Acclaimed children’s Poet Ted Scheu is Worried and Angry. And a little Green and Blue.

I’m Worried and Angry. Hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you.

Yes, that’s my new name. Worried and Angry.

I’m worried and angry for my grandson. For us. For the earth.

And I am not sleeping very well these days—especially since November when the United Nations released a big scientific report that said that we, as a global community, have only around 10 years to get our act together to avoid a climate catastrophe.

That’s a big and scary word—catastrophe.

My dictionary says it means “an event causing great and often sudden damage or suffering; a disaster.“ Yikes.

Of course, like most of you, I’ve been worried about our changing climate for a while. On TV we have all watched bigger storms, hotter, drier summers, fires, warming and rising oceans, and land and ocean animals that are suffering and even disappearing. Some of you have experienced these new and scary changes more directly than I have in Vermont.

And what about my anger? Thanks for asking.

Yes, I’m also feeling angry. Very, very angry. Angry that our leaders are not taking this threat seriously at all. They seem to only be thinking of the companies that are making more pollution, so they can make more money. Triple-big boo.

So, will my grandson necessarily face a more dangerous world when he grows up?

Maybe not—if we all take charge. Adults need to elect new leaders. And even more importantly, and right now, that all of us need to be the new leaders.

You’re smart. You know that a lot of little things can make big things happen. You and I can do lots of little, very important things that, just maybe, can make a difference to help stop the disaster that is looming. Things like recycling, turning off lights, living with less, driving less, flying less, planting trees, giving to helpful organizations (like A4ED)—all these things can make a BIG difference, if more people do them.

I think kids can play a huge role. They can write and even call our leaders and ask them what they plan to do to protect our future. Your future. My grandson’s future.

So that’s it. What do you say we stop talking about this and start doing something?!

Maybe then I will stop worrying quite so much. And sleep better.

My grandson deserves better. We all deserve better.

Before I sign off this important blog, and worriedly and angrily get to work on all this important stuff with you, here’s a short poem I wrote about our very important job:

Green and Blue

The earth is green, and mostly blue,

and much more old than it is new.

The earth is fierce, but mostly kind,

and if you travel, you will find

That people on it sometimes fight,

but mostly they know wrong from right.

They mostly know that they must care

for every speck of earth and air.

But some forget and often splash

the air with smog and sea with trash. 

It’s up to us to raise alarms

to help protect the fields and farms,

Forest creatures, ocean fishes.

The time is past for dreams and wishes.

We have to save the precious skies.

We need to open up our eyes

And keep the dirt away from lungs,

with sturdy hands and active tongues.

It’s up to me, it’s up to you

to keep the planet green and blue.

© 2019 Ted Scheu

Ted Scheu is a children’s poet from Middlebury, VT. His work appears in six of his own collections and several dozen anthologies around the globe, including a super-cool, new one from National Geographic, “The Poetry of US.” Ted’s website might get you giggling at www.poetryguy.com/

 

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WATER RITES by Peter Catalanotto, the cleverly talented illustrator-author of Robot and Monkey

My siblings and I affectionately refer to our mother’s daily ritual of water collection and distribution as “boot camp.” When we visit her home in the Southwest, the workout begins at dawn.

Before the sun begins to bake her yard, she distributes the water that has collected overnight in several large plastic bins and a rusty wheelbarrow, which are strategically placed at the bottom of gutter spouts and drain pipes. If it had rained the night before, which is rare, the teeming bins are emptied into fifty, large, empty juice and laundry detergent containers. These are then stored on the side of the house and used to water her yard until the next significant rain. By watering the plants and trees before daybreak, they have a chance to absorb the water before the sun returns it to the sky.

My mother also keeps a bucket in her shower and dumps the collected water (along with any unfinished glass of water a guest may leave behind) into a larger bucket on her back porch. This too is then doled out to her thirsty garden. Filling, lifting and then emptying these water jugs throughout her yard is a full-body workout.

I’m heading back out to visit my mother this month. After all the holiday feasting and Christmas cookies, a week of boot camp is just what I need. I’ll do my best to keep pace with my 81-year-old mother and her water-saving ways.

