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No World Too Big edited by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley

Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley share No World Too Big: Young People Fighting Global Climate Change (Charlesbridge Publishing), celebrating twelve young activists and three activist groups on front lines of the climate crisis who have planted trees in Uganda, protected water in Canada, reduced school-bus climate footprint in Indonesia, invented alternate power sources in Ohio, and more.

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About the book: No World Too Big: Young People Fighting Global Climate Change edited by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley; Illustrated by Jeanette Bradley. Published by Charlesbridge Publishing.

Fans of No Voice Too Small will be inspired by young climate activists who made an impact around climate change in their communities, countries, and beyond.

Climate change impacts everyone, but the future belongs to young people. No World Too Big celebrates twelve young activists and three activist groups on front lines of the climate crisis who have planted trees in Uganda, protected water in Canada, reduced school-bus climate footprint in Indonesia, invented alternate power sources in Ohio, and more. Fourteen poems by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, David Bowles, Rajani LaRocca, Renée LaTulippe, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, and others honor activists from all over the world and the United States. Additional text goes into detail about each activist's life and how readers can get involved.

Episode Transcript:


Matthew: Welcome to the Children’s Book Podcast. I’m Matthew.

I am a teacher, a librarian, a writer, and a fan of kids. 

Not only that, I am a fan of celebrating the big and small ways that children are changing our world, their world. No voice too small. No world too big.

Today I welcome Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley to the podcast.

Lindsay, Kelia, and Jeanette are the editors of No World Too Big: Young People Fighting Global Climate Change (Charlesbridge Publishing), which celebrates twelve young activists and three activist groups on front lines of the climate crisis who have planted trees in Uganda, protected water in Canada, reduced school-bus climate footprint in Indonesia, invented alternate power sources in Ohio, and more. In addition to co-editing, Jeanette also illustrated No World Too Big as well as its companion book by the same team, No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History.

Let’s step into my conversation with Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley. 

Ready? Here we go.


Lindsay: Hi, my name is Lindsay Metcalf and my pronouns are she, her, and I'm one of the three co editors of No World Too Big: young people fighting global climate change. I have three other non fiction picture books out with a few more on the way. I used to be a newspaper reporter and editor and now I write picture books from my home in Kansas, just a few miles from the farm where I grew up. 

Keila: My name is Keila Dawson and I am one of the co editors of No World Too Big. And I am a former educator turned children's book author. I write both fiction and nonfiction picture books.

And I would describe myself as an adventurous person and a curious person. And I believe that's what makes me a lifelong learner. 

Jeanette: My name is Jeanette Bradley (she/her) and I am an author and illustrator of picture books.

I actually used to be an urban planner. So some of that background, um, is part of what makes me so interested in climate issues and issues around organizing and activism. 

Matthew: Of course it would. That's so cool to know you bring that to the table. All right. So any of you or each of you, however you want to take it, um, I'd love for you to just help our listeners understand what is climate change?

Is it possible for us to observe or notice climate change happening, the effects of climate change? Anybody want to take that? 

Keila: Well, I will start with that. And, um, I think it's important that we're all on the same page. So I'm going to read the definition that we put in the glossary of No World Too Big.

Climate change. Long term change in average weather patterns driven by human release of greenhouse gases. These gases have caused Earth to heat more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit, 1. 1 degrees Celsius since 1900. And I think it's important that we define what climate change is so we can talk about it.

Jeanette: One thing that probably all of us have observed is, uh, strange weather patterns wherever we live. More and stronger storms. Um, I live in coastal Rhode Island, and so sometimes, uh, during full moons, there are tideswhere the high tide comes up the street, not in my street, but in streets and neighborhoods near me. Um, it's so the tide is coming places that it didn't used to be, but we're also observing strange things like we've had drought and wildfires here in Rhode Island this spring, which is very unusual here.

Lindsay: This is Lindsay. I'm just going to jump in. I live in an area where there are some people who aren't convinced that climate change is happening. And it's hard to tell on a day to day basis sometimes that we're in the middle of a long term change. But one example where I live in Kansas. I mentioned that I grew up on a farm.

We grow a lot of wheat in Kansas and I just heard on NPR today that our wheat crop was devastated by drought so badly this last winter that it's going to be the worst crop we've had in a half century. My family grows wheat and they had to tear up several fields because most of it died. And that was just because we didn't get enough snow over the winter, not enough rain in the fall.

And that is a local issue that extrapolates to everyone because that affects our food supply. 

Matthew: Oh, go ahead, Keila. Go ahead.

Keila: I just wanted to chime in that one of the, the effects that Others are seen, um, in, uh, on climate change. It's happening all around the world. And that's why we included, uh, youth who have shared their personal stories.

