Margin Notes



What do two teen boys in Churchill Manitoba have in common with two girls in Miami and California? Two words: climate change. Each teenager is literally fighting for their life as they encounter a brush with death due to the devastating effect of climate change. Alan Gratz has created anther adventurous, page turning, on the edge of your seat novel with Two Degrees. Each chapter takes you through the harrowing adventure of each teen as they face the danger of each situation they are in. Owen and George, two boys from Canada, know all to well how their climate is melting the ice which is sending the polar bears closer to town. One night they have a close encounter with a polar bear and soon become a potential snack for the hungry bear. Will they make it out alive? You’ll have to read their story to find out.

Akira loves California and enjoys horse backing riding in the mountains with her dad. Suddenly the air around her becomes hot and fires are springing up around her. She is literally in an inferno and must use her instincts and trust her horse to help save her life and her fathers. Along the way they meet families who are also trying to escape the heat while their homes and cars are igniting into flames. This scary situation of  wildfires spreading and causing the destruction homes and habitats is one that is all too familiar.

Natalie Torres, a young teen from Miami has been keeping her eyes on the news as a hurricane is on the way inland. Instead of moving to higher ground with her mom, they decide to wait the storm out in their apartment. Once the storm hits, it becomes known as “The Big One”. Natalie and her mom can only do one thing and that is to fight to survive.

Alan Gratz has a novel that will be sure to keep readers turning the pages. This is a must read for students who love adventure and stories of survival. I enjoyed going between each characters’ story and felt like I was on a cliff hanger each time a chapter ended.

Tina Kelly teaches language arts at George Street Middle School. She has over 25 years of experience with middle schoolers and loves nothing more than recommending and sharing great literature. Inspired by Nancie Atwell, she believes in the philosophy of the Readers Workshop and the importance of giving students the choice to read what they want.

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