Living Green: A Turtle’s Quest for a Cleaner Planet by Artie Knapp
As a former elementary teacher and the parent of three grown kids, I’ve probably spent thousands of pleasant hours reading children’s books. I know the power of a book to persuade as well as to educate young readers.
When I taught first grade (and as a parent), I carefully chose books that provided a good story and, often, a positive lesson. In the 1970s, my students’ exposure to fictional environmental role models was pretty much limited to Woodsy Owl, whose cry, “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute,” inspired us all to care about our planet.
Today, children, parents, and teachers have a wealth of options to choose from for eco-friendly and inspiring books. One environmentally focused book that recently crossed my desk is Living Green: A Turtle’s Quest for a Cleaner Planet. The story will appeal to young readers, who will identify with the heroic turtle, Thurman, in this charmingly illustrated paperback.
Children’s author Artie Knapp spins an engaging tale about Thurman, whose sister’s wedding is nearly ruined by litter thrown from a passing car. Disgusted, Thurman sets out on a journey to stop pollution. He sees trash everywhere he goes, and it’s discouraging to the young turtle.
Yet, he eventually regains hope when he encounters a science class whose teacher is giving a lesson about protecting the environment. When Thurman’s life is endangered by the pollution he wishes to stop, resourceful children intervene to save him.
Living Green isn’t preachy, but it does impart an important message: If we want a clean, safe world, we all have to take responsibility for it. It’s a simple message, but an essential one. And childhood is the perfect time to share it.
The Fine Print
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