Friday, July 25, 2008
A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry
I know that my fellow Wormers have been talking about cherry picking, but how about picking a Cherry? Lynne Cherry that is, one of my favorite eco -styled writers for children. A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History is a hot pick for kids right now as parents explore ways to talk about ecology, pollution, and how we can change the world one river at a time.
Cherry traces the history of the Nashu River in New England from a beginning as a special place for Native Americans. It was a lush green place filled with wildlife, fertile in natural bounty for man and animal. As the area was settled the Nashu became a dumping spot for various industrial plants such as a dye factory. The wildlife died or left as the Nashu became a place of decay and pollution.
Hope springs in that we see the Nashu healed as citizens demanded change with the passage of clean water and pollution laws. The Nashu was gradually restored as people worked together to change the situation both for themselves and for nature.
I do find this book, despite a few technical flaws, appealing to use with children. You can read the main body of the text in a small group or lap situation and older children will be fascinated with the illustrative style. Look closely at the cover picture above and it will reflect the style of the entire book. The small blocks around each picture will document inventions used by industries, what was happening in each time period, and other facts of note. Older readers will find themselves explore the book several times and learning new information each time.
If you want a hopeful book about making a difference, this one is one for you.
Other books by this author I'd happily "Cherry" pick are:
The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest
Flutes Journey: The Life of a Wood Thrush
The Sea, The Storm and the Mangrove Tangle
I haven't read her new book about changing climate yet, but I'm trying to get my hot little hands on a copy. It is titled How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming. I do know this author deals with environmental issues in a very kid friendly way, so I'm hoping this will be a good read for older child that are discussing what they hear 'round the composter.
Your local library should have copies of these books in their kids section. Parents and teachers can get a good deal of mileage out of her works both for information and inspiration.