Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles written by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Meilo So
Bluebonnet Author Site (with author and illustrator interviews, kid-friendly information about the environment, and awesome activities for how kids can make a difference in their own communities)
I love true stories made into interesting books for children, and Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles is a fantastic one. Philippe Cousteau (grandson of Jacques Cousteau) and Deborah Hopkinson took inspiration from the true story of a South Carolina fifth-grade class. In 1988, the fifth-grade class of Ninety-Six Elementary School petitioned the governor to make the Loggerhead Sea Turtle the official state reptile. With a ton of persistence, and the unique ability of children to never give up, the governor passed the bill. This inspired Cousteau to create a story about a little girl, Vivienne, and her quest to save the baby loggerhead turtles in South Carolina. She and her class use what they have learned in class about problem solving to find a solution to the problem of baby turtles heading away from the ocean after hatching, instead of towards it.
If books have the capability, at minimum, to inspire people to think about the world in a different way, this book will inspire the most reluctant of kids to go out and DO something about the world. Cousteau and Hopkinson, along with the beautiful illustrations by Meilo So, show how any problem, no matter how big, can be solved if you take it one step at a time. The world is a big place, and the problems in the world can seem enormous to the most fearless of us, much less children. This book shows that even a group of kids with minimal resources can solve a problem and save an entire species of reptile.
Cousteau is not only an environmental advocate, he is a huge proponent for influencing children to become advocates as well. I have to say that I completely agree with him. It is much easier to impact a child and teach them something that they will hopefully carry with them forever than it is to convince a busy adult that they have time to solve another problem. (Real life story: For years I put off buying reusable grocery bags. I would either forget, or think, “next time,” or whatever other silly excuse I had that day. My oldest son, who was about 6 at the time, learned how negatively plastic bags affect sea turtles as part of the children’s program at the New England Aquarium. Even though we live in a landlocked part of Texas, he was adamant that we not use plastic bags for groceries anymore. He made me realize how simple that one act really is, and we now use reusable bags for our grocery trips. He even reminds me if I forget to bring them in.)
Kids have the power to make both small and huge changes in the world, and it is books like Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles that make them realize how easy it really is to make a difference.