Monthly Archives: April 2013

Cradle to Cradle: Not Just Talking about Revolution

By Khadijah Lacina

William McDonough, who along with Dr. Michael Braungart is a co-founder of the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) movement, said in a TED talk introducing the concept, “Our goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy, and just world, with clean air, water, soil, and power- economically, ecologically, and elegantly enjoyed!”

What more could you ask, right? Most people would agree with this vision, but what makes the visionaries and designers of C2C different is their use of their expertise in various fields to make this dream a reality.

The people who design products- whether a baby blanket or a building for Ford Motor Company- look first and foremost at the end game. What do they want the end result of their design to be? They want every step of the process, from design to implementation, to be socially just, environmentally beneficial, high performance, and aesthetically pleasing; ensuring  “… life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness …” jokes McDonough, summarizing this idea. They consider a product’s full life cycle, from creation with sustainable materials in a manner that honors the environment and people involved in the production process, to a recycled afterlife.

Since its inception in 1992, the C2C paradigm has grown to include a process by which products can be “Cradle to Cradle Certified.” By doing this, they have spread the concept from a limited number of people and products to potentially embrace millions of others.

“The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s verified rating system for assessing and constantly improving products is based on five categories–renewable energy, clean water, material health, social responsibility, and material reutilization.

This (total quality) framework has been designed to support companies in creating products that are “more good” rather than simply “less bad.” Each of the five categories spell out the steps necessary for transforming products, while the Innovation Hub on the Institute website provides expert and peer advice in how to get there. The result? Industry will achieve new levels of environmental and human health and safety for all products sold to consumers. Products that meet the criteria of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s rating system will receive the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM mark.

One thing that really struck me while learning about C2C was that it makes the idea of social responsibility and environmental awareness easily accessible to most people. People live and think on different levels: not all of them are ready to give up cars and carpets entirely, yet they want to make a positive impact on the world around them. By looking for the Cradle to Cradle certification mark, these people can be sure that the products they are using are not only of the highest quality, but have been produced from beginning to end in a manner that promotes sustainability and social justice.
As William McDonough says, “How do we love the children of all species, for all time?” 

Cradle to Cradle: Not Just Talking about Revolution

By Khadijah Lacina

William McDonough, who along with Dr. Michael Braungart is a co-founder of the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) movement, said in a TED talk introducing the concept, “Our goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy, and just world, with clean air, water, soil, and power- economically, ecologically, and elegantly enjoyed!”

What more could you ask, right? Most people would agree with this vision, but what makes the visionaries and designers of C2C different is their use of their expertise in various fields to make this dream a reality.

The people who design products- whether a baby blanket or a building for Ford Motor Company- look first and foremost at the end game. What do they want the end result of their design to be? They want every step of the process, from design to implementation, to be socially just, environmentally beneficial, high performance, and aesthetically pleasing; ensuring  “… life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness …” jokes McDonough, summarizing this idea. They consider a product’s full life cycle, from creation with sustainable materials in a manner that honors the environment and people involved in the production process, to a recycled afterlife.

Since its inception in 1992, the C2C paradigm has grown to include a process by which products can be “Cradle to Cradle Certified.” By doing this, they have spread the concept from a limited number of people and products to potentially embrace millions of others.

“The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s verified rating system for assessing and constantly improving products is based on five categories–renewable energy, clean water, material health, social responsibility, and material reutilization.

This (total quality) framework has been designed to support companies in creating products that are “more good” rather than simply “less bad.” Each of the five categories spell out the steps necessary for transforming products, while the Innovation Hub on the Institute website provides expert and peer advice in how to get there. The result? Industry will achieve new levels of environmental and human health and safety for all products sold to consumers. Products that meet the criteria of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s rating system will receive the Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM mark.

One thing that really struck me while learning about C2C was that it makes the idea of social responsibility and environmental awareness easily accessible to most people. People live and think on different levels: not all of them are ready to give up cars and carpets entirely, yet they want to make a positive impact on the world around them. By looking for the Cradle to Cradle certification mark, these people can be sure that the products they are using are not only of the highest quality, but have been produced from beginning to end in a manner that promotes sustainability and social justice.
As William McDonough says, “How do we love the children of all species, for all time?” 

