Reading this verse novel awoke all of my tendencies for activism. In her characterization of a young activist, Elaine Dimopoulos does so many things right. She captures the determination and single-mindedess that, not surprisingly, a twelve-year-old can develop when she believes strongly in her cause. In this case, Mimi Laskaris is moved by watching a video about Melati and Isabel Wijsen, who founded Bye Bye Plastic Bags, that she plans how to carry the cause to her island home off the Florida coast.
Mimi’s family recently moved because her parents lost the restaurant they owned in Massachusetts. They are focused on opening a new restaurant on the island, and not on Mimi.
Mimi can be dedicated to a passion. She has proven this by practicing for long hours at the piano, studying with excellent teachers, and playing at Carnegie Hall. When she moves her focus to ridding her island of single-use plastic, her passion for piano recedes, much to the disappointment of her mother and her teacher.
But her science teacher fully supports Mimi’s campaign and so do two new acquaintances at school, not quite yet friends.
I appreciate the finesse with which Ms. Dimopoulos weaves together the rich tapestry of a twelve-year-old’s life. From her family’s Greek culture, to the insecurity of a seemingly popular girl, to the older couple who run the island’s bookstore, to the decisions Mimi makes along the way, not all of them wise, the author not only inspires activism but leads us to a deep level of caring for Mimi and her community.
This book brought me to the realization that I am an activist. Perhaps it will do the same for you and your favorite young readers.
Turn the Tide
Clarion Books, 2022