Reviews /

Global

Authored by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
Illustrated by Giovanni Rigano
Published by Hachette Children's Group

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Global is a powerful and timely graphic novel focused on the impact of climate change on two young lives.

Yuki lives in the Arctic Northwest of Canada where global warming is causing the ice to melt and is changing the habitat of the animals that live there. The territories of polar and grizzly bears now overlap and they are interbreeding. The new offspring are known as Grolar bears. Yuki sets out on a perilous journey to prove they exist by taking photographs of one. Inevitably the unstable nature of the icy terrain conceals hidden dangers, but not as life threatening as when a fierce and hungry Grolar starts to chase her.

Sami and his grandfather live on an island off the coast of Bangla Desh and Myanmar. Global warming means that powerful storms are fiercer and more frequent. The sea level is also rising. Their lives are precarious and Sami parents were recently lost. Their homes are frequently washed away by the sea or drowned in mud. Worse, the fish Sami and his grandfather depend on are diminishing and they hardly seem to catch anything. Sami decides to risk his life by diving into the ocean to retrieve his mother’s lucky knife – surely that will change their luck for the better.

Global makes explicit the negative impact on the lives of ordinary people in an accessible and compelling way. The telling through the means of a graphic novel immerses the reader in the worlds of the two main characters, struggling to make practical sense of the changes happening all around them. The illustrations are stunning in their detail and impact. The action is exciting, unpredictable and immersive.

The book finishes with a fine section explaining what global heating is, what causes it, why it is so dangerous, and how the reader might be able to do something about it. The elephant in the room of course is capitalism and the vested interests of Big Oil – the logic of which undermines all attempts to limit temperature increases and world-wide pollution. In the drive for profits the health of the planet and humanity are secondary considerations (see the UK’s water companies for example). Any actions by individuals will have little impact unless we fight to change the underlying economic basis of our society.

This book is an essential read for upper primary children, secondary students and adults. Highly recommended.

Selected for the Empathy Lab 2024 Collection

Longlisted for the 2024 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration

Shortlisted for the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2024