And, um, like, for example, um, Marinel Obaldo, who is from the Philippines. Um, when a super typhoon destroyed her village, they had to move. And I totally understand that because it happened to my family in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina. So the effects are, are personal and, um, they're happening all around the world.

Matthew: I even think about, I was reflecting the other day, I'm 42 and I'm old enough, but I also think people younger than me are old enough to recognize the weather has changed since we were younger. And I don't know that generations before us could say that. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just feel like, wow, we used to talk about, I grew up in central Pennsylvania.

We used to talk about all the snow we used to get. And we've just been having milder and milder and milder winters. And for the past two or three years in a row in Maryland, we haven't had a single snow day. And that's just like, that's just weird. We would normally you're, you're planning, you build in four or five every year.

So to start noticing that, that that's not happening is, is, is odd. Um, it's something that maybe the kids growing up are, are defining. our current weather patterns in a way that's very different than, than those of us that are a generation or so older than they are. And I think that, that to me has been a, well, we, we are all witnessing climate change in really different ways.

Keila, I love that you were sharing one of the individuals, uh, in this global climate change fight. So many kids are activists, uh, big and small. Some will never know their names and that's okay. Um, but I wonder Jeanette or Lindsay, if, if there are other people that, that spoke to you, um, about, I'm saying it may be, maybe I'm combining a later question, but Keila, I love the way that you mentioned this very specific individual who saw stuff happening where she lived.

She was affected where she lived, and so it's important because we see our, our space, our access to resources affected. 

Jeanette: One of our big motivators for writing this book was because, um, we have kids who are worried about climate change and we personally are worried about climate change. And, um, I think that worry and that anxiety about what our future is going to be like is something that's a big enough issue that now the American Public Health Association is considering it a public health issue.

The mental health cost of worrying about what our future is going to be like is causing problems for kids. Um, and I like to say the antidote to despair is taking action, in particular taking action with other people. And we need to be able to have a sense of hope and a sense that we can make a difference.

And so I feel like these stories are so important because they're so important. people like Greta Thunberg, um, she was also really worried and so anxious about climate that she couldn't eat. And it wasn't until she started taking action and realized that there were other people that cared deeply about this issue and that she could work together with them that she was able to actually get out of that space of being unable to eat for herself.

Um, and realize that there was hope in working with other people.

Lindsay: Yeah. I'll piggyback off of that. That was such a good answer. 

Matthew: I was going to say that was such answer, Jeanette. Wow. Yeah. 

Lindsay: I, I have nothing to add about broadly why we included youth, but I did want to mention some of the people we did include. Um, we didn't mention before that. This is our second collaboration, um, with a poetry book.

The first one was called No Voice Too Small. And the way this book differs is that we included some groups, not just individuals. And one important reason for that is because the only way we're really going to solve climate change is by working together. So, uh, one of the groups that we featured was the Marshallese youth. The Marshall Islands is an Atoll nation. It's out in the Pacific Ocean and it's barely above sea level. And so their entire way of life is threatened if the seas rise, and they are rising. If everyone has to leave their nation, you know, than their, their culture. They don't have that link to one another anymore.

And so young people specifically in the Marshall Islands have banded together. And some of them are speaking out at international climate conventions. Um, one person named Karlyn Zachris has been writing poems on Twitter. And so we connected with him and he actually wrote a poem about the Marshallese youth for our book.

Um, he called it Yakwe, which is the Marshallese word that means hi, bye, love, and you are as beautiful as a rainbow. And so he talked about how the Marshallese people are resilient and they're going to refuse to allow climate change to destroy their Yakwe. Um, do I have time to talk about a couple more people?

Matthew: Go for it. 

Lindsay: Yeah, there's um, Leah Namagirwa is another good example. She's from Kampala, Uganda in Africa. And she first joined Fridays for Future, which is the weekly protest that Greta Thunberg started. Um, but then she took a concrete action that she did on her own. And it was called the Birthday Trees Project when she was 15.

Um, so what she does is she provides young trees or saplings. that people can plant on their birthdays. And that's a way to get multiple people involved. And what we call sequestering carbon, which is Plants pull carbon dioxide out of the air, and carbon dioxide is what causes climate change, one of the greenhouse gases.

So, that's another person we featured. There's Maya Penn, she's from Atlanta, Georgia. Um, she started her own line of upcycled clothing when she was eight. There's, um, a couple of Ukrainian kids, um, named Nikita Shulga and Sofia Kristina Barysiuk, and they started a composting program at their school when they were only 12.

And then it worked so well that it spread to more than 200 schools across the country. So, I love showcasing youth. We love showcasing youth because It shows that anybody can jump in at any time to work on this problem. And my hope is that when adults read these books with kids, they will realize that they should also be taking action.

If kids, if kids can handle it, why, why can't we also, you know, support them and join in along with them? 

