*For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of webpage*
(suggested) reading age: 7+
(suggested) interest age: 5+
Having recently enjoyed (or suffered, depending on your point of view) some rather hot weather recently, a record was broken in Wales, with record temperatures of 37.1°c being recorded in Hawarden, Flintshire. Now even though we like a bit of sunshine, the recent events leave us in no doubt that our climate is changing...
Yup, the influence of man now extends across all corners of the planet, and if polluting the earth wasn’t bad enough, we’ve even started to leave our mess in space too! (anyhow, that’s another story!)
So, let me introduce Jess Grimsdale's new book, which discusses an extremely important environmental issue, and one that will become increasingly more important, plastic pollution of the sea. The book was actually inspired by the author's journey as part of the Sail Against Plastic mission, a collection of researchers, activists, and film-makers who are exploring the threat of micro plastics in the sea around Svalbard. The book was expertly adapted into Welsh by none other than our own Mari Huws, the environmental campaigner and current warden of Bardsey Island– I can't think of anyone more suitable.
What are those weird little balls?
At the beginning of the story, the people of a seaside Arctic village are amazed when colourful little balls appear in the water and near the shore. Initially, everyone is curious about the small particles, but things soon turn sour some of the residents start to feel sick.
Sedna and her crew must go on an adventure to find the origin of these tiny pellets, and once they find out the truth, Sedna takes on the mission to spread the message across the world.
I'm sure you've heard of micro-plastics on the TV, and the adverse impact they have on nature. In fact, I heard on podcast recently, that they’ve even found microplastics in our bodies!!
I love learning new things whilst reading, and I learned quite a few things, to be honest. The tiny balls are called Nurdles. They are small pieces of plastic, measuring no more than a lentil. The worst thing about these is, nurdles aren’t plastic bits that has been ground down by the waves, but small pellets that were deliberately created by us! WHAAAT?!?!?! If you want to know more, the author has included some interesting information after the story.
Now then, I’ve got to mention the artwork. Incredible. This is certainly one of the most striking books to hit the shelves this year. The standard is very high, and you can see how much work has gone into it. I’m told that every picture was made out of small pieces of torn paper.
Illustrating a children's books is no mean feat - it takes a lot of talent and hard work. I'm sure I saw on her Instagram account (@jessgrimsdale) that the whole process took several years. I mean, just look at this picture - I’d buy a print of this for my house it’s so good!
When I’m putting on my teacher's hat, I can see how this would be an excellent book to study in class– plenty of opportunities to do work on the environment and climate change, and link it to artwork emulating the illustrator’s style.
This is undoubtedly an important addition to the ever-expanding collection of books about the environmental crisis we’re currently in. I only hope that the book will inspire the 'climate superheroes’ of the future to tackle the mess that our generation has created! *shame on us*