Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Energy Island by Allan Drummond

Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World
Written and Illustrated by Allan Drummond
Frances Foster Books, an imprint of Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011
ISBN 978374321840
This reviewer checked out this book from her local public library.

Energy Island is a different kind of success story.  It traces how one small island community, over several years, worked together to stop their dependency on oil. A faceless narrator explains how the people of Samso, a small island located in the middle of Demark, were just like everyone else. They had gardens, went to the beach in summer, and never gave a thought to where their energy came from, or how much they used. They turned the heat up in winter, left lights on when not in a room, and used as much hot water as they wanted. 
“Our oil arrived by tanker ship and truck.  Our electricity came from the mainland by cable under the sea.”
It was when their island was chosen as an ideal place to become independent of nonrenewable energy that things began to change under the guidance of Soren Hermansen, an island teacher. It took many years before islanders agreed to put Hermansen’s ideas to the test.
Sidebars give explanations for older readers on relevant subjects: nonrenewable energy and energy independence, renewable energy, the problem of nonrenewable energy, global warming, wind energy, energy in the world, and saving energy.  The author’s style of illustrations lack details, which will frustrate some readers. For example, the map showing the location of Samso does not place it in context with other European neighbors, nor does it label the sea it lies in. (The North Sea) The book also lacks any mention of the negative environmental impact of wind turbines. Still, what resonates is the fact that one small community banded together to lessen their dependence on oil to help slow down global warming.  Now that is something to be proud of.  This informational nonfiction picture book is a recommended purchase for libraries who need to beef up books about renewable energy.
4 stars
Grade 3-5

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