Monthly Archives: April 2011

Marvelous Magical MagicBlox

Today we welcome Jason Lane of MagicBlox to the blog and we’re going to talk about his new online children’s book library available to families by subscription.

Dani: Jason, welcome to the Little Pickle Press blog. First tell us why you decided to create MagicBlox. How did you start the site?

Jason: Our vision was to create and grow a digital library full of wonderful books to enrich the lives of children around the world and give parents affordable access for less than the cost of just a couple of paper books. We also give authors and publishers the ability to add their kids books for free, enabling a new distribution channel for them to make money and get recognized.
Dani: And it’s a lot of magic for a little money – an unlimited annual fee for the access pass is only $19.99. There are also shorter increments you can sign up for and one month trial is free. How do you get books for the library, and what age groups are you focusing on?
Jason: We’re always on the look-out for new independent children’s book authors to add to the library and there’s a page just for them at the website. Our books are geared to children kindergarten through 5th grade.
Dani:  How does one read a MagicBlox book?
Jason: Simply find a book title that looks interesting on our virtual book shelf, and then click on a few big buttons that even a toddler can use. Here’s the screen below.

Click on the screen to enlarge

Dani: I have to jump in and tell about the Little Pickle Press books that you have in the library, which I’ve just tried out using your marvelous page-turning magic! Readers here know that the LPP books are all printed in an environmentally sound manner, and having good e-book capability is part of the green model the company follows. It’s wonderful to have the books available for reading and review on the MagicBlox site, and if the book becomes well-loved and the reader wants a hardcopy, they can buy one at the Little Pickle Press website. This makes more sense to me than buying books sight-unseen and ending up with another product that doesn’t get used.

Jason: We have some new things coming, too, including plans to build out Native iPad and Android applications to make the reading experience much more enjoyable and exciting and new books are added every week.  At the rate we’re going, we should have at least 200 titles by the end of the year.  To help speed that up, we’re also working on a few relationships that will enhance the selection in a big way.

Dani: What are some last words to really explain what MagicBlox is about?

Jason: The key value props? Affordable, interactive fun, unlimited anytime use, that puts books in kids’ hands, and encourages reading 24 hours a day.
Dani: You’ll be meeting up with the LPP Team this weekend, right? Tell us about it.
Jason: We’ll be sharing a booth (#348) at the LA Times Festival of Books on the University of Southern California campus. Stop by and see us!
Dani:  You’ll no doubt be tweeting on-location. (Jason is the king of social networking, and that’s another reason to get your kidlit on his site! This man knows how to promote.) Readers can read and tweet along by using hashtag #LATFOB. Everyone be sure to connect with Jason at his various online sites, and try out the magical MagicBlox online children’s book library by purchasing an access pass today. There’s even a gift card option for grandparents who want to give the gift of reading at an affordable cost.

YouTube

If you have questions for Jason, by all means leave them in the comments.

Marvelous Magical MagicBlox

Today we welcome Jason Lane of MagicBlox to the blog and we’re going to talk about his new online children’s book library available to families by subscription.

Dani: Jason, welcome to the Little Pickle Press blog. First tell us why you decided to create MagicBlox. How did you start the site?

Jason: Our vision was to create and grow a digital library full of wonderful books to enrich the lives of children around the world and give parents affordable access for less than the cost of just a couple of paper books. We also give authors and publishers the ability to add their kids books for free, enabling a new distribution channel for them to make money and get recognized.
Dani: And it’s a lot of magic for a little money – an unlimited annual fee for the access pass is only $19.99. There are also shorter increments you can sign up for and one month trial is free. How do you get books for the library, and what age groups are you focusing on?
Jason: We’re always on the look-out for new independent children’s book authors to add to the library and there’s a page just for them at the website. Our books are geared to children kindergarten through 5th grade.
Dani:  How does one read a MagicBlox book?
Jason: Simply find a book title that looks interesting on our virtual book shelf, and then click on a few big buttons that even a toddler can use. Here’s the screen below.

Click on the screen to enlarge

Dani: I have to jump in and tell about the Little Pickle Press books that you have in the library, which I’ve just tried out using your marvelous page-turning magic! Readers here know that the LPP books are all printed in an environmentally sound manner, and having good e-book capability is part of the green model the company follows. It’s wonderful to have the books available for reading and review on the MagicBlox site, and if the book becomes well-loved and the reader wants a hardcopy, they can buy one at the Little Pickle Press website. This makes more sense to me than buying books sight-unseen and ending up with another product that doesn’t get used.

Jason: We have some new things coming, too, including plans to build out Native iPad and Android applications to make the reading experience much more enjoyable and exciting and new books are added every week.  At the rate we’re going, we should have at least 200 titles by the end of the year.  To help speed that up, we’re also working on a few relationships that will enhance the selection in a big way.

Dani: What are some last words to really explain what MagicBlox is about?

Jason: The key value props? Affordable, interactive fun, unlimited anytime use, that puts books in kids’ hands, and encourages reading 24 hours a day.
Dani: You’ll be meeting up with the LPP Team this weekend, right? Tell us about it.
Jason: We’ll be sharing a booth (#348) at the LA Times Festival of Books on the University of Southern California campus. Stop by and see us!
Dani:  You’ll no doubt be tweeting on-location. (Jason is the king of social networking, and that’s another reason to get your kidlit on his site! This man knows how to promote.) Readers can read and tweet along by using hashtag #LATFOB. Everyone be sure to connect with Jason at his various online sites, and try out the magical MagicBlox online children’s book library by purchasing an access pass today. There’s even a gift card option for grandparents who want to give the gift of reading at an affordable cost.

YouTube

If you have questions for Jason, by all means leave them in the comments.

