Monday 14 February 2022

Dear Greta

Dear Greta by Yvette Poshoglian (Puffin Books) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN 9781761043789

Reviewed by Kathleen Grace

Alice Boghosian is a Year 6 student at Melwood Public School whose teacher Mrs Malouf has allocated classmates assignments to write to someone who is a leader. She has allocated environmental activist Greta Thunberg to Alice who would have preferred a social media queen (with 22 media followers), the captain of her favourite netball team, or Taylor Swift.

Thus, the book takes the form of a series of emails Alice writes to Greta. At first, she outlines her problems (for example, Jayden and his mates nickname her Bogus and Mothball), her life, her family, her neighbours, her surroundings, and her annoying sister, Annie. However, after a while, with research, she learns more about the activist. Another of her heroes is Malala Yousafzai who campaigns for girls’ rights and who is a winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace. She learns that Thunberg and Yousafzai communicate with one another. She writes, ‘When I think about all the amazing girls, you and Malala in particular, it seems like anything is possible’.

Alice’s continuing emails, which show she is being influenced by Greta’s life and work, also show she is becoming more aware of the possibility of using her time and energy to devote to the community. She starts to believe that she can make a difference, too, a big one. Soon she becomes involved in Harmony Day at her school. And it seems she will later develop more of a social and environmental conscience.

This easy-to-read book would suit keen readers aged nine years and older.

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