Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: A Warmer World

A Warmer World
written by Caroline Arnold; illustrated by Jamie Hogan
2012 (Charlesbridge)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Check out Nonfiction Monday at Wendie's Wanderings

In A Warmer World, Caroline Arnold gives a straightforward presentation of the effects of climate change on the natural world. She starts with the case of the golden toad in Costa Rica. Arnold explains that drier weather brought on by climate change caused puddles to disappear quickly and leave the golden toad eggs without water. The golden toad was gone within two years and has not been seen since. The next section talks about how the Earth's climate has changed in the last century. I love how the author lays out the difference between climate and weather:

Climate is the average weather in a particular place measured over time. Weather is the state of the atmosphere around us at a particular place and time. In other words, climate is what you expect (for example, a wet spring) and weather is what you get (for example, a thunderstorm).

In later sections, Arnold addresses how climate change causes animals to migrate to places that were previously cooler. This can create more competition for resources. The melting of polar regions and rising sea levels are also presented as problems caused by global warming. More than once, the author explains that the earth has warmed before, but that it is the rate of warming at this time that concerns scientists.

I really like how the text is written in this book. Each one page piece is full of information, but not so that it is overwhelming for a strong second or third grade reader. There are not very many books on climate change for younger readers, but I also think this will be a welcome resource for a wide range of grade levels. Middle school students could use this book just as easily as a third grader. I also think there is a golden opportunity for discussion with A Warmer World. If you do a little research, you will find those who  differ with some of the conclusions drawn by the author in this book. With nonfiction, one of the skills we would like to teach our students is to read and weigh the evidence. If you can find an opposing opinion that is well reasoned, I think it would be good to present it and work with students to develop their own opinion about the effects of climate change.


  1. Hi Jeff, I'm glad that you have pointed out the importance of research and having the children weigh sources of information and read about conflicting 'factual information' - children tend to think that the written word is the singular truth to everything, and it helps if they are able to think critically about materials they read. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. This sounds like a wonderful title for a unit I do in Persuasive Writing on the environment. This could serve as a springboard for further research. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Very interesting book! I'm so glad you've shared this. While I'm familiar with Arnold's nonfiction titles about individual animals, this really fills a need we have in our library. I especially appreciate your sharing a quote from the book, so I could get a sense of the writing and reading level. Thanks for a great review!

  4. Thank you everyone for your kind words and for stopping by! I think you will really enjoy this book.