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Swimming Against The Storm

Authored by Jess Butterworth
Published by Orion Children's Books

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Swimming Against The Storm is another novel by Jess Butterworth with an environmental theme. You may already be familiar with Running on the Roof of the World and When the Mountains Roared.

What if your greatest dream turns out to be a lie?

What would you be willing to do to save your land, community and way of life?

How do you survive when land and sea merge in a storm, and you have nowhere to shelter?

Avery believes she can save her land by finding a loup-garou, a mythical animal, which could mean the swamps would be protected. But she makes a dreadful error that launches us, her sister Liza and friends into a fast-paced rescue mission in the swamps of Louisiana.

Jess Butterworth creates a vibrant world, seething with life. She adroitly uses the queasy swamps to make an adventure full of jeopardy. I read parts of the book holding my breath!

Although this book has a serious environmental message, it in no way detracts from the storytelling. The dialogue is sparky and natural. Ideas about nature, and how we use it are explored in a sophisticated way that children will find challenging to their preconceptions.

Swimming Against The Storm would be an excellent whole-class text for upper junior classes. The themes of exploitation of nature by communities and big industry, land insecurity due to climate change and our culpability (or not) in this lend themselves to nuanced debate. I am very much looking forward to Where the Wilderness Lives and  Into the Volcano.