Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
Before Greta Thunberg there was Severn Cullis-Suzuki, whose 1992 Earth Summit speech made her known as “the girl who silenced the world for five minutes.”
Severn Cullis-Suzuki was only twelve years old when she addressed the whole world and asked: What are you doing to the Earth, our home? How far can human greed go? Young Severn looked at the world leaders in attendance and said, “I’m only a child, and I don’t have all the solutions, but I want you to realize, neither do you!” She entreated those world leaders to make their actions reflect their words and to protect the Earth for generations to come.
Severn’s speech is even more urgent today than it was thirty years ago. Beautiful illustrations accompany her words in this first book in the Speak Out series, followed by an analysis written by Alex Nogués that gives readers more detail about Severn’s life and the context of her speech, while highlighting the most powerful and persuasive points of her address.
The Speak Out series publishes the most inspiring speeches of our times, then deconstructs them to give young readers a deeper understanding of global issues and the power of language to influence them.
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).
Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).
Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas.
Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.
About the authors
SEVERN CULLIS-SUZUKI started the Environmental Children’s Organization at the age of ten, which culminated in a speech to the UN Earth Summit in 1992 when she was twelve. Severn is an Action Canada Fellow and co-editor of the book Notes from Canada’s Young Activists. She holds an M. Sc. in Ethnoecology from the University of Victoria and is currently a Vanier and Public scholar PhD candidate studying endangered language revitalization. She lives on the archipelago of Haida Gwaii off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and two sons.
ALEX NOGUÉS has written or illustrated over sixty books, including Stories in a Seashell, illustrated by Silvia Cabestany, One Million Oysters on Top of the Mountain, illustrated by Miren Asiain Lora, and many other books published in Spanish. He has studied geology and paleontology and lives with his family in Bisbal d’Empordà, Spain.
ANA SUÁREZ has studied fine arts and illustration. She lives in Barcelona, Spain, where she creates illustrations for NGOs and environmental, cultural and educational projects. She illustrated the picture book El cielo imaginado, written by Pablo A. Mastro.
Susan Ouriou is an award-winning literary translator who has translated the fiction of Quebec, Latin-American, French and Spanish authors. She won Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation in 2009 for Pieces of Me by Charlotte Gingras, after first being shortlisted for The Road to Chlifa by Michèle Marineau and then for Necessary Betrayals by Guillaume Vigneault. The Road to Chlifa was also awarded an honour list placing by IBBY (International Board of Books for Youth) as were Naomi and Mrs. Lumbago by Gilles Tibo, This Side of the Sky by Marie-Francine Hébert and Pieces of Me. Necessary Betrayals was also voted one of the 100 best books of 2002 by the Globe and Mail. Another translation, The Thirteenth Summer by José Luis Olaizola, was runner-up for the John Glassco Translation Prize. She has worked as the director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre and as faculty for the Banff Centre's Aboriginal Emerging Writers residency. She is the editor of the 2010 anthology Beyond Words – Translating the World.