Our House is on Fire

Learn the story of TIME PERSON OF THE YEAR Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old climate activist who has sparked a worldwide student movent and is demanding action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change—from acclaimed picture book creator Jeanette Winter. When she was fifteen years old, Greta Thunberg’s teacher explained to her class that our climate is changing—the earth is getting warmer, the polar ice caps are melting, and life on earth is threatened. Greta was devastated. What could she do? If the grown-ups weren’t doing enough to save the planet, Greta would have to demand change herself. So she went on strike, skipping school every Friday to sit outside of the Swedish Parliament building with a sign that read “School Strike for Climate.” At first, Greta was the only one. But gradually, more and more students joined her, until her lone protest had sparked a worldwide student movement for action on climate change. Now, a year later, Greta is speaking to audiences of world leaders at important meetings like the United Nations Climate Conference and the World Economic Forum. She is leading the conversation on climate change and sparking worldwide conversation on how to save our planet. Greta is showing everyone that even the smallest person can make a big difference, and this picture book informs and inspires young readers who are beginning to learn about the world around them (Source).

Author(s): Jeanette Winter

Jeanette Winter loved to draw and tell stories with her pictures when she was a child. She knew early in her life that she wanted to be an illustrator, but “[creating] children’s books seemed too far-fetched,” she says. Having no mentor to shepherd her through the world of children’s publishing, Winter embarked on a program of self-instruction, but at that time illustration was frowned upon in fine arts circles so she kept her decision to herself. She practiced skills such as layout, pacing, and maintaining the consistency of characters between pages by illustrating familiar nursery rhymes. Initially Winter’s illustration style was more realistic and she incorporated an outlining technique that helped define the objects in her paintings. In her early work, Winter favored folktale retellings and illustrating stories written by other authors. Her first attempt to create an original story in words and pictures wasFollow the Drinking Gourd. “I was excited about the subject, and it was something I wanted to write,” she says, but she soon learned that the transition from idea to manuscript is a difficult one. “I had an anguished time trying to figure out how to tell the story.” Also, Winter’s realistic artistic style forced her to consider hiring models so she could illustrate her characters in various poses. She toyed with taking a trip to follow the path the runaway slaves would have taken on the Underground Railroad and studied folk art because of its strong connection to storytelling. In the end, Winter created the simple, clean style for which she is known today, boiling down each scene and each character to its essence. She eliminated the outlining technique she clung to earlier, and found that color played a more dramatic role. “I didn’t plan it, it just happened,” she says (Source).

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