The first step is to understand the concepts and causes of climate change and pollution; the next step is to take steps toward reducing these threats to our world. You Can Save the Planet provides fifty practical suggestions to children and families – small steps which, if taken by many, become large steps. Did you know that many household appliances such as DVD players, if switched off by a remote control, go on standby and continue to use a considerable amount of electricity? Did you know that only about 5% of discarded cell phones are recycled, and that the rest go into the garbage, leaching toxic materials such as cadmium and mercury into the ground? How can every household reuse paper, avoid using plastic bags and other packaging, and reduce household water usage?
Some of the suggestions made in this book will be old news to adults but perhaps not to children … besides, with the current state of our planet, some of the ideas need to be repeated again and again … and again. You Can Save the Planet is an essential and upbeat resource for children and their families.
** Recommended for ages 7 to 11 years.
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Canadian children’s author Jan Thornhill’s skills in explaining issues in an easy-to-understand way that will interest children, are very much in evidence in her 2007 publication, This is My Planet. What exactly is meant by the term “global warming” (especially after this winter’s cold temperatures)? What causes global warming, and why is it so detrimental to people, plants, birds, animals and sea life? What results of climate change can we expect to see in the future? And what are some up-to-date web sites with further information for children? Jan Thornhill’s thoughtful and colorfully-illustrated book offers answers to all of these questions – from a Canadian perspective.
** Recommended for ages 7 to 10 years.

Are you ready for Stratford’s first ever DocFest? If you’re inspired by what you see on the DocFest screens, the second edition of this book, Making Documentary Films and Videos will put you in great shape to film you own documentary that just might be in DocFest’s line-up for next year. Considered the handbook for documentary film making, author Barry Hampe takes you through every step – no step too small – in the process. Starting off there is are chapters about what a documentary is, and what it should not be (hint: most YouTube clips are not documentaries, and neither is Survivor.) After the theory, Hampe shows how to plan a documentary before even picking up a camera, from what to show, how to do interviews, how to document past history, and the all important image and information ethics of responsible documentaries (for example, using sound bytes from the nightly news out of context to support a subject isn’t documenting, it’s docuganda. Fahrenheit 9/11 is used as an example of this.) Hampe deconstructs the research and writing process (yes, there should be a script to follow, if not word for word), and then gets into the fun part – the filming, recording sound, directing, locations. After the fun part comes the hard part, post-production and selling the film, but Hampe walks through these steps as well. There are useful appendices on equipment, budgeting and crews, a filmography of documentaries mentioned in the text (so you can see his examples of techniques), advice on what to study if documentary-making is your dream future, an all-important index for quick reference, and the author even includes contact information in case filmmakers have further questions. Ready, set, action!

Jamie and Megan embark on three imaginary journeys through space and time with their parents. In the first, they travel the world from inside their home to discover the natural origins of various foods and objects. In their second trip, they travel through the air to learn how our atmosphere is really composed and of its importance to people and animals everywhere. The children’s third trip is taken through time to discover when and how many of today’s rocks originated. At the end of the book, the family sends a message, in the form of a time capsule, to the future.
Environmental author David Suzuki’s story is a gentle reminder that nature is full of discoveries and wonders, and that it needs to be cherished and protected. Illustrator Eugenie Fernandes’ charming paintings make nature come alive in this book, and offer children lots of detail to discover on every page … a perfect book to enjoy together as Earth Day (on April 22) approaches.
** Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.

Punk Farm on Tour, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Featuring Cow on the drums, Chicken on the keyboard, Pig and Goat on guitars and Sheep belting out the vocals, the Punk Farm Animal Band is on tour again! With enthusiastic, sell-out crowds showing up at every gig, and more gigs booked in cities across the country, a hugely successful tour is on the horizon. Even complications such as the Punk Farm van’s breakdown en route to Colorado can’t stop this intrepid band – their mechanical skills prove equal to the task and soon the van’s on the road again to yet another Punk Farm concert!
Best of all, the Punk Farm animals are able to finish their tour and return home just minutes before Farmer Joe returns from his National Tractor Society Conference in Nevada, believing that his animals had been resting safely at home on the farm the whole time!
The hilarious antics of these animals will delight young readers and listeners and perhaps their parents too. This is Jarrett Krosoczka’s second book featuring the Punk Farm gang; his first, Punk Farm, can also be found at the library.
** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.
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Even though it’s only been in the 20th century that women have been admitted to the military forces of western nations, they have been fighting and assisting in campaigns since ancient times. BBC Broadcaster Rosalind Miles and Gulf War reporter Robin Cross have compiled biographical essays of women in war which fills a gap in military history by describing the women who led, rebelled, comforted, healed, supported, spied and even disguised themselves as men in the name of a warring cause. From the well-known Boudicca and Joan of Arc to the lesser known samurai Tomoe Gozen and Colonel Martha McSally, the first woman to command a USAF combat squadron, the essays describe wartime efforts by women as heroic as men’s, but less renowned. The authors provide balance to these heroines by also including a chapter of essays on women of darker metal, like German war criminal Irma Grese and the US Army Private Lynndie England. The essays are short, to the point and mostly very objective, and should be a good source for any military history buff or students researching the role of women in combat.

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