Bang (Common Ground: The Water, Earth and Air We Share, 1997) tells it like it is in this frank, if kaleidoscopic, account of a Texas shrimper's conversion to environmental activism. Diane Wilson's decade-long struggle with the chemical companies that made her county the number-one polluter in the entire country for toxic discharge is very much a David-and-Goliath tale. Ranged against her were not only the slick and tricky minions of huge multinational corporations, but much of her own community, and even the EPA, which judged the Formosa Plastics Corporation's proposal to build seven factories in the area likely to have "No Significant Impact" on the local environment. Bang has not made this easy to read—Wilson's story is told in black and white collages of graphic-novel style panels, documents, and photographs, all inset over a labeled, painted survey of the bay's environmental and industrial history. It's an intriguing style, raising the age level of the intended audience while keeping the look of a picture book. But budding activists will find plenty to ponder in seeing how this seemingly ordinary woman first educated herself on the issues, then experienced the often-scary realities of nonviolent resistance. It's an inspiring, and ongoing, saga, well worth struggling through, and its format may help to bring it to otherwise disinterested readers. (Picture book/nonfiction. 11+) Read full book review >
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