Title: The Black Tide: 1978, The Sinking Of The Amoco Cadiz (One Day Elsewhere)
Author: Marie Lenne-FouQuet
Illustrator: Marjorie Beal
Translator: Nakashi Chowdhry
Publisher: Penguin Random House India
Age group: 7-10 years
My four year old is obsessed with the ocean and sea creatures. For him, the world is an ideal place where humans, fish and the wide ocean live in harmony. But, that’s not the truth, and “The Black Tide” helped me start a discussion on the role of humans in causing environmental pollution.
The book is about the sinking of the supertanker, the Amoco Cadiz, that sank off the coast of Brittany in France in March 1978, spilling 227000 tonnes of oil into the ocean. The story is narrated from the point of view of a little child, Yann, who belongs to a fisherman’s family. The child describes how the community that depended on the ocean for its livelihood, experienced fear and terror when the ship sank and the coastline was covered with oil.
The extra pages after the story offer more details about oil spills and how they impact the ocean and ocean life. What really fascinated me was that the author has offered a very balanced viewpoint, explaining the importance of oil in our daily lives and why it is necessary to be carried by ships the world over. New age oil spill management techniques are also discussed, which opens up several opportunities for discussions and sparks curiosity in children about how things work in the world.
However, my favourite part of the book has to be the hope that the book offers. While humans are the ones that cause the worst environmental disasters, they also come together as a community to help each other out in times of need. In the words of the author:
“Humans are capable of the worst, but thankfully more often of the best. We get up, we go on and we learn from our mistakes, even the worst ones.”
There are other books in this ‘One Day Elsewhere’ series as well. You can read Shipra’s brilliant review on A Giant Leap: 1969, We Walked on the Moon and Arundhati’s review on My Father’s Courage . A Cello on the Wall: 1989, the Fall of the Berlin Wall is an amazing book that Asha and Achira both have.
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