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Turn the Tide

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Twelve-year-old Mimi Laskaris is inspired by the Wijsen sisters of Bali to turn her focus from classical piano to a new obsession: forming a grassroots, kid-led movement to ban plastic bags in her new island home in Florida. Written in accessible verse, this timely story of environmental activism has extensive back matter for aspiring activists. With a foreword by Melati W Twelve-year-old Mimi Laskaris is inspired by the Wijsen sisters of Bali to turn her focus from classical piano to a new obsession: forming a grassroots, kid-led movement to ban plastic bags in her new island home in Florida. 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. Mimi has a plan for her seventh grade year: play piano in the Young Artists competition at Carnegie Hall with her best friend, Lee; enjoy a good old Massachusetts snow day or two; and work in her community garden plot with her dad. But all that changes when her family’s Greek restaurant falls on hard times. The Laskarises’ relocation to Wilford Island, Florida, is a big key change for Mimi. Where does she fit in in this shell-covered paradise without Lee? Mimi is taken by the beauty of the island and alarmed by the plastic pollution she sees on the beaches. Then her science teacher, Ms. Miller, shows her class a TED Talk by Melati and Isabel Wijsen. At ages twelve and ten, they lobbied to ban single-use plastic bags on their home island of Bali—and won. Their story strikes a chord for Mimi. She’s twelve. Could a kid like her make such a big change in a place that she’s not yet sure feels like home? Can she manage to keep up with piano, her schoolwork, and activism? And does confident and flawless Carmen Alvarez-Hill really want to help her with the movement? In this story of environmental activism, friendship, and self-discovery, Mimi figures out what’s truly important to her, and takes her place in the ranks of real-life youth activists like the Wijsen sisters, Greta Thunberg, and Isra Hirsi. A foreword by Melati Wijsen, author’s note, and detailed back matter about the effects of plastic pollution and how to get involved are tools for young readers who are moved to turn the tide in their own communities.  


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Twelve-year-old Mimi Laskaris is inspired by the Wijsen sisters of Bali to turn her focus from classical piano to a new obsession: forming a grassroots, kid-led movement to ban plastic bags in her new island home in Florida. Written in accessible verse, this timely story of environmental activism has extensive back matter for aspiring activists. With a foreword by Melati W Twelve-year-old Mimi Laskaris is inspired by the Wijsen sisters of Bali to turn her focus from classical piano to a new obsession: forming a grassroots, kid-led movement to ban plastic bags in her new island home in Florida. 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. Mimi has a plan for her seventh grade year: play piano in the Young Artists competition at Carnegie Hall with her best friend, Lee; enjoy a good old Massachusetts snow day or two; and work in her community garden plot with her dad. But all that changes when her family’s Greek restaurant falls on hard times. The Laskarises’ relocation to Wilford Island, Florida, is a big key change for Mimi. Where does she fit in in this shell-covered paradise without Lee? Mimi is taken by the beauty of the island and alarmed by the plastic pollution she sees on the beaches. Then her science teacher, Ms. Miller, shows her class a TED Talk by Melati and Isabel Wijsen. At ages twelve and ten, they lobbied to ban single-use plastic bags on their home island of Bali—and won. Their story strikes a chord for Mimi. She’s twelve. Could a kid like her make such a big change in a place that she’s not yet sure feels like home? Can she manage to keep up with piano, her schoolwork, and activism? And does confident and flawless Carmen Alvarez-Hill really want to help her with the movement? In this story of environmental activism, friendship, and self-discovery, Mimi figures out what’s truly important to her, and takes her place in the ranks of real-life youth activists like the Wijsen sisters, Greta Thunberg, and Isra Hirsi. A foreword by Melati Wijsen, author’s note, and detailed back matter about the effects of plastic pollution and how to get involved are tools for young readers who are moved to turn the tide in their own communities.  

