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Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines

Overview

Paul Fleischman offers teens an environmental wake-up call and a tool kit for decoding the barrage of conflicting information confronting them.

We're living in an Ah-Ha moment. Take 250 years of human ingenuity. Add abundant fossil fuels. The result: a population and lifestyle never before seen. The downsides weren't visible for centuries, but now they are. Suddenly everything needs rethinking – suburbs, cars, fast food, cheap prices. It's a ...

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Overview

Paul Fleischman offers teens an environmental wake-up call and a tool kit for decoding the barrage of conflicting information confronting them.

We're living in an Ah-Ha moment. Take 250 years of human ingenuity. Add abundant fossil fuels. The result: a population and lifestyle never before seen. The downsides weren't visible for centuries, but now they are. Suddenly everything needs rethinking – suburbs, cars, fast food, cheap prices. It's a changed world.

This book explains it. Not with isolated facts, but the principles driving attitudes and events, from vested interests to denial to big-country syndrome. Because money is as important as molecules in the environment, science is joined with politics, history, and psychology to provide the briefing needed to comprehend the 21st century.

Extensive back matter, including a glossary, bibliography, and index, as well as numerous references to websites, provides further resources.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
With simple, matter-of-fact language, an attractive layout and an abundance of references, this compact guide to addressing climate change is a must-read for millennials and for all who seek solutions to global warming. ... For high schools that assign one book for all students to read and discuss: This is the one.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

[A] challenging and provocative overview of current environmental and sociological problems, which urges readers to think critically and broadly about the world. ... Few readers will look at the world the same way after finishing this book.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Written in a lively style, lavishly illustrated, and timely in its subject matter, this well-researched book is a call to action: now is the time to save our environment. ... The presentation of facts and the author’s positive message are what shine here. An excellent and thought-provoking take on a well-worn subject.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

This remarkable book offers young people the tools they need to become informed, responsible global citizens. ... Thoughtful readers will appreciate this insightful, refreshing title’s broad scope, use of specific examples, and the many references to related books, documentaries, and online articles, lectures, and interviews. The appended "How to Weigh Information" section is particularly excellent. A Newbery Medal–winning writer, Fleischman notes that he is "no trained scientist," but his exceptional ability to organize the information here and present it articulately makes him a notable citizen scientist.
—Booklist (starred review)

The compelling format includes numerous short chapters with sidebars, illustrations, and source notes. Every page offers interesting visual design as well as quality content. ... Fleischmann’s engaging book will launch readers into further inquiry. ... This unique and up-to-the-minute book builds understanding about how we have reached the current moment in history. ... Compelling. [This] may become the author’s most influential book.
—VOYA

Fleischman writes urgently, conversationally, and inspirationally... None of the concepts is dumbed-down, and readers can look up more information if they choose using the copious source notes, resource lists, and a primer on critical media consumption found in the back of the book. Going straight to the issues that matter, this is a refreshingly opinionated approach to informed action, encouraging teens to think and act critically, communally, and responsibly.
—Horn Book

Material is written in short, factual posts like blog posts which students will find easy to follow.
—Library Media Connection

This is certainly a laudable goal and it’s approached with a lively voice. ... Perhaps most useful is the volume’s back matter, which, besides source notes and an index, offers an extensive bibliography of print and non print media, suggested resources ar- ranged by topic, and an excellent glossary of terms that often carry domain-specific meaning.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Few readers will look at the world the same way after finishing this book.
—Huffington Post

An acclaimed storyteller and poet, Fleischman briskly describes, without gloom or doom, how we have gotten into this situation and how we may be able to get out of it. ... Full of pertinent historical references and images, the book provides many ideas on how to learn more, be hopeful and take action.
—The Washington Post

