Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Green book review week - part 2: What Do You See?: A Lift-the-Flap Book About Endangered Animals

Our second book on the green book review week is an interactive board book that is both entertaining and educational. This is also the latest book on the Little Green Books series.

Our book today is:

What Do You See?: A Lift-the-Flap Book About Endangered Animals

Stephen Krensky
Stephen Krensky has always had a soft spot for underdogs - even when they happen to be bunnies. He is the author of more than eighty books for children, including How Santa Got His Job (an ALA Notable Book) and Big Bad Wolves at School. He and his wife, Joan, live in Lexington, Massachusetts. You can visit him on the Internet at www.stephenkrensky.com

Illustrator: Amy Schimler
Amy Schimler is a children's illustrator and textile designer. You can see her illustration and textile design at www.amyschimler.com.

Reading level: 2-5

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Published on:
June 2009

What this book is about? (from the the publisher's website)

I show up bright against the sky.
I swoop and swoosh and flutter by.
What can I be?
What do you see?

Stephen Krensky's clever rhyming text entices young readers to guess which endangered species is hiding beneath each flap! From a panda bear to a butterfly, each spread features text and die cuts which hint at the animal's identity, until finally it is revealed by lifting the flap! Composed of 100% recycled material, this playful and interactive new title is both entertaining and educational!

What we think about it?
This is the latest book on the Little Green Books series of Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing. This is a great series of books, which includes books with green themes that are also made from recycled materials.

So let's start here with the materials - this is a board book and it's made from 100% recycled materials. This is a good start as we love books that walk the talk and demonstrate their commitment to the environment, especially when these are books for kids.

I liked also the fact that it's an interactive book that tries to get little kids to know endangered species in a fun way which they can easily relate to. The only danger is when your kid is too eager to find out the hidden animal and totally rip off the flip.

Amy Schimler's illustrations are beautiful and are a good fit with Stephen Krensky's witty rhyming. At the back cover of the book, the kids (and the parents) can find invitation to visit the Little Green Books' website, which provides further eco-friendly tips, games and activities. Reading the book with your kid and then visiting the website can be a great way to introduce your little one to the green world in a fun, but still educational way.

Bottom Line:
We are collaborating with Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, so I might not be objective. Nevertheless, I read it together with my little baby girl (13 months) and we had a lot of fun! She might be a bit too young for this book, but she still enjoyed it very much and we even managed to keep the book in one piece!


We're giving away one copy of the book, courtesy of the publisher, and of course a tree will be planted for the copy!

How you can win? please add a comment below with an answer to this question: what's yours (or your kid's) favorite animal? Submissions are accepted until Tuesday, July 21, 12PM EST. The winner will be announced the following day.

If you're looking for other interesting green-themed books, you are invited to check out our green books page on our website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green reading

Green printing tip #6: Is Spot Color printing environmentally friendly?

It's Tuesday and it means it's time for another valuable tip on our weekly series of green printing tips, where we bring you in collaboration with Greg Barber, an experienced eco-friendly printer.

Today Greg is discussing offset printing in general and color printing specifically.

Is Spot Color printing environmentally friendly?

Tip #6
Yes. Custom Pantone®, Spot Color Printing, uses significantly less paper, ink, solvents, and energy, compared to normal four color offset printing. We use vegetable based inks, consisting of Soya, Chinawood and Linseed , which are all renewable products.

Our inks are manufactured locally, without lead, cadmium, mercury, or hexavalent chromium compounds.

While many printing jobs are created in CMYK (4 colors), many traditional clients want their specific corporate pantone color(s). Many of our clients feel that offset printing is better than digital and would never change.

Offset printing leaves a flater color, or no extra shine, than digital printing. That is important to many clients. Offset printing is easier to keep consistent, run to run, as we keep the pantone ink for each client. So, we feel our offset department will continue to be busy, and environmental.

If you have any further questions following our tips, or you have a specific question you want us to address, please email us to info@ecolibris.net .

More green printing tips:

Green Printing Tip #5 - How to avoid being greenwashed when buying printing services?

Green Printing Tip #4 - What does FSC Certified mean? Is it enough?

Green Printing Tip #3 - How you make sure everyone knows you're using green printing practices

Green Printing Tip #2 - How you can make money while printing on 100% recycled paper

Green Printing Tip #1 - Go for a digital job

You can also find further valuable information on Greg Barber Company's website - http://www.gregbarberco.com.

All the tips are archived and saved on http://www.ecolibris.net/greentips.asp
(part of our green printing tools & resources page).

Raz @ Eco-Libris

10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media

This post is a collaboration between Mashable's Summer of Social Good charitable fundraiser and Max Gladwell's "10 Ways" series. The post is being simultaneously published across more than 100 blogs.


Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That's one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media.

Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you'd like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Write a Blog Post

Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days -- whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you're passionate about, you're helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential.

Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here.

You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.

2. Share Stories with Friends


Another way to spread awareness among your social graph is to share links to blog posts and news articles via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, and even through email. Your network of friends is likely interested in what you have to say, so you have influence wherever you've gathered a social network.

