The dreaded homework assignment, ‘Write to your hero’, gets a modern and empowering twist in Yvette Poshoglian’s latest read.
It’s the start of a new school year at Melwood Public School and for Alice that means her final and most important year of primary school, year six. She has high hopes for a wonderful year ahead but things are not really going to plan.
She cannot live up to little-miss-perfect older sister Annie. Alice’s grandmother has moved into her bedroom and she has been re-homed in the sunroom. And school is one disaster after another; Jayden’s calling her silly nicknames, the school librarian has set a ‘write to your hero’ project - Alice was hoping for one of her sporting heroes or a pop star but instead has got stuck with climate activist Greta Thunberg, and the icing on the cake…Alice and friend Sami, along with Jayden and his buddy Lance, have been tasked with running the Year 6 Harmony Day Food Fair, only the most important school event. Could life get any worse…
Written entirely in emails that Alice pens to Greta, Alice navigates the trials and tribulations of life in a series of musings, ravings, rantings and thought-provoking entries. As she opens up she finds herself sharing her entire life with Greta and the reader, from family dramas and the perks and problems with Armenian grandmothers to the difficulties in trying to organise a school event to traffic projects threatening the habitats of local wildlife. And whilst Greta never responds to any of the emails, Alice finds herself going down a path that leads her to wonder, ‘What would Greta do?’.
Middle-grade readers will certainly appreciate an inclusive and diverse cast of characters, a melting pot of different cultures, an urban and contemporary Sydney neighbourhood, the backdrop of Covid-19 and relatable issues and themes. With it’s easy to read style, Dear Greta will appeal to many and would make for a great class read, particularly for year six.
Alice is easy to identify with. Like many children her age she must deal with ignorant classmates and annoying siblings, friendships and fallings out, and learn that actions - both positive and negative - have consequences that must be accepted. Most importantly though, Alice is a young girl learning that she can make a difference whether that is at school, within her community or on a wider scale - she just needs to commit to doing something. I’m sure that Dear Greta will empower its readers to make a difference, to bring about changes and to fight for causes that they truly believe in.
With huge thanks to Penguin Random House for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 9+.