Monday, September 19, 2022

HAVEN JACOBS SAVES THE PLANET by Barbara Dee – a story about climate and eco-anxiety

Caucasian girl sitting on the ground drawing the title with her finger and small plants around her
Why this book?

I was interested in reading this story because of my own growing awareness about the impact we are having on our climate and environment. The anxiety that the main character, Haven, feels is something more and more people are becoming aware of and maybe are even experiencing. 

While this story might be seem a little intense for children already grappling with anxiety, it may also be helpful to show that they are not alone in their anxious feelings and behaviours. I’m really glad that this story showed me a window into the feelings that Haven was experiencing as well as showing her getting counseling help.

I really enjoy the realism of Barbara Dee's characters. Haven wasn’t a perfect student and I appreciated how she had an understanding teacher to encourage her to complete her work. Haven’s river project gave her a chance to use problem-solving skills, collect data and speak out about something important to her. I loved the message that small steps are important in bringing about change.

Connections: eco-anxiety, climate, environment, data collection

Activities for students:

Social-Emotional Learning – A lot of times we can feel anxious about things happening that are beyond are control. Encourage students to regularly practice mindfulness or calming strategies such as one of the many techniques in the book, Breathe Like a Bear by Kira Willey (Rodale Kids, 2017).



Literacy – After reading, students could discuss the climate problem and solutions Haven tried, or represent the information in a graphic organizer. 

Literacy & Art—Design a poster Haven might have created to advertise her project.

Math/Science—Explore a climate related issue such as pollution by considering trash around your school yard. For example, collect data to monitor the amount of trash collected weekly in your school yard. How could you increase awareness of the issue?

 

Description from the publisher: 

Twelve-year-old Haven Jacobs can’t stop thinking about the climate crisis. In fact, her anxiety about the state of the planet is starting to interfere with her schoolwork, her friendships, even her sleep. She can’t stop wondering why grownups aren’t even trying to solve the earth’s problem—and if there’s anything meaningful that she, as a seventh grader, can contribute.

When Haven’s social studies teacher urges her to find a specific, manageable way to make a difference to the planet, Haven focuses on the annual science class project at the local Belmont River, where her class will take samples of the water to analyze. Students have been doing the project for years, and her older brother tells her that his favorite part was studying and catching frogs.

But when Haven and her classmates get to the river, there’s no sign of frogs or other wildlife—but there is ample evidence of pollution. The only thing that’s changed by the river is the opening of Gemba, the new factory where Haven’s dad works. It doesn’t take much investigation before Haven is convinced Gemba is behind the slow pollution of the river.

She’s determined to expose Gemba and force them to clean up their act. But when it becomes clear taking action might put her dad’s job—and some friendships—in jeopardy, Haven must decide how far she’s willing to go.

Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet by Barbara Dee was published by Simon & Schuster in 2022.

16 comments:

  1. This sounds like a great story. I'm guessing kids are way more anxious about the environment now as they see more and more how global warming is changing our world and weather.

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  2. Sounds like an interesting read. I'm a little late for MMGM so here's a link to mine. https://logcabinlibrary.blogspot.com/2022/07/review-of-long-way-from-home-by-laura.html

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  3. I just finished reading this book and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The MC and story were a much needed reminder how the world is changing and what we must do to save it. Thanks for featuring your review on MMGM.

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    1. Barbara Dee is a great writer. Very good at realistic dialogue and situations.

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  4. Climate and the environment are on the minds of a lot bloggers today. This compelling novel is necessary for many of the reasons you mention. Will check it out, because I like books that shows kids how to get involved -- a way to lessen their anxiety.

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    1. Yes, I think it helps to know others are thinking about the same issues.

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  5. Wow, that is really some dilemma for Haven. What a timely book this must be. I'm putting it on my list and will be looking for a copy. Thanks for telling me about it.

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  6. I've been looking forward to this book. Now all I need is time to read it!

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  7. I really like the environmental story line, and Haven sounds a great character. It sounds a timely story, even though I am sad that kids are suffering from 'climate anxiety' :(

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    1. I'm sad about that too. So many kids are anxious now.

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  8. Another great novel about the climate for young people. Left a message earlier this week and it didn't post. Will try again.

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    1. So sorry Patricia! Blogger has been acting up on me lately and it's frustrating.

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