Friday, February 6, 2009

Green book of the week: 'I Can Save the Earth' (and a great giveaway!)

Last September we announced on our collaboration with Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing in an educational contest - I CAN SAVE THE EARTH!. This was in a celebration of their new line of eco-friendly children’s books, Little Green Books (if you want to know who won the contest and their stories, check out our blog next week!)

We're covering all the Little Green Books and today we have the pleasure to present you with a book with the most optimistic and positive name you can think about.

Our book for today is:

I Can Save the Earth!

Author: Alison Inches

Illustrated by: Viviana Garofoli

Ages: 4 - 6

Description: Meet Max the Little Monster. He i
s a cute, furry green monster who is an environmental nightmare. Among other things, he leaves on all the lights, keeps his computer plugged in, blasts the TV, hoards his old toys and uses so much toilet paper it clogs the toilet until finally, his excessive ways cause a power outage.

With no TV to watch, computer to play on, video games to play with, Max finds there is a whole big world outside that he can make a difference in the environment. A kid-friendly glossary of terms is included in the back of the book.

This 8x8 paperback is perfect bound and will be printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper with soy-ink. The paper is FSC certified.

After reading the book, I thought it would be great to talk about it with the author, Alison Inches (see photo below), and learn more about 'behind the scenes' of this book. Alison agreed to share her thoughts with us and here is the full interview with her:

Can you tell us about yourself and what inspired you to write this book?

I love monsters and monster-ish behavior. Monsters have bad behavior and bad habits. It’s fun for kids to seem themselves in a little monster. I also love books that present a new way of to look at things. If we take notice of the little things in nature, like a seashell or a snowflake, then maybe we’ll develop a love for our beautiful planet and a desire to protect it. I love the natural world and live next to a nature reserve. I run in the hills daily with friends. We see deer, coyotes, owls, hawks, and bobcat—even an occasional mountain lion or wild boar. We never tire of talking about the beauty of the natural environment. Even when I lived in New York City, I had to have my daily dose of fresh air.

How did you come up with the character of Max the Little Monster?

The little monster in me wanted a monster character and the name “Max” came from my 6-year old. He has a good friend named, Max, and asked if the character could be named after his friend. Hope Max doesn’t mind being a monster…!

What's the reaction of kids to Max and his "anti-environmental behavior" at the beginning of the story? do they immediately understand it's wrong to do what he's doing or it takes them some time to get it?

Kids love Max the Little Monster, because he’s so devilish. Five and 6 year olds get it right away. They think it’s funny that Max clogs the toilet and flings his candy wrappers, but they also know they’d get in trouble if they did it themselves. Three and four year olds are more apt to say, “WOW! Let’s go stuff toilet paper down the toilet! It takes this age a little more time to get it.

What's the most important change Max is going through?

The most important change for Max is his discovery of seeing the world in a new way. I LOVE how he appreciates all the details—like the moon and stars or the colorful fall leaves. It makes my heart sing to think of it!

What is the main lesson you want children to learn from this story?

The main lesson I’d like children to learn is: Look around, the earth is SO beautiful! Let’s love it and appreciate it together.

This book is both fun and educational. How do you balance between the two so kids can both enjoy and learn from the book?

I try to see everything through a child’s eyes. How can I show them the earth has need of them? Then I come up with a story that kids can relate to—something where they can see themselves. Also, I’ll pretty much stop at nothing to win over a child’s affections! Nothing makes me happier than to make a kid laugh—or in this case—appreciate the world they live in.

A kid-friendly glossary of terms is included in the back of the book, which is an excellent idea. Shouldn't we have one for every green book for little kids?

Yes! We should have a glossary of terms in every green book! Kids are the earth’s greatest advocates. Arm them with knowledge and they go straight to work.

The text is accompanied with the beautiful illustrations of Viviana Garofoli. Can you tell us more about it?

I’ve never met Viviana Garofoli, but I’m sure she’s a kindred spirit. Her illustrations are so accessible and kid-friendly. She brought Max the Little Monster to life.

How important to you is the fact that the book is produced in an eco-friendly way and is made of 100% recycled paper?

I love that Max is produced in an eco-friendly way. It makes the story more than words. It puts words into ACTION. What’s not to love?!

What's your next book is going to be about? Are you planning to write more green-themed books for children in the future?

I have two more Little Green Book on the way: Adventures of a Plastic Bottle and Adventures of an Aluminum Can. Max will be back with a second adventure, but that’s a secret for now. Stay tuned!! I’d love to write more green books in the future.

Thanks, Alison!

This is also a good opportunity to update you that Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing launched last month, their updated website devoted to our Little Green and Big Green Help titles. The site includes a family-friendly blog, interactive games, earth-friendly downloadable activities, green tips (including tips of Eco-Libris), a green glossary, a partner page and more! We'll cover this new website more thoroughly very soon so stay tuned!


Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing are giving away one package of the 4 books published so far in the Little Green Books line: Little Panda, Little Monkey, I Can Save the Earth! and The Polar Bears' Home.

This is a great prize and firstly we thank Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for it! How do you get a chance to win this prize? please add a comment below with an answer for the following question: what's your (or your kid's) favorite monster? don't forget to share with us the story/reason for the monster you picked..

Submissions are accepted until Sunday, February 15, 12PM EST. We will pick the comment we liked best and the winner will be announced the following day.

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