A must-have for activist teens.
—Providence Sunday Journal

School Library Journal
★ 08/01/2014
Gr 6 Up—Written in a lively style, lavishly illustrated, and timely in its subject matter, this well-researched book is a call to action: now is the time to save our environment. The author describes his technique as getting altitude, or getting above the problem, to see the big picture. Rather than simply offering a list of simple things kids can do to help the environment, he offers more complex solutions for becoming aware of the issues, such as noticing that there is a problem, becoming aware of defense mechanisms preventing people from acting, and learning about systems like capitalism that allow environmental threats to continue. Each chapter, divided into nifty topic-highlighted paragraphs, is filled with historical facts and current events, sidebars, photographs, and definitions of key terms. Backstories, including the oil embargo, the ozone crisis, and the Kyoto Protocol, are presented along with a section on how to weigh information (evaluate the media, follow the money, and check for fallacies). The presentation of facts and the author's positive message are what shine here. An excellent and thought-provoking take on a well-worn subject.—Patricia Ann Owens, formerly with Illinois Eastern Community College, Mt. Carmel
Publishers Weekly
★ 08/11/2014
“History is happening right here and right now,” writes Newbery Medalist Fleischman in this challenging and provocative overview of current environmental and sociological problems, which urges readers to think critically and broadly about the world. Throughout, Fleischman gives readers a toolbox of deciphering skills with which to recognize—for starters—the vested interests that guide decisions made by those in power, media and PR distortions, and both real and “shadow” solutions. Photographs, sidebars, and an array of suggested resources bolster the hard truths outlined (“Solving the environment requires looking straight at reality and calculating the costs of our lifestyle and options”). Few readers will look at the world the same way after finishing this book. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - Amy Cummins
Fleischman’s transdisciplinary approach is informed by science, economics, history, sociology, and media studies. The compelling format includes numerous short chapters with sidebars, illustrations, and source notes. Every page offers interesting visual design as well as quality content. An inevitable limitation of this method is that the book substitutes breadth for depth, yet Fleischmann’s engaging book will launch readers into further inquiry. Despite a few pro/con discussions covering different perspectives on topics such as fracking, Eyes Wide Open emphasizes research-based findings in environmental science. This unique and up-to-the-minute book builds understanding about how we have reached the current moment in history. Particularly compelling chapters include “Chindia: Why Your Future Is Tied to China and India,” “Denial: Problem? What Problem?” and “Fixes: What Works, What Doesn’t.” A closing essay about “How to Weigh Information” explains differentiating among sources and checking for fallacies. Another useful feature is the glossary, containing ninety-four key terms such as cap and trade, geoengineering, greenwashing, race to the bottom, and tragedy of the commons. Readers who appreciated the community garden focus of Fleischman’s novel Seedfolks (HarperCollins, 1997/Voya June 1997) must read Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind The Environmental Headlines, which may become the author’s most influential book. Reviewer: Amy Cummins; Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-06-10
With simple, matter-of-fact language, an attractive layout and an abundance of references, this compact guide to addressing climate change is a must-read for millennials and for all who seek solutions to global warming.Fleischman begins with a personal story about noticing dead bees in his driveway and wondering about the cause. He uses this incident to emphasize the point that history—specifically history related to environmental issues—is happening all around us and is undeniably related to the choices made by both individuals and institutions. He clearly states the book’s goal early on: “to give you a foundation under your decisions.” The pages that follow—best read slowly and sequentially—represent a crash course in recent and ancient environmental issues, drawing from history, economics, psychology and sociology to pursue the stated goal. Readers are offered advice on how to analyze and interpret what they hear in person and discover through the media. There is a laudable restraint; even as the text relentlessly shows how human beings have created climate change, sources are also given to read “the most respected” divergent views. Despite its unflinching presentation of facts about myriad environmental concerns, the book manages to end on a note of hope for a new generation of activists.For high schools that assign one book for all students to read and discuss: This is the one. (source notes, bibliography, suggested resources, glossary, acknowledgements, image credits, index, website) (Nonfiction. 14-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763675455
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/23/2014
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 91,361
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Fleischman won a Newbery Medal for Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices and a Newbery Honor for Graven Images. He is the author of numerous books, including picture books, young adult fiction, poetry, plays, and nonfiction. Paul Fleischman lives in Santa Cruz.

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