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Sheila Says We're Weird Hardcover – June 1, 2011
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'The only thing weird about this family is how much fun they have what a lovely reminder of how easy some change is!' --Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature, and Eaarth
'If Sheila can change her thinking, we can too. The 'new normal' is fast approaching.' --Mike Mercer, executive director, NW Earth Institute
'Living green may be tough for children whose peers aren't schooled in eco-responsibility. The protagonists of this colorful book hang their clothes out to dry, eschew air conditioning, compost with worms, and buy food from the local farmers' market. Their neighbor, Sheila, isn't impressed. 'That's weird,' she says. The young skeptic is won over in the end, however, making for a book that helps children understand that as the Sheilas of the world learn more about green living, acceptance will grow.' --The Green Life, Sierra Club
'Sheila Says We're Weird is an illustrated children's book that teaches sound environmental practices for families while it entertains. Sheila is a neighbor girl who observes many strange 'green' practices in her best friend s family. Shopping at the farmer's market for local foods, composting, using a hand lawn mower, heating with a wood stove instead of a furnace, riding bikes and walking instead of driving, drying laundry on the line instead of the dryer, making sun tea--all of these activities seem weird to Sheila. Yet Sheila seems to enjoy participating in many of these activities with the family very much. Hmmmm, could there be a lesson here? For painless and preach-free environmental education, told especially well with spunky, colorful illustrations, read Sheila Says We're Weird to children age six and up.' --Midwest Book Review
Bronze Moonbeam Award, Picture Book Category --Honor Book, Science, Grades K-6, Society of School Librarians International
From the Inside Flap
Sheila is either hanging over the back fence or hanging out with her neighbors. They're interesting, but they're weird. Why do they hang their laundry outside instead of using the dryer? Why are they riding their bikes to the library instead of just using the car? Why do they mow their lawn with a push mower when a gas mower is much faster? But Sheila discovers that their homemade soup sure tastes good, that she likes picking cherry tomatoes and strawberries in their garden, and it's pretty cozy to sit around their wood stove in the winter. Are Sheila's neighbors really weird, or do they have some good ideas going on?
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Author Ruth Ann Smalley, a former literature professor who homeschools her children, gently reminds us that everyone could live a little more simply just by conserving and recycling. Sheila's curiosity as she hangs over the fence or visits next door is the perfect vehicle to encourage both children and adults in looking for the little pleasures of life. We don't have to have a lot of modern conveniences and other expensive gadgets to have fun or get along well. Illustrator Jennifer Emery's bright and bold full-page art is a great complement to the story. All people may not necessarily be in a position to do everything which Sheila's neighbors do, but especially in this day of increasing prices and limited resources, each of us would do well to develop as many of these energy-saving habits as we can.
First, the eco-friendly home that Sheila thinks is weird actually is fabulous. A whole host of green ideas are presented without ever being preachy to Sheila or to the readers.
Second, the book is very entertaining as Sheila slowly begins to realize that perhaps what she thought was weird actually isn't that odd at all. The neighbors have some interesting ideas that just might be pretty good after all. And Sheila must admit that eating homemade soup and playing by the fire is actually pretty cool.
Maybe, like Sheila, you will find that some of the green ideas are really not so weird.
My source: I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Tilbury House Publishers in exchange for an honest review but the opinion is all mine.