There’s been a lot of heavily illustrated inspiring role model books over the last few years with a turn to conservation heroes in 2019, which has been fantastic to get the conversation going about saving the environment and learning to change our behaviours and adapt to this as young as possible.
However until now there’s not been as much visibly for older children who may find the highly illustrated approach both ‘young’ and lacking depth especially if they need to research someone for a project or homework.
Lily Dyu has stepped into the gaps previously occupied by Wikipedia and offers carefully written mini accounts of 20 inspiring people cleverly collated from a wide range of approaches, focuses, cultures and continents.
This is told in a non-fiction narrative making it accessible to upper KS2 and well into Secondary School age and equally adults can enjoy.
There are recognisable ‘celebrity’ campaigners here too alongside there are also lesser known heroes and grassroots leaders whose efforts are just as important and sometimes just as impactful.
Whilst including Greta Thunberg there is also Amelia Telford leader of Australia’s Indigenous youth climate justice network SEED an offshoot of Australian Youth Climate Coalition that empowers the most affected and disenfranchised Australians to speak up and campaign against the climate change that directly affects their lives, cultural lands and heritage.
Alongside Stella McCartney’s innovation creating changes in ethical fashion we have Isatou Ceesay who began a movement in The Gambia by turning discarded plastic bags into crocheted purses, empowering women and finding other ways to upcycle discarded products.
With Sir David Attenborough’s contributions to education and awareness of the natural world we see Bittu Sahgal who has worked tirelessly for conservation since the 1980s in India through the theory of focusing on Tigers will save the habitat of all creatures that share the tiger’s home and so producing nature magazine Sanctuary Asia, its children’s club, with Bollywood to create documentary films and a series for children, wildlife awards and in 2000 an education programme called Kids for Tigers with a profound impact of doubling tiger numbers in India between 2004 and today to almost 3,000.
This book may make readers angry, empowered to make changes, sad and frustrated as they read just how tirelessly some are batting against what seems endless disregard for our owner by governments, big business and both the lack of education and affordable access for ordinary people in how to live in a responsible way to the planet. You may find the reader emerges a mini activist, a budding conservationist, a vegan (or vegetarian too) but most of all informed and inspired and that’s a wonderful thing.
I also appreciate the way that Nosy Crow have endeavoured to produce this book with environmentally responsible methods and materials including paper sourced from wood grown in sustainable forests. This adds a little extra magic to the book that Nosy Crow are doing their best to stand by the content of the book too.
A brilliant book that deserves to be in the hands of all children and certainly on the shelves of every school library.
Earth Heroes- Lily Dyu illustrated by Jackie Lay is published by Nosy Crow.