The collected speeches of 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who began the worldwide school strike for the environment in 2018, will be released as a book next month.
Penguin, which is also rushing out a handbook from Extinction Rebellion, will publish No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, a selection of 11 of Thunberg’s key speeches, all written by her. It will be published on 6 June as a £2.99 paperback. The first speech in the book was given three weeks after Thunberg’s first climate strike in August 2018, the most recent in the UK parliament last month.
“My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 16 years old. I come from Sweden. And I speak on behalf of future generations,” the teenage Nobel peace prize nominee told MPs. “We children are not sacrificing our education and our childhood for you to tell us what you consider is politically possible in the society that you have created … We children are doing this to wake the adults up. We children are doing this for you to put your differences aside and start acting as you would in a crisis. We children are doing this because we want our hopes and dreams back.”
The book takes its title from a speech Thunberg made at the COP24 UN climate talks. Penguin described her as “the voice of a generation facing the full force of climate catastrophe … quiet, angry and unafraid, speaking truth to power.”
And after winning it at a publisher auction, Penguin will also release Scenes from the Heart later this year, a family memoir written jointly by her mother, the opera singer Malena Ernman, her sister Beata Ernman, her father Svante Thunberg and Greta herself. All of the family’s earnings from both books will be donated to charity.
“It will be the story of the family and how they have been able to support Greta,” said commissioning editor Chloe Currens. Greta Thunberg was diagnosed with Asperger’s and selective mutism “a few years ago and rather than railing against that and trying to make her ‘normal’, they chose to support her when she said she wanted to do something about climate change.”
Currens said that Thunberg had “already galvanised millions of children and adults around the world, and she’s only just getting started”.
“She calls for change at the highest level – and because her message is so urgent, and so essential, we are working to make it available to as many readers as we can, as quickly as we possibly can. This little book will document an extraordinary, unprecedented moment in our history, and invite you to join in the fight for climate justice: to wake up, spread the word, and make a difference,” said the editor.
There will be no foreword to the speeches. “We want to facilitate her voice, not interfere as publishers,” said Currens. “She is an incredibly clear-eyed child, speaking to adults … This is an invitation to get up and join in. There is hope in these pages, not just doom and gloom.”