We Have a Dream: Changing the Climate Conversation
By Georgia Rees and Caitlin Davies
Following the release of the IPCC Report earlier this month, which warned of a "Code Red" for humanity, it is more important now than ever, to amplify the voices of those directly affected by climate change. Magic Cat Publishing prides itself on creating beautiful books to inspire today’s children to care for the world and for each other. One of those books, published on 5 August 2021, is We Have a Dream by Dr Mya-Rose Craig.
We Have a Dream aims to share and uplift the voices of the Indigenous and People of Colour that are often excluded from the conversation, yet are disproportionately affected by climate change. This couldn’t be more clear from its social media campaign, which primarily focused on introducing the stories of the contributors. Magic Cat Publishing shared animated posts of these contributors over the course of five days coinciding with the publishing date, amplifying why understanding a variety of perspectives is so important in tackling climate change. One example was Vanessa Nakate’s story, a Ugandan climate activist who has faced discrimination in her line of work. In 2020, the Associated Press cropped Nakate out of an image with other white activists at the World Economic Forum, sparking an important debate about racism in the media.
Alongside the Instagram campaign, readers could also access an excerpt from the book on Bustle, offering a further introduction to some of the inspiring stories at the heart of We Have a Dream.
On publication day, Waterstones featured We Have a Dream across its Instagram page. The promotional Instagram story highlighted the beautiful artwork created by illustrator Sabrena Khadija, along with Dr Mya-Rose Craig’s passion for ornithology in her activism. The #DreamForChange hashtag was also included, not only to expand reach, but to also generate a vital discussion needed about climate change. What is immediately noticeable about this campaign is its optimism and determination to inspire a wide readership of all generations. The climate crisis can naturally create feelings of pessimism and anxiety when discussed in the media. Yet before even opening the book, this social media campaign highlights the extraordinary efforts of the young people behind We Have A Dream, efforts that are immensely inspiring.
Readers were also encouraged to join "the share a dream bucket list challenge." Instagram users were asked to share “a dream for climate justice”, “a dream for a healthy planet” and “a dream for a fairer world for all”. Bucket list challenges have become increasingly popular in the Bookstagram community, where readers use these fun templates to share their reading habits and favourite reads with others. This bucket list challenge combines this popular social media trend, whilst promoting the urgent need for a climate crisis discussion. Through the challenge, readers could share their concerns for the environment with their followers and suggest solutions such as “protect indigenous land” and “environment over economy”.
A key question for all publishers is how to get the book in front of as many people as possible. The marketing around We Have a Dream successfully does this by engaging with readers through book festival appearances. The British Library and The Edinburgh International Book Festival will be hosting Dr Mya-Rose Craig for virtual events this summer, taking advantage of the fact that the target audience – young people – are very digitally engaged. The Edinburgh Festival in particular is world renowned, and virtual Q&As with the author are a fantastic way to reach a global audience of aspiring activists. Alongside Dr Craig, The British Library also hosts the illustrator, Sabrena Khadija, and a selection of campaigners featured in the book. Introducing the subject of the book to the audience is an effective strategy that allows viewers to glimpse an insight into the lives and thoughts of the people directly involved with issues raised in the book, as well as elevating the voices of both Indigenous and People of Colour activists within the climate conversation.
You can catch Dr Mya-Rose at the Children’s Literature Festival in Bath on Saturday 25 August and online at The British Library on Thursday 16 September. Like-minded books with equally impactful marketing campaigns include: All We Can Save by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson, Consumed: The Need For Collective Change by Aja Barber and Who Cares Wins: How to Protect the Planet You Love by Lily Cole.