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GLOBAL WARNING by Steven B. Frank Kirkus Star


by Steven B. Frank

Pub Date: March 21st, 2023
ISBN: 978-0-358-56617-5
Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

The intrepid middle schoolers who took a case to the U.S. Supreme Court in Class Action (2018) aim higher.

Again challenging credibility but delivering a bracing lesson in motivational civics, Frank unleashes his quartet of seventh grade crusaders—with new allies and legal coaching from a nonagenarian neighbor—on the climate crisis. Motivated by frightening signs of climate change and incidents of heedless pollution, 12-year-old Sam Warren and his friends determine that the quickest way to short-circuit impending catastrophe would be a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to a planet free from “pollution and unnatural warming.” All they have to do is get a proposal through Congress and then have it ratified by three-quarters of the states. The first turns out to be relatively easy…but the second becomes a nail-biting campaign against a negotiated deadline that tests the ingenuity of the young eco-warriors and finally forces them into a desperate, spectacular, last tick public protest. Along with a reference to the Juliana v. United States climate suit and other real-life examples of youth activism, Frank slips actual figures into the cast, some thinly disguised (West Virginia Gov. Jim Law, a congressperson whose initials happen to be AOC) and others not (like the indomitable Greta Thunberg), and rounds off the buoyant close with an annotated list of constitutional amendments—all 28 of them. Names and other cues point to a racially diverse central cast.

Implausible but engagingly suspenseful—and not, tantalizingly, actually impossible.

(Fiction. 10-13)