Here in the United States, we just turn on the faucet when we want water. That’s not the case everywhere in the world. In 2013, I was invited to facilitate writing workshops in the East African country of Rwanda. Between sessions, I often witnessed people, some on foot, others on bicycles, carrying huge plastic containers. It was explained to me that men and women came from miles around to the community well where they pumped unfiltered water to fill them. Upon returning home, they would boil the water to create a safe drinking supply for the week. Many Rwandans spent an entire day to simply acquire a glass of clean drinking water!

I was never one to waste water, but upon returning home to my Brooklyn apartment, I had a new appreciation of my access to safe, clean water and how truly precious it is. I’m grateful that people like my mother make the effort to conserve it.

Peter Catalanotto is an award-winning illustrator-author with over three dozen books to his credit, including Robot & Monkey, Matthew A.B.C and Ivan the Terrier. His artwork was described by Kirkus as “explosively joyful and expressive,” and in 2008 he was commissioned by First Lady, Laura Bush to illustrate the White House holiday brochure. Peter also teaches children’s book writing at Columbia University and has visited over 1600 schools in 40 states. Learn more at www.petercatalanotto.com.

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Jump for joy! It’s time to celebrate our 2018 GREEN AUTHORs!

As we launch into our 10th Annual A4ED Season, we are happy to announce 2018 GREEN AUTHORs: Patricia Newman, Elissa Brent Weissman, and Linda Crotta Brennan. Donating to conservation through at least five annual Authors for Earth Day school visits, each of these generous participants is now recognized with the GREEN AUTHOR icon created by best-selling children’s illustrator Jim Paillot.

This humble but heartful honor was created to acknowledge the achievements of our most stalwart A4ED members—a way to let them know how much their mentorship matters and to applaud their success. And what success they’ve had!

Each of these GREEN AUTHORS is a hero in her own right, not only as an award-winning author whose books grace our bookshelves but as an inspiring leader for young readers everywhere:

Patricia Newman (www.patriciamnewman.com) has authored almost a dozen children’s books, including Plastic, Ahoy!,  Sea Otter Heroes,  and Eavesdropping on Elephants. Her titles have garnered a Green Earth Book Award and Sibert Honor, and been named and AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books finalist, NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year, Eureka! Gold, California Reading Association book, and Junior Library Guild Selection. Patti is a long-time member of Authors for Earth Day. In addition to her annual A4ED school visits, she served two years as our Eco-Book of the Month co-director, offering up personally selected books from her literary explorations. And in two essays for our A4ED Blog, she relates her discoveries writing books on renewable energy and plastic consumption.

Elissa Brent Weissman (www.ebweissman.com) is the author of several multi-award-winning middle grade books. Nerd Camp, which has now become a popular series, won a Cybils Award, a Sakura Medal Finalist and made the Maine Student Book Award master list. And her acclaimed novel The Length of a String has been described as “unforgettable and entirely satisfying.” Honored as one of CBS Baltimore’s Best Authors in Maryland, Elissa not only writes kid-friendly novels, shares her knowledge with students from child to adult through creative writing classes. As an educator, she has developed book-based resources for the classroom and enjoys visiting schools where she can connect with her readers. Elissa has participated in Authors for Earth Day every year since 2014. As a recent A4ED guest-blogger, she shared some interesting insight into her very first book, Standing for Socks.

Linda Crotta Brennan (www.lindacrottabrennan.com) has written over twenty books for young readers, as well as articles for Highlights for Children, Cricket, Smithsonian’s Click Magazine, and Ranger Rick. The year she joined Authors for Earth Day, 2013, her book When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story was named an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book and NSTA Notable Social Studies Trade Book. It also took the Green Book Award in History, Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Gold Medal and Green Book Festival Award in History. Holding a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and having worked as a preschool and elementary school teacher and a public library teen program coordinator, Linda’s passion for knowledge-sharing is clear. She is currently an instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature, and we are grateful for her participation in our coalition and her contribution to our A4ED Blog.

