Nonfiction Monday – 10 Things I Can Do To Help My World


I was browsing the stacks at a local bookstore yesterday when this book jumped out at me. I was struck in part by the light bulb cutout on the cover and in part by the recycling symbol and statement indicating that the book was made from 100% recycled material. After being drawn in by the cover, I was hooked once I leafed through the pages. My son’s school has adopted a “green theme” for the year, so this book will be the first one I donate to the library, as it’s a real gem.

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World: Fun and Easy Eco-Tips, written and illustrated by Melanie Walsh is not only about being eco-friendly, it serves as an excellent model. There is not one bit of wasted paper or space in this book. There is no front matter to the book, and the copyright information is included on the back cover. As soon as the book is opened the reader is launched into the text. Remember that light bulb cutout that grabbed my attention? When the cover is opened the reader finds a page in black except for where it is bathed in light from the bulb and four insects are basking in its glow. The text reads “I remember . . . ” When the page is turned readers find a double-page spread bathed in black with only white text and eyeballs staring out at them. The text on the left page reads “to turn off the light when I leave the room.” On the right page the bulb is outlined in a bit of concrete text that reads “Turning off lights and using more efficient lightbulbs saves valuable energy.” There is quite a bit of this concrete text throughout the book. It comes running out of the faucet and can be found around the edges of trash cans and trees. It’s not poetry, but it is a wonderful bit of design. (To get a feel for what these pages look like, view an inside spread at the Candlewick site.)

The tips in the book include:

  • turning off lights
  • turning off the faucet while brushing teeth
  • throwing away trash
  • feeding birds in winter
  • using both sides of a piece of paper
  • unplugging the television when not in use
  • making toys from objects that are often thrown out
  • walking to school
  • planting seeds
  • sorting materials for recycling

The acrylic illustrations are refreshing and often appear on pages where edges have been cut or shaped for an interesting effect. The final set of pages includes the text “I help . . . ” on the left hand side, accompanied by illustrations of sets of objects such as bottles, cans and food scraps. The right hand page pictures a variety of receptacles with cutout openings. The beauty of this double-page spread becomes apparent when you turn the page, for what appears are labeled receptacles with the appropriate items insides. Readers will find cans, glass, compost, plastic and paper bins filled to the brim along with the text that completes the sentence begun earlier “sort the recycling.”

The final endpaper is a black page covered with stars and a semicircular fold that reads “All because . . . ” When readers fold the flap down they find the earth and the words “I love my world.”

This is a fabulous resource for early elementary classrooms studying recycling and caring for our world. I recommend it with enthusiasm!

Book: 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World: Fun and Easy Eco-Tips
Melanie Walsh
Candlewick Press
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 40 pages
Grades: K-3
Source of Book: Personal copy purchased at a local bookstore.

This post was written for Nonfiction Monday. Head on over to Anastasia Suen's blog and check out all the great posts highlighting nonfiction this week.

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