30 review for Turn the Tide

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a Middle Grade book written in verse. I have found that books written in verse is hit or miss for me. I did not love the writing style of this book, and I could not connect to the characters in this book. I did love the environmental message in this book. I love that a 7th grader cared so much about the environmental in this book. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Clarion Books) or author (Elaine Dimopoulos) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about This is a Middle Grade book written in verse. I have found that books written in verse is hit or miss for me. I did not love the writing style of this book, and I could not connect to the characters in this book. I did love the environmental message in this book. I love that a 7th grader cared so much about the environmental in this book. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Clarion Books) or author (Elaine Dimopoulos) via NetGalley, so I can give an honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central Mimi (Demetra) and her family move from Massachusetts to a small coastal island because it's less expensive to run their Trident restaurant and they have family on Wilford Island, Florida. She is sad that she has to leave her best friend and fellow piano enthusiast, Lee, behind, but the two are able to talk frequently. The school is small, but Mimi makes a friend in super popular Carman. When their enthusiastic science teacher, Ms. Miller, teaches them a Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central Mimi (Demetra) and her family move from Massachusetts to a small coastal island because it's less expensive to run their Trident restaurant and they have family on Wilford Island, Florida. She is sad that she has to leave her best friend and fellow piano enthusiast, Lee, behind, but the two are able to talk frequently. The school is small, but Mimi makes a friend in super popular Carman. When their enthusiastic science teacher, Ms. Miller, teaches them about Melati and Isabel Wijsen and their Bye Bye Plastic Bags movement,, Mimi is enthralled and wants to start banning plastic bags from their island right away. She has a somewhat unlikely ally in Carman, whose father owns the local grocery store, and Anne and Henry Lowell, who run the local bookstore, Dusty Pages. Getting signatures on the petition, being interviewed by classmate Ethan for his Scaled Fish podcast, and worrying about her parents' restaurant opening makes it hard for Mimi to concentrate on her piano lessons with her new teacher Kyle and cut into her practice time. Carman seems super supportive when they are handing out free reusable bags at her father's store, or brainstorming flyers at home, but seems aloof at school. When Mimi doesn't invite her to the Trident's grand opening, Carman is hurt. Mimi worries that she won't be able to make much headway without her, and the Lowells have a health scare. Not only that, but Lee visits, and her piano playing has improved much more than Mimi's has. How will Mimi learn to balance her activism, piano, family and friends in her new community? Good Points This was a great depiction of a small island community, and I loved that Mimi's family was Greek and had a restaurant! It made me immediately hungry for a good, authentic horiatiki! There is a great balance between parental involvement and Mimi's own activities, and it's good to see that the parents have their own interests (but balance things a bit better than the parents in Pizza My Heart!). There are not a lot of books involving young people who play piano, so Mimi's interest in a future of competing is interesting. Of course, the best part is Mimi's determination to ban plastic bags from the island. Dimopoulos' has done a lot of research to outline what local governments can and can't do about this scourge, and gives great examples of places where bans have been effective. This is a topic dear to my heart, and with as many young environmental activists as there are in the world, you'd think we would hvae more middle grade books about topics of conservation. Anne and Henry are good examples of older people who have been and continue to be positively involved in their community, and the fact that the beach clean up crew is predominately older citizens is so true to life. All of the elements in this story were well balanced and entertaining to read. The notes and lists of resources at the end of the book will help readers who want to get involved. This is an essential purchase for middle school libraries, and I've already requested that my public library buy it! Novels in verse are growing in popularity, with titles like Warga's Other Words for Home, Fipps' Starfish, and Alexander's The Crossover being frequent requests. Mimi's love of music and books gives a decent excuse for this format. Like most novels in verse, there isn't much in the way of meter, and it reads more like prose, but the writing style is certainly equal to or surpassing that of other novels in verse. I would LOVE to see a whole sub genre of realistic fiction books where middle school students take up worthy environmental causes and set about trying to change the world. I'm always a fan of Kids Doing Things, and when the book also includes some very realistic and constructive friend drama like Mimi has with Carman, this makes for a compelling story I can't wait to get into readers' hands after they finish Rosenberg's One Small Hop, Hiaasen's Hoot, or Sachar's Fuzzy Mud.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Genielysse Reyes

    A wonderful poetic blend of music, friendship, and activism. I’m constantly rooting for Mimi and the cause she fights for, on and off the page. All of this book will be staying with me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ms Threlkeld

    An inspiring book in verse about a 7th grader who becomes an environmental activist when she moves to a small island in Florida. Middle grade readers will relate to Mimi’s drive to make the world a better place and hopefully be inspired to affect change themselves. The book includes extensive back matter about single-use plastics.

