Who doesn’t love electronics and the thrill of buying and owning the latest technological gadgets? But what happens to the mobile phones, computers, DVD players, televisions and games consoles that we no longer need? Some may end up in charity shops, others may be passed on to someone else, many will end up in landfill. As for the rest, they often find their way to the most unlikely of places.
Thirteen year old Theo lives by the dump in a shack with five chickens. With a sack for a pillow and cardboard for a bed he spends his days searching the piles of unwanted electronics for ‘treasures’ that he can exchange for cash to buy food. He longs for a better life and a chance to go to school.
When the mysterious Emanuel turns up with a map and claims of buried treasure it appears that Theo may have found his ticket out. But dangerous people are on the hunt too and Theo is hiding a secret that could ruin everything…
Inspired by real-life, Steve Cole whisks readers away to Ghana and the city of Agbogbloshie, the home of the world’s largest electronic dumping ground. His latest book for the brilliant Barrington Stoke is not only a thrilling story but also deals with a hugely important environmental issue, addresses misconceptions about recycling and raises concerns about highly dangerous working conditions. With high stakes, bags of tension, difficult decisions and great characters driven by their own needs, the exciting treasure hunt through the dumping ground will have readers on the edge of their seats and racing through the pages.
Amongst the piles of trash, the burning fires and the toxic fumes are the all too real stories of survival and a search for a better life. Cole’s vivid descriptions immerse readers into the terrible conditions that children - both in the story and in real-life - are dealing with. And whilst there is a promising ending for Theo, the sad truth is that most will not escape poverty and long days at the dump and suffering from dangerous illnesses becomes commonplace.
In a world driven by consumerism, this is an eye-opening story that needs to be shared as it raises awareness of the issues surrounding electronic waste. Children want to know about the issues that exist in the world and Welcome to Trashland highlights the consequences of our actions on those far away from where we live. After reading, readers of all ages will be more conscious about the decisions that they make in respect of their electronics.
True to Barrington Stoke form, the book is produced using dyslexic friendly font and colours ensuring a read that is accessible to every reader. Oriol Vidal provides the black and white illustrations as well as the striking cover artwork.
Huge thanks to the peeps at Barrington Stoke for this important book.
Recommended for 9+.