Twelve-year-old Mimi Laskaris is inspired by the Wijsen sisters of Bali to turn her focus from classical piano to a new obsession: forming a grassroots, kid-led movement to ban plastic bags in her new island home in Florida. Written in accessible verse, this timely story of environmental activism has extensive back matter for aspiring activists. With a foreword by Melati Wijsen, cofounder of Bye, Bye Plastic Bags.
Mimi has a plan for her seventh grade year: play piano in the Young Artists competition at Carnegie Hall with her best friend, Lee; enjoy a good old Massachusetts snow day or two; and work in her community garden plot with her dad. But all that changes when her family’s Greek restaurant falls on hard times.
The Laskarises’ relocation to Wilford Island, Florida, is a big key change for Mimi. Where does she fit in in this shell-covered paradise without Lee? Mimi is taken by the beauty of the island and alarmed by the plastic pollution she sees on the beaches. Then her science teacher, Ms. Miller, shows her class a TED Talk by Melati and Isabel Wijsen. At ages twelve and ten, they lobbied to ban single-use plastic bags on their home island of Bali—and won. Their story strikes a chord for Mimi. She’s twelve. Could a kid like her make such a big change in a place that she’s not yet sure feels like home? Can she manage to keep up with piano, her schoolwork, and activism? And does confident and flawless Carmen Alvarez-Hill really want to help her with the movement?
In this story of environmental activism, friendship, and self-discovery, Mimi figures out what’s truly important to her, and takes her place in the ranks of real-life youth activists like the Wijsen sisters, Greta Thunberg, and Isra Hirsi. A foreword by Melati Wijsen, author’s note, and detailed back matter about the effects of plastic pollution and how to get involved are tools for young readers who are moved to turn the tide in their own communities.