Cover Image: Save the People!

Save the People!

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Member Reviews

It's hard to make nonfiction interesting for our middle grade readers. Many loved reading nonfiction in elementary school, but in middle school--not so much. Stacy McAnulty manages to make her nonfiction interesting and relatable to all ages.
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Overall

Confession: I’m absolutely addicted to apocalyptic things. The more likely to happen, the better. I absolutely love reading about natural disasters. It’s like a little slice of humble pie in the form of a reminder that Mother Nature can mess you up any time she decides! So obviously a title like Save the People! grabbed my attention because, one, whyyyyy? To heck with the people. Save the dragons! But two, okay, yes, tell me more about upcoming natural disasters.

Save the People! is a humor non-fiction book that focuses on the things that could go wrong and ultimately doom humanity. It’s filled with easily digestible, bite-sized science; cute illustrations; and lots of really interesting facts. Also, explosions. And who doesn’t like explosions?!

This book was super fun. I read part of it with Minion, who’s 11 now, and even though she’s not a sciencey kid (we’re still wondering exactly how she missed the reading and science genes and somehow picked up math?!), she enjoyed the parts we read together. As did I! While this book does delve into some science principles that are likely to be a bit over children’s heads, most of it is pretty well boiled down and easy to grasp, and the humor mixed in meant that it wasn’t at all a bummer of a book, despite the somewhat dark subject matter.

My Thoughts:

- Sooo . . . why save the humans, again? And just who are these “humans” that we’re saving? Fear not, McAnulty will tell you. I mean, short answer is: we’re the humans, and since “we” are part of that statistic, we should probably be concerned with saving ourselves. If nothing else, out of pure self-interest, right?

I took an anthropology class in college, so I was already fairly familiar with a brief look at early human evolution. For those who don’t know, though, McAnulty lays the groundwork for humanity, from the very earliest throes of the universe through human evolution. Readers will be introduced to Lucy, the Australopithecus afarensis, and our more modern ancestors, Homo erectus and Neanderthals.

Going into this book, I expected just a sort of laundry list of things that can destroy humans (spoiler alert: it’s everything, basically). I was pleasantly surprised to see that’s not the case. McAnulty lays the groundwork of history first, including the evolution of our species and some early disasters that have happened along the way before we even graced the scene.

Now, I’m not a huge history buff, but I do love archaeology, paleontology, and examinations of prehistoric life on Earth, so this was not only fascinating for me, but I also learned quite a bit!

- Despite being chock full of science, Save The People! is written in an easily understandable way that almost every reader will be able to walk away having learned something new. Being the fan that I am of all things disaster, I’ve read my fair share of disaster books and watched the documentaries and YouTube shows. Plus, it may come as a surprise because I know I hide it so well, but I am extremely nerdy. Yet, there were still plenty of things I learned from this book, and I had a ton of fun doing it, too!

The concepts, even the hard ones, are presented in a way that’s very easy for young readers to understand, which I appreciated. While I enjoy science, I’m not very science-minded and my brain tends to overheat easily. I had no trouble following the science terms and logic in this book, though.

- Save The People! is written in a humorous tone with analogies and lingo that middle grade readers will likely relate to. So even though it has some dark content, it’s a pretty funny book. Which, in my opinion, is the best way to write a book with somewhat dark content! There’s a very tongue-in-cheek narration style filled with sarcasm and light humor that made me chuckle repeatedly. It made the reading quite enjoyable and distracted from the idea that we’re considering the extinction of our species. Plus, the author incorporates certain lingo like “IMHO” and things that will be very relatable to young readers.

- While McAnulty raises a lot of potentially fatal disasters, she doesn’t completely leave the reader hanging in terms of what can be done to avoid these outcomes. Well, to be fair, some outcomes are unavoidable, as the author admits. For example, the sun will definitely hit the point where it’s no longer optimal for human survival. Luckily for us, none of us will be alive to see it . . . unless one of you has already cracked the secret to immortality. In which case, I fully expect you to share!

Despite some potentially grim outlooks for our many-times-great descendants, McAnulty mentions ways that humans can work to either mostly avoid or help mitigate some of these outcomes, including disaster preparedness, controlling CO2 emissions, and being better stewards of the planet in general. While I do love straight-up disaster books, given the target audience is middle grade, I like this more hopeful approach and the idea of leaving readers with the idea that they can work toward a better future.

- This book isn’t necessarily for the faint of heart, and I would caution those with severe anxiety. The author even includes a warning in the opening for readers going into the book. While the book itself tends not to be graphic, it does discuss a lot of negative what-if scenarios that may be highly triggering to people with severe anxiety. There are also mentions of illness and sometimes detailed (ish) descriptions of side effects from illnesses, which may not be for people whose stomach turns easily. As I said, it isn’t graphic, but it is a bit detailed. While none of this bothered me at all, I just wanted to include a general warning (as the author does, too) for anyone who may be bothered by this content!
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Thanks to Netgalley and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for the ARC of this! 

Perfect for our homeschool discussion on climate change (and other disasters that could befall humans), this struck a lovely balance between being full of information and keeping a fun tone that was enjoyable to read. My horror loving kids loved this, though they were alarmed at how many ways humans could potentially be wiped out, and as an adult I still found interesting information I wasn’t aware of and enjoyed reading it. Perfect for young horror fans trying to dip their toes into more non-fiction, anyone who needs a beginner course in climate change, and those who like a conversational, somewhat snarky tone to their non-fiction!
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Human induced climate change is happening all over the world, but what can we do?  Save the People!: Halting Human Extinction aims to answer that question by approaching climate change from a very selfish point of view that all humans should care about- our own survival. Aimed at young adults, but definitely a good read for literally any human, Save the People! uses scientific facts written in a way anyone can understand mixed with humor, pictures and a good dose of reality to help you understand the big picture.  

Save the People!  begins with a brief history of the Earth and an overview of past extinction events along with their causes (spoiler alert: it's climate change!) then moves to potential and unlikely threats to humans before digging into what climate change is, how it happens and the possible solutions. I have to say that this is a climate change book that I enjoyed reading.  The information is scientifically accurate and as up to date as possible, it is also easy to read.  Even though some of the content is depressing and scary (there are trigger warnings), the very real doom and gloom situations were turned into realistic action based solutions focused on our own extinction to help motivate behavior change and action for a future on planet Earth. 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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I’ve never been too interested in Science. Ever. But I deeply believe in our planet and the crisis it faces. We need to wisen up and start taking care of it, it’s our home, for Pete’s sake! This book is a refreshing spin on old-school science, one that kept my interest with sarcasm, jokes, and valuable information. If I can get into it (whole heartedly), you surely will love it.
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For a book about mass extinction and the end of the world, this is a surprisingly pleasant read.   It's packed with tons of great information and makes eons of complicated earth science accessible and fascinating.   It doesn't sugarcoat the dire situation we're in or the horrid things we're capable of, but it does try to maintain a hopeful tone that we could slow or stop the damage.    

The text is broken up into manageable sections.  Multiple formats (lists, boxes, etc.) are used to separate key points.  This would be a great book for middle grades and up (plenty of adults would benefit from reading it too!) and could spark some great conversations and positive actions.

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review!
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