11th May 2021
I was fortunate to be in touch with Hannah Gold after my cli-fi article was published in The Bookseller. After which I’d been eagerly anticipating the release of her debut middle grade fiction book – The Last Bear.
My first impression of The Last Bear was how beautiful the book looked, both inside and out. The illustrations by Levi Pinfold are out of this world and when you take the dust jacket off, you reveal a stunning gold on blue engraving.
But it’s not just the illustrations that make this book special, Hannah has written an absolute gem of a story with a real emotional punch. So much so that I took a couple of days after reading it to write down my thoughts.
The Last Bear follows a young girl called April Wood and her father, who travel to Bear Island in the Arctic Circle. Her father is a meteorologist and is being sent to man a solitary weather station for six months. Bear Island used to be home to many polar bears, but due to the disappearance of Arctic sea ice, none remain… Or so the story goes. But as becomes apparent, there is one bear… One forgotten, lonely bear. And this story follows the heartbreakingly touching friendship between April and Bear as we learn more about their past, and why we need to act on the climate crisis.
The Last Bear is without a doubt, the best cli-fi book I’ve read. It steers away from the dystopian cliché and is based in the present. It steers away from bashing people over the head with climate-related facts. What Hannah has written is a page-turning classic, with love, connection and compassion at its core. This is what I believe we need more of. In my humble opinion, its books like this that can ultimately change the world.
I genuinely hope Bear’s roar travels across the world. Massive congratulations to the phenomenally talented Hannah Gold for this masterpiece, you’ve set the bar incredibly high for non-dystopian cli-fi with this defining debut! This modern day classic will no doubt become one of the top books of 2021. I can hand-on-heart happily recommend this book to everyone, and I’d suggest getting yourself a signed copy while stocks last.
My debut children’s picture book, Hedgey-A and the Honey Bees, is about the need to protect bees from pesticide pollution. It can be purchased online here.