Living Green on Zen

By Cameron Burgess

“Every generation needs a new revolution.” – Thomas Jefferson

Over a hundred years ago, our third president spoke this well-known quotation, speaking for the generations alive at his time. And now, in 2011, that is still true. Every generation really does need a revolution; it just depends on what the revolution is. Right now, it seems to me that ‘going green’ is a very revolutionary topic and, maybe, that’s what my generation will be known for.

Ever since I was little, I knew that my family was going to, someday, live on a boat and sail as far around the world as we could get. Finally, that came true in 2008, when we left Rhode Island on our 50-foot catamaran named Zen. For two years my brother, parents, and I sailed from Newport to New Zealand via the Panama Canal and South Pacific. The experiences were absolutely amazing and I’ve got memories that will last a lifetime, but what I wanted to tell you about was our lifestyle. Obviously, living on a boat is quite different from living on land, and how we lived was quite ‘green’.

For starters, we used very, very little electricity. There was no dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, microwave or any other of those big appliances. We opened the fridge and freezer as little as possible because we didn’t want to let the cold air out. Water was a very precious resource on the boat and, although we had a water maker, it used a lot of energy that we had to conserve. So, showers were jumping off the back of the boat to get wet, then soaping off, jumping back in the water to rinse off and then spraying yourself down really fast with a fresh water hose that was on the back transom and using as little as water possible. Of course, the water was normally cold unless the engines had been running and therefore heating the water that was in the little tank beside it.

As for making all this energy that we tried to conserve? Well, there obviously wasn’t a power plant that followed us around the ocean, so we used solar panels and a wind generator. The solar panels were the biggest source of energy because in the majority of the places where we were, there was a lot of sun! There was also a lot of wind, which made the small wind generator on the back of the boat quite helpful as well. If there was no sun and no wind, we’d start up the engines and let them run in neutral while they charged the batteries, which was where all of our electricity came from. But, of course, we didn’t want to do that all the time because that would be, in a sense, wasting fuel that wasn’t always easy to come by.

Those are only the major things that made our life on Zen ‘green’. We also ate only fresh foods because that was all we could find on the tiny islands we visited! Not only does growing everything fresh help the environment, but it is also the ideal way to keep your body healthy and fit, which is a growing problem in the US especially. But don’t read this article and get all depressed, thinking that you’re not ‘green’!

Remember, in a revolution, there are people who really stand out and push to make a change, but without their supporters, and the people who do all the small stuff, there would be no revolution. So, plant some flowers, watch spring grow, and think about all those little, revolutionary things.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cammi Burgess is a thirteen-year-old girl living in Rhode Island with her younger brother, Cole, two parents and an 18-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Harley. She has been taking ballet since age two and is now training at a pre-professional level with a small, Russian studio for 17 hours per week. Aside from dance, Cammi loves writing and is currently working on a series of science fiction novels. She’s been home-schooled since sixth grade, but next year, she will be starting at a ‘real’ high school as a ninth grader.

Living Green on Zen

By Cameron Burgess

“Every generation needs a new revolution.” – Thomas Jefferson

Over a hundred years ago, our third president spoke this well-known quotation, speaking for the generations alive at his time. And now, in 2011, that is still true. Every generation really does need a revolution; it just depends on what the revolution is. Right now, it seems to me that ‘going green’ is a very revolutionary topic and, maybe, that’s what my generation will be known for.

Ever since I was little, I knew that my family was going to, someday, live on a boat and sail as far around the world as we could get. Finally, that came true in 2008, when we left Rhode Island on our 50-foot catamaran named Zen. For two years my brother, parents, and I sailed from Newport to New Zealand via the Panama Canal and South Pacific. The experiences were absolutely amazing and I’ve got memories that will last a lifetime, but what I wanted to tell you about was our lifestyle. Obviously, living on a boat is quite different from living on land, and how we lived was quite ‘green’.

For starters, we used very, very little electricity. There was no dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, microwave or any other of those big appliances. We opened the fridge and freezer as little as possible because we didn’t want to let the cold air out. Water was a very precious resource on the boat and, although we had a water maker, it used a lot of energy that we had to conserve. So, showers were jumping off the back of the boat to get wet, then soaping off, jumping back in the water to rinse off and then spraying yourself down really fast with a fresh water hose that was on the back transom and using as little as water possible. Of course, the water was normally cold unless the engines had been running and therefore heating the water that was in the little tank beside it.

As for making all this energy that we tried to conserve? Well, there obviously wasn’t a power plant that followed us around the ocean, so we used solar panels and a wind generator. The solar panels were the biggest source of energy because in the majority of the places where we were, there was a lot of sun! There was also a lot of wind, which made the small wind generator on the back of the boat quite helpful as well. If there was no sun and no wind, we’d start up the engines and let them run in neutral while they charged the batteries, which was where all of our electricity came from. But, of course, we didn’t want to do that all the time because that would be, in a sense, wasting fuel that wasn’t always easy to come by.

Those are only the major things that made our life on Zen ‘green’. We also ate only fresh foods because that was all we could find on the tiny islands we visited! Not only does growing everything fresh help the environment, but it is also the ideal way to keep your body healthy and fit, which is a growing problem in the US especially. But don’t read this article and get all depressed, thinking that you’re not ‘green’!

Remember, in a revolution, there are people who really stand out and push to make a change, but without their supporters, and the people who do all the small stuff, there would be no revolution. So, plant some flowers, watch spring grow, and think about all those little, revolutionary things.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cammi Burgess is a thirteen-year-old girl living in Rhode Island with her younger brother, Cole, two parents and an 18-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Harley. She has been taking ballet since age two and is now training at a pre-professional level with a small, Russian studio for 17 hours per week. Aside from dance, Cammi loves writing and is currently working on a series of science fiction novels. She’s been home-schooled since sixth grade, but next year, she will be starting at a ‘real’ high school as a ninth grader.

