Review by Darci Robbins: Cans for Change

Front cover for Cans for Change
Cans for Change – A book with a strong message.

Five stars. A comedic middle grade fiction with a big message for our earth.

Lawrey Goodrick’s Cans for Change is a middle grade piece of fiction for 8-12 year olds, with a big message. The initiative that the book is about, Containers for Change, started back in 2018 as a response to the sheer amount of beverage containers being used and dumped every year.

In Queensland where the novel is set, 2.7 billion containers are used each year, with these items being the second most littered item in the state despite the fact they can easily be recycled.

Goodrick has used this campaign to raise awareness on the issues of recycling in a way that educates younger readers on the idea of responsibility and does so in approachable, educational and well-rounded ways such as the inclusion of cartoons and even a ‘spot the difference’ at the back of the book to keep kids interested.

A story with an incentive

The incentive given to people to collect the cans (10 cents for each) was started with the hopes of reducing the number of cans littered and to increase the recycling rate of Queensland. For this to happen, children need to be educated at a young age on issues such as these, and Goodrick does this in a way that is comedic so that the children do not lose interest or get bored whilst also educating them on the bigger issues in the world (it’s kind of like hiding your children’s vegetables in their food so they’ll eat them). 

The main character, Daniel, is opposed to his dad’s obsession with collecting cans and recyclables and believes that it is just SO embarrassing (parents would relate to their children being embarrassed by their own antics I’m sure).

Tell and Show

Goodrick wrote that he wanted to show how situations that children are put into effect who they are as adults. An example of this is when I was 13 or 14 (I’m 21 now) my school went on an excursion for Clean Up Australia Day. We spent nearly the whole school day walking in the grass along the highway, looking for shiny cans, bottles and any rubbish nearby that we then put into massive bags to take to be recycled/thrown away. We’d been told the importance of the day, and how people had been just leaving their cans and rubbish wherever and I remember thinking, ‘how could people do this? Didn’t they learn to look after our Earth?’

This is what Goodrick does through his book Cans for Change, an educational masterpiece on the importance of recycling and looking after the planet we call home, while also instilling attitudes and responsibilities in readers that will become useful as they grow up.

Five stars

Author Visits for Schools:

If your school would like an author appearance by Lawrey Goodrick, contact Hawkeye Publishing and we’ll arrange it for you. For more information visit Hawkeye Publishing.

Buy the book:

This inspiring book is available through all good bookstores, libraries or through the Hawkeye Bookstore.

Learn more:

Want to learn more about Lawrey Goodrick, visit his Hawkeye profile here.

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