Please help us acknowledge these amazing GREEN AUTHORS by visiting our A4ED Facebook Page and clicking LIKE on our January posts highlighting their generous contributions to kids and the environment.

Here’s wishing you all a prosperous and joyful New Year!

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Middle-grade novelist Kristin O’Donnell Tubb suggests a brilliant holiday gift inspired by the sea

“What should I get the kids for Christmas?”

Several years ago, I was on the phone with my sister, and this question was one I’d tried to answer for other relatives already. But the fact was, my kids needed nothing. (And we’re very grateful for that.)

So, I suggested an alternative: “How about donating to a charity instead? I think you can ‘adopt’ a sea turtle—maybe look into that?”

And that’s how our journey with the Sea Turtle Conservancy began. They mailed us an awesome welcome packet, along with a certificate of the turtles we adopted, Pearl and Calypso Blue, and two shiny Christmas ornaments. And then they told us how we could log in and watch where our turtles swam.

Yep. You can watch your turtles swim across the globe! And my kids LOVED it. They’d race home from school, wanting to know where their turtles were “today.” (The monitoring feeds don’t update quite that frequently, but we could get an overall sense of how far and fast they were moving.) My oldest was so enthralled, she did a science project on her turtle, Pearl.

And it is truly fascinating. If you ever thought of a turtle as “slow,” I invite you to check out a sea turtle’s path! I watched each turtle go, bit by bit, wave by wave, and thought, That’s exactly how a book comes to life. Bit by bit.  Those turtles and I knew stamina.

Calypso Blue’s journey, throughout 2012 and 2013 (map: Sea Turtle Conservancy)

There are currently 28 turtles being monitored by the Sea Turtle Conservancy, which says on their website, “Since our founding, STC’s research and conservation initiatives have been instrumental in saving the Caribbean green turtle from immediate extinction, as well as raising awareness and protection for sea turtles across the globe with nearly 60 years of experience in national and international sea turtle conservation, research and educational endeavors. The organization began its work in Costa Rica, but has expanded its research and conservation efforts throughout Central America and the Wider Caribbean.”

The Sea Turtle Conservancy does amazing work, and I proudly chose it as the recipient of my 2018 A4ED school visit contribution, both for their mission, and because it’s a program kids love. Plus awwwwthe turtles are adorable! Visit them and watch them GO! Bit by bit. Wave by wave. Just like us writers.

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb is the author of several award-winning middle-grade novels, with such diverse characters as a Civil War drummer boy, a service dog and even a con artist. Selling Hope, The 13th Sign, and A Dog Named Daisy earned prestigious peer-given SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards. See all of Kristin’s books and try out her 6-Second Writing Tips at www.kristintubb.com.

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NATURE INSPIRES! by Jennifer Swanson, who was recently honored at the 2018 Green Earth Book Awards

If I had to pick one thing that led to my career as a science writer, I would say it began in nature. I loved being outdoors as a kid. I would go camping every chance I got. I spent my summers at Girl Scout camp, happily trekking through the woods, gathering leaves, and identifying plants. When I couldn’t go there, I camped outside in the backyard with my brothers and we caught fireflies and counted the stars. Days were spent running along the creek in the backyard hunting for frogs and watching tadpoles.

As I got older, my passion for nature expanded. I used tools and technology that weren’t available to me when I was very young. My mother was the one who encouraged me to investigate further with science. One of her greatest gifts to me was a microscope! My first look at the creek water under that microscope was the moment that changed my life. Through the lens I saw AMAZING thingstiny microorganisms, fungi, bacteria and paramecium. These were all in the creek water and I didn’t even know it. What I learned that day was that science is not just something that you can see, it’s EVERYWHERE!

And so I began to notice science wherever I went: Electricity in the lights in my bedroom. Materials that make up the sheets on my bed and the cushions on the couch. Technology that is used to make computers, televisions, and even cell phones.

I now see science everywhere I go and in everything I do. It is what makes our very Earth go around, and yet most of us don’t ever stop to think about it.

My passion for science is what drives the subjects I tackle in my books. From my time in nature I ended up writing books about metamorphic rocks, tsunamis, solar power, and dolphins. My passion for physical science and technology resulted in books about electricity, magnetism, and forces and motion.

