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When her family moves from snowy Massachusetts to sandy Wilford Island, Florida, it’s a big key change for twelve-year-old pianist Mimi Laskaris. Where does she fit in in this shell-covered paradise?
Mimi is taken by the beauty of the island but alarmed by the plastic pollution she sees on the beaches. Turning the tide of laws and public opinion that keep plastic bags in every gift shop and grocery store feels like too big a problem for a kid to solve. Until Mimi learns about Melati and Isabel Wijsen, who, at ages twelve and ten, lobbied to ban single-used plastic bags on their home island of Bali—and won. Their story strikes a chord for Mimi. Could she make such a big change in a place that she’s not yet sure feels like home? What must she sacrifice—and what could she gain—by allowing a new passion to take root in her heart?
Written in accessible verse, this timely story of environmental activism has extensive back matter for aspiring activists. With a foreword by Melati Wijsen, cofounder of Bye Bye Plastic Bags.
Praise & Reviews
“This novel in verse explores environmental concerns many young people today have and shows how change can be made close to home. Mimi is Greek American, and other students from her new and old schools are cued as ethnically diverse. Dimopoulos gives some examples of the international nature of the youth climate justice movement in the text and supplementary notes; a foreword by Melati Wijsen adds a special touch. A heartfelt story highlighting activism and showing how change does not come easily.”
"An inspirational success story for young activists and those who just need a nudge."
"A worthy purchase for collections with a need for more climate activism fiction and novels in verse."
—School Library Journal
“I loved this book! It’s one of the more creative approaches I’ve seen to communicating the plastic pollution problem.”
—Marcus Eriksen, Ph.D., Environmental Scientist and Co-founder of Leap Lab and the 5 Gyres Institute
“Blending poetry and science-based activism, Turn the Tide is a very well-researched, inspiring portrayal of youth leadership and a real pleasure to read.”
—Kimberly Warner, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Oceana
“Turn the Tide uses spare but impactful poetry to inspire students toward plastic pollution activism. An ideal interdisciplinary book for older elementary and middle school classrooms.”
—Tiffany Hays Borsch, K–8 science educator, environmentalist, and found materials artist
Hear about single-use plastic bag waste, activism, and the inspirations for this novel!
Learn more about the Wijsen sisters and join their global team of activists!
- Watch Melati and Isabel’s TED talk.
- Start a new Bye Bye Plastic Bags team or join one in your region.
- Follow Youthtopia and learn how to organize.
Engage with other youth-oriented environmental activist organizations!
- Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots
- National Geographic Kids: Kids vs. Plastic
- Kids Environmental Lesson Plans (KELP) from Oceana’s Sailors for the Sea
- 5 Gyres’ Trash Academy
- Surfrider Foundation
- Beyond Plastics
Act locally with Cafeteria Culture’s waste audit and Recipe for #plasticfree Change!
To make change on the personal, local, manufacturing, and policy levels, follow this Recipe for #plasticfree Change. For even more information and inspiration, watch Cafeteria Culture’s documentary Microplastic Madness.
Found materials artist Tiffany Hays Borsch makes collages with single-use plastic bags. Contact her to inquire about repurposing your waste into something beautiful!
Leanne Stock of Arte Plastique makes chic jewelry out of plastic bottles!