Change Starts with Us (Sophie Beer, Little Hare)
This brightly coloured and accessible book sets out to empower young children and familiarise them with ways in which even the littlest of us can have an impact our world. As young environmental activists around the globe have recently shown, there is power in knowledge and in having a voice. This book, which sits well within Sophie Beer’s oeuvre, engenders in very young children the idea that our choices and actions are important and have consequences. Appropriately targeted to young readers (its board book format inclines it towards the younger end of its intended 3+ audience), there is no representation of fear, gloom, or the costs of not making change. Rather, the world presented is a vibrant, sunny, inclusive, optimistic one where children cheerfully take part in the many activities that can lead to change (saving water, eating less meat, ‘ditching the car’). Beer’s simple text is supported by her distinctive illustrations—clean-edged, full of perky colours and shapes, and filled with small details that should keep older children engaged. On some pages the details become a little busy and distract from the central message, but maybe that’s OK, since an overly didactic approach is rarely a successful one.
Anica Boulanger-Mashberg is a freelance editor, writer and reviewer, and has worked as a bookseller at The Hobart Bookshop for over 10 years