Melinda Salisbury recommends reading around the climate disaster
Melinda is the bestselling author of multiple young adult novels including the Sin Eater’s Daughter series. Her new book, Hold Back The Tide published by Scholastic is available in March:
Though Climate Action youth-organised protests have been happening since 2006, it was 2018 when teenagers and children began to make regular headlines in their bid to convince governments that the climate disaster has to be tackled before it’s too late. What started when a single student, Greta Thunberg, decided instead of going to school she would stage a protest outside the Swedish parliament quickly gained momentum, becoming a global movement led by teenagers: Fridays For Future. In less than two years, that youth-led movement has seen more than four million protesters – mostly young people and children – joining together in over 125 countries across the world, to beg politicians, governments, and community leaders to act.
It’s this bravery, and determination to act when adults won’t, that inspired me to write my latest YA book. Hold Back The Tide is a fantasy environmental horror, about a teenage girl who worries about the damage being done to a local loch by the rapidly-expanding paper mill in her town. The adults around her ignore her concerns, until disaster strikes, and horror is unleashed when the water level drops dangerously low. Then – just like in the world today – it’s down to the girl and her friends to fight the terrors ahead.
For this World Book Day, I’d like to recommend some other books for teens that feature protagonists dealing with ecological disasters, and fighting to save themselves. Whether they inspire you to join in the protests, or reassure you that you can make a difference, I hope you enjoy them.
- Sarah Crossan, Breathe: In a dystopian future where the air outside is unbreathable, the human race live inside the Pod, where extra oxygen is taxed, so only the super-rich Premium Class can afford the extra air for running, dancing, sport, and romance. But there is a resistance fighting for change, and when one of them, Alina, botches a mission and has to escape the Pod, she finds that life outside isn’t exactly what she’s been told it is.
- Yaba Badoe, Wolf Light: Three girls across the world are connected to each other, and to the land. As their homes and heritages are plundered and poisoned, the girls must perfect the magic within them and use it to save their homes, and the world, from corruption and greed.
- Clare Rees, Jelly: It’s hard to talk about the incredible, unique and brilliant JELLY without spoiling it; but I will tell you it’s set after a crisis no one can remember, and takes place on the back of a giant jellyfish; one of the few places humans can live post-crisis.
- Sita Brahmachari, Where The River Runs Gold: After numerous natural disasters the bees are dead, so instead children are ‘recruited’ to hand-pollinate crops so the people can eat. Shifa is hardy and strong, but her brother Thremba won’t survive the merciless farm they both work on. So Shifa hatches a plan to get them out, only to discover that the ARK government has been keeping secrets, and that maybe, just maybe, not all hope is lost.
- Neal and Jarrod Shusterman, DRY: Set in the USA after a series of terrible droughts mean the taps run dry, neighbours turn on neighbours and the suburbs become a warzone, with everyone fighting for the last drops of water they can find. When Alyssa’s parents don’t return from their hunt for water, it’s up to her to make sure she and her brother survive.
Follow Melinda @MESalisbury