Books for readers with green values

Green Writers Press describes itself as “giving voice to writers and artists who will make the world a better place” and its mission as spreading “a message of hope and renewal through the words and images we publish.” Its practices are in line with those ideals:

Throughout we will adhere to our commitment to preserving and protecting the natural resources of the earth. To that end, a percentage of our proceeds will be donated to environmental activist groups.

Founder Dede Cummings was just interviewed for Publishers Weekly, talking about GWP and its list.

dedecummings_1411429849358624To meet her objective of publishing environmentally friendly books, Cummings prints her titles at Springfield Printing, a local family-run press, and uses soy-based inks on paper made from postconsumer waste. Cummings’s first lists cover a wide variety of topics, but her goal is to release titles for children and adults that deal with green subjects. And though many of her authors are from Vermont, Cummings is interested in signing writers who share her vision of creating locally produced books.

Among GWP’s books for young readers are The Order of the Trees, by Katy Farber, and The Hidden Forest, written by Daintry Jensen and illustrated by Alan Baker. In different ways, both books will engage the imaginations of young people.

Order of the Trees Cover final._zpsgslhmlelIn The Order of the Trees, readers will identify first with Cedar Montgomery, a girl found at the base of a gigantic cedar, and then with her friend, Phillip Bloom. A teacher, Farber draws on her classroom experience to create the culture in which Cedar and Phillip meet and, despite many obstacles, become fast friends. She also mixes in enough basic-level science to give her young readers a sense of the story’s context and its larger ramifications. In a scene in which Phillip is visiting Cedar in the hospital, Farber writes

As he watched her sleep, he knew that these trees were worth everything he and Cedar had done. They’d given oxygen, homes to animals, life to the forest, and to Cedar. Their value was so much greater than a mere dollar amount. Phillip had learned that a Cedar tree, in Latin, means “tree of life.” This was certainly true for Cedar. Not just that, but Cedars had been used for centuries for the medicinal properties of their sap, bark and twigs. This tree, all trees really, held magic, medicine, and life.

Later addressing a crowd at a development site, Cedar says,

“We know little about how our environment is tied to us all. Maybe not as strongly as I am to this place, but each one of us is intricately tied to our water, our land, our home. By helping protect this forest, you protect not only my home, but yours. Our forests clean our air; they take our anxiety away, they teach us about nature and resilience, about renewal and strength.”

Budding readers will find The Order of the Trees an enjoyable and suspenseful tale in which two children with strong green values influence the world of adults.

We’ll write about The Hidden Forest in our next post.

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