Zipongo

By Jason Langheier, MD, MPH/CEO and Founder of Zipongo

Healthy, balanced living isn’t always easy, especially when you have your hands full taking care of little pickles (the kid type, not the salty cucumbers). At Zipongo, our mission is to Empower Fun, Healthy Living that is Convenient, Affordable and Enjoyed with friends. Our job is to help you enjoy the daily pleasures of life–Food, Sports & Exercise, Sleep, Activities with your kids–while also staying balanced, so you can keep enjoying them.

Healthy Deals

What if there was a way to save 50% or more of what you normally spend on some of your family’s favorite healthy, eco-friendly types of foods? Zipongo helps you explore the coolest, tastiest and balanced natural foods with Healthy Deals, coming out this June at Andronico’s Community Markets across the Bay Area. We include reviews about the food that highlight why it’s unique – including nutritional attributes and background on the business that makes it – so that you can learn about new products that are good for you and for your little pickles. To get the scoop when the first wave of deals are released, subscribe now.

Nutrient Badges

Healthy living isn’t just about calories – it’s about balance. With that in mind, we designed a unique feature in our food journal: nutrient badges that show how well you balance your eating. When you eat plenty of a good nutrient, the Life Power tab moves to the “Good Job!” column to show you that your efforts are paying off. “Stay Balanced” nutrients tell you when you get too much or too little of a key nutrient. You can also keep tabs on “Watch Out…” nutrients like Sodium, and see which foods most caused the spike in their intake.

You can also share your success on goals like getting more sleep with Zeo or losing weight with Withing’s Scale, when you access them via Zipongo. This lets you see the relationship between your food, exercise, and health outcomes using the LifeMap.  Eating too late at night?  Not exercising long enough?  Maybe your sleep would improve if you could be intentional about a change.
You can join Zipongo free by clicking here.

Zipongo

By Jason Langheier, MD, MPH/CEO and Founder of Zipongo

Healthy, balanced living isn’t always easy, especially when you have your hands full taking care of little pickles (the kid type, not the salty cucumbers). At Zipongo, our mission is to Empower Fun, Healthy Living that is Convenient, Affordable and Enjoyed with friends. Our job is to help you enjoy the daily pleasures of life–Food, Sports & Exercise, Sleep, Activities with your kids–while also staying balanced, so you can keep enjoying them.

Healthy Deals

What if there was a way to save 50% or more of what you normally spend on some of your family’s favorite healthy, eco-friendly types of foods? Zipongo helps you explore the coolest, tastiest and balanced natural foods with Healthy Deals, coming out this June at Andronico’s Community Markets across the Bay Area. We include reviews about the food that highlight why it’s unique – including nutritional attributes and background on the business that makes it – so that you can learn about new products that are good for you and for your little pickles. To get the scoop when the first wave of deals are released, subscribe now.

Nutrient Badges

Healthy living isn’t just about calories – it’s about balance. With that in mind, we designed a unique feature in our food journal: nutrient badges that show how well you balance your eating. When you eat plenty of a good nutrient, the Life Power tab moves to the “Good Job!” column to show you that your efforts are paying off. “Stay Balanced” nutrients tell you when you get too much or too little of a key nutrient. You can also keep tabs on “Watch Out…” nutrients like Sodium, and see which foods most caused the spike in their intake.

You can also share your success on goals like getting more sleep with Zeo or losing weight with Withing’s Scale, when you access them via Zipongo. This lets you see the relationship between your food, exercise, and health outcomes using the LifeMap.  Eating too late at night?  Not exercising long enough?  Maybe your sleep would improve if you could be intentional about a change.
You can join Zipongo free by clicking here.

Re-use of Plastic Packaging

By Land Wilson, Author of Sofia’s Dream

Photo from http://www.greenerearthbags.com/

The use of plastics in packaging is pervasive. For a year and a half now, I have saved most of my plastic waste in an effort to see my impact on our county landfill. Though I look like one of those extreme hoarders on TV with bundles of plastic lying around, I have a better understanding of my impact. What an eye opener!

As my bundles started multiplying, I was faced with what to do with all of this material that has briefly served me and its manufacturers, but will not serve countless generations to follow. In my searching for a way to use these materials, I have found that once cleaned, a lot of food packaging can be washed, then air-dried, and then stored in a clean drawer in the refrigerator for ongoing use. Also, lots of plastic packaging is good packing material. Wads of clean potato chip bags, bread bags, nut bags and frozen food bags do a nice job at protecting things I ship. With a little note asking the receiver of a package to use the materials again, sometimes my discards may get re-used.
While the re-use of plastic packaging does slow down its buildup in our environment, a better solution is to decrease the amount of plastic we take into our homes. This is a challenge because even grocery stores who profess concern for the environment still rely heavily on plastics. We have to keep doing our best by buying food in bulk in conjunction with more widespread use of reusable bags and containers. And for those plastics that we just can’t live without, the use of 100% biodegradable and compostable packaging free of all polyethylene is a more responsible solution. 
I like what our local garbage guru, Joe Garbarino says, “If it cannot be recycled, it shouldn’t have been made in the first place.” These are wise words from a man who knows all about garbage and landfill.

Re-use of Plastic Packaging

By Land Wilson, Author of Sofia’s Dream

Photo from http://www.greenerearthbags.com/

The use of plastics in packaging is pervasive. For a year and a half now, I have saved most of my plastic waste in an effort to see my impact on our county landfill. Though I look like one of those extreme hoarders on TV with bundles of plastic lying around, I have a better understanding of my impact. What an eye opener!

