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Recycle This Book by Dan Gutman

Recycle This Book

by Dan Gutman

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A great concept, but disappointingly repetitive. I would love to share this book with others, but am not sure kids would make it past the tenth time of being told to ask their parents to install solar panels or bike everywhere. The range of authors who participated was impressive...I just wish they could have been a little more creative! ( )
  elizardkwik | Aug 2, 2009 |
Richie's Picks: RECYCLE THIS BOOK: 100 TOP CHILDREN'S BOOK AUTHORS TELL YOU HOW TO GO GREEN edited by Dan Gutman, Yearling, March 2009, 267p., ISBN: 978-0-385-73721-0

By Robert Lipsyte

"Never flush the toilet.
"When it gets hot in the house, walk around naked.
"When it gets cold, take the blanket off your grandma's bed and wear it.
"Always shut off other people's computers, iPods, and cell phone chargers if they are not paying attention.
"Instead of stealing a car, sneak onto public transportation.
"Don't ask for plastic or paper at the supermarket; slip food into your pockets before you get to the checkout.
"Brush your teeth every other day; wash yourself every third day.
"Use your sleeve instead of napkins.
"Scratch 'Save the Planet' on the hoods of SUVs.
"Write shorter sentences to save trees.
"Remember kids -- while Captain Mean-Green's rules are extreme, his message is clear: we all have to do our part to help save the environment and heal the damage that's been done to the planet."

RECYCLE THIS BOOK is a lively collection of essays, stories, poems, and satire in which the contributors offer recommendations on how readers can change their behavior and surroundings for the sake of Mother Earth. Many suggestions -- like replacing lightbulbs and turning off the faucet while you are brushing your teeth -- are really simple and are free or cost almost nothing. Others -- like buying a hybrid vehicle or installing solar panels -- require family decisions and capital investment but promise big savings and a significant positive impact on the world that we will pass on to our descendants.

Here's how I propose that readers use this book. First, you can brag about ten things advocated by the authors that you already do pretty well. Here's my list:

1. Like Lois Lowry, I have long saved energy by utilizing a clothesline to dry my laundry.
2. Like Todd Strasser, I save energy by dressing warmly and keeping my house relatively cool in the winter. (I actually don't have any thermostats or central heating or air conditioners in my house.)
3. Like Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, I always let the sun in to heat the house. When I built the house I oriented it so as to maximize the sunlight.
4. Like Maryrose Wood, I have helped save energy and rainforests by being -- for 30 years now -- a vegetarian. (A couple of years ago I finally weaned myself off of dairy products and am now a vegan.)
5. Like Meg Rosoff, I cut down on my waste stream by composting all of my food scraps. And like Andrew Clements, I separate out all of the glass, cardboard, paper, aluminum, scrap metal, and plastics for recycling. By time I'm done keeping everything out of the garbage, I end up having a load to bring to the dumps about once every three or four months.
6. Like James Howe, I reuse Mason jars as drinking glasses. It is healthy to drink plenty of fluids and so I fill up a jar with water or herbal tea and keep it near me all day while I'm working. I never buy or use disposable cups at home or at work.
7. Like several authors who discuss it in their essays, I am keenly aware of the energy and environmental positions held by local, state, and national political candidates. Since my high school-during-the-Vietnam War-days, I have actively supported candidates whom I believe will make the Earth a healthier, greener, more peaceful place.
8. Like Roland Smith, I spend a lot of time walking. I am always walking around town with the dogs, and I cannot remember the last vacation or convention for which I didn't walk many miles every day -- both for transportation and for exercise.
9. Like Laurie Halse Anderson, I do my best to plan and combine errands into one trip. By refusing to give in to a whim to hop into the pickup and run into town for something that is not really necessary today, it has helped me become more organized. I have learned to keep a stash of staples so as to always have the ingredients to make something without having to drive to town.
10. Like Jerry Spinelli, I donate belongings I no longer need to thrift stores so that they can get reused -- with a profit going to a good cause. When I need to buy something, I do my best to buy it used. I patronize thrift stores and the Sebastopol Flea Market. And I let my fingers do the walking on Craigslist and eBay. The next time you see me at a convention, I will likely be wearing a dress shirt from the Flea Market, a suit jacket from the Goodwill store, and a vintage Jerry Garcia brand necktie from the colorful collection of gently used ones I've accumulated through purchases on EBay.

The bragging is pretty easy. Now here comes the more difficult part: You try to commit to ten new things advocated by the contributors that you will begin doing, or begin doing more consistently. Here is my list of resolutions:

1. Kirby Larson has persuaded me to accumulate a stash of cloth napkins so that I can cut down on my use of paper towels.
2. Seymour Simon has me ready to change even more of my light fixtures to the compact florescent lightbulbs.
3. I'll be recalling Eric Kimmel's essay, "Turn It Off!" when I more consistently pull the cell phone charger out of the outlet when I unplug the phone from the charger.
4. Thanks to Katy Kelly, I have marked my calendar for Arbor Day, April 24th. The day-to-day requirements of gardening has never come natural to me, but I can easily deal with planting another fruit tree. This time, I think I'll go for a fig tree.
5. I'm pretty media savvy, and so TV advertisements rarely have an effect on my behavior, but I like Bruce Coville's idea of muting the commercials. I just tried it (As is typical, I've got the news on in the background.) and it is a pleasant respite from the noise.
6. Sonya Levitin has a great suggestion for keeping packing materials out of landfills by delivering them to a business that can reuse them. I get a lot of packing materials with the books that arrive here, so there is one idea that will make a big difference.
7. Speaking of packing materials, Lurlene McDaniel's essay on wrapping paper has me realizing that I can put aside the paper that was padding the box in which this very book arrived yesterday. I'll have recycled wrapping paper from now on.
8. I love Tony Abbott's suggestion for posting "Use Less Stuff" signs around the house. (If you still have never seen "The Story of Stuff," please please google it and watch the online video.) I've recycled a piece of mail to make my first "Use Less Stuff" sign which is now attached to the outlet into which I plug the cell phone charger.
9. Listening to Rich Wallace, I have hung on the door one of those cloth book bags I pick up at conferences. I resolve to keep a few of them in the pickup so that I can pass on the paper bags when I'm at the produce market or Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.
10. I use very little electricity -- my bill runs around $13-$15 per month. But I really love hot showers and use propane for the water heater, so I am going to listen to all of the authors who are advocating solar and move toward getting a solar hot water preheater installed sooner rather than later.

What makes RECYCLE THIS BOOK so much fun is that it offers a little peek into the daily lives of those whom most of us only know as famous authors and permits us to emulate them. What makes it important is that -- as is pointed out -- if we don't keep our planet habitable then all of the other problems we face will become irrelevant.

But I'd be cautious and think twice before implementing some of those suggestions from Captain Mean Green...

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/
http://www.myspace.com/richiespicks ( )
  richiespicks | May 21, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385737211, Paperback)

With essays from renowned children’s book authors such as Ann Brashares, Jeanne DuPrau, Caroline B. Cooney, Laurie Halse Anderson, Bruce Coville, Gennifer Choldenko, and over 100 others, each piece is an informative and inspiring call to kids of all ages to understand what’s happening to the environment, and to take action in saving our world.

Helpful tips and facts are interspersed throughout. This book will be a great classroom tool to teach young readers how they can help to make the Earth a greener place.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:14 -0400)

Essays from Caroline B. Cooney, Bruce Coville, and other children's book authors are compiled in this guide to understanding the environment, the benefits of recycling, and the importance of "going green."

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