By: Sonia Myers
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: September 2021
Reviewed by: Dianne Woodman
Review Date: October 28, 2021
We Have Something to Say! is told through the eyes of middle school student Jenny Barajas, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Jenny becomes interested in environmental issues introduced to students by Ms. Morgan, the science teacher. She raises students’ awareness about the ramifications of pollution on the planet. Jenny watches a video at the suggestion of Ms. Morgan. The video makes an impression on Jenny and leads to her kick-starting an advocacy campaign that focuses on single-use plastics and their adverse effects on the ocean. After Jenny takes on the responsibility of leadership in the campaign, she finds herself struggling to have faith in her own abilities. At times Jenny feels an overwhelming sense of fear that she has taken on more than she can handle and will fail in her efforts. However, Jenny receives support and encouragement from unexpected sources.
Sonia Myers has crafted an excellent fictional book for middle school readers interested in learning about the environment and current issues affecting the planet’s resources. Myers makes the story interesting by using a straightforward approach to how pollution affects the planet’s health. Readers can easily follow along with the students in the story as they gain knowledge about the impact on the ocean and marine life resulting from plastic and trash accumulation. Readers will also find it interesting to learn about the steps taken by the students in their efforts to bring the issue to the forefront of people’s minds.
Myers draws readers into the story by creating a relatable main character who takes on the responsibility of putting together a documentary to encourage people to get involved in helping reduce pollution. The author does an excellent job of gearing the story toward middle-grade readers using an age-appropriate writing style, perfect pacing, and creative figurative language. The portrayal of interactions between characters is spot on for the age group. This interesting story will emotionally resonate with middle-grade readers. It brings awareness to environmental problems that the world is facing, and readers can see firsthand the efforts required for tackling pollution. The story blends environmental education and activism with family relationship challenges, differences of opinion that cause rifts in friendship, intrapersonal conflict, camaraderie, teamwork, and generosity.
Readers can refer to a list of resources provided by the author. They include books, documentaries, and websites. They are a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about problems relating to the environment and the organizations that are working toward improving the health of our planet.
Quill says: Middle-grade readers who are curious about current environmental challenges will find We Have Something to Say! an outstanding read.
For more information on We Have Something to Say!, please visit the website: educationforchanges.com