As my bundles started multiplying, I was faced with what to do with all of this material that has briefly served me and its manufacturers, but will not serve countless generations to follow. In my searching for a way to use these materials, I have found that once cleaned, a lot of food packaging can be washed, then air-dried, and then stored in a clean drawer in the refrigerator for ongoing use. Also, lots of plastic packaging is good packing material. Wads of clean potato chip bags, bread bags, nut bags and frozen food bags do a nice job at protecting things I ship. With a little note asking the receiver of a package to use the materials again, sometimes my discards may get re-used.
While the re-use of plastic packaging does slow down its buildup in our environment, a better solution is to decrease the amount of plastic we take into our homes. This is a challenge because even grocery stores who profess concern for the environment still rely heavily on plastics. We have to keep doing our best by buying food in bulk in conjunction with more widespread use of reusable bags and containers. And for those plastics that we just can’t live without, the use of 100% biodegradable and compostable packaging free of all polyethylene is a more responsible solution. 
I like what our local garbage guru, Joe Garbarino says, “If it cannot be recycled, it shouldn’t have been made in the first place.” These are wise words from a man who knows all about garbage and landfill.

Los AngelesTimes Festival of Books

What: The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
When: April 30 – May 1, 2011
How much: General attendance is free! Daily parking is $10.
Who: Everyone who loves books.

Why: For readers to meet their favorite authors, kids to watch children’s books come to life, and families to enjoy the fun of reading together.
Watch this delightful video for more information:

For a schedule of the panels and stage presentations click here.  Don’t miss one of the premier book festivals in the country. The Little Pickle Press team plans to attend, so please stop by Booth #348 to visit us as well as our technology partner, MagicBlox. Are you planning to be there?

Los AngelesTimes Festival of Books

What: The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
When: April 30 – May 1, 2011
How much: General attendance is free! Daily parking is $10.
Who: Everyone who loves books.

Why: For readers to meet their favorite authors, kids to watch children’s books come to life, and families to enjoy the fun of reading together.
Watch this delightful video for more information:

For a schedule of the panels and stage presentations click here.  Don’t miss one of the premier book festivals in the country. The Little Pickle Press team plans to attend, so please stop by Booth #348 to visit us as well as our technology partner, MagicBlox. Are you planning to be there?

The History of Earth Day

By Dani Greer

“I am wondering where you were on April 22, 1970? Were you aware, and did you celebrate Earth Day way back in the 70’s?”
A friend posed this question on an online forum yesterday, and it took me back to high school days. I did indeed know about Earth Day, because several teachers in the military school I attended in Germany were from California and were very environmentally conscious, as was the German culture in which we lived. So it’s not surprising that my green roots were planted early on.
In an earlier blog post we wrote about the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, where in 1970 that city’s celebration began, propelled by an oil spill offshore in 1969.  Earth Day was founded there by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. It marked the beginning of the environmental movement, and it was estimated 20 million people participated on some level throughout the country.
While this first Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. The Earth Day Network included NGOs, quasi-governmental agencies, local governments, activists, and others. Earth Day Network members focused on environmental education; local, national, and global policies; public environmental campaigns; and organizing national and local earth day events to promote activism and environmental protection.

It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly why the movement not only lasted but blossomed for more than forty years, and slowly made inroads into mainstream thinking. Certainly, the straightforward Earth Day name (rhymes with Birthday) and the scheduling at the vernal equinox, when the natural switch from winter to spring brought a sense of rebirth, helped lay the psychological groundworks. But perhaps more important was the organization of the early movement, or more clearly stated, the lack of organization. Earth Day was at its foundation, a grass roots effort. As Senator Nelson attests, it simply grew on its own:

“Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.”
From decade to decade, the movement has grown worldwide, and in 2000 Earth Day first used the Internet as its principal organizing tool, which proved invaluable domestically and internationally. The movement has grown exponentially in the eleven years since that marker event.
But is it enough? In the four decades since the Santa Barbara oil spill, a memory of a more recent oil disaster looms. Perhaps even more consequential is the nuclear disaster in Japan. How much more can the planet take? Do you think we’re doing enough to turn the tide of environmental degradation? If not, what are some thoughts on how to improve the situation for future generations. Please leave us a comment.
A reminder that we are offering a 25% off special this month for our two eco-focused titles, What Does It Mean To Be Green? and Sofia’sDream. Please use LPPGREEN at check-out. If you would like to donate a portion of your purchase to Mercy Corps to help with Japan relief efforts, please enter LPPJAPAN at checkout and thank you for your generosity.

The History of Earth Day

By Dani Greer

“I am wondering where you were on April 22, 1970? Were you aware, and did you celebrate Earth Day way back in the 70’s?”
A friend posed this question on an online forum yesterday, and it took me back to high school days. I did indeed know about Earth Day, because several teachers in the military school I attended in Germany were from California and were very environmentally conscious, as was the German culture in which we lived. So it’s not surprising that my green roots were planted early on.
In an earlier blog post we wrote about the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, where in 1970 that city’s celebration began, propelled by an oil spill offshore in 1969.  Earth Day was founded there by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. It marked the beginning of the environmental movement, and it was estimated 20 million people participated on some level throughout the country.
While this first Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. The Earth Day Network included NGOs, quasi-governmental agencies, local governments, activists, and others. Earth Day Network members focused on environmental education; local, national, and global policies; public environmental campaigns; and organizing national and local earth day events to promote activism and environmental protection.

