This is a story about a young New Zealand girl Heidi, who has a passion for photography and a yearning desire to be a photographer of the rich and famous one day. However her path crosses with Meke, a homestay student from the Cook Islands. He brings her attention to the plight of the rainforests and the importation of palm oil kernels (PKE) as stock feed on NZ farms. This is because grass production can no longer match the size of the herds on farms. Through this friendship Heidi joins a group of teenagers who are passionate about saving the world’s orangutans.
The group devises a daring plan to create a children’s picture book, Molly’s Story, which outlines in blatant detail the plight of baby orangutans orphaned and clinging to their dead mothers’ bodies. Carefully they leave copies in as many public libraries as possible in order to create public awareness. They plan to hit social media and the regular media with letters about this terrible story as though they are horrified parents or librarians. Anything to raise awareness. Their book gains publicity and Heidi makes a film to tell the orangutans’ story.
As if the book isn’t enough, the group proceeds to impersonate a renowned Dr Diego at a conference centre where Heidi’s film is shown. The police become involved at the school trying to locate the impersonators.
All in all this is a wonderful story about teenagers and their belief that they can make a difference to the world. The author wrote it for readers aged 11-18 year-olds.
Jacky Armstrong, 14 June 2017
Tui Motu Book Review: Bad Oil and Animals (2016)