for readers about global warming and climate change which has been written in a highly accessible way. Words are included in italics and these are documented and explained in a glossary which appears at the end of the book. There are several pages explaining the stories behind each of the climate refugees that visited Sophia. This information is presented concisely and in an interesting way for young readers.

This story, the world’s first carbon-neutral climate change children’s book, educates readers about the benefits of working collectively to protect the environment and be part of contributing to a healthy, strong planet for all of the flora, fauna and future generations.

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