Teaote and the Wall by Marita Davies, illustrated by Stacey Bennett

a nutshell: set in Kiribati, this beautiful children’s book follows a young girl’s resilient attempts to protect her home from the rising sea

a line: “Kairo, if you help me build my wall, I can help you build your wall”

an image: I particularly loved the page (below) where Teaote happily dreams of rippling rainbow fish, coconut trees stretching up to the clouds, and the mango-coloured sun

a thought: to me this was a moving insight into what it’s like for children on the frontlines of the climate crisis, all the more so given that the book is based on the true story of Marita’s mother Teaote

a fact: Davies closes the book with a note about Kiribati – home to 100,000 indigenous i-Kiribati people and sitting halfway between Australia & Hawaii, this small Pacific nation is predicted to disappear underwater in 50 years

want to read Teaote and the Wall? visit here

Iep Jāltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter by Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner

a page from the book with words highlighted 'tell them we are afraid'

a nutshell: this dazzling debut collection from a Marshallese poet & activist is a rallying call to action on climate change, while also carrying the traumas of racism and US nuclear testing

a line: “Tell them | we are afraid”

an image: so many pages of this collection are stunningly shaped – from the words scattered across pages to mirror a child’s hair falling out from chemo to the words that weave a basket to reflect the matrilineal society of the Marshallese

a thought: at several points, the poet notes the strain of colourism that runs through society (such as “Ma’s consistent warning” to remember bonnet so she doesn’t “turn brown”) which reminded me of the writer Shazia Usman’s book, Kaluti, on self-love in the face of such attitudes

a fact: the destruction wreaked by the United States’ nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands crops up in many heart-breaking poems throughout the collection; as the poet writes, “most Marshallese can say they’ve mastered the language of cancer”

want to read Iep Jāltok? visit here

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

a nutshell: a terrifyingly necessary call to action, this collection of speeches by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (b.2003) – who sparked a global movement via school strikes – should be compulsory reading worldwide, esp. for politicians & businesses

a line: “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.”

an image: Greta repeatedly calls for world leaders to act as if our house is on fire, that is, to respond with the level of panic that this global emergency demands and to drop the business-as-usual complacency

a thought: condemning the UK’s ongoing support for new exploitation of fossil fuels (the shale-gas fracking industry, the expansion of the North Sea oil & gas fields, the expansion of airports, the planning permission for a new coal mine), Greta predicts that this recklessness will be recalled as one of humankind’s greatest failures

a fact: scientists unanimously tell us we have just 11 years before setting off an irreversible chain reaction, way beyond human control, that will probably be the end of our civilisation as we know it – how can we not act on that knowledge?


want to read No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference? visit here