Albert Ross The Albatross by Nicola Leigh

Values: Responsibility, Empathy, Determination, Self-Control, Consideration, Respect and Kindness.

Albert Ross the Albatross is a hilarious, rhyming book with a deep message about plastic pollution in the oceans. It features Albert Ross who helps all of the creatures in the ocean escape the plastic that is caught in their flippers, beaks, around their necks and stops them from eating the 'blue spaghetti' (plastic). The unique design of the book means that all of the illustrations have been drawn by children and that makes the message even more powerful. I particularly like the way Nicola Leigh has included ideas for how to reduce plastic waste at the back of the book.

I have read this with both Year 3s and Year 4s and not only did they love the rhyme and illustrations, but they fully understood the message. This book is brings the Value of responsibility into the forefront of our discussions when talking to children about looking after the environment and animals. Children often have a deep empathy and love for animals and can be great change-makers when guided in the right direction. As a result at my school, we held a survey about use of disposable plastic in packed lunches and the children went on to provide some advice on how to reduce single-use plastic in the school newsletter.

We talked about this book and all of the animals that were affected by plastic toilet seats, bottles, bags, nets, toys and food packaging as poor Albert Ross is busy freeing marine life from their plastic troubles. The children were able to articulate their hopes for the world in the future and how saddened they would be to see birds like the albatross becoming extinct due to human laziness. In the weeks that followed, their actions saw the whole community pulling together to reduce, reuse and recycle more. The children could see the power of the community in a drive to reduce plastic pollution. I think this book also offers discussions on Values such as determination, self-control, consideration, respect and kindness.

This book was independently published on Amazon in 2018.

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