In April, earth-consciousness is in the air all month long. And here at Workman, we’ve got a slew of books to help everyone, from kids to adults, be a little kinder to the world we live in. With so many pages full of great advice, you might say that every day is Earth Day within these (appropriately) bright green walls. Just check out these adorable solutions to very real environmental problems in Suzy Becker’s inspirational book-and-journal for kids, Kids Make It Better.
Problem: There is a hole in the ozone, the layer of gas that protects Earth. What can we do to repair it?
Solution (by Sara, age 8 ): “Get some dirt and seeds and plant flowers over the hole to make it look pretty for the aliens!”
Problem: What would you do to help the animals who don’t have a place to live?
Solution (by Craig, age 7): “I would build a big place where dogs can live and eat food.”
(YES, KIDS CAN! Janine Licare Andrews and Aislin Livingstone, age 9: Janine and Aislin were worried about the animals who lose their homes when rain forests are cut down. They got their friends together and started raising money to save the trees. The money is also used to build bridges that keep the animals safe from cars and electrical wires.)
Problem: Help! Humans make so much garbage, we’re running out of places to put it. What can we do? Solution (by Kristin, age 10): “Have a law that says every person who litters has to pick it up and eat it.”
Problem: There is not enough clean water for all the living things on our planet. How can we fix that? Solution (by Jackie, age 9): “Have scientists make fish that love to eat tons of pollution.”
(THIS REALLY WORKS! A silver carp can eat twice its body weight [up to 60 pounds] of blue-green algae. So China used tens of millions of silver and grass carp to clean up Taihu Lake, its third-largest freshwater lake and the source of drinking water for 17 million people.)
For more kid-spiration, or to get your future Nobel Laureate off on the right foot, check out Kids Make It Better.
Author Suzy Becker recently received this lovely letter from a mom in Austin, Texas, whose daughter is making the world a better place! Go check out Ella’s charity page–she’s well on her way to her goal of $5,000. And read the letter below for an inspiring and adorable story of how one little girl can make a big difference.
Good morning Suzy,
I happened upon your book by chance in BookPeople in Austin, Texas and knew immediately after reading the back cover that this was a book for my daughter. She’s one of those heady little people that hears about a problem and immediately gets serious and says, “Mom, what can we do to help?” She’s been jumping around through the book but was very struck by your presentation of the global water crisis. At first, she had a hard time getting her mind around the fact that people in other parts of the world couldn’t just turn on their faucets to get clean water. That’s when we went to the internet to get more information and discovered charity: water. We watched a couple of the videos and she loved the idea of having a birthday campaign. Without hesitation she decided that she was going to give up her 8th birthday to raise money for charity: water and is asking that people donate $8 to her campaign rather than give her gifts (http://mycharitywater.org/ellagrace). In just three weeks, she’s raised more than $1700 and she has still has 60 days left in her campaign. We have a lot planned-a fundraiser/skating party, a bake sale, a craft fair. Her goal is to raise $5000 which will build one well and bring water to 250 for 20 years. Her dad and I are committed to doing all we can to get her there. In some ways that has been the greatest gift your book has given us.
We’ve always told Ella and our other kids that they could do anything but honestly, whenever Ella would say she wanted help out with Haiti or the Gulf Oil spill we would nod and smile and do nothing. Your book reminded us that kids can do anything and everything with a little support. Thank you for providing such an excellent resource for kids and parents. Keep doing what you do!
This weekend the World Maker Faire is coming to NYC for the first time. And Workman will be there! Stop by our “Camp Make” booth in the Craft Corral in Zone B at the former World’s Fairgrounds in Queens to meet and make with some of your favorite Workman authors! Make fashion, make explosions, make puppets, make yourself smarter, make robot art, make a difference, and more!
Debbie Stoller will be signing books, handing out project recipe cards, and holding a yarn give-away in anticipation of her forthcoming Stitch’n BitchSuperstar Knitting.
Allen Kurzweil (and son Max) of Potato Chip Science will demonstrate their Potato Propulsion Pipe experiment.
Noel MacNeal will host a 10-Minute Puppetsmake-and-take where kids can decorate their own paperbag puppets, fluttery butterflies, and tiny elephants.
There’s no power like a kid’s imagination (just ask a parent who’s trying to interrupt a game of pretend to get a child to come to the dinner table or brush her teeth!). And when that imagination is channeled into creative problem-solving, magic can happen. Look at the results of a brief session with a third-grade Brownie troop, a copy of Suzy Becker’s write-in journal for kids, The Kids Make It Better Book, and the promise that no idea is too silly or outrageous:
What should we do about all the garbage? Elise, age 9, suggests: “Make a litter machine that can find who littered just by the litter…and make them sit in a garbage can all day.”
How would you fix a broken heart? Avery, age 8, says: “I’d make them swallow love glue.”
What would you do to help countries stop fighting and get along? 8-year old Zoe’s idea: “Astronauts should build a reunion place in outer space big enough for everyone in the entire world, and we could work everything out.”
Will a kid’s imaginative answer to a bad economy really be useful in solving the problem? Maybe not. But is it useful to ask them to think of ideas? You bet! A kid who’s encouraged to think about the world’s problems, and to dream up creative ways to make the world better, has a good chance of growing up to be a person who dreams big and makes a difference. And based on the kids I saw thinking, and dreaming, and solving, I think the future’s looking pretty bright indeed.
In 45 minutes, you can spark your kids’ imaginations, solve a world problem, and still have time for a snack.
This is how Suzy Becker’s amazing Kids Make It Better: An Activity Guide begins, and what follows are step by step instructions for running your own Kids Make It Better workshop. The inspiring upcoming book Kids Make It Better dares to ask kids for their answers for the world’s biggest problems and illustrates their innovative solutions. Use the guide below duplicate this fun and thought-provoking exercise with your own children or students.