Today is World Oceans Day, a day where we celebrate our oceans (and roughly 70% of our planet)! To me, every day is earth day and world oceans day because it is important to celebrate our planet and oceans daily through the decisions we make, like opting out of eating fish, eating sustainably caught fish, cutting out plastic, not using straws, choosing reef safe sunscreen, and more. Oceans are important for, without a healthy ocean, we would not have a healthy planet.
Recently, If Polar Bears Disappeared was awarded as an honor book for the Bank Street College of Education Cook Prize, celebrating STEM in children’s literature. My editor, Emily Feinberg, was in NYC and able to accept the award on my behalf. I have included my acceptance speech below (you can view it HERE) and I think it is an important thing to read when thinking about stewarding our planet.
“Thank you to the Bank Street College of Education, the committee, and all of the enthusiastic voters and readers of If Polar Bears Disappeared. I am honored that If Polar Bears Disappeared is one of this year’s three Cook Award honor books because awards like these are so important for literacy and bringing awareness to crucial topics, like climate change. I started the If Animals Disappeared series as a passion project when I was just 20 years old, in college, trying to figure out how I could help save threatened species. It was my passion and drive to make a difference in this world using STEM, paired with art, that has helped me reach readers across the world. When I hear people say that maybe these topics are too scary or too big for kids, I like to remind people that the hope is with our kids. It is with educating them and celebrating them and raising the next generation to be thoughtful stewards of our planet. The kids and readers who voted for the Cook Prize show me that hope and make the award’s mission even more important. Thank you for this honor and to everyone involved in the process. I have so much hope for our planet.“
This belief that the hope is with our kids is only enforced during every school visit, author talk, or chance encounter I have with an enthusiastic kid. Kid’s know about climate change and they know our oceans are in danger. We as adults owe it to them to talk about it honestly so that they can incorporate thoughtful earth-minded decisions into their daily lives.
Happy World Oceans Day!