Two Degrees

Scholastic. Oct. 2022. 384p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338735673.
Gr 4-7–A fictional story about climate change geared for the middle grade audience. It is told through the eyes of four middle school students, all individuals battling climate disasters in North America; the parallel plots are linked by climate events. In Nevada, Japanese American Akira Kristiansen witnesses giant sequoias catching fire, which seems impossible. She is separated from her family as she struggles to survive the extraordinary wildfire. In Manitoba, eighth grade boys Owen Mackenzie (white) and George Gruyère (Mushkegowuk) face ravenous polar bears. In Miami, Puerto Rican Florida resident Natalie Torres is washed away by a hurricane. All characters suffer losses and scars. Gratz writes at the end of the book that he was inspired by Greta Thunberg and other climate protestors and wanted to boost their signal. The chapters are short and flow well enough to keep the reader’s attention. Gratz drives home the point that we are all very closely connected when it comes to climate change, and that everyone should be looking at the big picture.
VERDICT Gratz urges readers to see that what is happening around them isn’t in isolation, but affects everyone around the world. Fans of Gratz and the “I Survived” series will welcome this action-packed title.

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