Earth science inspired me to shoot for the stars and dive deep under the ocean for Astronaut-Aquanaut. And finally, my love for engineering (also a big part of science), led to books about nanotechnology, robotics, and hybrid cars.

I have endless curiosity about the world and how it works! And yet it all began at a very early age with my love of the outdoors.

Jennifer as a toddler experimenting with balloons in a pool

Through early years playing in my backyard to summers spent at Girl Scout camp, to hiking in the woods, or just hanging out at the creek, I learned that nature is truly a wonderful place to be. That feeling is still with me today, all these many years later. If I’m ever at a loss for something to write or cannot figure out how to tackle a project, I go for a walk or ride my bike. Being surrounded by nature is peaceful, joyous… and inspiring!

What about you? Do you have a favorite outdoor spot? You should! If not, give a few of these tips a try. The next time you go outside. Stop for a minute. Look around you. What do you see?  Trees, plants, grass, a pond? Sure, those are parts of botany, or life science. But what about the sidewalks, driveways, and cars? Those could be part of physical science.  If you look up into the sky you may see the sun, the stars or the moon. That’s earth and space science.

Maybe take a notebook and write down a few things that you notice. Then go and get some books from your library to learn more about all of these things. Make it your mission in life to explore the world around you, after all, science is EVERYWHERE!

Jennifer Swanson is the award-winning author of over 35 books. Her titles in the “How Things Work” series were named in the 2012 Booklist’s Top 10 Books for Youth. Top reviews include a starred review in Booklist, and recommended reviews from School Librarians Workshop, Library Media Connection, and a Nerdy Book Club award. Learn more at www.jenniferswansonbooks.com.

 

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BOOK, PAPER, TREE by best-seller Dan Gutman (who interviewed his author and illustrator friends for this blog)

Books are made out of paper. Paper is made out of trees. Duh.

As an author who cares about the environment, I can’t help but wonder how many trees get cut down to produce my books.

Of course, it’s impossible to give an exact number, because there’s so much variation. Some books are longer than others. Some trees are longer than others. But according to one estimate, an average tree yields enough paper for 62.5 books. So a book that sells a million copies requires that we cut down…uh, I don’t know. If I was good in math, I probably wouldn’t have gone into writing.

The point is, I am conflicted. The more books I sell, the more trees that must be cut down to make them. If I have a bestseller, will I be wiping out a forest? It bothers me that I’m part of a business that’s dependent on destroying trees—trees that soak up carbon dioxide and almost magically produce oxygen.

So I asked a few of my children’s book author friends, who are much smarter than me, how they feel about the issue. “The alternate to paper books seems to be e-books,” said Peter Lerangis, author of the best-selling Seven Wonders series, “and that’s a pretty grim world to me.”

Oh yeah, e-books. A few years back, experts were predicting that books on paper would slowly die out and vanish. Part of me felt that my career was over. Part of me felt that the death of paper books would be a good thing, because so many forests would be preserved. Time and technology marches on. The horse and buggy was replaced by the automobile. The typewriter was replaced by the personal computer. E-books would replace paper books.

But it didn’t happen. It turns out that people love books on paper.

My friend Gordon Korman, author of Masterminds, reminded me that if e-books ever do take off, downloads and streaming will very likely end our careers as authors. “If we eventually do reach the moment where all books are e-books,” he said, “I worry that our business will end up in the same boat as the music industry, where it has become almost impossible to make money recording music.”

Whenever I visit a school and have lunch with a group of kids, I ask them if they prefer to read a book off a page or off a screen. Almost all of them prefer to hold a real book in their hands. And these are kids who grew up looking at screens. So books aren’t going away, at least not in the near future. We’ll be chopping down trees to make them for some time.

“As long as a well-managed renewable forestry is involved, there isn’t any concern,” says David Lubar (Sleeping Freshman Never Lie, among others). My publisher, HarperCollins, claims its paper comes from mills “whose forest management practices are certified by independent, internationally recognized sustainable forestry certification bodies.”

