I’m so excited to be a part of the book tour for We the Future that is hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. I was really excited to also be able to interview the author for this book!
How would you describe We the Future in one sentence?
A lonely boy who’s racked with climate anxiety is visited by a girl from the future who recruits him to launch a climate strike big enough to rewrite history.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of We the Future?
I’ll give you two of the big ones:
First, there’s Jonah. Ever since he learned about climate change, he has dreaded a future where even his asthma medication may not be enough to save him. He’s become so overcome by climate anxiety that he has ordered his entire life around it, withdrawing from other kids and obsessively cutting out any modern activity that could possibly add to his carbon footprint.
Then comes Sunny. She’s the same age as Jonah, but she was born about 80 years later. She’s traveled back to the 2020s from her climate-ravaged 22nd century home with a single-minded mission: recruit Jonah to launch a history-changing climate strike. Why did she chose Jonah of all people? Sunny won’t say. She’s very cautious about spoilers.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I love a sweeping, magnificent conclusion that feels like the only possible ending to the story you’ve just read. So I often try to nail down the finale and even the final words of a book from a very early point—often before I’ve even worked out the opening scene.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
There’s a great scene pretty early in the book where Jonah takes Sunny to collect some necessities at the local Superstore. At first, Sunny is dazzled by all the 21st century abundance, but she eventually flies into a holy rage when she starts noticing all of the “extinct” fruits in the produce section. The moment feels equal parts funny and heartbreaking, watching a girl from the year 2100 rant about the woefully insufficient half measures our leaders are taking in the 2020s while slam dunking pineapples and stone fruits into her shopping cart. After all, she might as well try them while she still can.
What is something readers will find in We the Future that they may not realize based on the
We the Future works well as a primer on political organizing and building up people power. So young readers won’t just learn about the climate crisis—they’ll wind up learning a lot about how they can build up powerful communities that can make real change happen.
What’s something you hope readers will take away from We the Future?
It’s my goal to get this book into the hands of as many young readers as possible. Because, the fact is, kids in the United States just aren’t learning enough about this crisis that threatens the very world they will one day inherit. They aren’t hearing much about it in school, that’s for sure. More than 2/3 of American teachers do not talk to their students about the climate crisis. But let’s not blame the teachers for this. The fact is, less than 1/3 of American teachers have had any training in presenting this subject to their classes.
So I wrote We the Future to make climate science as accessible as possible for young readers. It’s the furthest thing from a textbook. But, by reading it, kids will learn a ton about the climate crisis and precisely what kids like them can do about it. That’s why it’s my goal to get this book in front of as many young readers as possible. There’s nothing on Earth more relentless than a kid who’s been handed in unfair deal. And, if the fate of our planet is going to come down to the fossil fuel industry versus a nation of stubborn kids, I’ll place my bet on the kids any day of the week.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed We the Future?
Two Degrees by Alan Gratz, Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes, How to Change Everything (nonfiction) by Naomi Klein and Rebecca Stefoff. All three of these take an unblinking look at the crisis and cast a vision for how our communities can overcome it.
ABOUT THE BOOK
TITLE: We the Future
AUTHOR: Cliff Lewis
GENRE: Middle Grade
RELEASE DATE: April 18, 2023
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound
I’m from the future. We need you.
Ever since he learned about climate change, Jonah has dreaded a weather-beaten future where not even his asthma medication can save him. Luckily, a girl from that future arrives just in time to throw Jonah a lifeline.
Sunny traveled back to the 2020s with a mission: help Jonah launch a climate strike big enough to rewrite history. To do it, he’ll have to recruit his entire school before Halloween. Why so soon? Sunny won’t say. But how can Jonah win over 600 classmates when the only thing he dreads more than the end of the world is talking to other kids?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cliff Lewis is a time-traveler from the 1990s, presently parked in the 2020s. He’s a professional writer, a hometown story-slam winner, and a keynote speaker living in Pennsylvania with his wife, their two kids, and a little dog named Pippin. In his spare time, Cliff volunteers for local progressive organizations, which once led to a crew of young climate activists devouring all of his family’s traditional election-day chili.