Rising Expectations

By Audrey Lintner

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
Imagine that you’re an astronaut. Wedged into a tiny capsule, you journey to the moon. From the lunar surface, you watch in awe as Earth comes into view over the horizon. Heading for home, you come to the heartlifting realization that all of us, from creatures to constellations, are parts of a harmonious whole.

It was this very discovery by Dr. Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, which led to the creation of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and gave a name to the Institute’s Retreat Center: EarthRise.

Located north of San Francisco, EarthRise at IONS is, according to the website, “a conscious living center that provides a gathering place to explore ancient wisdom traditions, supports experiential learning, and engages in modern scientific inquiry.”

The opportunities for learning present themselves in a number of ways, including the very inviting EarthRise Books and Gifts. Situated inside the community building, this lovely shop offers a wealth of treats for the mindful visitor. Locally-created jewelry and artwork adorn the walls and shelves, and there are plenty of books to draw the eye as well. What better way to ground yourself than by relaxing under one of the Retreat’s oak trees with a good book?

Visitors to the Center speak enthusiastically about the peaceful and beautiful setting, the friendly staff, and the overall feeling of connectedness. Striking a comfortable balance between science and spirituality, EarthRise Books and Gifts is a testament to the transformative powers of seeing with more than just your eyes.

Rising Expectations

By Audrey Lintner

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
Imagine that you’re an astronaut. Wedged into a tiny capsule, you journey to the moon. From the lunar surface, you watch in awe as Earth comes into view over the horizon. Heading for home, you come to the heartlifting realization that all of us, from creatures to constellations, are parts of a harmonious whole.

It was this very discovery by Dr. Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, which led to the creation of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and gave a name to the Institute’s Retreat Center: EarthRise.

Located north of San Francisco, EarthRise at IONS is, according to the website, “a conscious living center that provides a gathering place to explore ancient wisdom traditions, supports experiential learning, and engages in modern scientific inquiry.”

The opportunities for learning present themselves in a number of ways, including the very inviting EarthRise Books and Gifts. Situated inside the community building, this lovely shop offers a wealth of treats for the mindful visitor. Locally-created jewelry and artwork adorn the walls and shelves, and there are plenty of books to draw the eye as well. What better way to ground yourself than by relaxing under one of the Retreat’s oak trees with a good book?

Visitors to the Center speak enthusiastically about the peaceful and beautiful setting, the friendly staff, and the overall feeling of connectedness. Striking a comfortable balance between science and spirituality, EarthRise Books and Gifts is a testament to the transformative powers of seeing with more than just your eyes.

What Does It Mean To Recover?

By Kelly Wickham, Social Media Director

Image Credit: hawaiibusiness.com

With all of the ways in which families do their part to being responsible citizens of earth, the easiest is to reduce. Next, for me, is to recycle. It’s fairly easy to throw our bottles and cans and plastic waste into the bin for the recycling company to use. Re-using is easy, too, and we follow the old saying:

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

But recovering is another topic altogether. Recovering is not something we can do, but it’s something we can support. When companies recover, they change energy from materials into something they can use to make the products we purchase. For example, companies can recover the energy in our trash by burning it and turning that into electricity. What this does is save us in the purchase our countries make for the nearly 32 billion barrels of oil we use for energy.

It’s kind of a new way of thinking about energy and, if you’re like me, you’ve noticed the increase of windmills across the United States and the energy they’re creating. It is, of course, a trade off, because there are other issues that accompany that, but if it reduces our dependence on imported oil then maybe it is a good thing.

Another thing recovering helps do is provide an endless supply of the fuels we use for powering our lives. By burning our trash and using it to make electricity, we have found a sustainable way to continue our use of energy without having to buy oil in other countries. Of course, it helps to turn off the lights and save on fuel costs in our homes if we turn down the heat and AC once in a while, too. In order not to use too much, my family makes a concerted effort to wear more clothing and layer underneath our sweaters in the winter months and keep more doors and windows open in the warmer months. That’s a small contribution to make to use recovered energy.

