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Thanks to the iconic 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist, Greta Thunberg, the number and sales of children’s books about environmental issues have spiked, say publishers. They have dubbed the boom in popularity of books focused on saving the planet “The Greta Thunberg Effect.”
According to data from a study conducted by Nielsen Book UK, the number of children’s books centred on climate change, global warming and our natural environment has more than doubled over the past year. The rise in eco-conscious books has also been accompanied by a doubling of sales.
These children’s environmental books target a range of issues, from endangered animals, low-waste living, plastic pollution, and stories about inspirational environmental activists like Greta Thunberg herself.
“I absolutely would say there has been a Greta Thunberg effect…She has galvanised the appetite of young people for change, and that has galvanised our appetite, as publishers, for stories that empower our readers to make those changes,” said Rachel Kellehar, head of non-fiction at independent children’s book publisher Nosy Crow.
Isabel Doster, senior editor in children’s non-fiction at Bloomsbury Publishing, agrees on the Thunberg effect, saying that there is a “real thirst” for stories about green role models that children can look up to.
The teenage eco-warrior has been at the forefront of this year’s renewed global attention on our planet’s climate emergency. Since the launch of the “school strike for climate change,” Greta’s movement has spread globally around the world and gained huge media attention. Most notably, an estimated 1.4 million students across 125 countries joined her call to strike for the planet in March.
Her work as an outspoken climate activist on the world stage has made her an icon, especially for young people. The increase in the number and sales of environmental children’s books is a part of her impact – and it has the potential to create an important knock-on effect.
Indeed, young people around the world have already come up with incredible ideas and followed up with action, such as the two sisters in Indonesia who pushed for a plastic bag ban. They are the next generation to inherit our planet, which is in a climate crisis and desperately needs saving. If we are to avoid a climate disaster – which is already underway given the surge in frequency of heatwaves, volatile weather patterns, droughts (among the many other climate events not listed) – children must be attuned to the environmental impact of human activity to become the next leaders to solve it. Messages spoken through books could be just the inspiration that the next generation of world leaders need.
Lead image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.