30 jours sans déchets (ou plus…) by Sophie Rigal-Goulard is targeted at children aged 9 to 12 to help them understand – with humor – a serious subject: the overabundance of waste. It has sold 11,000 copies in France, and translation rights have been sold in Colombia, Hungary, and Italy. It won the 2020 UNICEF Children's Literature Award in the 9–12-year-old age category.
Austin Bretin, 11, is tired of the overflowing trash can, plastics piling up, a fridge full of food past its sell-by date... He decides to do something about it. He manages to persuade his sister and his parents to take on a "zero waste" challenge. The goal: an empty trash can at the end of the month! After a few days, the challenge seems impossible, but the difficulties they encountered will gradually lead the Bretin family to work together to radically change their daily habits.
Author Sophie Rigal-Goulard is known for her books on sustainability. Building on her successes on societal issues such as those related to new technologies, also in the Les defis collection, she pens30 jours sans déchets (ou plus…). In this novel she addresses ecology and ways to reduce negative environmental impact and illustrates how waste is a major challenge that the younger generations are facing.
"What do you mean, zero waste? our uncle winced. Zero like... the opposite of thousands of tons of trash, like... waste?
Through the Bretin family’s adventures, its questions, ideas and doubts, children are invited to question their own behavior. This novel makes us consider our personal ecological impact as well as our consumer society in general. For those who want to dig deeper into the issue of waste, annexes offer information, advice and concrete solutions, such as a list of things to do to help save the planet.
"A humorous novel that deals with a contemporary issue."
The humorous non-preachy aspect of this novel quickly seduced foreign publishers, according to Sarah Daumerie, head of the foreign rights at Rageot. She "pitched the book for what it is: a fun novel that addresses a contemporary issue with a lot of humor, which led to new rights sales.” To date, translation rights have been sold in Colombia, Hungary and Italy. The book has been shortlisted for numerous literary awards and, among other things, won the UNICEF Children's Literature Prize in 2020.
Hannah Sandvoss and Katja Petrovic