Down the line, book publishers may begin to think outside the box and move away from paper. My partner in crime Jim Paillot, who illustrates My Weird School, told me, “I would love to see a way that recycled plastics could become a form of synthetic paper.”

Wouldn’t that be great? We could take all that plastic that’s floating in the ocean and turn it into books. That would kill two birds with one stone, while avoiding killing any birds (or fish).

Chris Grabenstein, the author of the Mr. Lemoncello books, pointed out that alternatives are already available. “It’s possible to produce paper without killing trees,” he told me. “Some options include residue from sugarcane, textile scraps from unsold clothing, and even elephant dung.”

Oh great. Books printed on elephant dung. I can see the reviews now: “This book stinks!”

Dan Gutman is the award-winning author of over 130 books, including the My Weird School series, The Genius Files series, and the Baseball Card Adventure series. He is also the recruitment director for Authors for Earth Day and a 2016 Green Author. Search his name to read all of his A4ED blogs here. Then visit his web site at www.dangutman.com.

 

 

 

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SIMPLE ACTS SAVE LIVES by kid-enchanting nonfiction author Heather L. Montgomery

It was a clear April morning and I was riding my bike along my little country lane when I heard it—

CRUNCH.

My tires rolled over a body as flat as a smashed coke can.

My neck craned, my nose crinkled, my eyes stared at a wrung rag of fur. An opossum. The lower edges of my eyelids began to prickle.

“Sad” suddenly turned into “mad.” You see, I had just spent years writing a book about roadkill. Everyday over a million animals lose their lives on the roads. I had been overwhelmed by the tragedy of it but also amazed at how scientists aren’t wasting those bodies. They scooped them up and made discoveries—squirmy parasites that are invading snake lungs, a new perspective on red wolf genetics, and the existence of contagious cancer.

Whoa.

Even more inspiring were the phenomenal efforts to prevent roadkill. Bridges are built for wildlife – they can now trot right over roads. Legions of volunteers serve as crossing guards, allowing cute little salamanders to make it across the pavement during breeding season. Citizens click pics to map where there are roadkill hot spots.

But there was no bridge built for this little possum. No group standing guard. No nobody. That April morning, I still didn’t know what to do when I saw a little guy like that.

Staring down at him, I recalled two other possums who lost their life on that stretch of road. This was a hot spot for possums. Why here? I glanced around. A lidless trash can gave me a wide-eyed stare.

A pizza box, a juice can, a clear baggie with a half-eaten strawberry—stuff spewed across the ground.

Oh.

For years I’d been passing that trash can on my dog’s morning walk. I’d never made the connection. That trashy smell?

Like fresh-baked brownies to an opossum.

That gooey wrapper flapping against a fence post?

Like a fast food sign: Open! Open! Open!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t blaming my neighbors. How were they to realize the impact of their lidless can? I had been studying roadkill for years and had just now put two and two together.

I pedaled faster, eager to get away from that sad spot.

All day images of that little possum kept bubbling up in my mind. Late in the afternoon some words bubbled up, “Knowledge is power.”

Heather helps a turtle trying to cross the road

Then it hit me. I’d given years of my life researching a book about the tragedy of roadkill. To write Something Rotten, A Fresh Look at Roadkill, I had gathered knowledge from across the globe. But in doing all of that, I hadn’t followed one simple rule:

Think globally, act locally.

Simple acts save lives: picking up litter, driving slower, removing a rabbit’s body off the road. Every day, everyone can save an animal’s life.

I could save an animal’s life.

So with a trash bag in hand, I marched myself out my driveway and shared this story with my neighbor.

Heather L. Montgomery writes for kids who are wild about animals. An award-winning educator, Heather uses yuck appeal to engage young minds. She has authored over a dozen nonfiction books, including Bugs Don’t Hug and Unsolved Mysteries of Nature. Explore all of her titles at www.HeatherLMontgomery.com

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Elissa Brent Weissman’s first main character, Fara Ross, caught the wave of cool by accident

Writing and publishing are slow. From the time I start writing a book to the time it’s available in bookstores and libraries, it’s usually about three or four years, sometimes longer. This means authors can’t really follow trends when they write, because who knows what will be popular by the time their book is ready for readers? A book could be outdated by the time it’s published—or, in my case, it’s possible to hit upon a future trend without trying. That trend? Being green.

