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Halifax author aims to inspire youth overwhelmed by the climate crisis

Charlotte Mendel will hosting a special book launch for her just-released YA novel, 'Reversing Time', on December 12 at the Seahorse Tavern on Gottingen Street
Charlotte Mendel
Author Charlotte Mendel

Charlotte Mendel is hoping to open a few eyes to the power of positive thinking — something she says the world seems to be lacking at the moment.

“Albert Einstein said, ‘the world as we have created it is a process of our thinking and it cannot be changed without changing our thinking,’” quotes the Halifax-based author. “If the media could get on board with that instead of relentlessly portraying the floods in B.C. and the fires and all these things that are happening and focus a little more on the thousands of good news stories (then) I think the media could play a really positive role in subtly changing (attitudes) to focusing on the positive.”

While Mendel may not have much sway in altering mainstream media's journalistic approach, the award-winning author and Dalhousie University instructor aims to accommodate the minds of a more influential audience — young adults — with her new book.

With Reversing Time, Mendel’s third published novel aims to inspire those who may be feeling overwhelmed by issues about the climate crisis by crafting a time-traveling adventure story focused on personal responsibility.

Reversing Time follows a bullied boy named Simon as he discovers a talisman that reveals the young protagonist belongs to a tribe of people that have the power to travel along their own lifelines. Soon, the introverted teen learns he is destined to help halt humanity’s dark destiny and must become empowered in his responsibility.

“This is my first attempt with a younger audience. But really the main difference between YA (and adult fiction is) that there is no sex, there are no bad words in a YA novel,” says Mendel. “So it’s very, very readable for adults as well.”

While the book’s central issues may not be lost on adults, Mendel does admit she penned the novel to help provide hope for the youth.  As a mother of two teenagers, she notes young adults often need to be reminded they are not powerless. 

“They often feel that change isn’t possible because the climate crisis is this huge thing and nothing seems to be happening (but) across the board, tons of things are happening,” notes Mendel, adding that exciting changes often go unreported. “It’s a fundamental lack of imagination — not just young people. Society and art has always historically played a role in imagining the possibilities and imagining a different future so this book is to entertain (but) it’s also, it focuses on opportunities for individual action.”

These are not just talking points for Mendel to sell a book either. Released to coincide with the COP26 summit in early November, Mendel has also volunteered in partnership with the Ecology Action Centre to facilitate an online role-playing game conducted as an Emergency Climate Summit to 75 schools in England as part of their COP26-related educational plan.

In essence, she truly believes that there is an immense power in positive change.

“In every coming of age book, the hero is transformed from, in this case, a scared, little bullied kid to a leader of inspiration for his generation,” says Mendel about mixing an exciting narrative with lessons of empowerment within Reversing Time.  “It's an incredibly hopeful book because there is a lot of hope. As I said, there’s a tsunami of change happening and it’s incredibly exciting.”

Now available, Mendel is thrilled to host a free book launch for Reversing Time on Dec. 12 at the Seahorse Tavern. She promises to make it a festive affair that should feel less like a formal reading and more like a party.

“I’ve had some people say it’s a YA book why are you having it in a pub for?” laughs Mendel, adding that the event will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m at the Gottingen Street establishment. “I’m going to provide refreshments and food and it’s just a lovely environment and, you’re right — it’s not quite typical  — but I like it!”

For more information on Reversing Time, visit the website.


Steve Gow

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