You'll be doing charities you support a great service when you share links to their campaigns, or to articles about causes you care about.

3. Follow Charities on Social Networks

In addition to sharing links to articles about issues you come across, you should also follow charities you support on the social networks where they are active. By increasing the size of their social graph, you're increasing the size of their reach. When your charities tweet or post information about a campaign or a cause, statistics or a link to a good article, consider retweeting that post on Twitter, liking it on Facebook, or blogging about it.

Following charities on social media sites is a great way to keep in the loop and get updates, and it's a great way to help the charity increase its reach by spreading information to your friends and followers.

You can follow the Summer of Social Good Charities:
Oxfam America (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube)
The Humane Society (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr)
LIVESTRONG (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr)
WWF (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr)

4. Support Causes on Awareness Hubs


Another way you can show your support for the charities you care about is to rally around them on awareness hubs like Change.org, Care2, or the Facebook Causes application. These are social networks or applications specifically built with non-profits in mind. They offer special tools and opportunities for charities to spread awareness of issues, take action, and raise money.

It's important to follow and support organizations on these sites because they're another point of access for you to gather information about a charity or cause, and because by supporting your charity you'll be increasing their overall reach. The more people they have following them and receiving their updates, the greater the chance that information they put out will spread virally.

5. Find Volunteer Opportunities

Using social media online can help connect you with volunteer opportunities offline, and according to web analytics firm Compete, traffic to volunteering sites is actually up sharply in 2009. Two of the biggest sites for locating volunteer opportunities are VolunteerMatch, which has almost 60,000 opportunities listed, and Idealist.org, which also lists paying jobs in the non-profit sector, in addition to maintaining databases of both volunteer jobs and willing volunteers.

For those who are interested in helping out when volunteers are urgently needed in crisis situations, check out HelpInDisaster.org, a site which helps register and educate those who want to help during disasters so that local resources are not tied up directing the calls of eager volunteers. Teenagers, meanwhile, should check out DoSomething.org, a site targeted at young adults seeking volunteer opportunities in their communities.

6. Embed a Widget on Your Site

Many charities offer embeddable widgets or badges that you can use on your social networking profiles or blogs to show your support. These badges generally serve one of two purposes (or both). They raise awareness of an issue and offer up a link or links to additional information. And very often they are used to raise money.

Mashable's Summer of Social Good campaign, for example, has a widget that does both. The embeddable widget, which was custom built using Sprout (the creators of ChipIn), can both collect funds and offer information about the four charities the campaign supports.

7. Organize a Tweetup

You can use online social media tools to organize offline events, which are a great way to gather together like-minded people to raise awareness, raise money, or just discuss an issue that's important to you. Getting people together offline to learn about an important issue can really kick start the conversation and make supporting the cause seem more real.

Be sure to check out Mashable's guide to organizing a tweetup to make sure yours goes off without a hitch, or check to see if there are any tweetups in your area to attend that are already organized.

8. Express Yourself Using Video

As mentioned, blog posts are great, but a picture really says a thousand words. The web has become a lot more visual in recent years and there are now a large number of social tools to help you express yourself using video. When you record a video plea or call to action about your issue or charity, you can make your message sound more authentic and real. You can use sites like 12seconds.tv, Vimeo, and YouTube to easily record and spread your video message.

Last week, the Summer of Social Good campaign encouraged people to use video to show support for charity. The #12forGood campaign challenged people to submit a 12 second video of themselves doing something for the Summer of Social Good. That could be anything, from singing a song to reciting a poem to just dancing around like a maniac -- the idea was to use the power of video to spread awareness about the campaign and the charities it supports.

If you're more into watching videos than recording them, Givzy.com enables you to raise funds for charities like Unicef and St. Jude's Children's Hospital by sharing viral videos by e-mail.

9. Sign or Start a Petition


There aren't many more powerful ways to support a cause than to sign your name to a petition. Petitions spread awareness and, when successfully carried out, can demonstrate massive support for an issue. By making petitions viral, the social web has arguably made them even more powerful tools for social change. There are a large number of petition creation and hosting web sites out there. One of the biggest is The Petition Site, which is operated by the social awareness network Care2, or PetitionOnline.com, which has collected more than 79 million signatures over the years.

Petitions are extremely powerful, because they can strike a chord, spread virally, and serve as a visual demonstration of the support that an issue has gathered. Social media fans will want to check out a fairly new option for creating and spreading petitions: Twitition, an application that allows people to create, spread, and sign petitions via Twitter.

10. Organize an Online Event

Social media is a great way to organize offline, but you can also use online tools to organize effective online events. That can mean free form fund raising drives, like the Twitter-and-blog-powered campaign to raise money for a crisis center in Illinois last month that took in over $130,000 in just two weeks. Or it could mean an organized "tweet-a-thon" like the ones run by the 12for12k group, which aims to raise $12,000 each month for a different charity.

