Mon Cochran, a writer in Orleans, MA, is currently completing a climate-related e-book series for young readers that features Pleasant Bay, here on Cape Cod. The first book in the series, titled Just Right: Climate Science for Young Readers, is designed to introduce middle school aged children how Earth maintains a livable temperature and the ways that they can contribute to that effort.
In Just Right Tom, age eleven, and his sister, Julie, age nine, are spending the summer with their grandfather on Cape Cod. When he himself was a child, Grandpa bonded deeply with his native land and waters, and is fascinated by the concept of Earth as a living organism. He proposes that the three of them spend the summer finding out—through direct outdoor experience and the vast resources of the Web—what makes our planet “just right” as a home for living things.
After a quick voyage into space to get the really long view of Earth, the threesome makes a plan. Tom decides to become an expert on our atmosphere, and Julie sets out to learn about the oceans. Grandpa takes the land, Earth’s crust, as his specialty. They learn firsthand how these natural systems work by observing whales feeding, seawater creating deltas on the falling tide, the myriad kinds of rocks on the beach, and wind filling a boat’s sails; they gain deeper understanding in their explorations online.
Weaving video, still photos, infographics, and maps into this narrative, Just Right gives nine-to-twelve-year-olds a basic understanding of how Earth’s vital organs—atmosphere, oceans, and land—interact to support life and stabilize the climate, as seen from the perspective of children their own age.
Just Right: Climate Science for Young Readers is available free on the web. The web-based version can be read at http://justrightclimate.org. A version designed to be downloaded onto an Apple computer, iPad, or iPhone is also available at that address.
Mon is just completing the second ebook in the series, titled Sun, Wind, and Water: Clean Energy Solutions for the Next Generation. Sun, Wind, and Water follows Tom and Julie into school after their summer on the Cape, where they convince their teachers to assist them with special projects on solar and water power. In chapters on solar and water-generated energy the children work in teams with other classmates to gather information on the workings of the technologies (solar panels, hydroelectric turbines) currently available for producing electricity without fossil fuels. They share this information with their classmates and with Grandpa, who in turn briefs them on what he uncovers about the workings of a wind turbine.
During spring vacation Grandpa and his two grandchildren take a trip to Samsø Island in Denmark, world renowned as ‘Energy Island,’ to learn how the island transitioned from fossil fuel dependent to fully independent in less than ten years. On the island they meet young Danes their age, who recount for them the steps taken by the island residents and give them a tour of the wind, solar, and bio-fuel projects that make the island a net exporter of alternative energy. Upon return to Boston the children discover that the nearby island of Martha’s Vineyard is making a similar transition from fossil fuels to solar and wind energy, and visit that island to learn more about an American community can become independent of carbon-emitting fossil fuels. The ebook ends as Tom, Julie and their friends are organizing to advocate for solar projects in the Boston area and clean energy legislation at the state level.
Sun, Wind, and Water: Clean Energy Solutions for the Next Generation will be available free at justrightclimate.org beginning in June, 2017. For more information on this ebook project Mon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.