Citation, National Children's Book Award 2012
If we ask children today “How can you SAVE our earth, its air and its oceans?” taglines, slogans, quotes easily flow from their mouths. When you ask what YOU DO on a daily basis to save the earth, its air and its oceans, there is a tangible pause in their thinking and paucity in their concrete actions. In leading discussions with children, they seem to know our atmosphere is polluted, our oceans are polluted, and mountains of garbage are clearly visible – yet there seems to be a disconnect between their personal actions and what they observe in their environment.
Loosely paraphrasing an advertisement, “We do not own the earth, we merely take care of it for the next generation”; or borrowing a Native American proverb, “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” – we are moved to begin translating the wisdom of these words into actions that involve both adults (hopefully, parents) and children.
In the book, The Secret is in the Soil, there is an excellent mix of the needed science background for the intended age group, tips to initiate AND sustain an action plan, appetizing yet healthful recipes that can be tried even before the garden bears its fruits, appropriately placed photos and well-captioned illustrations. It is easy to imagine a motivated child using this book as a resource for a project he or she wishes to embark on. It is also easy to envision a wholesome family project that will lead to – who knows, an organic farming industry? By focusing on creating healthier and wealthier soil (rich in nutrients and micro-organisms) as the producer of life-giving foods, children will begin to overcome learned responses that dirt is dirty, worms are gross or, sadly, creatures to be halved, mud is not to be stepped on, and garbage will soon stink up and therefore banished immediately from the kitchen.
There is something innate in children that make them intensely curious about living creatures and the outdoors. We believe that this book could be the effective vehicle to develop this curiosity – most naturally. Many successes begin with a germ of a seed. Without a child feeling that they have to solve all the earth’s problems spawned (by adults) through the decades, by starting in one’s own backyard, “The Secret is in the Soil” can inspire anyone who wishes to put teeth into their answer when asked, “What do YOU do to the save the Earth?”