It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly why the movement not only lasted but blossomed for more than forty years, and slowly made inroads into mainstream thinking. Certainly, the straightforward Earth Day name (rhymes with Birthday) and the scheduling at the vernal equinox, when the natural switch from winter to spring brought a sense of rebirth, helped lay the psychological groundworks. But perhaps more important was the organization of the early movement, or more clearly stated, the lack of organization. Earth Day was at its foundation, a grass roots effort. As Senator Nelson attests, it simply grew on its own:

“Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.”
From decade to decade, the movement has grown worldwide, and in 2000 Earth Day first used the Internet as its principal organizing tool, which proved invaluable domestically and internationally. The movement has grown exponentially in the eleven years since that marker event.
But is it enough? In the four decades since the Santa Barbara oil spill, a memory of a more recent oil disaster looms. Perhaps even more consequential is the nuclear disaster in Japan. How much more can the planet take? Do you think we’re doing enough to turn the tide of environmental degradation? If not, what are some thoughts on how to improve the situation for future generations. Please leave us a comment.
A reminder that we are offering a 25% off special this month for our two eco-focused titles, What Does It Mean To Be Green? and Sofia’sDream. Please use LPPGREEN at check-out. If you would like to donate a portion of your purchase to Mercy Corps to help with Japan relief efforts, please enter LPPJAPAN at checkout and thank you for your generosity.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Honors Earth Day 2011

by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson
Greetings from Sacramento, California where the sun shines 320 days a year, and we are going green!

If you visit my office at Sacramento City Hall, you’ll see Rana’s book What Does it Mean to Be Green? when you walk into the Mayor’s Office. I am a great fan of Rana’s because she combines three things I believe in when she writes – a simple message, a call for action, and educating kids.

A Simple Message. Last year, I started an initiative called Greenwise Sacramento. I was encouraged by a young graduate student in my office who said that green was the future.  I talked with leaders in our region and learned that Sacramento had lots of green jobs; in fact, we have 14,000 and were creating new green jobs faster than anyone in California. Our region grows millions of tons of food that is exported to the rest of the country and has more solar panels per person than any city in our State. 
 

From this inspiration and research, I developed my vision – to transform Sacramento into the Emerald Valley – the greenest region in the country and a hub for clean technology.
Former Governor Schwarzenegger was there with me last May to launch Greenwise.  I invited speakers each month to Sacramento to share their simple messages at my Greenwise meetings. Hundreds of people in our region heard from environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. that good economic policy is good environmental policy. Pulitzer-Prize winning author Thomas Friedman challenged us to make green a part of everyday life saying that “Green is the new Red, White, and Blue.” Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters encouraged us to eat healthy and especially offer good food to our schoolchildren.  Author Van Jones said the green movement is a chance for everyone to be involved including the least among us.
I learned from my famous friends and my neighbors in Sacramento that we can become the greenest region in the country, creating jobs and protecting the environment. The message is simple – set goals, work together and do the right thing for future generations.

Call to Action. So now I have a Greenwise Regional Action Plan that includes the great ideas from everyone in the region who participated in Greenwise. (You can see the Plan at www.greenwisesacramento.com.) I unveiled the Plan at my State of the City address in January 2011. The Plan includes goals that will truly transform Sacramento. And those goals are supported by real action that is already happening.

For example, our schools are going green with a bold  goal to retrofit 15 million square feet of school facilities by 2020. In July, we will welcome a U.S. Green Building Council Green Schools Fellow to the Sacramento City Unified School District who will work to green every part of our schools from curriculum to school gardens to buying green. The savings that can happen when we aren’t paying for energy or water that we can conserve are amazing. The Sacramento City Unified School District just completed a lighting retrofit in 50 schools with help from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. The school district is now saving $600,000 per year on their energy bills! Now that’s action that helps our schools and our students. And, it’s only the beginning!  We hosted a Green Schools Summit in March to invite even more of our school districts to go green. We will share what we learn from each other and invite the kids to be part of the learning.

Educating Students. One of my favorite days during Greenwise was our Youth Summit. We invited high school kids from throughout our region to brainstorm their ideas on going green and getting young people engaged. We heard from the Alliance for Climate Education which teaches kids all over the country about climate change. We had hip hop artists who wrote original rap songs about the environment. And we heard from Dr. Michael Ziccardi, a UC Davis professor and wildlife veterinarian about his work in the Gulf of Mexico to rescue hundreds of animals following the BP oil spill.

The ideas from the students at the Youth Summit are included in the Greenwise Plan. Many of them were going back to their schools with the message to be involved through volunteering or studying in a field related to solving some of the environmental challenges we face.  I learned as much from them as they did from our guest speakers.

This Earth Day, I will be sharing my vision for Sacramento at a number of events. My message at these events will be simple – we all need to take action and every action counts. We already are in Sacramento! And I encourage everyone, young and old, to be involved in making green part of who we are and what we do everyday!

Have a great Earth Day!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mayor Kevin Johnson is the 55th Mayor of Sacramento and the first born and raised in Sacramento. He has launched a number of initiatives in Sacramento to improve education, address homelessness, enhance the arts, encourage service, and transform Sacramento into the Emerald Valley. Visit www.cityofsacramento.org/mayor to learn more.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Honors Earth Day 2011

by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson
Greetings from Sacramento, California where the sun shines 320 days a year, and we are going green!

If you visit my office at Sacramento City Hall, you’ll see Rana’s book What Does it Mean to Be Green? when you walk into the Mayor’s Office. I am a great fan of Rana’s because she combines three things I believe in when she writes – a simple message, a call for action, and educating kids.

A Simple Message. Last year, I started an initiative called Greenwise Sacramento. I was encouraged by a young graduate student in my office who said that green was the future.  I talked with leaders in our region and learned that Sacramento had lots of green jobs; in fact, we have 14,000 and were creating new green jobs faster than anyone in California. Our region grows millions of tons of food that is exported to the rest of the country and has more solar panels per person than any city in our State. 
 

From this inspiration and research, I developed my vision – to transform Sacramento into the Emerald Valley – the greenest region in the country and a hub for clean technology.
Former Governor Schwarzenegger was there with me last May to launch Greenwise.  I invited speakers each month to Sacramento to share their simple messages at my Greenwise meetings. Hundreds of people in our region heard from environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. that good economic policy is good environmental policy. Pulitzer-Prize winning author Thomas Friedman challenged us to make green a part of everyday life saying that “Green is the new Red, White, and Blue.” Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters encouraged us to eat healthy and especially offer good food to our schoolchildren.  Author Van Jones said the green movement is a chance for everyone to be involved including the least among us.
I learned from my famous friends and my neighbors in Sacramento that we can become the greenest region in the country, creating jobs and protecting the environment. The message is simple – set goals, work together and do the right thing for future generations.