So, when you’re thinking about all the R’s we covered here at Little Pickle Press to make a greater impact on Earth Month, remember to support companies that recover energy and work smarter. Recovering helps reduce our imported oil dependence, provides a fuel supply for power, and helps to broaden the life of the landfills we already have. 

What Does It Mean To Recover?

By Kelly Wickham, Social Media Director

Image Credit: hawaiibusiness.com

With all of the ways in which families do their part to being responsible citizens of earth, the easiest is to reduce. Next, for me, is to recycle. It’s fairly easy to throw our bottles and cans and plastic waste into the bin for the recycling company to use. Re-using is easy, too, and we follow the old saying:

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

But recovering is another topic altogether. Recovering is not something we can do, but it’s something we can support. When companies recover, they change energy from materials into something they can use to make the products we purchase. For example, companies can recover the energy in our trash by burning it and turning that into electricity. What this does is save us in the purchase our countries make for the nearly 32 billion barrels of oil we use for energy.

It’s kind of a new way of thinking about energy and, if you’re like me, you’ve noticed the increase of windmills across the United States and the energy they’re creating. It is, of course, a trade off, because there are other issues that accompany that, but if it reduces our dependence on imported oil then maybe it is a good thing.

Another thing recovering helps do is provide an endless supply of the fuels we use for powering our lives. By burning our trash and using it to make electricity, we have found a sustainable way to continue our use of energy without having to buy oil in other countries. Of course, it helps to turn off the lights and save on fuel costs in our homes if we turn down the heat and AC once in a while, too. In order not to use too much, my family makes a concerted effort to wear more clothing and layer underneath our sweaters in the winter months and keep more doors and windows open in the warmer months. That’s a small contribution to make to use recovered energy.

So, when you’re thinking about all the R’s we covered here at Little Pickle Press to make a greater impact on Earth Month, remember to support companies that recover energy and work smarter. Recovering helps reduce our imported oil dependence, provides a fuel supply for power, and helps to broaden the life of the landfills we already have. 

Happy Earth Day from LPP!

By Cameron Crane and Kelly Wickham

Today, in celebration of Earth Day’s 42nd anniversary, we have collected some of our favorite articles and videos hitting the press. If you have a few moments, we highly recommend stopping by a few of these!

Earth Day, An Animated Tribute, Video by Mother Nature Network
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Celebrate Earth Day with us!

If you haven’t already, please don’t forget to download our complimentary Earth Day Activity Booklet, full of fun activities for celebrating the planet with your children!

If you are looking for an Earth Day read, be sure to check out Sofia’s Dream and What Does It Mean To Be Green?, two of our award-winning books that inspire children to become environmental heroes. 

Happy Earth Day from LPP!

By Cameron Crane and Kelly Wickham

Today, in celebration of Earth Day’s 42nd anniversary, we have collected some of our favorite articles and videos hitting the press. If you have a few moments, we highly recommend stopping by a few of these!

Earth Day, An Animated Tribute, Video by Mother Nature Network

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Celebrate Earth Day with us!

If you haven’t already, please don’t forget to download our complimentary Earth Day Activity Booklet, full of fun activities for celebrating the planet with your children!

If you are looking for an Earth Day read, be sure to check out Sofia’s Dream and What Does It Mean To Be Green?, two of our award-winning books that inspire children to become environmental heroes. 

Ten Green Ideas For Earth Day

By Audrey Lintner

Once again, it’s time to stop and smell the recycling. Earth Day is upon us, and that means a celebration. But what to do? With the help of Google and Pinterest and other time stealing inspirational websites, you’re bound to find something for the whole family to enjoy. It took some doing, but I managed to choose just ten from the zillions of possibilities.

Prepare for the big event by downloading LPP’s complimentary Earth Day Activity Booklet, and then cruise your house for supplies.

