CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 34 . . . . May 4, 2012
In Justine McKeen: Walk the Talk, author Sigmund Brouwer's character Justine McKeen returns as the very outspoken and assertive elementary-aged environmentalist from previous novels. In this one, she explains the concept of the walking school bus to her principal, friends and neighbours. She meets resistance from the school (school activities need permission) parents (no time) and students (you are weird). With her indomitable spirit and extreme organization, Justine triumphs, and the walking school bus takes to the sidewalk. But not before Justine has a crisis of self-doubt as her friends reject her as too "weird" for trying too hard to convince adults to be more environmentally friendly. Her peers come to realize that, just because Justine is enthusiastic and others disagree, that disagreement doesn't make her effort wrong, and it is when Justine's friends at school join her to organize the walking school bus that the effort succeeds.
Illustrations by Dave Whamond, on the cover and with one in each chapter, add entertainment and understanding to this story. Brouwer's story gives young readers access to environmental language and issues like the walking school bus, recycling, reusing and the reasons why so many people are resistant to such ideas.
Robert Groberman is a grade two teacher at Kirkbride Elementary School in Surrey, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.