I am excited to finally be able to share with you all my Earth Day Tour Post. When I saw this fabulous tour I just knew I had to take part. Candace has put together a phenomenal tour and I applaud all of her efforts. Stephanie Lisa Tara has written some wonderful books to help inspire a new generation to conserve, recycle, and help keep our Earth green. As part of the tour, I was asked to share some thoughts on what I do to help the environment.
I am lucky to live in Portland, Oregon. A lush, green city with lots of trees and a wonderful green community. I moved here almost six years ago after living in Phoenix, Arizona for ten years. I will be honest, when I first got here I didn't love it. I missed the busy bustling metropolis of Phoenix and the warm sunny weather during the winter. However, as time has gone on, I have grown to truly love my new home. Portland is a very environmentally conscienscious city. There are many many efforts here to help keep the city green. From conservation to recycling. It is a great place to be if you are environmentally friendly and want to go green.
A view of Downtown Portland (click on photo for credits).
There is so much to do and see in this great state. If you love the great outdoors this is the place to visit! I am lucky that I live up on a hill with a fantastic view to the city. We are surrounded by a small forest and I have huge towering trees in my backyard! There are plenty of squirrels and chipmunks scampering about as well as an occasional deer or bunny.
We have plenty of farms and flowers.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm w. Mt. Hood (we took these photos on a visit there)
In the summer, the city comes alive with Farmer's Markets throughout selling all kinds of organic produce, baked goods, plants, food and just about anything else your heart desires. I love shopping at the Farmer's Markets because I am not only supporting the local farmers and business men and women but I am getting homemade food and organic grown produce as well as local products and handmade items! There is a market somehwere in the city every day from Spring through Fall. If you ever get the chance to visit Portland I suggest you go to a couple of Farmer's Markets.
Portland is a magical place! (photo of my kids in the yard manipulated with Percolator)
Portland also has a fabulous book community and it is well known for its bookstores and bookish community. I could seriously live in the downtown Powell's Bookstore for days an days! It is a book lovers dreams!
Now that I have told you some of the benefits of living in Oregon, I am going to share with you just a few things that I do to help the environment.
Portland has a wonderful recycling program. We recycle almost everything. We even compost and save our food scraps and they are picked up weekly. In fact, we recycle and compost so much that our garbage is only picked up biweekly. Composting takes a bit of getting used to, but once it is a habit it is easy!
I use totebags when grocery shopping as often as possible. Portland is among some of the first cities in the country that is trying to ban plastic bags as they are harmful to the environment. In lieu of plastic bags, shoppers are encouraged to use a totebags or paper bags, but there is a five cent charge for a paper bag.
I save my coffee grounds and use them to feed my plants.
I use organic cleaning products.
We try and eat organic as much as possible from the milk we drink to the produce we buy. Again, it is easy to eat organic when you live in a city like Portland.
I try to shop at local markets to help support and sustain the local economy. My favorite grocery store is New Seasons Market. A local company that specializes in organic foods. It is a fantastic place to shop!
I am trying to teach my kids the importance of taking care of this Earth we live on!
So what do you all do to help the environment?
As part of the tour, I was able to review five books by Stephanie Lisa Tara. Each of these books is meant to share an important message with young readers. From the environment to an appreciation for reading to believing in yourself. If you are looking for some Earthy friendly books for your youngest readers, I urge you to check out some of these titles. Here are my reviews:
Suddenly Mother jumped to her feet and ran to one of the trees, a three-hundred-foot-tall redwood. "Forever tree! Forever tree!" she cried, smiling. She swept the skinny girl up into her arms. The child's pale skin shimmered in the golden forest light. "Forever trees, forever trees," they sang, spinning in circles. The memory melted into the fog, and Eliza felt very tired. The question came again to her. It appeared out of the gray, out of the damp, out of the cold corners of this new house. The question whispered it always did the kind of whisper that sounded very loud indeed: Where had Mother gone? Shadows appeared and disappeared in Eliza's mind. Still, she couldn't remember. She simply could not remember anything after that last story in the forest. For some reason, she wasn't terribly worried. She was a little worried, for sure, but not terribly worried, because a strange calm held the shadows and the question. It held Eliza, too. Because love is forever.
