Sunday, September 27, 2009

Heroes of the Environment - an inspiring collection (ages 8 - 14)

We all want to help the environment, to make the world a better place.  But it's often hard to see what we can do to make a difference.  Heroes of the Environmentis a new book that does a wonderful job of showing individuals who have done just that - made a difference.
Heroes of the Environment:
True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect Our Planet
written by Harriet Rohmer
illustrated by Julie McLaughlin
CA: Chronicle Books, 2009.
ages 8 - 14
Heroes of the Environmentpresents the true stories of twelve people from across North America who have done great things to help our environment. These are real people doing extraordinary things, and yet they come from very ordinary backgrounds. A teenage girl figures out how to remove a toxic chemical from the Ohio River and her community's water source. A former professional basketball player develops a thriving urban community garden that grows enough food to feed two thousand people on just two acres in the middle of a city.

This book really stands out for the way it presents a range of complex stories in a way that young people can understand.  Rohmer uses language that is accessible to 5th and 6th graders, but doesn't shy away from including technical details.  I especially like the format - each chapter tells the story of a different activist, and so each chapter can be read entirely on its own.  You can read a seven-page chapter, or several chapters in one sitting. 

Rohmer captures the courage and creativity of community activists who try to find concrete, practical ways to improve the environment.  Some activists pull together the community to protest against corporations that are polluting the ocean or the air.  Others find new scientific ways to clean the environment, such as cleaning chemicals from drinking water using common every-day ingredients.  Others bring services to a community that help people reuse materials or invest in renewable energy.  All of these ways are within reach of all of us - that's what is so empowering about Heroes of the Environment.

"We are the future.  The future is ours." Erica Fernandez, student and environmental activist from Oxnard, California

Would you like to meet Harriet Rohmer and activist Erica Fernandez?  They're appearing on Saturday, October 3rd at San Francisco's The Green Arcade Bookstore.

Do you like nonfiction?  Check out other nonfiction reviews at Nonfiction Monday.  This week's reviews are hosted on Monday by Wendie Old at Wendie's Wanderings.

The review copy was provided by the publisher.  You can find this on Amazon.  Below is also my other favorite book on the environment, A Life in the Wild.  If you make a purchase by clicking through to Amazon, Great Kid Books receives a small percentage, which will be used to buy more books to review.

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