  1. Egg Box Garden—A little soil, a few seeds, and some water are all you need to make your carton grow. Once your seedlings are standing tall, you can plant the biodegradable cardboard carton directly in your outdoor garden spot.
  2. Feed the Birds—Pinecones and peanut butter go together like chocolate and caramel, but they’re much safer for the birds. Slather a pinecone (or three) with peanut butter, and then roll it in bird seed. Tie a short piece of jute twine to the stem and hang up your homemade feeder near a window.
  3. Creature Comforts—Is that box of cereal empty? Don’t throw it away just yet! Open it up, flatten it out, and you’ve got a sturdy sculpting material. Cut the cardboard into strips to make a caterpillar chain. Decorate half a dozen butterflies to hang as a mobile. You can even cut away just one broad side of the box to make a backdrop for an aquarium diorama!
  4. Earth Day Cakes—Tint cake batter blue and green before swirling the colors together to bake up some palatable planets. If you have a large cake decorating tip, you can give each one a “molten core” of strawberry jam.
  5. Watch the Wind—Use sturdy construction paper (or that empty cereal box) and some ribbons or crepe paper streamers to make a windsock. You’ll add some color you your yard and see which way your hat will blow.
  6. Print Your Praises—Write your own poem about our planet. Choose a word or phrase like “Earth Day” or “Recycle,” and create a mini-opus by starting each line with a letter from your chosen words.
  7. Cut the Power—How low can you go in power consumption? Put your heads together to come up with meals, activities, and entertainment that requires little to no gas or electricity. See who can go the longest without reaching for a cell phone or laptop. Spend the day outside to take advantage of all that free light.
  8. Adopt-A-Mile—Grab your gloves and garbage bags and de-clutter the ditches! Adopt-A-Mile programs get communities involved in making the world a cleaner, greener place.
  9. Listen to the Rhythm—What’s more earth-friendly than rain? Evoke the sounds of a spring rain with a homemade rainstick. Cap off one end of a paper towel tube with craft paper and a rubber band, add a handful of uncooked rice and some long, pleated strips of thin cardboard (there’s that cereal box again). Cap the other end, add some decorations, and enjoy a leak-proof indoor storm.
  10. Plant a Tree—It’s almost a cliché by now, but planting a tree is my favorite Earth Day activity. Choose native stock for heat and drought tolerance, and don’t forget to check for water and power lines before you dig.

Like I said, there are tons of ideas out there for a green celebration; these are just a few. What will you be doing for Earth Day? Share your thoughts in the comment section; we love to “read” from you!

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

Ten Green Ideas For Earth Day

By Audrey Lintner

Once again, it’s time to stop and smell the recycling. Earth Day is upon us, and that means a celebration. But what to do? With the help of Google and Pinterest and other time stealing inspirational websites, you’re bound to find something for the whole family to enjoy. It took some doing, but I managed to choose just ten from the zillions of possibilities.

Prepare for the big event by downloading LPP’s complimentary Earth Day Activity Booklet, and then cruise your house for supplies.

  1. Egg Box Garden—A little soil, a few seeds, and some water are all you need to make your carton grow. Once your seedlings are standing tall, you can plant the biodegradable cardboard carton directly in your outdoor garden spot.
  2. Feed the Birds—Pinecones and peanut butter go together like chocolate and caramel, but they’re much safer for the birds. Slather a pinecone (or three) with peanut butter, and then roll it in bird seed. Tie a short piece of jute twine to the stem and hang up your homemade feeder near a window.
  3. Creature Comforts—Is that box of cereal empty? Don’t throw it away just yet! Open it up, flatten it out, and you’ve got a sturdy sculpting material. Cut the cardboard into strips to make a caterpillar chain. Decorate half a dozen butterflies to hang as a mobile. You can even cut away just one broad side of the box to make a backdrop for an aquarium diorama!
  4. Earth Day Cakes—Tint cake batter blue and green before swirling the colors together to bake up some palatable planets. If you have a large cake decorating tip, you can give each one a “molten core” of strawberry jam.
  5. Watch the Wind—Use sturdy construction paper (or that empty cereal box) and some ribbons or crepe paper streamers to make a windsock. You’ll add some color you your yard and see which way your hat will blow.
  6. Print Your Praises—Write your own poem about our planet. Choose a word or phrase like “Earth Day” or “Recycle,” and create a mini-opus by starting each line with a letter from your chosen words.
  7. Cut the Power—How low can you go in power consumption? Put your heads together to come up with meals, activities, and entertainment that requires little to no gas or electricity. See who can go the longest without reaching for a cell phone or laptop. Spend the day outside to take advantage of all that free light.
  8. Adopt-A-Mile—Grab your gloves and garbage bags and de-clutter the ditches! Adopt-A-Mile programs get communities involved in making the world a cleaner, greener place.
  9. Listen to the Rhythm—What’s more earth-friendly than rain? Evoke the sounds of a spring rain with a homemade rainstick. Cap off one end of a paper towel tube with craft paper and a rubber band, add a handful of uncooked rice and some long, pleated strips of thin cardboard (there’s that cereal box again). Cap the other end, add some decorations, and enjoy a leak-proof indoor storm.
  10. Plant a Tree—It’s almost a cliché by now, but planting a tree is my favorite Earth Day activity. Choose native stock for heat and drought tolerance, and don’t forget to check for water and power lines before you dig.

