Clean Up!

Publisher: Puffin

Rocket is SO EXCITED because her, her mum and her brother Jamal are going to visit her Grammy and Grampy in the Caribbean. Even more excitingly, Rocket’s grandparents run whale watching tours and have an animal sanctuary at the back of their house.

It’s brilliant finally seeing Grammy and Grampy - Grammy is a pretty impressive surfer, and Rocket and mum love building sandcastles - but when a baby turtle washes up, tangled in plastic, Grampy explains that plastic is ruining the island, and no whales have been sighted here for a long time.

Rocket decides that something must be done, so she enlists everyone on the beach into her Clean Up Crew. Finally, the beach is clean and Rocket knows she’s made a huge difference. Hooray!

The inclusion of simple facts – this time about marine pollution – alongside adorable heroine Rocket’s lovely family and her dedication and courage to do better for her community makes for a meaningful, relatable read. Clean Up also reminds us that there are always things we can do to make the world better, and that environmental issues aren’t separate from our everyday lives: plastic pollution is affecting Grammy and Grampy’s business as well as hurting turtles and ruining the beach for visitors.

Adeola and Bryon’s representation of an authentic, well-drawn black family is welcome in picture books, and especially so in a book about environmental issues, where people of colour have so frequently been in the vanguard of activism.

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