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Monday, January 17, 2011

Our Earth, written by Janet Wilson. Second Story Press, 2010. $18.95 ages 8 and up

"Do you love animals?
Do you love trees?
Do you love people?
Do you love the rainbow?
Well, if you do, maybe you
are a Rainbow Warrior."

Can one person, child or adult, make a real change in the world? Yes, it's true and here are the stories of ten such activists between the ages of seven and seventeen. They come from countries throughout the world. They are an inspiration to each of us and they are proof positive that there are some amazing young people in our world.

"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!”

They are interested in a wide range of projects. Some affect their own communities, while others are more far-reaching. Clean water, electricity, the protection of animals, planting school gardens, preserving and protecting rainforests and coral reefs, and recycling are only some of the many ways they work to make the world a better place. They encourage others to join them, and offer solutions to many.

Each one of the teenagers is profiled on a double page spread. These spreads are laid out in the same way for each of the ten, with a painted illustration on the left and a photo on the right. The text offers a quote from the activist and clear information concerning their interest and action. A website relating further information is included and offers incentive to find out more. The book doesn't end with those featured young men and women. The author follows the text with more young people who are doing wonderful things around the world. Polar bears, dolphins and even other people are better off for the work that they do.

In a YOU CAN HELP section, readers are encouraged to take a lesson from the young men and women described here to make a difference in their own small part of the world and to inspire others to do the same.
This is perfect nonfiction for its target audience. The inclusion of work done by young artists adds to its strong appeal.

I will leave you with a plea from Severn Cullis-Suzuki:

"You don't know how to fix the holes in our ozone layer. You don't know how to bring salmon back up a dead stream. You don't know how to bring back an animal now extinct, and you can't bring back forests that once grew where there is now desert. If you don't know how to fix it, please stop breaking it!"

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