Call to Action. So now I have a Greenwise Regional Action Plan that includes the great ideas from everyone in the region who participated in Greenwise. (You can see the Plan at www.greenwisesacramento.com.) I unveiled the Plan at my State of the City address in January 2011. The Plan includes goals that will truly transform Sacramento. And those goals are supported by real action that is already happening.

For example, our schools are going green with a bold  goal to retrofit 15 million square feet of school facilities by 2020. In July, we will welcome a U.S. Green Building Council Green Schools Fellow to the Sacramento City Unified School District who will work to green every part of our schools from curriculum to school gardens to buying green. The savings that can happen when we aren’t paying for energy or water that we can conserve are amazing. The Sacramento City Unified School District just completed a lighting retrofit in 50 schools with help from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. The school district is now saving $600,000 per year on their energy bills! Now that’s action that helps our schools and our students. And, it’s only the beginning!  We hosted a Green Schools Summit in March to invite even more of our school districts to go green. We will share what we learn from each other and invite the kids to be part of the learning.

Educating Students. One of my favorite days during Greenwise was our Youth Summit. We invited high school kids from throughout our region to brainstorm their ideas on going green and getting young people engaged. We heard from the Alliance for Climate Education which teaches kids all over the country about climate change. We had hip hop artists who wrote original rap songs about the environment. And we heard from Dr. Michael Ziccardi, a UC Davis professor and wildlife veterinarian about his work in the Gulf of Mexico to rescue hundreds of animals following the BP oil spill.

The ideas from the students at the Youth Summit are included in the Greenwise Plan. Many of them were going back to their schools with the message to be involved through volunteering or studying in a field related to solving some of the environmental challenges we face.  I learned as much from them as they did from our guest speakers.

This Earth Day, I will be sharing my vision for Sacramento at a number of events. My message at these events will be simple – we all need to take action and every action counts. We already are in Sacramento! And I encourage everyone, young and old, to be involved in making green part of who we are and what we do everyday!

Have a great Earth Day!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mayor Kevin Johnson is the 55th Mayor of Sacramento and the first born and raised in Sacramento. He has launched a number of initiatives in Sacramento to improve education, address homelessness, enhance the arts, encourage service, and transform Sacramento into the Emerald Valley. Visit www.cityofsacramento.org/mayor to learn more.

Reflections of Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival

By Kara Petersen

I was lucky enough to spend my weekend at the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival with Sofia’s Dream author, Land Wilson. I may be slightly biased but I know if you ask other festival goers they will agree with me; one of the highlights of this year’s festival was Land. His passionate environmentalism is infectious. He is a gracious educator who not only presented twice to the crowd but engaged in in-depth, one-on-one conversations with children and adults alike. Also, the 80-degree sunshine on Saturday was quite enjoyable and I’m glad our Chief Executive Pickle, Rana DiOrio, and Marketing Director, Leslie Iorillo, were there to enjoy it with us.

One of my favorite aspects about working for Little Pickle Press is sharing books with children, which I was able to do all weekend. Despite being right across from the very popular face painting booth hosted by Peanuts Maternity, many children came to our booth to flip through the five Little Pickle Press titles. I was even lucky enough to sit in the grass and read to a couple of them.

The Community Environmental Council and Loa Tree Collective did an amazing job of producing a truly global event. Local companies were side-by-side with international organizations all gathered to promote the protection of our planet.

One of the companies I learned about this year is Empower Playgrounds, Inc. The non-profit charity builds electricity generating playground equipment throughout Africa. The merry-go-round on display this weekend provided hours of entertainment for children and gave parents the hope for a good long nap when they got home. Karen van Gool, Children’s Enchanted Forest Volunteer Coordinator said EPI would be back next year, and generating power to the stage!

As I watched families exit the children’s section and head to the food court, I noticed many of them carrying little cardboard flower pots filled with dirt and seedlings from the Petite Pediatrics booth. When they headed back to their homes, I smiled, knowing that Little Pickle Press and Land Wilson planted a few seeds this weekend, too.

A reminder, readers, that you will receive 25% off your purchase of Sofia’s Dream and What Does It Mean to Be Green? with coupon code LPPGREEN throughout the month of April. Please click here to order.

Reflections of Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival

By Kara Petersen

I was lucky enough to spend my weekend at the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival with Sofia’s Dream author, Land Wilson. I may be slightly biased but I know if you ask other festival goers they will agree with me; one of the highlights of this year’s festival was Land. His passionate environmentalism is infectious. He is a gracious educator who not only presented twice to the crowd but engaged in in-depth, one-on-one conversations with children and adults alike. Also, the 80-degree sunshine on Saturday was quite enjoyable and I’m glad our Chief Executive Pickle, Rana DiOrio, and Marketing Director, Leslie Iorillo, were there to enjoy it with us.

One of my favorite aspects about working for Little Pickle Press is sharing books with children, which I was able to do all weekend. Despite being right across from the very popular face painting booth hosted by Peanuts Maternity, many children came to our booth to flip through the five Little Pickle Press titles. I was even lucky enough to sit in the grass and read to a couple of them.

The Community Environmental Council and Loa Tree Collective did an amazing job of producing a truly global event. Local companies were side-by-side with international organizations all gathered to promote the protection of our planet.

One of the companies I learned about this year is Empower Playgrounds, Inc. The non-profit charity builds electricity generating playground equipment throughout Africa. The merry-go-round on display this weekend provided hours of entertainment for children and gave parents the hope for a good long nap when they got home. Karen van Gool, Children’s Enchanted Forest Volunteer Coordinator said EPI would be back next year, and generating power to the stage!

