The protagonist, Jenny Barajas, in local earth science teacher Sonia Myers’ new book, “We Have Something to Say!” usually sits on the sidelines, until she sees a documentary on plastics in the ocean in her science class.
Jenny’s teacher, Ms. Morgan, puts a contemporary, environmental spin on traditional topics. Inspired by her teacher and the documentary, Jenny embarks on a mission to end single-use plastics. With the help of her teacher and community, she finds the courage to use her voice and launches an advocacy campaign by documenting her class’s actions in the hope of motivating others to follow.
“It’s a middle-grade fiction novel, which means it’s for about 8 to 12 years old,” said Myers. “I wanted to write about plastics in the oceans, but knowing the audience was a bit younger, you can’t lay it on too heavy. So I wrote a novel about one girl’s mission to end single-use plastics as best she can.
“It’s a coming-of-age story and her journey and how she deals with new information,” Myers said. “It’s about how she handles her emotions, her family and her friends, all while trying to raise awareness for plastics in the ocean.”
“We Have Something to Say!” is a story of community, advocacy and courage in the face of an over-polluted planet.
Myers was teaching fourth- and fifth-grade math when she was inspired by a class that was passionate about environmentalism and being good stewards of the earth.
“They were very inspiring to me and it just felt like a natural step to write something for that age group,” said Myers. “I like to write and I like to teach about science, so it’s everything that I really love. Also, I feel a responsibility to take care of the planet that we live on.
“We’re so close to the water and I absolutely love being in and around the water, but the issue of plastics in the ocean hits close to home,” she said.
“We Have Something to Say!” was published on Oct. 10 and is available at local bookstores and on Amazon.
“We can do a lot of talking, but at some point you need to turn it into action,” said Myers. “I hope (the readers) find their own voice so that the character could be inspiring to them, whatever their mission will be.”