Severn and the Day She Silenced the World

Severn and the Day She Silenced the World


By Janet Wilson


“We raised all the money ourselves to come six thousand miles to tell you adults you must change your ways.” 

With those words, Severn Cullis-Suzuki began her riveting speech to officials from all over the world who had gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June of 1992 for the very first Earth Summit. Severn was just twelve years old.   

Politicians and environmentalists had gathered at the Summit to find solutions to problems such as air pollution and the shrinking rainforests. But for all their talk, they could find little to agree on. It took Severn’s clear, bright voice – challenging the adults of the world to take action – to bring home what was at stake.   

The daughter of environmentalists David Suzuki and Tara Cullis, Severn had a deep love of nature. At age nine, she had travelled to the Amazon and seen the terrible destruction of the rainforest. Back home, she and four friends were inspired to start ECO, the Environmental Children’s Organization. They made it their goal to travel to the Earth Summit. Their journey wasn’t easy. They faced obstacles, but also had amazing good luck.

More than twenty years later, the video of Severn's speech has been seen by millions of people on YouTube. Her story is about the power that children have to create change, and to make the adults of the world sit up and listen.

A Kids' Power Book

Add To Cart

About the Author

Janet Wilson is an author and fine artist. Her book Shannen and the Dream for a School won the First Nation Communities Read and was nominated for the Silver Birch Award, and is soon to be a TV movie. Her picture book, Our Earth: How kids are saving the planet, was the winner of the Science in Society Book Award. Janet lives in Eden Mills, Ontario, a community with a strong environmental focus.

Get the E-book

Product Information

  • Release: April 19, 2014

  • $14.95 Paperback

  • 184 Pages

  • 6.5 x 8

  • Juvenile Nonfiction

  • Ages 9-13 / Grades 4-7

  • Lexile: 760L Guided Reading: T

  • ISBN: 9781927583234


  • Social Justice

  • Character Education
    > Strong Female Characters

  • History / Social Studies
    > Government and Citizenship

  • Science
    > Environmentalism

Awards for Severn and the Day She Silenced the World

  • Shortlisted for the 2015 Green Earth Book Award for Young Adult Non-Fiction

Praise for Severn and the Day She Silenced the World

"[Severn and the Day She Silenced the World] communicates a vital message: not only that kids can accomplish a great deal when they work together, but that it's important for kids to be passionate about the Earth and social justice for the sake of their own futures." - Resource Links

"An award-winning author, Wilson has written another powerful work of creative nonfiction with an environmental focus." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"This title is perfect for sharing with jaded middle graders who no longer think they can make a difference in the world and feel powerless." - Reading Today Online

"I adored this book both as an educator and as a former child activist... I would highly recommend this book as part of a biographical collection or for an environmental issues unit." - EFTO Voice