Paperback, 290 pages
Published November 20th 2012 by Brown Books
Fours stars: An imaginative and lovely book for young readers.
Eliza spends her days tucked away in a small cabin with her grandfather. Grandfather is a bit irritable and not quite right. He uses books to prop open windows and doors and even burns them in the fireplace. Eliza's mind is fuzzy, she can't remember where her mother has gone. Mother always read her wonderful books and they traveled on many adventures while reading. Now Mother is gone, and Eliza doesn't know where she has gone. One day, a small butterfly pops into visit Eliza, and soon he is her daily friend as he loves to listen to her read. Together, the pair decides to venture out through the forest and find the Great Mother Redwood Tree. Eliza just knows the tree will tell her where mother has gone. What follows is a magical and lyrical adventure.
What I Liked:
- This book was beautifully written and so creative and imaginative. Young readers will certainly enjoy Eliza's adventure as she journeys through the forest. Along the way, she encounters many many creatures and learns all about them such as: ladybugs, frogs, rattlesnakes, owl, deer, fox, squirrel, bats, slugs and more. Every creature speaks to Eliza and she learns something about them. This is a great learning book!
- I loved all the positive environmental messages. Eliza on her quest to find her mother experiences life in the forest. Not only does she learn about her surroundings but she comes to have a great appreciation for the forest and all the creatures that inhabit it. This is a lovely way to introduce your young one to the wonders of nature. I especially enjoyed learning about the role that each creature played in the ecosystem, like the banana slugs. Everyone has a part and they all work together in harmony.
- All the animals respect each other and know that they must all come together to achieve the balance of the forest. I loved that this book teaches the value of teamwork and that everyone is important. I liked the way that the bats changed and eventually became active participants in the forest ecology.
- This book features at its heart the importance of books and how we can get lost in a story. Throughout the book, there are many passages and snippets from famous literary works such as: Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, The Wind in the Willows and Aesop's Fables. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing many of my childhood favorites interwoven into the story. I appreciate that this story encourages a love for reading.
- This book reminds us the enduring nature of love. Even though Eliza's mother is gone, her love is still with Eliza. She can feel it around her and she can remember it, especially when she recalls the many stories they read together. A wonderful reminder that love no matter what is enduring and forever.
- Finally, I liked watching Eliza grow and change. At the beginning of the story, she is confused, sickly and pale and her heart has "wrong beats". During her journey, she begins to transform and her heart begins to heal. Her final change at the end is quite stunning.
And The Not So Much:
- The ending is one of those that is open to interpretation. I thought it was clever and interesting, but I can see a young reader being a bit confused because nothing is spelled out. This would certainly be a great book for discussion to see how younger readers view the events.
- I was never clear on how Eliza ended up in the cabin with the grandfather and why he was burning the book. This is not a big issue, but it left me wondering.
Eliza's Forever Trees is a magical, lyrical book that will introduce your child to the wonders of nature and the importance of reading while reminding them about the endurance of love. This book a delightful adventure that you enjoy sharing with your young reader.
I'll Follow the Moon by Stephanie Lisa Tara, illustrated by Lee Edward Fodi
On a quiet, moonlit beach, a baby green sea turtle stirs from a dream of home. Slowly, slowly, with a tap, crick, crack, the baby turtle embarks upon a mysterious nighttime journey. Gentle, tender verse and enchanting illustrations carry this tranquil tale from sand to sea.
Hardcover, 2nd, 48 pages
Published September 7th 2005 by Brown Books
Five Stars: A charming little book with rhyming verse.
This is a sweet little story that follows a newly hatched sea turtle as he endeavors to reach the sea and find his mama. It starts with the cracking of a small egg and the emergence of a baby turtle. Each step of his journey is covered as he bursts out of the egg and learns to make his way through the sticky sand to the water's edge. Each page has a short verse in rhyme and at the end of each and every page is the touching little rhyme:
"I'm coming, Mama, I'll see you soon. I know just how....I'll follow the moon."