I wrote my first book, Standing for Socks, in 2004 and 2005, when I was a senior in college. The story revolved around Fara Ross, a funky tween determined to make a difference. Her mismatched socks make her famous, but her freedom-of-footwear campaign—which starts in an effort to save water—is meant to drive her bigger mission and unique passion: Protecting the earth. That’s right; when I wrote Standing for Socks, being passionate about the environment was considered quirky and unusual!

Looking back, it’s hard to believe that only fourteen years ago, being green was not yet a thing. I’m sure there were people who were thinking critically about our environment and striving to protect it, but it wasn’t nearly as commonplace as it is now. If anyone carried reusable shopping bags, I didn’t see them. Hybrid cars were new and rare. I remember laughing with confusion when I learned that my graduation speaker would be Al Gore. (Really? The former vice president who lost the election a few years ago?) My friends and I were even more surprised when he used the stage to talk about global warming. It wasn’t until a year later, when his documentary An Inconvenient Truth came out, that Al Gore would become known for environmentalism, his message would hit the mainstream, and people—including myself—would begin to think more consciously about how our everyday decisions affect this planet we all share.

Remember how long it takes to publish a book, and how quickly things can change? By the time Standing for Socks came out in 2009, being green was no longer quirky and unusual; it was cool! In fact, eco-consciousness was so popular that numerous reviewers assumed I was merely jumping on the conservation bandwagon, trying to cash in on a current trend. I’d probably be much richer today if I’d lucked into a different trend, like gorgeous vampires or cartoon wimpy kids, but that’s okay. We’re all reaping much bigger benefits from the trend I unknowingly foretold. Fara would be stoked to know that people are thinking proactively about protecting our planet, its resources, and all of its inhabitants. She’d be right at home among the thoughtful, caring, inspired kids I meet each year on my Authors for Earth Day school visit. She’d gladly give up her “quirky” label to know that the things she stands for are now the norm. It’s great to be unique, but when it comes to conservation, we’re all in it together, so the more people on board, the better off we’ll all be.

I’m encouraged by how far we’ve come since I first started writing Standing for Socks, but we still have lots of work to do. Let’s work together to stand up for planet Earth. Let’s make sure that it’s always cool to save water, recycle, and speak up for our environment. If we all work together, we can make this campaign a socktacular sock-cess.

Elissa Brent Weissman is the author of several award-winning middle grade books, including the popular Nerd Camp series and her newest novel, The Length of a String. She also teaches creative writing and is an active speaker in schools, with fun book-based resources for teachers. Elissa has participated in Authors for Earth Day every year since 2014. Check out her work at www.ebweissman.com.

 

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BECAUSE OF A BIRD by Jennifer Ward, award-winning author of humor- and nature-themed books for children and adults

Because of a bird, my eyes opened to the big-wide world around me in such a marvelous way. I have always been a nature girl. But you know that scene in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, where the Grinch’s heart suddenly grows and bursts and he feels love and wonder and his life changes? THAT’S what happened to me once. Because of a bird.

When I witnessed a hummingbird mama craft her wee cup nest outside my kitchen window, it was an “aha” moment for me.

She built it upon a carved, wooden mobile I acquired in Mexico. Every few minutes she’d come and go and land upon that mobile. It was a curious thing to watch this behavior—and at first I wasn’t certain why she kept perching on this hanging art. But then, little by little, a tiny nest formed. A NEST!

This particular hummingbird mama sparked the idea for my book, Mama Built a Little Nest—it got me thinking about bird nests in general. They are all so different, structurally!  Birds create the most variety of homes of any wild animal. Their nests often defy gravity, natural elements, weather, and predators—and birds design them without the use of hands or opposable thumbs. Remarkable engineers. And who knew it took a hummingbird over a week to craft such a wee cup that can expand as her chicks grow? I was hooked.

