Eyes Wide Open, by Paul Fleischman (2014)

Ages 13-16
Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines Newbery-winning novelist Paul Fleischman turns his attention to the environment, creating an attractive, accessible and straightforward handbook aimed at young teens. He provides not a trite list of easy changes teens can make to “save the earth” but instead issues to readers a call to notice what is happening before our eyes, inform ourselves, and take action, both personally and collectively. Fleischman takes a narrative approach that helps readers build their understanding of the issues, and learn how to assess both sides of the story in a search for the truth. He uses history to set the context, and draws on current events, politics, economics and science to help readers learn the facts and how to evaluate the headlines and the stories being told, in a bid to determine what is truth and what is spin. It’s occasionally simplistic: when explaining why the voluntary agreement between nations from the 1992 Rio Summit failed, he writes: “Would you clean your room if you didn’t really have to? Countries are no different.” (p. 114). Chapters are short, rarely more than five pages long, with images and graphs providing additional information as well as offering struggling readers different paths to access the information. Fleischman includes links and resources for learning more, from Ted Talks on YouTube to specific chapters in books. His research is practically up to the minute, with references to articles published as recently as May 2013. He includes 18 pages of source notes to support the information he provides on each page, though I wish he had chosen to use footnote or endnote numbering to model good citation habits. In addition to notes, his appendices include an article on how to weigh information, a bibliography and suggested resources, a glossary explaining all the underlined terms in the book and, I’m happy to report, a well-developed index of 11 pages.
More discussion and reviews of this title: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20708791


About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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