One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of Gambia by Miranda Paul, illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon

 Published by Millbrook Press

Summary: When Isatou Ceesay first discovers a plastic bag lying on the ground of her Gambian village, she is impressed with how light and strong it is for carrying things. Years later, she learns that goats are dying from eating plastic bags, and she starts noticing the bags are creating piles of nasty-smelling trash that collect water and attract mosquitoes. When she sees her sister crocheting, Isatou gets an idea. Before long, she’s assembled a team of Gambian women to crochet plastic from the bags into purses that they sell at the market. Proceeds from the sales can be used to improve life for all in Isatou’s village. Includes an author’s note about the real Isatou, a glossary and pronunciation guide of Gambian words, a timeline, and additional resources. Grades 1-4.

Pros: An inspiring, true-life story about the power of an ordinary person to make a difference. The illustrations are a mix of paintings and collage, and every African woman’s dress is a gorgeous print.

Cons:  Ceesay (Isatou’s last name) and the name of her village, Njau, aren’t included in the pronunciation guide.

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