|M is for Movement by Innosanto Nagara|
|Category: Emerging Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Engaging and inspiring, this story relates some difficult political history in a child-friendly way.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: November 2019|
|Publisher: Seven Stories Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Set in Indonesia, in the not too distant past, this is a story about social change. Dealing with some difficult issues, such as political corruption and nepotism, the book is neither boring nor preachy. It educates gently, with vibrant, challenging illustrations, and it portrays how social movements need people who will try, even when it seems that they will fail. The message is a positive one; that in an increasingly uncertain world, we do still have the power to instigate change.
Although the story is partly fictional, it is also based around real people and events, and the way it is told, from a young boy’s point of view, it feels very immediate and real as you read it. The boy feels like a real boy, and I liked how he wasn’t perfect, and he made mistakes (sometimes quite dangerous ones!) There’s humour within the story, and I felt that the explanations of difficult terms were done very well, so there are some small explanations of things like nepotism, which younger readers won’t have come across in a book before, but it’s done in such a way that you don’t feel like you’re reading a school textbook, and it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story.
Through the story we hear about corruption and collusion, and the impact that bad politics has on the country, and the people living in the country. One slightly disturbing chapter deals with disease, and how easily preventable diseases start to turn into epidemics because the money for drugs has disappeared elsewhere within the government. Our boy is lucky enough to be given the drugs by his mother, who can afford to buy them herself, but she doesn’t tell him what they are for. He finds himself rushing to the toilet at school after taking the drugs, because there is something coming out of his bottom! It’s a tapeworm! That bit isn’t for the squeamish! But it’s told in a very matter of fact way, and again is educational without seeming so.
The illustrations are bright and bold, full of warm colours and striking designs. There are colour pictures throughout, breaking up the story which would help emerging readers, and the chapters are not too long, so more confident readers could easily race through the book, whilst it would be a bit more of a challenge for younger readers who are experimenting with stories with chapters. I really liked the style, particularly one page which shows a pile of button badges, all with different activist slogans and images. I also really like the image of a monkey, which comes up as the author explains what ‘’tipping point’’ means, which again, is another deftly handled explanation.
I had only a small criticism, and that was that on some pages, the text is laid over an illustration, and that makes it difficult to read. From an accessibility point of view, this would make difficult reading for those with dyslexia, or those who are colour blind.
In these days when a young school girl is leading the charge against our political leaders in relation to environmental issues, this book will be a welcome read to any other children with a desire to implement change.
Further reading: Those keen to take on social change after reading might want to move onto this book next Teach Your Granny To Text by We Are What We Do For more big issues for older readers try Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah
You can read more book reviews or buy Sandbox at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Sandbox at Amazon.com.
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