This week, our Outreach Coordinator Leena Desai shares must-read books about our environment and youth activism written by authors participating in this year’s Vancouver Writers Fest, from October 19-25.
Hope Matters: Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis
Written by Elin Kelsey
What better than a book called Hope Matters in a year that has witnessed an unprecedented global crisis? The appeal for the closure of wet markets is linked to the greater issue of environmental crisis that has been raging for decades. In Hope Matters, author Elin Kelsey does not delve on the obvious, but rather she wants to move past the doom and gloom messaging about deforestation, climate change and global warming. If last year’s climate strikes were anything to go by, we know that today’s youth want to take action for change at a systemic level. Kelsey wants to urge such youth and concerned citizens to think about positive ways in which we can support ocean conservation, species resilience and rewilding, and ways in which we can come together for effective personal and political action that will see our hope for a better future become reality one day. Grades 8-12
Written by Kenneth Oppel
Hatch is the second book in Kenneth Oppel’s new Overthrow trilogy. In the first installment, Bloom, an unexpected deadly rainfall had left strange seeds in its wake that sprouted into alien plants that burrowed, strangled and fed and let out harmful toxins. Friends Seth, Anaya and Petra discovered that they were immune to these toxins and fought to stay alive and help people. In Hatch, another deluge brings with it eggs that hatch into monstrous insects that can eat through foundations of homes and carry people away. Seth, Anaya and Petra want to fight back but they have been locked up in a government facility with other kids who are also immune. Oppel takes the nightmarish scenario he had created in Bloom up several notches in Hatch. While he keeps readers engrossed in this exciting story, he also tackles themes about how the next generation can take the planet’s future into their own hands and prevent environmental calamity. Grades 5-8
Music for Tigers
Written by Michelle Kadarusman
Music for Tigers presents what is perhaps a fantastical scenario to make us think about species resilience and the importance of conserving endangered animals. The novel’s heroine, Louisa, is sent packing to the Tasmanian rainforest for the summer to live with her eccentric relatives. She soon finds that they aren’t the only ones inhabiting this land teeming with scary, wondrous and mythical creatures. One such creature is the legendary Tasmanian tiger, believed to have gone extinct almost a hundred years ago. When a mining operation threatens to wipe out the tiger’s habitat, Louisa decides to intervene and protect the tiger using a little help from her friend Colin and a lot of help from her beloved violin. This book is part adventure and part battle cry for the conservation of endangered species. While it harks back to the past, it is also firmly rooted in the present in the way it deals with topics such as conservation, neurodiversity, and Indigenous knowledge. Grades 3-7
Michelle Kadarusman is participating in the fall installment of Writers in the Classroom. Stay tuned for details on how to apply to Michelle’s workshop and for the full lineup of authors!