Like I said, there are tons of ideas out there for a green celebration; these are just a few. What will you be doing for Earth Day? Share your thoughts in the comment section; we love to “read” from you!

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

What Does It Mean To Recycle?

By Cameron Crane



I was 17 when I first made recycling a practice. I was working at a popular coffee shop as a barista, and for some reason, they did not have a recycling bin. Each day, I would watch customer after customer throwing paper cups and plastic bottles in to the trash. Some of our customers didn’t think twice about it. Some looked for the recycling bin before tossing their items in, but only a rare few would actually come up and ask if we recycled. When I raised the problem with my manager, she stated that there was nothing we could do.
From that day forward, whenever a customer asked to recycle, I would run their bottle to a plastic bin I brought from home. Fortunately, my apartment complex at the time (which was only about a block and a half away) made it extraordinarily easy to recycle them. I became extra conscious whenever I found myself in a coffee shop or restaurant. Fortunately, today most restaurants and coffee chains, including the one I worked for, have changed their standard practices to include recycling bins. Better late than never, right? 
I was about six when I learned what ‘recycling’ was, and probably about nine when I understood its significance. I am not proud of it.
What does it mean to recycle? If you asked six-year-old me, she would say it was using two or three different colored trashcans. Nine-year-old me would probably say it is a system designed to prevent waste of materials that could potentially be reusedan effort that in some way could maybe save the planet. Recycling was never difficult for me to understand, it was just inconvenient to practice.
So, what is recycling to me today? It’s walking the extra block to make sure that I recycle when I give in and buy a bottled beverage. It’s taking thirty extra seconds to break down the boxes of the packages I receive. It’s resisting the urge to dump my junk mail in the trashcan next to the mailbox, and taking it downstairs to be shredded instead. It’s taking two separate bags up the driveway each week instead of one. It’s saving my ink cartridges until the next time I run to the office supply store. It’s recognizing that that extra minute each day, that seven inconvenient minutes a week, can make a world of difference. 

What Does It Mean To Recycle?

By Cameron Crane



I was 17 when I first made recycling a practice. I was working at a popular coffee shop as a barista, and for some reason, they did not have a recycling bin. Each day, I would watch customer after customer throwing paper cups and plastic bottles in to the trash. Some of our customers didn’t think twice about it. Some looked for the recycling bin before tossing their items in, but only a rare few would actually come up and ask if we recycled. When I raised the problem with my manager, she stated that there was nothing we could do.
From that day forward, whenever a customer asked to recycle, I would run their bottle to a plastic bin I brought from home. Fortunately, my apartment complex at the time (which was only about a block and a half away) made it extraordinarily easy to recycle them. I became extra conscious whenever I found myself in a coffee shop or restaurant. Fortunately, today most restaurants and coffee chains, including the one I worked for, have changed their standard practices to include recycling bins. Better late than never, right? 
I was about six when I learned what ‘recycling’ was, and probably about nine when I understood its significance. I am not proud of it.
What does it mean to recycle? If you asked six-year-old me, she would say it was using two or three different colored trashcans. Nine-year-old me would probably say it is a system designed to prevent waste of materials that could potentially be reusedan effort that in some way could maybe save the planet. Recycling was never difficult for me to understand, it was just inconvenient to practice.
So, what is recycling to me today? It’s walking the extra block to make sure that I recycle when I give in and buy a bottled beverage. It’s taking thirty extra seconds to break down the boxes of the packages I receive. It’s resisting the urge to dump my junk mail in the trashcan next to the mailbox, and taking it downstairs to be shredded instead. It’s taking two separate bags up the driveway each week instead of one. It’s saving my ink cartridges until the next time I run to the office supply store. It’s recognizing that that extra minute each day, that seven inconvenient minutes a week, can make a world of difference. 