Matthew: Did I mention to you that I, I made a podcast when I was working at a kids co. I made a podcast with Zanagee. It was Zanagee artists from your book. I was like, Oh yeah, Zanagee did this book. Oh, Zanagee and Olivia Greenspan who worked together.

Um, it was just a neat thing to be like, I know one of the youth. That's, that's so fantastic. Um, you truly, and I was so inspired by his work and then, um, yeah, to just see him, to see the world knowing him, of course they do. Um, but it was just, It's just really cool. Keila, you had, I will also just let the three of you know, all I can think about is, well, I wonder what the third book is going to be, because I think I like these books so much.

I'm just hoping like, there's going to be more, right? Like, uh, No Voice Too Small, No World Too Big, No, Action insignificant. No problem we can't solve. I don't know, whatever it is, make more, get more poets. It's so rad that you're doing this. Keila, I would love for you to highlight some of the poets from this book.

There are so many. I know there will not be enough time to highlight them all. Um, But, um, you do a really great job in the book, in the format of the book, uh, highlighting the individuals in the back and the poetry forms in the back, but why don't you, why don't you, uh, share some love for a couple of them?

Keila: Well, firstly, I want to say that, um, we do not assign poetry forms. to the poets. Um, we asked them to write about the individuals and they totally surprise us every time. The forms of poetry that we received were just Amazing. Um, for example, Renée Latulippe, um, she wrote about Marinelle Ubaldo, who I told you about earlier, who, um, lost her home, uh, when, uh, the super typhoon hit her village in the Philippines.

And she wrote a dramatic monologue. And I love that poem. And of course, Renée's background in theater and acting, she was, you Just perfect to write the poem and, um, what I like about that is it's performance poetry and kids, of course, love to perform, right? Um, so, um, it's the, the idea of this poem is to take the voice of a character and speak through them.

So, um, it's theatrical, meant to be performed in front of an audience. And, um, again, it's, it's just, it's a, a fabulous way to, um, uh, champion what Marinel was doing because she went out to her villagers and she created plays to teach them about climate change. So she was, it's a, it's a, it's an amazing poem.

Can I, I don't know if I can read any of the poetry though. 

Matthew: Go for it, Keila. Go for it. 

Keila: Okay. Okay. So I'm going to read the, uh, just the first stanza of Marinel Ubaldo.

I am Marinel, a dramatic monologue by Rene Latulippe. When the typhoon hit our seaside village, Tumbled us to our knees. It opened my eyes wider than I wanted them to be. Now, imagine Going through that storm, knowing it was so severe that it wiped out your entire village. You were displaced not only from your home, but her father lost his job because he was a fisherman.

So, she really captured, I think, what, um, what Marinelle was feeling about losing her, her hometown, um, her home. And, um, there's another poem that I want to share and it is actually, um, a form I had never heard of before. And it's written by Teresa Robinson and it's a Lukpa poem, poem. And it's a Vietnamese style poem.

As a matter of fact, I. We'll have to read the definition from the book because I'm very unfamiliar with this form. It's read effortlessly. However, it is so complicated that I can't imagine how she wrote this, this poem. Um, a lupa is a Vietnamese poetic form with alternating lines of six and eight syllables.

Each pair of lines rhymes on the 6th syllable, and the 8th syllable of the 2nd line provides a new rhyme for the next two lines. I, I, it's, it's just very complicated. So, I'll read a couple, I'll read the first stanza of The Green School, Bali's Biobus. A look back poem by Teresa Robinson. Cars, like ants.

Swarm to school, kids inside, keeping cool. No space to park in a tight place. Auto fumes in your face. So loud. Bumper to bumper crowd. Enveloped by a cloud of smog. It's one big eco clog. That really gives the visual of what that parking lot at the school must look like with all the cars coming in to that space.

And I just, I just think it's, um, uh, not only did I learn about a very complicated, uh, new form of poetry, but, uh, like I said, it reads so effortlessly and I know how complicated it had to be to write.

Lindsay: Fun fact! Oh, I was just gonna say, um, we invited her to create that poem for our proposal. And if I remember correctly, she turned it around very quickly. Um, it couldn't have been very many versions. 

Jeanette: It was like two days. 

Matthew: That's 

Jeanette: amazing.

Matthew: Amazing. Yeah. 

Jeanette: Can I say something quick? To piggyback on Keila, one of the things I love so much about that poem is that Bali is literally the other side of the world, but I think so many American kids can relate to exactly that experience of being in that pickup line from school with all the cars idling and all the exhaust, and it's like we're all experiencing the same thing.

Matthew: Absolutely. Jeanette, do you have an excerpt, a page, a spread that you want to share from No World Too Big With Us? 

Jeanette: Yeah, I can share. I was going to read Keila's poem. 

Matthew: Go for it. 

