Energy Island

How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World
RedReviewStarGr 2—6—This account of how the residents of a Danish island made large and small changes to switch to renewable energy sources puts names and faces to processes described in more conventional discussions of alternative energy. Before the transformation, Samsø's most remarkable feature was its continual winds. A determined teacher spent several years trying to convince residents to create their own energy sources to break their dependence on energy generated on the mainland. Two residents eventually agreed to proceed with wind-turbine projects. When a fierce winter storm disrupted the usual electrical transmission, the only source of power on the island came from one of the wind turbines. Once the citizens became convinced of the potential benefits of energy independence, the projects multiplied: solar panels, biomass furnaces, electric cars, and bicycles. Now people from around the world come to Samsø to learn about ways to harness renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions. Informative sidebars supply information on global warming, renewable and nonrenewable energy, and conservation. What is most remarkable about this island, though, is how ordinary people achieved an extraordinary 140 percent reduction in carbon emissions in just 10 years. The illustrations further personalize the story with energy of their own as they bring Samsø and its residents to life. A fine choice for most libraries, even those with a number of more conventional introductions to alternate energy sources.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
On Samsø, an island "in the middle of the middle of the sea," the inhabitants decided to "harness the wind" and become as energy-independent as possible. Drummond's vignette illustrations perfectly capture the community spirit as the Danes realize their dream. Helpful sidebar information expands the science introduced in the descriptive first-person narrative.
Writing from a Samsø child’s point of view, Allan Drummond takes readers step by step through the island’s switch to renewable energy and emphasizes the role of individual community members in making the change. (Søren Hermansen, who is featured in the book, was named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine in 2008.) The accessible, lively presentation incorporates essential facts in the main narrative, reserving in-depth information for sidebars, including a brief history of wind turbines and how they work. Deftly demonstrates how power production and climate change can have a big impact on everyday people’s lives—and vice versa. Warm, cheerful illustrations enhance the sense of cooperation that is central to the story. And humorous details, such as a hungry rooster angling for a bite of a sandwich and plenty of hats blown off in Samsø ’s abundant wind, will encourage return trips to Energy Island. Provides some helpful tips to readers interested in making their communities more energy efficient and independent. An ideal book for classroom units on the environment and energy.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing