Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Author Interview: Sabbithry Persad on Recycling, Earth Day and More

Where Do Recyclable Materials Go? (Garbology Kids)Sabbithry Persad is the creator of Garbology Kids™ and author of Where Do Recyclable Materials Go? (Garbology Kids). Sabbithry Persad has been writing stories and poems since she was a child growing up on the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Her childhood was filled with many siblings and countless well-read, entertaining books from literature and scientific magazines to comic books and encyclopedias.

Now, Sabbithry Persad shares her enthusiasm for reading and writing through publishing and authoring books. Persad is the founder and executive managing editor of Green Solutions Magazine and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Toronto.

I'm excited to be a part of Persad's virtual book tour and she's stopping by today to tell us more about her new book and what parents can do to make every day Earth Day.

Tell us about your path to publication.
This is a great question. As a former technical writer, moving into educational writing was somewhat of a natural step since writing educational materials also rely on facts. The challenging part, and the big learning curve, came when switching from writing for adults to writing for children. Children’s picture books, in particular, have a very specific format. Understanding the nuances of this format was the first step before writing. Once grasped the format, the structure of the material followed.

Although this is a children’s book, the preparation for writing the book found me performing quite a bit of research to gather information, which then had to be organized in a cohesive and story-like manner. Much of the raw information I came across was in bits and pieces, and sometimes not very clear. It was my goal to take all those pieces and put them together in a single story, somewhat like working on a puzzle or even a painting. Once the story took shape, the back matter was the next step.

The back matter of the book needed to be supplemental to what was being covered in the story (the “read” section). The back matter is divided into three parts: think, do and parent’s sections. The “think” section combined “Fun Facts” and “For Reflection”, while the “do” section allowed children to learn about an environmental profession with “Be a …” and perform hand-on activities with “Experiments and Activities.” With both sections I strived to deliver a balance between fun stuff and some practical real-life learning exercises. The parent’s section provides parents with an intro to the series and shows the entire recycling process and waste management hierarchy in hopes of giving them a perspective of where recycling fits into the larger picture; it also functions as a tool for parents to help explain the same to children.

Throughout the entire process, I referred often to standard educational environmental guidelines, keeping them close at hand to stay on track. After completing the first draft of the text, the book went through many, many more edits until I was satisfied with the final product. Similarly, I worked with a couple of illustrators, editing the drafts frequently, to get the final version.

What inspired "Where Do Recyclable Materials Go?"
The inspiration for the book came after reading an article on the world’s waste problem. As the founder of Green Solutions Magazine, we were already sharing information about environmental solutions that adults could take to help make meaningful changes in their own lives and to their surroundings. The article got me pondering “how do we make a change that stays with us throughout our lives” and the question came to me…When is a good time to start environmental education? Although the first thought would be any time, I reflected on my own upbringing and how I learned many things about the environment from my parents. The answer was clear, the earlier the better. That same night, I wrote the first story for children with additional inspiration from my niece and nephew.

Why do you think it's important for young readers to know what happens to recyclable materials after they leave the curb?
Many young readers today are being taught about recycling. They are exposed to the process of how to identify recyclable materials and how to sort them. Understanding what happens to recyclable materials after they leave the curb is the next step which helps young readers to connect those materials to the world around them. It gives them a perspective not only of how these materials play a part in their built community, but also how they play a part in nature. It is these connections that open up young readers to how their behavior and actions affect our environment and the living things in it.

Where Do Recyclable Materials Go is part of the Garbology Kids™ Series. What can young readers expect from the series?
The Garbology Kids™ Series is a set of books that cover the waste management hierarchy. Young readers can expect stories that coincide with each level of the waste management hierarchy: reduce, reuse, recycle/compost, transform, treat and dispose. Each book aims to capture the essence of each level and strives to present the information in a fun and enjoyable way, while at the same time offering practical real-life exercises that young readers can explore in their own community.

What else can parents/ teachers do to make everyday Earth Day?
One way that parents/teachers can make everyday Earth Day is by having family/school story time with an environmental book. Read “Where Do Recyclable Materials Go?” and do the activities at the back of the book together. Other things that parents/teachers can do are:

1) Put on a scavenger hunt with the different recyclable material types: plastic, glass, metal (aluminum and steel), and paper. Then show kids how to identify and separate them.

2) Start a fun family activity by reusing unwanted items, donating them, hosting a yard sale or making something new from them, like arts and crafts.

3) Clean up and beautify the community by volunteering for city or school environmental events.
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A big thanks to Sabbithry Persad for stopping by and answering my questions. To learn more about Where Do Recyclable Materials Go? (Garbology Kids) and the series, please visit the official website.

Be sure to enter the Garbology Kids contest where you can win a copy of the book, a tote bag and t-shirt!(entries due 4/30/11) and stop by more stops on Sabbithry Persad's virtual book tour!

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Firewater Media Group (April 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0981243908
ISBN-13: 978-0981243900
Source of review copy: Publisher

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