Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. I’m delighted to share my review for D.L. Finn’s middle-grade story – Tree Fairies. Truth be told, I ordered the paperback copy for my young niece, and of course I had to read it first! This is a wonderful book for any age to read this enchanting story with lessons learned through the wise trees and fairies.
When reality and magic meet in the forest
It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy. Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.
My 5 Star Review:
Finn takes us into a fantasy world of fairies and humans working together to save the forest. Danny and and his sister Collette and his parents go camping 1969, one night while Colette sleepwalks into the forest, Danny noticed her gone and goes to find her. It’s outside at night they meet the fairies – the protectors of the forest. The fairies know Danny’s mother is a writer and ask if she could write a book to help save the forest. The Wise Old Trees offer help with their wisdom.
The book consists of 3 parts, 3 continuing stories. The next generation – Danny and Colette and their kids go camping in the same forest in 1990 and learn about some baddies dumping barrels of waste in the forest. Danny, now a writer with his kids Wren and Sierra, and Colette, now a movie director, come back to the forest to visit the fairies and wise trees and to take care of bad business happening to nature. Mom is still writing and dad is retired and they are both living off the grid.
The three stories are linked and all have the same characters as not to confuse young readers. It deals with different issues, from clear cutting, to stopping toxic waste dumping, to catching and sending away poachers, all while offering entertaining fantasy characters from the forest, yet teaching life lessons on the importance of working to keep the environment clean and sustainable, demonstrating the humans working together with the fairies to help save the forest.
The author has a wonderful way of weaving a magical story with real life issues and lessons the children learn about nature from the fairies and trees.
Welcome to my Sunday Movie Review, where I share a review for movies I’ve watched that I feel deserve attention.
HBO special- I am Greta – the journey to becoming Greta Thunberg, documented. I watched this documentary two weeks ago when I came across it as I searched my saved lists of docs to watch. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to elaborate on who Greta Thunberg is – the teenager from Sweden who has Asperger’s and created a global movement for climate change. This doc is the story of how Greta’s movement gained world attention, from its inception to the global stage her protests grew into.
My 5 Star Review:
The documentary begins with 15 year old Greta’s concern with the state of the planet and climate change, and nobody seemed to care.
One lone girl, Greta, sits on the pavement in front of parliament on a Friday afternoon in Sweden with a protest sign, handing out papers she’s written about the danger in the world of climate change globally. Greta has Asperger’s and explains how she has no friends, often doesn’t like to speak, and her best supporter is her father, who tells us Greta has a photogenic memory and that Greta began pulling out plugs and turning off lights at a young age to conserve energy.
Greta begins gaining national attention when her Friday protests grew bigger as her movement eventually reached global attention. She’s eventually invited to speak at the UN. As her cause and popularity get noticed around the globe, the Friday ‘no school’ climate protests catch on around the world where thousands of kids join the fight.
“I don’t care about being popular, I care about climate justice and the living planet,” Greta laments. “It will be over soon and nobody will recognize me,” Greta says after a big televised conference. But nobody did forget Greta. The press began to follow her closely. Greta gained worldwide attention and supporters who said they cannot let her do the fight on her own, as she raises awareness everywhere she travels, thousands of teens join the fight globally. The official hashtag for Greta’s mission becomes #FridaysfortheFuture. This girl’s dedication, despite the flack and obstacles she encountered, is and was relentless. I cried my eyes out on so many levels as I took in the magnitude of her plight.
Greta stands true to her beliefs. As her mission is to cut emissions and pollutions – Greta’s movement was expanding globally and she had to begin making appearances to support her movement and embolden her supporters. But Greta would not fly in airplanes, it went against everything she fights for, but she takes the long road and becomes a globetrotter to show up for the cause and protests, as her father staunchly supports her and accompanies her on her missions taking long train journeys throughout Europe. President Macron invites her to Paris, in a televised conversation, he shares the importance of rich countries needing to help lead the way to climate change. Macron: “How do you manage school doing this?” Greta tells Macron she’s a nerd who makes up for missed school at home.
