13th October 2020
Review by Lily Tibbitts
If you’re looking for an inspiring and powerful story book with gorgeous illustrations, ‘Greta and the Giants’ is the perfect fit. This picture book is full of dynamic characters and encouraging messages for young people who want to make a difference, based on a young, real-life heroine.
It tells the story of Greta, a little girl who lives in a forest that’s being chopped down by greedy giants. The giants keep taking more and more of the forest for their towns and cities until there’s hardly any left for Greta and the animals. She wants to help save the forest and the animals inside it, but it seems impossible when the giants are so big and she’s so little. Luckily, she’s not alone.
Zoë’s reading of this extremely important book is a perfect introduction to the climate change movement for young children, and it brings up Greta Thunberg and what she fights for in a very accessible and empathetic way. Greta Thunberg is a teen environmental activist from Sweden who has become famous through her school strikes to raise awareness of the threat of global warming. Her movement has inspired millions of young people to take to the streets and make change happen through school strikes and protests – a very important thing for younger children to be taught about. Climate change and its consequences are going to be a big part of our future, and Zoë Tucker makes sure to add extra information at the end, explaining who the real Greta is and what kids can do to help ‘save the forest’.
The illustrations throughout are full of soft lines and beautiful blends of colour, bringing the forest and its inhabitants to life in a vibrant and stunning way. There’s a chance to see a drawing like this being created in a video recorded by the book’s artist Zoe Persico, showing her out in the peaceful outdoor world where we can hear the bugs chirping while Zoe draws Greta and the fox in watercolours and pencils. It’s a great chance for children to try their hand at drawing along with her.
‘Greta and the Giants’ is a must-read picture book and its message is clear throughout: nobody is too small to make a difference. Listening to Zoë read this powerful book is a great way to introduce children to the idea of environmental activism and inspire them to save the world.
Watch the event until November 1st.
This work was produced by participants on our Durham Book Festival Reviewers in Residence programme, a cultural journalism programme run by New Writing North Young Writers. Reviewers in Residence gives aspiring journalists aged 15-23 the chance to review books, attend events and interview authors at the Durham Book Festival. For more information about New Writing North Young Writers visit the New Writing North website.