Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I'm no expert when it comes to questions about digital technology or the environment, but the experts are saying there's a LOT to consider in determining the carbon footprint of e-books versus traditional paper books. My head is spinning from all the information I've been taking in lately. Kind of like reading Jabberwocky.
Trial of the Knave of Hearts
illustration by John Tenniel
One of the main selling points in favor of e-readers is that they are paperless.  But everyone knows that traditional books are sustainable and can be easily shared among friends, donated to used books stores, and ultimately recycled at the end of their shelf life.

Capitalizing on the fact that e-books are the latest trend, an Italian
based design company, Gartenkulter, has actually
designed planters made from old and disused books.  I
certainly hope this is not the future of traditional books!

From "E-Readers vs. Old Fashioned Books - Which is Greener?" on the SIERRA CLUB GREEN HOME website: Here’s the best answer... go to the public library next time you are downtown. Borrow three or four books, finish them all, then return ‘em next time you’re near the library. This is truly the most sustainable way to read: the good old fashioned public library. We preach “reduce, reuse, and recycle” and library books can be read by dozens of people over their lifetime.  And once they are finally too dog-eared and beaten up to grace library shelves, they can be easily recycled since they are generally all paper (even the leather on deluxe bound editions can be recycled).

Are e-books green? GREEN LIVING says, "The short answer is almost certainly yes, but only if you're comparing e-books to new books. As usual, the greenest way to go is reuse."

So, what if you like buying new books and you read lots of books? E-reading may be paperless, but that doesn't mean it has no carbon footprint, as you can see from another well-researched article, "The Environmental Impacts of E-Books", posted by the GREEN PRESS INITIATIVE.  To make up the various electronic components and battery, e-readers require several mineral sources such as plastic (derived from oil) metal, and glass.  There is also the energy consumption of an e-reader to be considered, and whether or not e-book manufacturers have recycling programs(and how they go about it, if they do).

I'm not personally excited about e-books for children, especially those with distracting apps, but it appears we're seeing the beginning of a trend that could explode.  Since consumers help determine the market, I just hope parents will only supplement, not replace, good old fashioned books with e-readers, if or when they decide to follow the trend. But that's a whole different blog post...  

My mantra stays the same:  visit the library with your kids! Your wallet will thank you and you'll benefit the environment. If there are special books you want to own or give as gifts - especially children's picture books - my advice is to shop for the  traditional paper versions (new or used).  I think the environment will survive these sustainable purchases and your children (and grandchildren) will thank you for not leaving their tangible,  paper friends behind!


  1. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! and Yeah! again. The first gifts I ever got were books. And I still have them. I have loved to read my whole life long. I wonder why? :)

  2. I ran across your site and thought I would suggest that you take a look "The Green Mother Goose" by Jan Peck and David Davis. It is printed with vegetable inks on recycled papers and the illustrations are done with recycled cut out papers. It will be featured by Barnes and Noble for Earth Day. The rhymes were fun for us to write and I think it is a good way to introduce little ones to conservation.
    Best, David Davis

  3. Sounds intriguing!!! I'll check it out. I love your SOUTHERN CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES! Maybe I'll feature both. :)
    I grew up in the south and miss it so much!