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Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World

Overview

Hold onto your hats! It's windy on the Danish island of Samso. Meet the environmentally friendly people who now proudly call their home Energy Island.

At a time when most countries are producing ever-increasing amounts of CO2, the rather ordinary citizens of Samsø have accomplished something extraordinary—in just ten years they have reduced their carbon emissions by 140% and become almost completely energy independent. A narrative tale and a science book in one, this inspiring ...

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Overview

Hold onto your hats! It's windy on the Danish island of Samso. Meet the environmentally friendly people who now proudly call their home Energy Island.

At a time when most countries are producing ever-increasing amounts of CO2, the rather ordinary citizens of Samsø have accomplished something extraordinary—in just ten years they have reduced their carbon emissions by 140% and become almost completely energy independent. A narrative tale and a science book in one, this inspiring true story proves that with a little hard work and a big idea, anyone can make a huge step towards energy conservation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Energy independence may not seem like a gripping topic for a picture book, but Drummond (Tin Lizzie) tells the story of the Danish island of Samsø so engagingly that families may find themselves considering wind turbines for their backyards. Windy Samsø was chosen for a pilot energy independence program by the Danish government. The government's choice doesn't excite the islanders to begin with: " ‘Why us?' said Dorthe Knudsen. ‘Let some other island take on the challenge.' " When a big storm knocks out the island's power cable, and the farmer with a big turbine is the only one whose lights are on, the project suddenly seems a lot more interesting. Drummond uses the island's high winds as a metaphor for the project's excitement with the oft-repeated phrase "Hold on to your hats!" Instead of spreads, the pages are broken up with many small spot illustrations (Drummond's loopy, sweetly tinted drawings make even immense wind turbines seem adorable); more extensive information about wind power appears in (appropriately) green sidebars. His honesty about the project's glitches makes the triumphant conclusion all the more resounding. Ages 6–10. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“The thrilling idea, the book concludes, is that Samso is ‘not very different from where you live.’ Your community doesn't need wind; it needs a spark, to get people to think and work together.” Los Angeles Times

Energy Island opens with the power of wind captured by a pinwheel, an illustration that neatly encapsulates this remarkably accessible book about the path to energy independence on the Danish island of Samso.” –The New York Times Book Review

“In this first title in a planned series of picture books about sustainable energy, Drummond combines winsome, kinetic, ink-and-wash illustrations with a succinct, simply phrased, smoothly flowing narrative that describes how Samsø transformed itself.” –Starred, Booklist

"The illustrations further personalize the story with energy of their own as they bring Samsø and its residents to life." –Starred, School Library Journal

“The message is clear: An initially unconcerned community banded together and took steps that led to their current fame as a model of environmental action; we other residents of the island that is planet Earth can do that, too.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Energy independence may not seem like a gripping topic for a picture book, but Drummond (Tin Lizzie) tells the story of the Danish island of Samsø so engagingly that families may find themselves considering wind turbines for their backyards.” –Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Hold on to your hats! The Danish island of Samso is very windy. It is so windy that it became a perfect place to test a variety of non-fossil fuel energy experiments. Drummond tells the island's story from the point of view of Samso's youngsters, which makes the message approachable rather than preachy. In "our little home" the kids do normal things like ride bikes and play on the beach in summer, and play games inside in winter. So when the communal kids' voice begins explaining the logical process leading to the island's windmill/solar panel-energy blossoming, the transition to science lecture works reasonably well for young readers. Meanwhile, Drummond the London-trained illustrator keeps the story alive and moving with his light and breezy pen and water color sketches in the style of Quentin Blake (without the ironic edge.) This is the first in an ecology-based picture book series by Allan Drummond. Kids, teachers and librarians can look forward to Green City, coming soon. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
Gr 2–6—This account of how the residents of a Danish island made large and small changes to switch to renewable energy sources puts names and faces to processes described in more conventional discussions of alternative energy. Before the transformation, Samsø's most remarkable feature was its continual winds. A determined teacher spent several years trying to convince residents to create their own energy sources to break their dependence on energy generated on the mainland. Two residents eventually agreed to proceed with wind-turbine projects. When a fierce winter storm disrupted the usual electrical transmission, the only source of power on the island came from one of the wind turbines. Once the citizens became convinced of the potential benefits of energy independence, the projects multiplied: solar panels, biomass furnaces, electric cars, and bicycles. Now people from around the world come to Samsø to learn about ways to harness renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions. Informative sidebars supply information on global warming, renewable and nonrenewable energy, and conservation. What is most remarkable about this island, though, is how ordinary people achieved an extraordinary 140 percent reduction in carbon emissions in just 10 years. The illustrations further personalize the story with energy of their own as they bring Samsø and its residents to life. A fine choice for most libraries, even those with a number of more conventional introductions to alternate energy sources.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Kirkus Reviews
An unidentified local inhabitant describes the process and some of the people responsible for the recent transformation of the Danish island of Samsø to energy self-sufficiency.His chatty narration is accompanied by loosely drawn ink-and-watercolor illustrations emphasizing the island's windy nature. Windmill blades and pinwheels turn, hats blow off and clouds scud. Ranging from vignettes to full-page spreads and series showing the passage of time, these sketches perfectly reflect the story line. For older, more able readers, sidebars add explanations of relevant concepts: nonrenewable and renewable energy, the carbon dioxide problem, global warming, wind and other forms of energy and conservation.Though the focus is wind power, the author mentions other sources and energy-saving activities. In an afterword, he explains he has slightly adjusted the timeline. While he concentrates on the activities of Søren Hermansen, a local teacher who is now leader of the Samsø Energy Academy, he introduces two other early actors. A rough map shows Denmark's general location in the eastern hemisphere but doesn't label the North Sea or show enough of North America to help readers pinpoint the actual location. But the message is clear: An initially unconcerned community banded together and took steps that led to their current fame as a model of environmental action; we other residents of the island that is planet Earth can do that, too.(Informational picture book. 7-10)
Abby McGanney Nolan
Drummond fills his pages with detailed images of a variety of scenes that soften the didactic story line, while sidebars describe a range of energy-related issues from renewable energy to climate change.
—The Washington Post
Pamela Paul
…[a] remarkably accessible book about the path to energy independence on the Danish island of Samso.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374321840
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 36
  • Sales rank: 239,471
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: AD920L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Author/illustrator Allan Drummond studied at the Royal College of Art. His many books include Tin Lizzie, a Green Earth Honor Book. He lives in Savannah, Georgia ,where he is Chair of Illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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