If We Were Gone: Imagining the World Without People

(Author) (Illustrator)
Backorder (temporarily out of stock)

Product Details

$19.99  $18.59
Millbrook Press (Tm)
Publish Date
9.3 X 11.1 X 0.4 inches | 0.92 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

John Coy is the author of young adult novels, the 4 for 4 middle-grade series, and nonfiction and fiction picture books including Hoop Genius, Game Changer, Their Great Gift, Dads, and If We Were Gone. He has received numerous awards for his work including a Marion Vannett Ridgway Award, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, and the Burr/Warzalla Award for Distinguished Achievement in Children's Literature. John lives by the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.
Natalie Capannelli is an artist, illustrator, and freelance baker. She has an MFA from Pratt Institute and loves tending to plants and traveling the world. When not traveling, Natalie lives in Brooklyn, New York. If We Were Gone is her debut picture book. www.natcap.space


"In this disturbingly beautiful dystopian meditation, Coy uses direct and dreamy language, encouraging readers to imagine a world without humans--'Pipes would burst/ and pavement buckle.' The net effect imagined is undeniably beneficial: 'The air would become cleaner/ with each rainfall.// Plants and animals would grow wild/ and forests and jungles expand.' Coy's point: 'People need water to live./ We need air to breathe./ We need plants to survive./ But do they need us?// Maybe not.' Capannelli's watercolors show crumbling structures, rising waters, and animals merrily scavenging, beady eyes peering out from broken computers. A closing note states that 'virtually 99.999 percent of all life on the planet has gone extinct' and calls readers to action: 'This is the planet you are going to live on. What will you do to protect it?'"--Publishers Weekly

-- (3/9/2020 12:00:00 AM)

"Coy's environmental picture book challenges young readers to imagine Earth without humans. The book stresses that people need air, water, plants, and a healthy environment to survive, while the reverse is not true of the natural world. The author presents a scenario where nature thrives and pollution disappears. The text is brief and the vocabulary is at the level of a young elementary student. However, the dystopian concepts may not be fully accessible to elementary readers. The text and Capannelli's double-page watercolor spreads work together to paint a vivid picture of the harm unleashed on the world by humans, and highlight the beauty of the ocean and rainforests when left to thrive without human interference. The idyllic scenes of families enjoying the outdoors contrasted with the demolished buildings and apocalyptic fires are harsh and might be hard to reconcile with young children. Coy explains the book's purpose in the back matter. A bibliography features adult books that use a similar thought experiment. His 'What Can We Do?' section offers positive ideas that children can use to reduce their negative environmental impacts. VERDICT An optional purchase. The book, while provocative, lacks the substance and scientific detail needed for older children but would be difficult conceptually for younger children."--School Library Journal

-- (3/1/2020 12:00:00 AM)

"It's remarkably easy to imagine the earth without people, but not vice versa. John Coy makes a simple, compelling case for protecting our home planet."--Denis Hayes, national coordinator of the first Earth Day and environmental advocate

-- (6/26/2019 12:00:00 AM)