Turn the Tide

by Elaine Dimopoulos (Author)

Turn the Tide
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
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.
Select format:

Kirkus Reviews

A heartfelt story highlighting activism and showing how change does not come easily. --Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 4-7--When 12-year-old Mimi and her family move from Massachusetts to Wilford Island, FL, Mimi faces the awkwardness of making friends at a new school, finding time to practice piano, and watching her parents stress over their restaurant opening. After becoming inspired by young environmental activists who got plastic bags banned in Bali, Mimi works to bring awareness of plastic pollution and minimize plastic bag use in her new hometown--but not without a few bumps along the way. Everything wraps up nicely in this interesting novel in verse about how one person can make a difference when they get help from others. Typical tween conflicts are depicted and handled in realistic ways. For instance, young readers will be able to relate to Mimi's sense of being overwhelmed by her first passion, piano, and her new passion, fighting plastic. There is plenty of white space, and the verse flows nicely overall into a fast-paced read. The book also contains a foreword by the cofounder of Bye Bye Plastic Bags and extensive back matter, including a time line of plastic origins, distribution, and activism; tips for readers who want to learn more about how to make change in their own communities; and more. VERDICT A worthy purchase for collections with a need for more climate activism fiction and novels in verse.--Molly Dettmann

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

A heartfelt story highlighting activism and showing how change does not come easily. —Kirkus Reviews
Elaine Dimopoulos
Elaine Dimopoulos is the author of The Remarkable Rescue at Milkweed Meadow and Turn the Tide, a middle-grade novel-in-verse inspired by real-world environmental activism. She is also the author of Material Girls, a young adult dystopian novel. Elaine served as the Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence and has taught writing at Simmons University and GrubStreet. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.

Caldecott medalist Doug Salati is the the author and illustrator of Hot Dog, which won the 2023 Caldecott Medal. He is also the illustrator of several books for children, including Pip and Zip and Lawrence in the Fall. www.dougsalati.com
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Clarion Books
Publication date
March 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV057000 - Juvenile Fiction | Stories in Verse (see also Poetry)
JUV031040 - Juvenile Fiction | Performing Arts | Music
JUV029010 - Juvenile Fiction | Nature & the Natural World | Environment
JUV063000 - Juvenile Fiction | Recycling & Green Living
JUV039290 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Activism & Social Justice
Library of Congress categories
Novels in verse
Environmental protection
Marine pollution
Citizen participation

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!