Barrington Stoke’s latest, World Burn Down by Steve Cole, throws you straight into the action. Someone is forcing their way into Carlos’s flat. All alone, and hiding in a wardrobe, Carlos cannot escape his fate and is taken: kidnapped!
Carlos is taken because of his mother’s job in a branch of the Brazilian government which protects the rainforest. They don’t like her interfering in their plans. However, the kidnappers’ plans go awry when Carlos escapes. Somehow he’s got to get to safety, by evading his captors and also a raging forest fire, which is consuming everything in its path. However, there is one person he seems to be able to rely on: an indigenous local who speaks just a few words of English.
Pulsating from the start, World Burns Down will keep readers hooked throughout its 110 pages. Steve Cole writes with an urgency that both mirrors Carlos’s story and the plight of the environment. Something which we all need to confront before it’s too late. What Cole does well is show the reader that not everyone is on the same page. Corruption, intimidation techniques, land-grabbing, and illegal mining are all getting in the way.
Although set in the Amazon rainforest, the reader is pulled into involvement. For example, Environmental concerns are universal concerns, and not defined by locality. The title doesn’t just reference the characters’ worlds… we can all be part of the solution and this text is a way into that conversation.
World Burn Down will complement rainforests and environmental topics perfectly. One of the jobs of authors and educators is to show truths about the world, and the only way to get out of a burning world is through education.
If there are educators who are yet to discover Barrington Stoke, you need to know they are pivotal in getting many children reading. Ideally for UKS2, this is an accessible and succinct text the whole class can enjoy.
Steve Cole joins Nikki Gamble to talk about all things Doctor Who #InTheReadingCorner podcast
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