#BookReview: Claire Malone Changes the World by Nadia L King and Alisa Knatko

Claire Malone Changes the World, Nadia L King (author), Alisa Knatko (illus.), Dixi Books, November 2019.

Blurb:

A new generation of children…

They are not afraid of taking responsibilities any more, but they are rather keen on addressing problems.

Claire is one of them. The moment she sees the broken swing and the cracked slide in the children’s park in her neighbourhood, she decides to take action. Not surprisingly, her way of reaching a solution is an interesting and innovative one.

You will love the journey of Claire, a strong and ambitious girl, so much that you will want to read this book over and over again.

Review:

Claire Malone has grand plans to make an impact on the world, one step at a time. Nadia L King has stepped out into the picture book world for the first time, and what an impact she is about to make with Claire Malone Changes the World!

Drawing on themes of persistence, compassion, the affects of technology and the importance of childhood play, author, Nadia King, and illustrator, Alisa Knatko, brilliantly combine to highlight the savviness of one young girl determined to work for the greater good of the world. With the uprise of social media and internet application, today’s youth are becoming more and more encouraged to be the advocates for their own future. This is where youngsters like Claire Malone come along. She wakes early each day to read the world news and to write letters to important advisory boards – even the Prime Minister – to rally for change. Her determination is admirable, but is it at the expense of her friendships, her own childhood freedoms, and even her health? Then one day Claire (and her cat, Marmalade) notices a problem in her very own neighbourhood, and without further ado, she’s onto it and action is finally implemented.

Whilst Claire researches on her mobile device, she uses a typewriter to write her letters. My interpretation of the inclusion of the typewriter is to show the juxtaposition between the days of old and new, of the simplicity before modern times became so technologically advanced that our minds are flooded with such a complex world. But also, there is a nice sentiment in accentuating the value of the good old-fashioned ability to type on paper, to write letters with our own handwriting, and to send and receive them via good old-fashioned snail mail. King has been clever in alluding to the need to monitor children’s technology usage and filter what is presented to our young people at the risk of sensory overload and anxiety. At the same time, I love the air of innocence, of the presence of childhood joy and purity in her character’s desires for a happier world and the refreshing nature of play. Knatko’s drawings further amplify this. The gorgeous etched pencil illustrations beautifully support the text with the perfect combination of verve and softness to show that absolutely resolute personality who still has a need to just be a child.

Clare Malone Changes the World brings hope for the adult generation reading and discussing this with children, and encouragement for our future bright stars to advocate for a better world. This book raises topical awareness and reinforces the validity of persistence, community and common goals. An important book for our times.

Review by Romi Sharp.

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