Hello friends, and Happy Earth Day! To celebrate, our book today is Solar Story: How One Community Lives Alongside The World’s Biggest Solar Plant by Allan Drummond.
Each morning, friends Nadia and Jasmine walk to school together under the hot African sun. They live in Ghassate, Morocco, on the very edge of the Saharan desert; Jasmine (the narrator), describes it as beginning just outside their classroom window. Their village is humble and agrarian, but in the last few years, some very big and exciting changes have taken place. Just outside their town, workers have built the largest solar power plant in the entire world, the size of 3,500 soccer fields and containing 660,000 mirrors! While studying sustainability, Jasmine’s class heads to the plant for a field trip, where they learn all about how it operates. Later, Jasmine and Nadia reflect on the near- and far-reaching effects of the plant, and how it is giving the people of their community and their country a hope of a brighter future.
Incredibly informative. If you didn’t know that the world’s largest power plant was just outside a rural community of 1,200 homes, neither did I. And through Jasmine’s narration, lessons from her teachers, and footnotes plus an author’s note by Drummond, readers can learn a great deal about the Noor plant. There’s also a strong focus on the training and jobs provided by the plant, and well as the community outreach of the company that owns it (MASEN, though not identified by name within the story). This section, near the end, begins to get a little repetitive, yet does introduce kids to the many ways that investing in alternate energy can help communities to grow. Drummond’s floaty illustrations are lovely to look at yet manage to convey a great sense of scale, and the text flows extremely well through the various forms of delivery. The choice to put to author’s note before the last page of the story was a little confusing, and the length is definitely better for older, elementary-aged bookworms (JJ started to get a little squirmy near the end), but this was a wonderful learning experience for those curious about solar power. Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)