As Greta gets invited to more European climate change summits where her fight grows in recognition, she begins to question why she is getting so popular, “I honestly don’t understand why I get invited, so they can be spotlighted to look like they care as if they’re doing something. They’re doing nothing.”
Greta is challenged with her Asperger’s and her struggle for wanting to be left alone and her need to spread the message. Preferring to be alone, Greta must conquer her struggle while rallying up a charge and taking up those invitations requesting her presence. Her frustration often requires alone time. “Everyone promises to do things better, but they never do. Pretending feels kind of fake. What matters is emissions must be reduced and has to start now.”
Greta visits the Pope who encourages her to keep up the fight as thousands gathered outside the Vatican shouting Greta’s name, chanting for ‘Greta to save the planet.’ But of course, with glory also comes the bad press and negativity from some of the more ‘authoritarian-type’ world leaders who don’t seem to be interested in saving the planet. Putin thinks it’s a bogus cause, Trump makes fun of her, Balsenaro cuts her up, and her own government says she’s just a kid, in fact, most world leaders interviewed and asked about her, feel the same way – except Macron.
Then come the death threats as social media starts picking on her. But Greta said she didn’t care. “Humanity sees nature as this giant bag of candy, that we can just take what we want. But one day nature will strike back, I don’t know exactly how but there are heatwaves and floods and fires.”
She’s invited to the EU parliament to speak among hundreds of diplomats and gives a well researched speech on the devastation of climate change, through tears she shoots her words and finally gets a standing ovation. Greta is asked, “Why did you cry during your speech?”
Greta: “Animals and people are dying.”
“Why do some think of you as a radical baby who can’t really do anything,” one politician asked her.
“Sometimes I feel like the microphone isn’t on. Is it on? Because I’m begining to wonder. You lied to us and gave us false hope. Nobody is talking about it, nothing has changed. We children are doing this because we want our hopes and dreams back.”
Greta gets invited to speak in the USA at the UN climate summit in New York. “Since I don’t fly because of the enormous climate impact on aviation, it’s going to be a challenge.” It took two weeks for Greta and her dad to sail to America.
“I don’t want to be a person who says one thing and does something else. I don’t want to fly across the world because it’s easier that way,” Greta says as as she and her dad prepare the journey across the Atlantic from Plymouth, England. Droves of people wish them well as they sail off on rough waters in a sailboat. Greta encounters both seasickness and homesickness on the trek. “I don’t want to have to do all this. It’s too much for me, around the clock. I know that it’s important and what’s at stake. But it’s such a responsibility. I should be back in school, not the other side of the ocean.” Greta writes and dictates during the journey, questioning herself if her cause has taken her too far out of her comfort zone, in awe that her meager beginnings of being a solitaire young girl who began her lone protest sitting in front of her parliament building with a sign, one Friday afternoon.
The sails are up as Greta and her dad reach New York harbor. The crowds of people awaiting her were magnificent in size and chant. Greta shouts to the people, “We are dependent on each other to survive. If you see a threat it’s your responsibility to sound the alarm. I feel like this is my responsibility in a way.”
Greta goes to the 2019 climate summit in New York where world leaders congregrate. Her speech begins, “My name is Greta Thunberg, and I want you to panic. The world is waking up and change is coming whether you like it or not.” The speech ends with, “If you deal with problems in time instead of waiting, your problems won’t get as big because if you do that, you come out on the other side and there it’s better.”
Greta planted the seeds of hope and still runs her protests every Friday since 2018. Since that time, over 200 activists have been murdered for fighting for clean air. In 2019, more than seven million people joined Greta’s protest. Despite Greta’s efforts, the world is still not on track yet to meet the requirements for the Paris Climate Accord.
“We will not stop until we’re done” ~ Greta Thunberg