Filling the Earth withTrash

February 22, 2012

Visit Nonfiction Monday at The Children’s War blog for some more great NF books.

Filling the Earth with Trash

By Jeanne Sturm

Rourke Publishing, 2011

ISBN #9781617411601


Grades 1-3

“We buy food in boxes and bags. Our toys come wrapped in plastic. What do we do with all that trash? Throw it all away?”

Filling the Earth with Trash addresses the question of what do we do with our trash in a simple, straightforward explanation in this book for early science readers. In understandable terms, the book takes the reader from discard to landfill and what happens there. It brings up the questions arising from our increasing amounts of trash and addresses ways we can begin to make changes in our own lives to deal with this problem.

This child-friendly book makes trash interesting and evokes questions about our responsibility about trash. Large, bright photos accent the text and the spreads invite the reader forward. It’s an interesting book and fun to read. Back matter includes a Try This checklist test, glossary, index, and websites.


Plan a way to cut down on the trash you or your household generates. Go through this list and choose 2-3 things you can start doing. Create a chart to document your activities and your success for a week. After a week, see if you can add one more way to reduce your trash.

The NIH has some fun and games for kids here.

Get some more trash facts and activities here and here.

National Science Standards: natural hazards;  human impacts on earth systems

Book provided by Rourke Publishing

Join me on March 7 for Dr. Fred Bortz’s Meltdown Blog Tour. Dr. Fred will write about his path from physicist and work with nuclear reactors to writing for children and young people. It’s a fascinating story.

Here’s the tour schedule:

Spellbinders Monday 3/5/12 plus giveaway Monday 3/19/12

Simply Science Wednesday 3/7/12

USA Science and Engineering Festival Blog (perhaps on Huff Post) Wednesday 3/7/12

Writing with a Broken Tusk March 8
Liz Jones Friday 3/9/12

TFCB Blog Lerner Books Blog 3/12/12

Cynsations Giveaway 3/12/12

The Green Mother Goose

April 27, 2011

The Green Mother Goose

By Jan Peck and David Davis

Illustrated by Carin Berger

Sterling Publishing; Sterling Children’s Books, 2011

ISBN #978-1-4027-6525-4

Picture book

Besides The Green Mother Goose, Jan Peck and David Davis are the authors of many other books for children. I’ve seen their terrific school visit program, too, and it’s a fun one.

“Together we’ll do it—

We’ll help save the Earth,

Our emerald home,

The place of our birth.

Come now, rhyme with me,

Let’s turn our hearts loose,

And fly ‘round the world

With Green Mother Goose.”

This clever, creative book takes a look at classic nursery rhymes and makes them “green.” The suggestions in each rhyme explain or provide ways that everyone can help improve the Earth. Rather than preaching about saving the Earth, the information is available for the taking in a fun-filled, short rhyme that will stay with you. Authors Peck and Davis surely had great fun matching rhymes with green ideas.

The Green Mother Goose is a great book to open dialogue with kids about the Earth, recycling, and what they can do on their own. The rhymes cover the simplest steps, like recycling, to the more complex additions of windmills and solar panel additions. It also opens the discussion of new vocabulary, for the book is rich in terms related to helping the environment.

The whimsical appeal of the art serves to focus and expand on the ideas behind the writing and sets a perfect tone for the book. The cut paper collage comes from “found papers and ephemera.” The book is produced with a “practice what you preach” style mentioned on the credits page.

The Green Mother Goose lends itself to a unit for Earth Day, reading, units on the environment, recycling, story time, and introducing the National Science Standards about organisms and their environments and changes in environments. It would make a fun poetry memorizing unit and a wonderful Reader’s Theater production. I can also see it in a PTA program and school wide presentation produced by the students—especially for Earth Day activities.

It’s delightful to pick up a book and really love it. This is one of those books. It would be an excellent lesson if paired with the original Mother Goose nursery rhymes. What a fun discussion!

 Activity 1

Choose one of the rhymes from the book. Identify the environmental concept from the new rhyme and research it to find more information. Write a paragraph explaining the problem and suggest some ways to help.

Activity 2

Make a list of activities mentioned in the book to help save the Earth. Create a poster suggesting things kids can do to help the environment and Earth. Decorate the poster with cut paper collage similar to the art in the book.

Saving the Earth suggestions

Activities to help

National Geographic’s green tips

National Science Standards: organisms and the environment; changes in environments

Book from my own autographed library collection. Jan and David signed it at TLA!


April 14, 2010

Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow

A Compost Story

By Linda Glaser

Photos by Shelley Rotner

Millbrook Press (Lerner), 2010

ISBN # 978-0-7613-4911-2


Ages 5-8

“At our house, we grow lettuce and tomatoes, pumpkins and potatoes, strawberries, sunflowers, cucumbers, and cauliflowers. And we use garbage to do it. This is where it starts—in our compost bin. It’s just a big box. But amazing things happen here.

Making a compost bin is a great way to recycle organic matter into soil and this simple book explains the entire process—from garbage and clippings to brand new soil—in a way young children can understand. Large photos fill the page to show in detail what is taking place in the text. The book relates ordinary household activities, such as Halloween pumpkins, to explain what can and can’t go into a compost pile. The food chain decomposers are mentioned as helping break down the materials in a simple explanation and the book shows the value in composting for its rich soil-making contribution as well as cutting down on the landfill trash.

Back matter defines organic matter and answers questions about composting. It includes a simple composting experiment. This is an excellent Earth Day book to read and can be used to help explain decomposition in early food chain lessons. This book makes me want a compost pile of my own!

Activity 1

Perform the experiment in the back of the book by making a mini-compost pile in a cup.

Use this sheet to help write up the results of your experiment.

Activity 2

Create a list of organic materials that are suitable for putting into the compost pile.

This page can help.

Activity 3

Follow the life cycle of a pumpkin as shown in the book.

Read here for more information about composting.

Here’s more good information about composting.

Go to Wild About Nature blog to see another post about this book.

National Science Standards: organisms and environments

Book donated by publisher


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