As I watched families exit the children’s section and head to the food court, I noticed many of them carrying little cardboard flower pots filled with dirt and seedlings from the Petite Pediatrics booth. When they headed back to their homes, I smiled, knowing that Little Pickle Press and Land Wilson planted a few seeds this weekend, too.

A reminder, readers, that you will receive 25% off your purchase of Sofia’s Dream and What Does It Mean to Be Green? with coupon code LPPGREEN throughout the month of April. Please click here to order.

Impressions of gogreenexpo Los Angeles 2011

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
Our Director, Art & Marketing, Leslie Iorillo, and I attended the LA gogreenexpo for the first time on Friday. We met many interesting and passionate people, and I wanted to share with you some of the knowledge we garnered.
It’s all about the lid. We met Kristy Nardini, Founder and CEO of Tazzini who has developed a stainless steel bottle with a unique, patent-pending lid and a contoured design for ease of handling. She developed the product out of necessity. She has 9-year old twins, one who is immuno-compromised and the other who periodically demonstrates the signs. So she wanted them to drink their water from non-leaching, non-toxic, BPA-free vessels.
The best food containers ever. Then we met with Lillian Zhang of ecopro, purveyor of premium bamboo fiber, biodegradable tableware. Their slogan is, “We love the Earth. And we work hard for it.” Their containers are simple, elegant, and eco-friendly. It stuns me that restaurants still pack their carry-home food in Styrofoam and that we let them! In case you were not aware, Styrofoam you put in a landfill today will still be there 500 years from now. So, ecopro has an all-natural solution that is made from only bamboo with no other resins or chemicals. They are amazing products.
Gift wrap that grows. Next we met Jim Johansen, Founder of Triumph Plant Co. and CEO of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Little Kay Gardens. Little Kay Gardens produces 100% recycled paper that contains wild flower garden seeds that grow within days of being planted. The kits come with raffia and gift tags with instructions. As their marketing collateral suggests, “They’ll love the gift wrap as much as the gift!”
The best part for us. The best part of gogreenexpo for us was listening to and then meeting Eric Corey Freed, Founder of Organic Architect. We attended his keynote address on Friday afternoon and have been thinking about it ever since. Rather than summarize his talk, which would take pages, I thought I would list several of the most important messages, which I sent as tweets on Twitter:
“Our job is to make every building a #green building.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“We (BP) destroyed the entire Gulf habitat for 6 hours worth of US oil consumption.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“Maybe we need to reevaluate our priorities.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo #beinggreen
Perspective: You can purchase >100 homes in Detroit for the price of 1 home in LA. @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo #wow
“On Detroit: “The Motor City is becoming The Urban Farm City.” “We can reinvent the modern city.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“The average Californian spends 84 hours/year stuck in traffic.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo #publictransit
“The car destroys community.” The heavier the traffic, the less people interact. @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“If you build human scale elements (instead of car scale ones), the humans will return.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“We need a new design brief where people come first, not cars.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo #greenbuilding
“Why nothing has changed: There are 4 climate lobbyists for every member of Congress.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Edmund Burke via @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“How can you help? Just pick a problem and run at it.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo #getinvolved #beinggreen
If you feel as though I haven’t given you enough to sink your teeth into, that was my intent. I wanted to pique your interest so you would follow @ericcoreyfreed on Twitter and learn more about his passionate and impactful activism. As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.

Impressions of gogreenexpo Los Angeles 2011

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
Our Director, Art & Marketing, Leslie Iorillo, and I attended the LA gogreenexpo for the first time on Friday. We met many interesting and passionate people, and I wanted to share with you some of the knowledge we garnered.
It’s all about the lid. We met Kristy Nardini, Founder and CEO of Tazzini who has developed a stainless steel bottle with a unique, patent-pending lid and a contoured design for ease of handling. She developed the product out of necessity. She has 9-year old twins, one who is immuno-compromised and the other who periodically demonstrates the signs. So she wanted them to drink their water from non-leaching, non-toxic, BPA-free vessels.
The best food containers ever. Then we met with Lillian Zhang of ecopro, purveyor of premium bamboo fiber, biodegradable tableware. Their slogan is, “We love the Earth. And we work hard for it.” Their containers are simple, elegant, and eco-friendly. It stuns me that restaurants still pack their carry-home food in Styrofoam and that we let them! In case you were not aware, Styrofoam you put in a landfill today will still be there 500 years from now. So, ecopro has an all-natural solution that is made from only bamboo with no other resins or chemicals. They are amazing products.
Gift wrap that grows. Next we met Jim Johansen, Founder of Triumph Plant Co. and CEO of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Little Kay Gardens. Little Kay Gardens produces 100% recycled paper that contains wild flower garden seeds that grow within days of being planted. The kits come with raffia and gift tags with instructions. As their marketing collateral suggests, “They’ll love the gift wrap as much as the gift!”
The best part for us. The best part of gogreenexpo for us was listening to and then meeting Eric Corey Freed, Founder of Organic Architect. We attended his keynote address on Friday afternoon and have been thinking about it ever since. Rather than summarize his talk, which would take pages, I thought I would list several of the most important messages, which I sent as tweets on Twitter:
“Our job is to make every building a #green building.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“We (BP) destroyed the entire Gulf habitat for 6 hours worth of US oil consumption.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“Maybe we need to reevaluate our priorities.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo #beinggreen
Perspective: You can purchase >100 homes in Detroit for the price of 1 home in LA. @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo #wow
“On Detroit: “The Motor City is becoming The Urban Farm City.” “We can reinvent the modern city.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“The average Californian spends 84 hours/year stuck in traffic.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo #publictransit
“The car destroys community.” The heavier the traffic, the less people interact. @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“If you build human scale elements (instead of car scale ones), the humans will return.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“We need a new design brief where people come first, not cars.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo #greenbuilding
“Why nothing has changed: There are 4 climate lobbyists for every member of Congress.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Edmund Burke via @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo
“How can you help? Just pick a problem and run at it.” @ericcoreyfreed #gogreenexpo #getinvolved #beinggreen
If you feel as though I haven’t given you enough to sink your teeth into, that was my intent. I wanted to pique your interest so you would follow @ericcoreyfreed on Twitter and learn more about his passionate and impactful activism. As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.