Accompanying the lyrical prose are stunning, colorful illustrations that feature the baby turtle. Truly, the pictures are remarkable.
Both of my children, ages four and two, enjoyed this book. I think they found the verse soothing and they liked the repetition of the turtle following the moon. If you have younger children, this is a wonderful book to get for them. I highly recommend this one!
It s a headline we all have seen: Global warming is melting the Arctic. Once the Arctic sea ice has vanished, the majestic polar bear, a magnificent creature who needs the sea ice to survive will vanish, too. The ice is home to the bears, as well as to their primary food source, the ringed seal. Polar bears feed, mate, travel, den, and give birth on the ice. Some scientists say polar bears will be extinct within fifty years if something isn t done, and soon.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Brown Books
Four stars: A book that introduces children to the plight of the polar bear.
A mother polar bear cuddles with her two newborn cubs in the Arctic cold. Slowly, the cubs grow and begin to explore the world around them. They learn to walk miles over the ice in search of something to eat. A meal is secured and all is well. Then the polar bears encounter warming temperatures and in search of food they run into man. The ice is disappearing along with the habitat of the polar bear. The books ends with the jarring question of what can be done to help the bears? After the conclusion, the author provides several pages of discussion questions and resources to help the polar bear. I loved that there are also lesson plans included for teachers. This book encourages discussion and environmental awareness. It is never too early to educate your children on the importance of being environmentally aware. This book is an excellent way to open the lines of communication. It is written in verse so it will appeal to children and it has lovely illustrations. Get this book and help educate your child on the importance of our environment!
Little Library Mouse by Stephanie Lisa Tara, illustrated by Alex Walton
Even when you are little, you can imagine big. At closing time a key locks the library, and unlocks the dreams of a little mouse who waits in the shadows. Skipping, sliding, down the pages of books? he steps inside magical stories, inviting readers to come along for the ride. Witty verse and fantastical illustrations celebrate the joys of reading in this tale with innovative charm.
Library Binding, 32 pages
Four stars: A wonderful adventure that shows where books can take a young reader.
The library closes for the night. In the shadows awaits a curious mouse. He nudges open a book and experiences the wonders that await in the pages. Where can he travel while reading a book? Who can he be? What can he do? What is waiting inside a book? As the night unfolds, the little mouse shows a young reader all the magical and wondrous things that they can encounter while using their imagination and reading a book. This little tale is told in rhyming verse and is accompanied by bright illustrations.
This is a great story that will hopefully stir the imagination and encourage a love for reading.
I liked that at the end of the book the author includes a lesson plan with directions to make a library card and discussion ideas for the library.
Gwynne Fair & Shining by Stephanie Lisa Tara, illustrated by Lee Edward Fodi
Gwynne, Fair & Shining is a twenty-four page children's book, written in verse, about a young girl who learns she is special and can be anything she wants to be.
Hardcover, 24 pages
Published November 15th 2006 by Brown Books
Three stars: A Welsh Fairy Tale come to life that shares the magic of music and believing in yourself.
Gwynne starts out the tale as a maid scrubbing in a castle cold and dark. Her world is dismal and dreary until she creeps to the fireplace and discovers the magic. Magic stirs her soul and she creeps out of the castle and discovers the magic of music and the world outside. A small flute enables Gwynne to bring magical music to the animals and the angry people and thus she transforms the world around her and herself until at the end she is no longer the maid covered in dirt, but a beautiful princess thanks to a fairy queen. All because she believed in herself and the magic around her.
This is a sweet little story with colorful illustrations and rhyming verse. My hesitations with this book are that sometimes the rhymes are a little strange and the story isn't exactly clear and I wasn't a fan of the mean people. However, in the end, I did like that it has a wonderful message that you can believe in yourself and change the world around you with music and happiness.
