Get Inspired with Earth Day Reads

In honour of Earth Day approaching, we’re bringing you reads, both for kids and adults, that celebrate nature and inspire to make the world a cleaner, brighter, better place.

FOR ADULTS

The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century

Beginning with a discussion with his aunt Julia Child (yes, that Julia Child), author Alex Prud’homme begins to think about how France’s reliance on bottled water has spread to America. Bringing to life a narrative with a variety of vivid characters, Prud’homme explores the future of water, threats to its quality, water as a right versus commodity and more.

The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, a Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World’s Largest Animal Rescue

How can you not love penguins? Better yet, how can you not love a story about rescuing penguins? In 2000, there was an oil spill off the coast of South Africa, devastating the habitat of 75,000 penguins. With 41% of the world’s African penguins at risk, conservation officials and volunteers jumped to the task of saving them. Dyan deNapoli tells the heartwarming story of the heroes behind the world’s largest wildlife rescue.

The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water

Charles Fishman brings another perspective to the water issue, tracing its importance to dinosaurs, Saturn, and dolphins in the desert. He challenges the idea that we might one day run out of water, instead, examining our relationship with water and finding ways we might use it more effectively.

FOR CHILDREN

Don’t Throw That Away!

Don’t Throw That Away! makes recycling and reusing fun, showing children that everyday household items that appear as trash can actually be used for something else. The book features large flaps that kids can lift to discover which throw-away items are actually treasures.

Dora Celebrates Earth Day!

In this book, Dora the Explorer teaches preschoolers things they can do at home every day to help save the environment, from turning off lights, to reusing jars, to recycling. It’s also printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper with soy ink.

Hey, That’s Not Trash!

Hey, That’s Not Trash! is a fun and interactive read for younger kids. Accompanied by rhyming text, each page features press-outs of everyday items that children will enjoy sorting into the right bins: paper, plastic or metal.

SpongeBob Goes Green!

In this book, SpongeBob comes face to face with global warming. After producing too much carbon monoxide and forcing everyone to flee Bikini Bottom because of the hot temperature, SpongeBob must figure out what he can to do to restore it and bring everyone back home. It’s also printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper with soy ink.

Memoir Mondays: Carly’s Voice

Memoirs have the power to move us, connect with us and allow us to share life changing experiences with people we’d otherwise never have the chance to know. Every Monday, we’re pleased to feature a memoir and open a window to someone else’s life.

At the age of two, Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with severe autism and was unable to speak. Doctors said that she would forever remain as intellectually capable as a small child. Her parents refused to give up hope and at age 10, Carly made a breakthrough. While in the kitchen with her therapist, she reached over and typed on the laptop “HELP TEETH HURT.” This day began Carly’s journey of self-realization and learning how to use her voice through the written word. As if doctors weren’t astonished enough, Carly would go on to write a nearly complete young adult novel, prove her IQ well over 130 and become an advocate for autism, teaching others about autism what experts could not, the insider’s perspective.

Carly’s Voice tells her story through her father and how he got to know his daughter, intersperced with Carly’s wit and words. The remarkable story has gone on to gain widespread attention from Ellen DeGeneres, Larry King, Barbara Walters, and mother of autistic son herself Holly Robinson Peete, among others. Carly continues to share her life and remarkable story with the world through her Twitter and website, which features her writing, a forum and candid responses to questions she’s often asked.

Carly’s Voice is an incredible, moving and important story about a young girl who defies the odds to become an inspiring advocate and educator about autism. Find out more about the book from Carly’s father and the book’s author Arthur Fleischmann in the video below.

The end of food as we know it?

Sitting down to an organic, locally-produced and nutritionally balanced meal – by which I mean scarfing a granola bar at my desk – I found myself reflecting on how food has determined the fate of human societies for the past 12,000 years. If your lunch isn’t prompting such musings, it’s likely you have not yet devoured Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, University of Guelph geography professor Evan D. G. Fraser and journalist Andrew Rimas’ sweeping history of food from the (not-so) Fertile Crescent to our contemporary food crisis.

 Cities, culture, art, government, and religion are founded on the creation and exchange of food surpluses. But eventually, inevitably, the crops fail, the fields erode, or the temperature drops, and the center of power shifts. Cultures descend into dark ages of poverty, famine, and war. It happened at the end of the Roman Empire, when slave plantations overworked Europe’s and Egypt’s soil and drained its vigor. It happened in the fourteenth century, when medieval societies crashed in famine and plague, and again in the nineteenth century, when catastrophic colonial schemes plunged half the world into a poverty from which it has never recovered. And today, even though we live in an age of astounding agricultural productivity and genetically modified crops, our food supplies are once again in peril.

 Check out Evan Fraser’s interview in the Globe and Mail to discover the three false assumptions our global food empire is built on.

 If you are in the Toronto area, come hear author Evan Fraser speak at Foodprint Toronto on July 31.

What are your concerns about the future of food? Leave a comment and let me know.