________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 9. . . .October 29, 2010


Our Earth: How Kids Are Saving the Planet.

Janet Wilson.
Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2010.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-897187-84-5.

Subject Headings:
Child environmentalists-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Environmental -Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4



Kruti Parekh is a world famous young magician with a message: Saving the planet is not an illusion. “It is my life’s mission to use my magic to heal Earth of its tragic wounds caused by environmental degradation,” she says. Kruti started practicing magic when she was five. By the time she was thirteen, she had become India’s youngest professional magician. Kruti believes kids need a good environmental education, but because lectures can sometimes be boring, she uses fantastic tricks to promote awareness. In one, Kruti turns herself into a recycling machine. She swallows huge wads of waste paper and then pulls from her mouth long strands of colored paper. “You see, if we discard paper in the right way, we can use it again!”

Anyone who doubts that a single individual- a kid, no less- can change the world should read this book. Ten young environmentalists from all over the world are profiled. Ranging in age from seven to 17, these “greenagers” have launched projects and organizations that have helped the Earth in a myriad of ways. Readers will meet William Kamkwamba, from Malawi, who built a windmill from found objects and spare parts in order to produce electricity for his small village; Adeline Tiffanie Suwana, from Indonesia, who founded Friends of Nature, an organization whose 1700 plus members plant coral in damaged reefs and create mangroves to help prevent damage from hurricanes and tsunamis; and Fang Minghe, from China, who founded Green Eyes China, a group whose members roam outdoor markets taking photos of endangered animals that are being captured and sold for food, pet food and Chinese medicine. They then present the photos to the authorities as proof that this type of activity is going on. Other greenagers featured have begun campaigns for tree planting, recycling, clean well water, organic vegetable gardens at schools and rainforest preservation.

internal art     A double-page spread is devoted to each of the activists. These pages are identical in layout, with a painting of the featured person on the left-hand page, and the text, accompanied by a photograph of the person, on the right-hand page. At the far right is a text box with a quote from the activist at the top, followed by factual information about the topic. A related web site is provided for each as well. Several more teens are featured at the back of the book, albeit briefly. These environmentalists are taking action to save the Earth with initiatives such as raising awareness for saving the polar bear from extinction and preventing dolphins from being snagged in tuna nets, as well as encouraging public transit and pesticide-free golf courses, just to name a few. Finally, there are a number of suggestions to get readers to take better care of the environment, and, perhaps, to initiate projects of their own.

     Our Earth would be great for sharing in a classroom and would likely spark some lively and thoughtful discussion. Interesting, educational, and most inspiring!

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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