Hello everybody! Today, I’m very excited to be reviewing the Parrot Street Macaw box for November, which was very kindly sent to me by the company in exchange for a feature blog post to celebrate the company launching a subscription for a new age range. The book in mine was Burning Sunlight by Anthea Simmons, so I’m planning to review that as a book, and also chat about some of the other things enclosed in my parcel, as this is the first time I’ve done anything like this and I really want to do a good job. Anyway, onto the post!
This is a very timely book, which falls very neatly into that space between MG and YA, and explores the climate emergency, making it a perfect book to pick up during the first week of COP26. It has a dual narrative format split between Zaynab, a girl who has just moved from Somaliland to Devon following the death of her beloved mum, and Lucas, a boy who has lived there all his life and has a complicated relationship with his dad, as they both become involved in campaigning to stop the climate emergency and change the way we live.
I really liked how informative the book is about the climate crisis, and how it explains not only ways you can help by changing very small things about your life, but also why it makes a difference and gives examples of exactly the sort of people it will have a huge impact on. Again, it all felt very relevant and up to date, with the references to Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg and the school strikes
Moving on to things I enjoyed that were more story craft than themes and ideas covered, I think the characters were all incredibly strong and felt like people you could genuinely meet. Zaynab is a character I can imagine a lot of people deeming unlikeable, but for me I found her incredibly strong-minded and determined and principled, which are all excellent qualities given the severity of the cause she is fighting for. I also loved that it was clear her mother’s influence drove a lot of her passion, and she was trying to make her proud by making the planet better. I felt a lot of sympathy for Lucas, particularly with regards to the way his dad treats him, but I loved how the campaign helped him grow in confidence, and he was such a good friend to Zaynab, as she was to him. One of my favourite things about their friendship was that they acknowledged they both had different strengths and weaknesses, and used to this to their advantage, while also constantly encouraging and challenging one another to be better.
The secondary characters were also great; I absolutely despised the headmistress, who reminded me of certain teachers at my own high school, and Aoife was just brilliant fun. I don’t know if she was a rebel just attaching herself to this cause or if this was genuinely something she fully believed in before joining the group, but I loved her nonetheless and she did make me laugh with some of the things she said!
Overall, this is quite hard-hitting as the climate crisis is obviously not a cheery topic, but it’s definitely something I would recommend and I think it’s one of the best books I’ve read on the subject, while also acknowledging that there is still hope to be had.
Parrot Street also include a little card with activities relating to the book, and you can find even more on their website with the special password!
It was really fun to think about/do some of these tasks, and it definitely added to my overall reading experience. It’s so great that this sheet is included and I actually think it was my favourite part of the whole box, even though I’m not the target market!
Things to think about:
These definitely did inform my review, but I thought I’d do another little section to cover a few of the ones I didn’t include in that.
1. I’m not sure if I’d be friends with Zaynab, I would like to be but I’m not sure if she would like me or if I would be her idea of an ideal friend.
2. On a similar note, I’m not sure. I can definitely be guilty of expecting other people to live up to my (admittedly quite high) standards so I can understand why Zaynab judges people, but I’m not sure if two people who do this would work out well in a friendship.
8. Absolutely. The fact is that companies have played a much bigger role in global warming than the media typically acknowledges and as such, I think to truly make a change these companies have to be targeted by climate activists and make real, systemic change
3 emojis to describe the book:
👫 (to represent Zaynab and Lucas’s wonderdul friendship)
🌎 (because the book is about the climate emergency Earth is facing)
🌞 (possibly a bit on the nose, but this is to represent the title!)
Some badges I’d love to design: First of all, I’d love to own a lot more bookish badges and also some of the super cute Disney ones I’ve seen online. In terms of activism, I would love to make badges supporting disability activism, because I hardly ever see any, and it would be super fun to get to wear them.
If you’d like to subscribe to this box, I’ve been offered a discount code to share with you that will get you 12% off your first term’s subscription: MACAW12. This code is valid until 25th December 2021, and you can use it here.
Thank you so much for reading! Do you subscribe to any book boxes? Have you read this book? Which books about climate change have you enjoyed? I’d love to hear in the comments!