In March, 12for12k ran a 12-hour tweet-a-thon, in which any donation of at least $12 over a 12 hour period gained the person donating an entry into a drawing for prizes like an iPod Touch or a Nintendo Wii Fit. Last month, 12for12k took a different approach to an online event by holding a more ambitious 24-hour live video-a-thon, which included video interviews, music and sketch comedy performances, call-ins, and drawings for a large number of prizes given out to anyone who donated $12 or more.

Bonus: Think Outside the Box

blamedrewscancerSocial media provides almost limitless opportunity for being creative. You can think outside the box to come up with all sorts of innovative ways to raise money or awareness for a charity or cause. When Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer, for example, he created Blame Drew's Cancer, a campaign that encourages people to blow off steam by blaming his cancer for bad things in their lives using the Twitter hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer. Over 16,000 things have been blamed on Drew's cancer, and he intends to find sponsors to turn those tweets into donations to LIVESTRONG once he beats the disease.

Or check out Nathan Winters, who is biking across the United States and documenting the entire trip using social media tools, in order to raise money and awareness for The Nature Conservancy.

The number of innovative things you can do using social media to support a charity or spread information about an issue is nearly endless. Can you think of any others? Please share them in the comments.

Special thanks to VPS.net

vpsnet logoA special thanks to VPS.net, who are donating $100 to the Summer of Social Good for every signup they receive this week.

Sign up at VPS.net and use the coupon code "SOSG"to receive 3 Months of FREE hosting on top of your purchased term. VPS.net honors a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee so there's no risk.

About the "10 Ways" Series

The "10 Ways" Series was originated by Max Gladwell. This is the second simultaneous blog post in the series. The first ran on more than 80 blogs, including Mashable. Among other things, it is a social media experiment and the exploration of a new content distribution model. You can follow Max Gladwell on Twitter.

This content was originally written by Mashable's Josh Catone.

Green book review week - part 1: The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference

We start our green book review week one day late due to technical issues, so today we'll have two reviews of green books. And we start with a book that is targeted at those who want to make a big difference but in small steps. From what we see and hear on the news about the G8 and from other examples all over the globe, it looks like the concept of this book is relevant more than ever.

Our book today is:

The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference

: Jodi Helmer

Jodi Helmer
is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about eco-friendly topics. Her work has appeared in Plenty, Yoga Journal, Women’s Health, Woman’s Day, American Fitness, Women’s Health and Fitness, Oxygen, Hemispheres, Parents, US Airways Magazine, Modern Bride, Parenting, Christian Science Monitor, USA Weekend, Better Nutrition and the Portland Tribune. Helmer is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) and moderated the panel, Environmental Journalism: Writing Green at the 2008 ASJA conference in New York.

Publisher: Alpha Books/ Penguin Group (USA)

Published on:
December 2008

What this book is about? (from the the publisher's website)
Most of us want to do the right thing for the environment, but making the commitment to change our fast-paced, convenience-oriented lifestyles can be more than a little daunting. What’s the answer? Take that giant commitment and cut it up into 365 little commitments that get met one day at a time. The Green Year does just that. More than a calendar, it offers simple, practical, affordable, and engaging activities that make going green a blessing rather than a burden.

In addition to these easy green suggestions, readers will find in The Green Year:
•The “why” behind each activity—what makes it good for the environment and the reader?
•A quick “how-to” for any activity that requires it
•Room for readers to write in their own creative Alternatives
•Helpful illustrations

What we think about it?
I am a great believer in the concept of small steps that make a difference. Some might see taking small steps as doing too little for solving big problems, and that's where 'The Green Year' can help.

The book provides a road map to a real change in people's lifestyle in small steps that eventually accumulate to a significant change. Of course not each and every tip of the 365 tips in the book can work for everyone and that's why like the fact the author left space at the bottom of each tip for adding 'An alternative to this idea that works better for me' - this is the kind of flexibility that encourages people to engage in.

The main strength of the book is its ability to refute two common myths: going green is complicated and expensive. The tips Helmer provides on her book are usually pretty easy and won't take more than a couple of minutes, like "Change the setting on your printer" (March 30), "Opt for a fountain drink instead of a bottle or can of soda" (September 18), or "Switch from a lighter to matches" (October 24). Many of the tips won't cost you anything, like "Take your own mug to the coffee shop" (April 24). Some of them can actually save you money such as "Check your car tires for wear and tear" (May 8).

The book is organized as calendar and many tips are related to their time of the year like tips on greening your garden in April. One thing I was missing was a table of contents that would make the search inside the book much more easier.

Bottom Line:
It's a valuable guide and a great gift, especially for those who want to go green but don't know really where to start, or those who want to it one step at a time.


We're giving away one copy of the book, courtesy of the book's publicist, and of course a tree will be planted for the copy!

How you can win? please add a comment below with a tip of your own - one small step to go green that you successfully adopted. Submissions are accepted until Tuesday, July 21, 12PM EST. The winner will be announced the following day.

If you're looking for other interesting green-themed books, you are invited to check out our green books page on our website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green printing