I want to thank each and every one of you for your tireless dedication and love to our cause! I have written this book FOR YOU! I dedicate this book TO YOU! 120 pages of fotos, facts and fun! Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book has a primary goal: SAVING SEA TURTLES FROM EXTINCTION. A portion of proceeds from this book go to charitable organizations like the Turtle Foundation (www.turtle-foundation.org) of whom my first turtle book, I'LL FOLLOW THE MOON—is a proud sponsor. If you are new to us—please join with us, for together, holding hands, we can effect change. Yes—really! xoxo. SAVE GREEN SEA TURTLES on Facebook (www.facebook.com/.../Save-Green-Sea-T...) is our hugely popular hang-out—tens of thousands of Activists-strong. Please join us! NOW—prepare for something totally new and amazing! Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book is not your typical scientific turtle book: my special book is all about having FUN! Enjoy the mini FLIP-BOOK in the corners and create a movie of your own! Click the ebook pages—or thumb through manually in the paperback—YOUR CHOICE! I've written these chapters in a fun, chatty voice—you know, the one YOU use when talking up your favorite topics! Don't be surprised if you find yourself giggling as you turn pages! Enjoy breathtaking photography, incredible facts, and way-out wow'ing surprises that these millennium-old creatures have to share. AND: TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE! Yep! Stephanie Lisa Tara's Turtle Book is my second turtle book—it's a perfect TWIN to my first international bestseller, I'LL FOLLOW THE MOON: buy BOTH TOGETHER for your shelf. Two little twins; one a fable, one fotos, facts & fun. So, in closing...please accept this deeply personal gift from me, your faithful sea turtle leader, the turtle-lady, or Stephanie Lisa Turtle - as I was renamed recently by a fan—from my heart to yours.GOD BLESS EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED THE CAUSE TO SAVE SEA TURTLES FROM EXTINCTION! Paperback, 120 pages Published April 11th 2013 by CreateSpace
Five Stars: A delightful and informative book on all things turtle.
This is an excellent companion book to I'll Follow the Moon. While I'll Follow the Moon is geared for the youngest readers, the sequel is for a bit older reader. Be prepared to be immersed in the turtle world as you learn about the eight different species of turtle, their habits, environment, diet, senses, mating, and all the fun facts and such that will leave you well versed on turtles. I applaud Ms. Tara for taking the time to write both of these books as they not only enlighten us on turtles, but they are geared to help save this endangered species. Toward the end of the book, there are discussions on all of the hazards that each turtle species faces and the details on why they are in danger along with tips on what we can all do to help this fantastic species. I absolutely enjoyed learning all about the sea turtles and I am looking forward to sharing with my two toddlers when they are just a bit older. This book is packed full of bright colorful photos of sea turtles that will be sure to capture the attention of younger readers. Definitely get this book and do something to help save the turtle!
Whew! I know that was a lot to take in so thanks for sticking with me! Here is a bit about Stephanie, the kind and generous author behind this fantatistic tour:
I've always believed that magic hides in special places. As a child, people would often stare at my bright red hair, which was very, very bright indeed.
Unfortunately, I developed a bad habit of making up rhymes about all of them, and they soon became funny characters. I didn't have much time to think about being different; fanciful lyricisms danced in my head, and no one was safe!
Since then, I've come to believe that storytelling has the power to inspire a deep love of language and learning. Words tripping off the tongue in somersaults that stick to your thoughts like taffy-- those are the things that stay forever in the mind.
I've lived in many special places: on a farm, in a city skyscraper, on a tropical beach, and in the beautiful country of France. Now I live in northern California, between the redwood forests and the sea. Even though I'm an adult, I'm still as silly as ever.
Many nice words have been used to describe my books, such as fun, engaging, delightful, and whimsical. Some folks say that I deliver timeless messages of love for kids and parents to share again and again; this makes me very happy. I hope that you'll enjoy my stories, too. Captivating children with language is something that I believe in, and I strive to live my life with this always.
--Stephanie Lisa Tara
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Thanks everyone for sticking with me through this long post! Please let me know what you do to help the environment in the comments! Be sure to check out some of the other stops on the tour.
Thanks again to Candace for hosting such a wonderful tour. Be sure to visit Candace's Blog for more tours!