When we consider the weather, we have all looked around us and wondered what could happen next. Most of us, at one point, have experienced some form of severe weather. Whether it be a severe thunderstorm or hurricane, or a wildfire blowing across an area close to us. Perhaps you may live in an area that is prone to earthquakes. Me, I am originally from California. The nickname for the area I lived in is Earthquake Country. That should give you a clue. I have experienced many quakes, but the closest one to me was a 5.5 magnitude when I was a Freshman in High School. My sister and I were alone at home after class. The house shook violently, and we were afraid. We definitely were wishing at that point that the Earth was asleep.
Author Jillian Arena wrote When the Earth Slept from an amazing point of view. She gives the Earth personality traits. This gives children the perspective that what we do to our planet matters. She does not directly address or use the term Global Warming or stage that humans cause our planet’s issues. She does, however, indirectly hint through explanation of the protection of Earth that is no longer going on. This is a great story to use as a gateway to deeper discussions with children on the effects of Global Warming.
In the story, the Earth herself asks the people for help. She goes to them and requests that they go inside and let her rest. They reluctantly do. After a while, they get stir crazy and need to go back outside. When they do, they begin to celebrate that they are outdoors again; but they notice something. They see how beautiful it is and realize the difference their absence had on the environment. They then vowed to take better care of the world they had taken advantage of.
Reading this story had me thinking about our current predicament. I even looked at the release date to see if it lined up with our COVID status. But the story predated it. When the Earth Slept reminded me of how much the lockdowns cleared up our atmosphere. The air quality got better around many of the major cities. News organizations were airing footage and they showed before and during COVID photos of downtown areas, and the difference was staggering. Aerial shots were mind-boggling—the Earth was sleeping.
The citizens of When the Earth Slept learned their lesson of what they had done to their Earth. They celebrated and learned more about what the Earth had to provide. This can teach children that we can learn from the Earth and lead them to explore options to heal our planet in addition to science. It is also a great book to open discussions about cause and effect. While this has gone on long before we came around, this generation can help them understand that there are things they can do to continue to help turn it around.
When the Earth Slept
Environmentally aware children's book!
When the Earth Slept is an illustrated children's fiction book promoting environmental awareness and respect for the Earth. It offers an alternative viewpoint to children and adults to understand the current situation of Covid-19. It is akin to the role that Roberto Benigni played in the movie "Life Is Beautiful" where he uses fantasy to make sense of the reality that surrounds him and his family.
Raging fires, rampant earthquakes and violent windstorms occur as Mother Earth becomes more and more sick. In a final attempt to find relief, she looks to the people to help her with a final plea from the Earth to get the rest that she needs.
After countless years of enduring the burden of supporting all living organisms, the Earth becomes very sick. Her fever causes wildfires, her chills create countless earthquakes, and her sneezing and cough become hurricanes and tornadoes that ravage the world as we know it. In a final plea to get the rest that she needs, the Earth turns to the people and asks them to go inside and close their doors and give her the gift of time. After much hesitation, they finally agree, and a heavy silence falls as the Earth drifts off to slumber. As time passes the people begin to fear that the Earth will never wake up, and so they decide to go outside and dance. They hope that the drumming will ease her from her slumber, but it does not. They are forced to dance harder and harder until finally, they forget why they are dancing in the first place, lost as they are in their own joy. From experiencing their joy, the Earth begins to heal. As she heals, the people also heal. Together they wake up and create a new world where they learn from one another and find a mutual respect.