2011 Earth Day Booklet – Free!

Earth Day is coming up next week on April 22nd, and we’ll write more about how this event came to be in a future post. Today we want to direct you to the marvelous 2011 Earth Day Booklet we are giving to you for free. This 18-page booklet is packed with ideas for parents, teachers, and librarians and is geared for children in grades K-2.

You’ll want to start the exercises at the beginning of Earth Week coming up on Monday – the activities are divided into five days and deal with each of the elements:

  1. Monday – Water
  2. Tuesday – Fire
  3. Wednesday – Earth
  4. Thursday – Air
  5. Friday – Spirit of Life

Each category has an explanation of the element, demonstrations to help students understand, exercises for them to do, questions to answer, and additional activities involving art, music, and other experiences. For example, the earth category explains the process of planting seeds, watching them grow, then harvesting seeds to start the cycle anew.

Next, the booklet explores ecological footprints and the impact of our energy use and trash.

There are games and projects to engage students and teachers alike, including one that utilizes the glossary of ecological terms and definitions: from Air pollution – Wind energy.

Last but not least, a list of projects that can engage the entire classroom or school is included. It’s a must-read mini-book for teachers. Don’t miss reading it this weekend, and start your students on Monday with a fun week of Earth Day activities! Click here to download the pdf today. Please spread the word so everyone can participate.

Do you have any special activities planned for Earth Day?

2011 Earth Day Booklet – Free!

Earth Day is coming up next week on April 22nd, and we’ll write more about how this event came to be in a future post. Today we want to direct you to the marvelous 2011 Earth Day Booklet we are giving to you for free. This 18-page booklet is packed with ideas for parents, teachers, and librarians and is geared for children in grades K-2.

You’ll want to start the exercises at the beginning of Earth Week coming up on Monday – the activities are divided into five days and deal with each of the elements:

  1. Monday – Water
  2. Tuesday – Fire
  3. Wednesday – Earth
  4. Thursday – Air
  5. Friday – Spirit of Life

Each category has an explanation of the element, demonstrations to help students understand, exercises for them to do, questions to answer, and additional activities involving art, music, and other experiences. For example, the earth category explains the process of planting seeds, watching them grow, then harvesting seeds to start the cycle anew.

Next, the booklet explores ecological footprints and the impact of our energy use and trash.

There are games and projects to engage students and teachers alike, including one that utilizes the glossary of ecological terms and definitions: from Air pollution – Wind energy.

Last but not least, a list of projects that can engage the entire classroom or school is included. It’s a must-read mini-book for teachers. Don’t miss reading it this weekend, and start your students on Monday with a fun week of Earth Day activities! Click here to download the pdf today. Please spread the word so everyone can participate.

Do you have any special activities planned for Earth Day?

Monthly Feature: Main Street Books

Meet Joan Klanfer of Main Street Books in White Plains, New York. Joan has a long history in communications and publishing, and loves books of all kinds. It wasn’t surprising then, that she would volunteer to run the book fair at her son’s school. The first fair made twice as much money as ever before. So she did another fair that summer. We didn’t ask how many more after that.

It was at one of these school fairs that Joan met Harold Makanoff, who had sold a successful book fair business to Scholastic Books, but soon tired of the cookie-cutter approach to the fairs. As soon as he could, he opened Main Street Books, and Joan joined the crew. She has worked there now for ten years, and does everything including managing staff, selecting and buying books, and attending trade shows.
Maria Mostajo, Little Pickle Press Director of Non-Profit Partnerships, recently met with Joan Klanfer, and here is part of their conversation:
Maria: What makes Main Street Books special?
Joan: The depth and breadth of the books in our warehouse.  And the high quality service that we provide each of our clients.  We do 250 books fairs in the tri-state (NY, CT and NJ ) area per year and our business has grown by word-of-mouth. We don’t do much marketing. What distinguishes us from other book sellers is that I spend time with each client, I walk them through our warehouse, and I customize each and every book fair. We also offer next day re-order so that if there are books that sold out and the client needs more, we will deliver the very next day. We also provide tracking/analysis for the following year’s fair/event. We provide promotion ideas for the event and walk the committee chair through every step of the process.
Maria: What is the most challenging part of your job?
Joan: Juggling everything to run the best business that I can since I order and buy the books, I meet with the client, and I customize each fair.
Maria:  What do you do to keep up with the industry?
Joan: I attend trade shows and I read a lot. I will attend the ABA (AmericanBooksellers Association)  in New York City this May and will also go to RI (Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books) in the Fall.
Maria: What is your favorite part of the job?
Joan: Working with people: the book fair chairs and getting to know their communities better each year.  It allows me to customize and specialize each fair.  I also like the relationships I have developed with publishers, as it gives me an edge on what is out there and what I can offer my clients.
Thank you ladies, for sharing with our readers this very special part of the children’s book business – bringing all the wonderful titles to school libraries and children everywhere. If you have questions, please leave them in the comments and Maria and Joan will stop by to answer them.
We love the book that Joan is holding up in the picture above, our very own What Does It Mean To Be Global?  It’s just one of the Little Pickle Press books that is part of this month’s earthquake relief effort in Japan. We will donate 20% of sales to Mercy Corps with coupon code LPPJAPAN at checkout. Thank you for your global generosity.