Jeanette: So this is No World Too Big, a golden shovel poem by Kila Dawson. Is there another mother earth, a planet B? No, this blue and green swirl, our only world, deserves respect and protection too. Trapped heat, melting ice, big storms rise. But young activists are flooding with ideas.

People are awakening to the challenge and fighting. working together and taking global action to heal a hurting climate, invent, rethink, and speak up for change. And then the illustration has a found poem, which we actually ended up putting on the back cover. And the found poem was created by Um, I looked at a lot of reference photos of different protests and, um, kind of like pulled out like ideas from them and so I created these protest signs and they say, Our Air, Our Water, Our Planet. our future. And, um, I just loved how it sort of created this, like, found poem from things seen on protest signs. 

Matthew: Jeanette, if I could just point out, because I'm having a moment here, you made that illustration and yet you're able to step out of yourself and, and find delight in the result. That's such a joyful thing that you're sharing.

I love that. 

Jeanette: Oh, thank you. 

Matthew: Your art in this, it needs to be on point because we're talking about people. We're talking about real people and you do such a wonderful job. And I love, I love the like paper bag, recycled paper quality to the stock that was used. I just love, I think front to back, I feel like it must all be intentional, but the, the, the book as it is as a piece that stands by itself. It's just really, really wonderful. It's designed really well. And each of you have done such a beautiful job pulling it together. 

Jeanette: Thank you. 

Matthew: That's why we're podcasting. 

Jeanette: That's why we're podcasting. I want to say one more thing about on that is that this book is like the world's biggest group project.

So there's Lindsay and Keila and I, but there's also our editor and the art director and all the. All the different poets and all the activists. So all together there were like, you know, 35 people involved in making this book. And, One of the things that was really cool, like you were talking about how the art kind of pulls it all together, I actually was inspired by the book design that the art director Charles Bridge did.

she picked out this font that looked like a protest sign. like hand painted protest sign. And that was what gave me the idea. I was thinking about things that were like painted on cardboard and that was what gave me the idea of doing the art on the like craft paper. So it's all like intertwined. Look how 

Matthew: It took many hands to make a book.

That's very, very cool. Well, listen, I want to make sure I have time to wrap up with this question that I love to ask and gives you a chance to speak. You've been speaking right to those readers, but, um, this is the question that we do traditionally on the show. So Lindsay, I'll ask you, I'll go back and order.

Lindsay, I'll see a library full of children tomorrow morning. Is there a message I can bring to them from you? 

Lindsay: Well, yeah, actually, when we speak to schools, we always wrap up with a pledge. And this pledge is actually from the final poem in our previous book, No Voice Too Small, and it is called Make Some Noise.

So it's a repeat after me situation. So Matthew, if you're, if you're up for it, I'd love for you to take the pledge with us. 

Matthew: Absolutely. 

Lindsay: All right. Okay, so everyone at home repeat after me. Each of us can be, 

Matthew: each of us can be 

Lindsay: the someone. The someone, the 

Matthew: someone 

Lindsay: who does something, 

Matthew: who does something, does something.

Lindsay: We can speak our heartache. 

Matthew: We can speak our heartache, 

Lindsay: sing our joy, and 

Matthew: sing our joy. And. 

Lindsay: Share our dreams. 

Matthew: Share our dreams. We may 

Lindsay: be small. We may 

Matthew: be small. 

Lindsay: But we can roar. 

Matthew: But we can roar. But we can roar. 

Lindsay: And Keila's really good at that part. She always, you know, screams. And then that whole crowd goes wild.

And she drops the mic. 

Jeanette: Yeah. 

Lindsay: It's hard to replicate that on a podcast. It's hard to replicate that on a podcast. 

Matthew: Well, I'm going to get my kids to be on it. So that'll be wonderful. We're going to have a couple of voices, the three of us and my kids will be great. Keila, I'll ask you the same question. I'll see a library full of children tomorrow morning.

Is there a message I can bring to them from you? 

Keila: Yes. Um, I think it's important to let them know that humans caused our problem of climate change and it's going to take our humanity to find the solutions.

Matthew: That is clear. And. and is, is part of what causes that anxiety, but it also should cause some hope that we're going to do this together. You're not going to do it alone. I love that. Jeanette, I'll see a library. I, I, I'm now getting to you going, well, no, I'm not technically going to see a library full of children.

When we play this, it will, but I'll see a library full of children tomorrow morning. Is there a message I can bring to them from you? 

Jeanette: You have the power to make change in the world. Your voice and your story matter. Use it. 


Matthew: Thank you to Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley for joining me on The Children’s Book Podcast. 

You can pick up your own copy of No World Too Big: Young People Fighting Global Climate Change (Charlesbridge Publishing) wherever books are found. Consider supporting independent bookstores by shopping through You can also use my affiliate link by clicking on the book’s name in our show notes.

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And on that note…

Be well. And read on.

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