16 years ago, Gail Gibbons wrote Recycle!: A Handbook for Kids, but not much has changed since then. Recycling is still an important green practice, and this informative book printed on recycled paper gives parents, teachers, and children a straightforward explanation how recycling works and why we should do it. There is soo much information in this book, that even I learned something new when reading it the first time.
Gail Gibbons is well known for her children's non-fiction books. From Weather Forecasting to Chicks & Chickens, the text and illustrations are loaded with detailed information. Recycle! is no exception. The book begins by talking about the problem of garbage and how to dispose of it. Recycling is presented as a solution that can "cut down the amount of trash we make." From a simple explanation of recycling, Gail breaks down the specifics of recycling paper, glass, cans, plastic, and polystyrene. She explains how each is made, recycled, and reused.
It takes lime, soda ash, and sand, called silica, to make glass. These three elements are mixed together and heated at a very high temperature to make a glassy liquid. Measured amounts, sometimes dyed, are dropped into forming machines, where the liquid hardens to make bottles and jars. Many products come in glass bottles or jars. Sometimes, when they are through being used, they are just thrown away. It would take thousands of years for them to biodegrade at a landfill. Instead, these bottles and jars could be reused. RECYCLE!
This book should be a basic primer for all Americans (including our president), no matter what the age. Learning how plastic and polystyrene never break down, or how making paper from recycled paper uses less energy and resources than making virgin pulp should be basic knowledge in these times of climate change.
As a preschool teacher, I have found Gail Gibbons' books to be difficult for young children to understand if you read them word for word. Instead, the illustrations provide wonderful sources for developmentally appropriate discussions with young children, and the text can be read minimally to not overwhelm the children. It is important to make reading an interactive experience with young children, and Gail offers many opportunities for such interactions in her books. Older children can appreciate the full volume of information found in each book, and Recycle! is geared for children ages four to eight.