  5. 4 out of 5

    A. Scott Zechlin

    This novel-in-verse follows Mimi Laskaris as she goes through a number of challenges following her family's move to a small Florida island: adjusting to her new home, figuring out how to make new friends, and juggling multiple commitments (piano, activism, gardening, schoolwork). I was swept along by the energetic flow of Dimopoulos' text, which fully captures Mimi's passionate nature, whether she is currently fixated on piano, activism, or gardening (or torn between the three). Mimi's difficult This novel-in-verse follows Mimi Laskaris as she goes through a number of challenges following her family's move to a small Florida island: adjusting to her new home, figuring out how to make new friends, and juggling multiple commitments (piano, activism, gardening, schoolwork). I was swept along by the energetic flow of Dimopoulos' text, which fully captures Mimi's passionate nature, whether she is currently fixated on piano, activism, or gardening (or torn between the three). Mimi's difficulties in making friends steered away from the cliche, which I appreciated, and required Mimi herself to learn hard lessons. Dimopoulos does an excellent job weaving the work of real-life youth activists throughout her text and provides extensive backmatter to help readers join the fight to reduce plastic waste. However, this book is not purely didactic (thank goodness), providing a strong emotional heart through Mimi's friendship struggles and her identity crisis (of sorts) as her passion for activism begins to eclipse her preexisting passion for piano. The book's discussion of how different passions may come to the forefront at different times in our lives is particularly well-done—and, I think, an important subject for preteens who will likely start experimenting with new interests as they continue to grow towards adulthood. I would highly recommend Turn the Tide for those who are fans of novel-in-verse and looking for an inspirational story about environmental action and finding a new home, complete with new friends and new passions.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Diana Renn

    I loved this powerful, beautifully written eco novel-in-verse for so many reasons. 12-year-old Mimi Laskaris is an engaging character, a budding activist you will root for. Her quest to combat the plastic pollution problem on the beautiful beaches of her Florida town is presented in such a relatable way. The problem seems daunting until she finds examples in real-life Melati and Isabel Wijsen, who successfully lobbied to ban single-use plastic bags on Bali when they were only ten and twelve year I loved this powerful, beautifully written eco novel-in-verse for so many reasons. 12-year-old Mimi Laskaris is an engaging character, a budding activist you will root for. Her quest to combat the plastic pollution problem on the beautiful beaches of her Florida town is presented in such a relatable way. The problem seems daunting until she finds examples in real-life Melati and Isabel Wijsen, who successfully lobbied to ban single-use plastic bags on Bali when they were only ten and twelve years old. Mimi also finds activist mentors in a couple who own a local bookstore, and allies in like-minded peers (including a wonderful character who runs his own podcast). She also confronts very realistic obstacles like balancing her schoolwork and her passion for piano with her increasingly time-consuming activism, dealing with Internet trolls, trying to convince reluctant business owners to make a change, and navigating friendships as she bravely takes a stand on an issue. A wealth of inspiring back matter provides additional resources for reading, research, and actionable steps. Seldom have I been so galvanized to take action immediately after reading a book, and I can only hope that countless young readers will feel similarly and work for change. A riveting read that expresses the urgency of the plastics problem while offering realistic paths to action and a good amount of hope!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amitha

    An inspiring book with a delightful cast of character and very realistic relationships. I'll never look at a plastic bag the same again! An inspiring book with a delightful cast of character and very realistic relationships. I'll never look at a plastic bag the same again!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    A great read that shows kids that what they do/think/believe matters and that they can be the catalyst for change, in their communities and the world.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Oak Hill Middle School Library

    I couldn't love this book enough. Dimopoulos created a character that is brimming with hope, creativity, agency and determination. I learned so much about how young people can make meaningful change through seemingly simple actions and I cannot wait for my children to read this book too. Who knows how it will inspire them to make their world a better place. Also to note, the novel-in-verse storytelling makes this book accessible to English Language Learners and/or those students that struggle wi I couldn't love this book enough. Dimopoulos created a character that is brimming with hope, creativity, agency and determination. I learned so much about how young people can make meaningful change through seemingly simple actions and I cannot wait for my children to read this book too. Who knows how it will inspire them to make their world a better place. Also to note, the novel-in-verse storytelling makes this book accessible to English Language Learners and/or those students that struggle with reading. A must, must, must read!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Avery Taryn

    This book was definitely not meant for me (obviously) but it was overall a good introduction to social activism for little kids. It was a little too heavy handed at times and having the kind of author self insert was really weird

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  12. 4 out of 5

    Reign _ Awakening

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lira

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joella

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  16. 5 out of 5

    Megan Brotemarkle

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tally Klinefelter

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shelly

  19. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Brown

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emma G.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Joyce

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Banana

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily Rose

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julie Responsibly

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah West

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sheyenne

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maisa

  30. 4 out of 5

    jo

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