The Mess That We Made by Michelle Lord

Do you know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? More importantly, do your kids know about it? Children are so refreshing in their approach to pretty serious world problems, as they often genuinely believe that they can help (And, in the case of Greta Thunburg, sometimes children are indeed working to make worldwide headway on these problems!). When they learn that smoking is bad or that bees are important, they’re likely to tell anyone who will listen or make fliers to hang up around school or town. Teach them about pollution and just watch as they go crazy picking up trash! So what does this have to do with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Written in the pattern of “The House That Jack Built,”The Mess That We Made tells the story of trash in our ocean, starting with the fish that “swim in the mess that we made” and working down to the “landfill, growing each day” and the “people at work and at play.” Young readers learn about the chain reaction that one piece of trash can cause in the ocean’s food chain, as well as the impact that our everyday actions have on the ocean habitat. The Mess That We Made isn’t all dark and dismal, though, as it ends with a community coming together for a Beach Clean Up Day and showing the positive impact that we can have on our ocean and its resources.

Almost more than the words, Blattman’s illustrations tell an incredibly powerful story. We see fish eating trash, seals caught in nets, turtles trapped in plastic 6-pack rings, landfills spilling into the bay, and so much more. These images struck my children in a way that words can’t. Every single time we read it, we notice another way Blattman has shown that our trash affects sea life.

Our four-year-old has been requesting this book on repeat for the last few weeks, which shows you just how appealing this is to little ears and eyes. And, she’s both intrigued and inspired by the content, asking all sorts of questions about pollution, trash, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Be sure to check out the special section at the back includes facts about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, ocean pollution, and calls-to-action. I’ll definitely be adding The Mess That We Made to my list of “Earth Day Books to Read Year-Round.”

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A big thank you to the publisher for sharing this book with our family in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions of this book are my own. All links for purchase are Amazon Affiliate links. Thank you for considering making a purchase through my links!

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