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Summer reading list with environment-friendly books
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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Sara Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

If you are already looking for ways to keep your kids busy and avoid the dreaded "Mom, I’m bored. I don’t have anything to do!" I have ideas that will also help kids maintain their reading skills while out of school.

Below are some fun, environmental-themed books that we use in KLB programs. All of them can be downloaded to all kinds of gadgets. But, as a favor to me, occasionally give kids "real" books they can treasure for years.

I still have books that our kids loved to read when they were small. Our bedtime activity was spending a few minutes snuggled up reading.

Here are our suggestions, as well as some from librarians:

"The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story about Recycling" by Alison Inches: It can be hard for kids to understand the importance of recycling, and where that waste actually goes. This book does a great job of bringing the journey of a plastic bottle to life. Told from the point of view of the bottle itself, the story follows the bottle from its creation, through its life, to its recycling transformation into a fleece jacket.

"The Wartville Wizard" by Don Madden: Wartville is being buried in trash. Oh my! Then one tidy old man figures out a way to get rid of the trash forever. The illustrations are as humorous as the story line.

"Michael Recycle" by Ellie Bethel: A sort-of super hero comes to life when a flash of green crash lands in the local garbage dump of the messy, trash-filled town of Abberdoo-Rimey. Michael Recycle has a plan to save the town as well as the world.

"The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss: This classic has a timeless message about conserving natural resources. The message is as powerful now as it was when he wrote this charming tale.

"The Day the Trash Came Out to Play" by David M. Beadle: Robin carelessly tosses a candy wrapper that starts a chain reaction of events that eventually teaches him — and his community — about the problems with litter and the importance of taking care of his neighborhood. You will never see trash the same way after reading this funny little story.

"Julian Rodriguez: Episode One Trash Crisis on Earth" by Alexander Stadler: In this hilarious paperback for teens alien Julian Rodriguez is disguised as an 8-year-old on Earth. It is up to him to avert the trash crisis and save us all from annihilation.

"The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and Our National Parks" by Barb Rosenstock: This wonderful story for young readers is about a camping trip that spurred the creation of national parks and protected public wilderness. The illustrations are as delightful as the story.

"Mr. King’s Things" by Genevieve Cote: Mr. King is overwhelmed by his possessions. His story is a playful message about the repercussions of over-consumption.

So whether you and your kids are sitting in the sun on a beach or just that last snuggle before bedtime, I hope you will try these delightful books. For more ideas on growing your kids "green," check out Keep Liberty Beautiful at

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