Valentina Giannella (text), Manuela Marazzi (illustrator), We Are All Greta: Be Inspired to Save the World, Laurence King Publishing, September 2019, 128 pp., RRP $19.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781786276131.
We Are All Greta is written by Italian author and journalist Valentina Giannella. This is a review of the translation into English from the Italian Il mio nome è Greta.
The book opens with a background summary about how Greta Thunberg began her journey as an activist for climate change awareness. Each chapter explores an issue, including sustainable development; fossil fuels; clean and renewable energy; drinking water; waste and recycling; plastic pollution; biodiversity; agriculture; cities; food consumption and food security. Giannella has also included some questions and answers. For example, what is the difference between weather and climate?
Quotes from Greta’s speeches and data from scientific sources are cited in each chapter. Giannella indicates the specialist scientists and experts consulted when compiling the book. There is a clear attempt to use optimistic language, and a message in the book to “swap fear for action”.
In the introduction, Gianella explains that the idea for this book began when she saw a child in Hong Kong holding a sign that said, ‘My name is Greta’. We are all Greta contains iconic drawings of Greta in the wonderful eye-catching illustrations by Manuela Marazzi. It is isn’t clear if Greta Thunberg or her family were involved in the book. For older readers, this detail could provide a useful discussion angle.
Giannella successfully balances global complex ideas with small actions that can have an impact at scale. There is a chapter devoted to individual actions that readers can achieve. Examples of actions are to drink tap water instead of bottled water; reduce or eliminate plastic; using bars of soap instead of liquid soap; recycle and being mindful of power consumption. There are posters of these action pages available on the publisher’s website. Readers can share their actions through a suggested social media tag. There are further reference pages of keywords, references and websites.
We Are All Greta is an accessible and informative read about the issue of human consumption of resources and global warming. Aimed at children 10 years old and above, Giannella has created a book that will provoke discussion, ask tricky questions and inspire small actions linked to bigger ideas about global environmental and economic futures.
Reviewed by Angela Brown