I began immersing my life into the lives of birds: observing them, documenting behavior, learning all I could—reading scientific journals, keeping abreast with the latest research through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and FLAP (Fatal Light Awareness Program). Who knew that birds need our help in so many ways? I didn’t.

The livelihood of birds is threatened by habitat loss, pollution, pesticide use, drying water sources, climate change, outdoor cats, and death/injury caused by human structures, namely window strikes. Did you know close to a billion birds are killed each year in the U.S. alone just by window strikes? Many of these birds are neotropical migratory songbirds, flying by night, that have traveled thousands of miles to their nesting grounds in the North America.

I engage with the avian world every day and do my part to help them as I can. My husband and I know the birds on our property personally; they are like extended family to us. We greet each migration season as a cause for celebration, eagerly anticipated arrivals and departures.

My work as an author covers many topics, including humor in addition to science, but birds are a reoccurring theme with my writing and a true source of inspiration. For that, I am ever grateful to them. Forthcoming bird-themed books of mine include the parenting book, I Love Birds! 52 Ways to Wonder, Wander and Explore Birds with Kids, and How to Find a Bird.

Birds are a true barometer to the health of our planet. We need them and must be aware of the steep decline in their numbers taking place and the human-caused challenges they face. Please visit FLAP (Fatal Light Awareness Program), the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to learn more.

Jennifer Ward is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and adults. Her home is nestled among the treetops of old growth oak forest in Illinois, where she wakes up each morning to bird song and writes full-time. www.jenniferwardbooks.com

 

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Team ’18 mentors an estimated 12,000 students while taking Authors for Earth Day total contributions past $92,000

What wouldn’t a person do, to help the most wondrous products of four billion years of creation?   Richard Powers, The Overstory

MEET TEAM ’18, twenty-two award-winning authors and illustrators from across the United States, who stepped up to help young readers connect with the natural world: Eliot Schrefer, Tui Sutherland, Lissa Price, Katherine Roy, Loree Griffin Burns, Miranda Paul, Marty Kelley, Elissa Brent Weissman, Suzanne Slade, Debbie Dadey, Andrea Alban, Patricia Newman, Dan Gutman, Kate McMullan, Polly Holyoke, Lisa Kahn Schnell, Lori Degman, Linda Crotta Brennan, Barb Rosenstock, Sandy Asher, Rachelle Burk, and Ted Scheu.

This extraordinary line-up reached a projected TWELVE THOUSAND STUDENTS from January to May, giving kid voters the power to research important conservation initiatives and then direct $19,000 from the authors’ own speaking fees to praiseworthy environmental organizations.

As always, the students voted to support a wide range of organizations, all of which strive to save natural habitats and wild animals and/or create sustainable human communities. Twenty-one charities won contributions in 2018: Rainforest Alliance, Ocean Conservancy, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Wildlife Conservation Society, Coral Reef Alliance, Hug It Forward, African Wildlife Foundation, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, The Humane Society of the United States, Marine Mammal Center, Surfrider Foundation, Friends of Horicon Marsh, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, National Park Foundation, Lake County Forest Preserves, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Pet Pantry of Lancaster County, Maine Audubon, Honeybee Conservancy, and Ape Action Africa.

THANKS to the generosity of our members, the Authors for Earth Day coalition has now counted over 150 A4ED school visits and granted more than $92K to 90+ organizations worldwide! 

Such forward-thinking gifts—empowering young readers and funding critical environmental causes—reach far beyond the classroom. They have a profound impact on the future, too, as students never forget encouraging concepts they learn from talented and enthusiastic kid-lit authors.

From seed to sapling to tree, our coalition is growing. Slow and steady, every year we stretch our sights higher, always with the goal of providing young readers the sturdy branches of fact-based knowledge to climb.

We are already excited about the MONUMENTAL mile-marker we are sure to cross next year! In the meantime, join us on Facebook to read more about the extraordinary successes of our 2018 authors and illustrators and all the brilliant kids who voted for Earth Day. Every day.

Wishing you a nature-filled summer!

Brooke Bessesen, A4ED Executive Director

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