Title:  Global

Authors: Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Illustrator: Giovanni Rigano                                                                              

PublisherHachette Australia

Publication date: 26 April, 2023

RRP: $32.99 (AUD) – Hardback

Global written by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin and illustrated by Giovanni Rigano, the creators of the acclaimed graphic novel Illegal, in their latest gripping, powerful and hopeful eco-fiction graphic novel, tell a story about the effects of climate change and how it impacts two children. Global features twelve-year-old Sami who lives with his grandfather in a village along the coastline of the Bay of Bengal and fourteen-year-old Suki who lives in an Inuit township in Nova Scotia, northern Canada inside the Arctic circle. On two different continents, the population is experiencing the massive and catastrophic effects of the climate crisis. Even though this story is a fictitious one, every event relating to climate change in the book is true and is occurring on our planet right now. These events are shared in a sensitive, accessible and engaging way for readers 9+. This story explores the environmental, economic and social impacts of rising temperatures, specifically the disastrous effects of sea ice melting, the introduction of grolar bears (a cross between a polar bear and grizzly bear) and how climate change has caused this to happen, the adverse effects of warmer oceans on the marine environment, the egregious consequences of more extreme weather, the disastrous results of changing weather patterns and climate refugees amongst other significant impacts of the climate crisis. Even though this story explores complex and heavy themes such as loss, hardship, adversity and uncertainty, there is hope and light. This story highlights the qualities that are universal in overcoming adversity as the two protagonists display such tenacity, resilience, courage, resourcefulness and above all care and concern for others.

Sami lives with his grandfather Solomon (his parents tragically lost their lives in a typhoon) and their existence is dependent on them catching fish in their small boat with their damaged equipment that they cannot afford to replace. With the local fish supply dwindling because of the disruption to the food chain caused by global warming, they are forced to venture further from the coastline. They experience more frequent extreme weather with little warning and devastating effects that cause them to suffer more loss. There is the ever present threat of pirates stealing their catch and climate refugees moving to their village. More people residing in their village means more land is cleared, making it unstable leading to landslides frequently threatening existing shacks and peoples livelihoods. Their dire situation leads Sami to believe that their luck could change if he can retrieve his mother’s lucky knife that he believes is in their home which is at the bottom of the sea due to a landslide which put all the homes into the water. This is a dangerous mission, but one Sami thinks will be worth the risk. This suspenseful mission with twists and turns will have readers on the edge of their seats turning each page with bated breath to learn the outcome.  

Suki, a young girl who cares deeply about the environment also lives a life that is very different to what it was several years ago because of the climate crisis. The population of her town is dwindling as an increasing number of people are leaving each year. Her mum is one of the few in the town that is not only able to maintain her job, but business is booming for her; she is a realtor and she is in hot demand as people require her services to find them homes in the city (where the town’s population is moving to). Suki is passionate about protecting the bears in her area as the latest policy enacted is to shoot any bears that are in close proximity. Suki is on a mission to save the bears and orchestrates a covert plan to try and prove that the bears in question are grolars. To get her proof she embarks on a perilous mission in the wilderness of the Arctic tundra with her faithful dog, Lockjaw, Locky for short, in an unforgiving environment fraught with all kinds of dangers. This mission serves to highlight the effects of the global crisis and is arresting as Suki and Locky are hunted by a grolar bear that is starving. Surviving the harsh elements is brutal and coupled with the ever looming life threatening starving grolar bear in their midst and on the prowl makes for riveting action and suspense.

The graphic novel format allows readers to experience this story through the eyes of the main characters, Sami and Suki. The suspense filled illustrations support readers to visualise the story and they bring to dramatic life the environments, the harrowing quests undertaken by the two protagonists and the harsh realities of the catastrophic effects of climate change.

At the end of the story, in graphic novel format, there is an excellent explanation of global heating and its effects as well as empowering information about action that individuals can take to help. Also included are some fascinating illustrations of each of the characters (human and animal) and different settings from Giovanni Rigano’s sketchbook.

This powerful story highlights the human face of the climate crisis, it is a timely story about our shared humanity, the power of hope, courage and action.

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