The 4 R’s: Reuse

By Khadijah Lacina

Image Credit: randomrecycling.com
My family has always been very conscious of how everything we do affects the environment– not just our immediate surroundings, but the world environment as well. The children don’t necessarily know the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover” mantra, but they do understand the principles and practice these in their everyday lives.
The most important “R” we practice, though, is to “refuse.” We live very simply, and don’t clutter up our lives with lots of extra stuff. We choose what we buy carefully, with an eye towards conservation and how we can get the most use out of each purchase. To that end, we do an awful lot of “reusing” and the children are wonderful at coming up with ways to do this.

One of the best ways to reuse containers and packaging materials is to make toys out of them. The children in Yemen were so good at this. Toys were difficult to come by, and expensive, so most often they just made playthings out of what they could find on the streets. These things would go in cycles, with first one homemade toy and then another being all the rage.

For a while, it was airplanes made very cleverly from plastic soda bottles, complete with propeller (sound was provided by the time honored blowing through pursed lips). Another time it was racecars made from cast off boxes or vegetable oil boxes that the children would race down the street. In Shihr, a fishing town on the coast that we lived in for two years, the kids would make push toys out of the spools that the fishing line came on. Dolls were made by stuffing old baby clothes with rags and tying the arms, legs, and neck shut.

Whenever I see children in the stores whining for the newest princess doll or electronic car, I think of the fun that the Yemeni children had with things that other people would look at as garbage, and am thankful that my children are like the ones in Yemen, if not by nationality, then by character.

My family’s latest reuse project here focuses around our garden. We don’t have much money to put into it, so we used cast off lumber from house renovation as well as boards taken from windows that had been boarded up and made raised beds and a compost bin with them. (Actually, composting is reusing as well–using your kitchen scraps to make lovely, lovely dirt!) We are making underground watering containers out of plastic soda bottles, and a worm composting tower out of a couple of cast-off storage containers. We are also figuring out a way to reuse sink and clothes washing water by filtering it and using it to water the garden.

How about you? Share some of your ideas and experiences with reusing with us!

The 4 R’s: Reuse

By Khadijah Lacina

Image Credit: randomrecycling.com
My family has always been very conscious of how everything we do affects the environment– not just our immediate surroundings, but the world environment as well. The children don’t necessarily know the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover” mantra, but they do understand the principles and practice these in their everyday lives.
The most important “R” we practice, though, is to “refuse.” We live very simply, and don’t clutter up our lives with lots of extra stuff. We choose what we buy carefully, with an eye towards conservation and how we can get the most use out of each purchase. To that end, we do an awful lot of “reusing” and the children are wonderful at coming up with ways to do this.

One of the best ways to reuse containers and packaging materials is to make toys out of them. The children in Yemen were so good at this. Toys were difficult to come by, and expensive, so most often they just made playthings out of what they could find on the streets. These things would go in cycles, with first one homemade toy and then another being all the rage.

For a while, it was airplanes made very cleverly from plastic soda bottles, complete with propeller (sound was provided by the time honored blowing through pursed lips). Another time it was racecars made from cast off boxes or vegetable oil boxes that the children would race down the street. In Shihr, a fishing town on the coast that we lived in for two years, the kids would make push toys out of the spools that the fishing line came on. Dolls were made by stuffing old baby clothes with rags and tying the arms, legs, and neck shut.

Whenever I see children in the stores whining for the newest princess doll or electronic car, I think of the fun that the Yemeni children had with things that other people would look at as garbage, and am thankful that my children are like the ones in Yemen, if not by nationality, then by character.

My family’s latest reuse project here focuses around our garden. We don’t have much money to put into it, so we used cast off lumber from house renovation as well as boards taken from windows that had been boarded up and made raised beds and a compost bin with them. (Actually, composting is reusing as well–using your kitchen scraps to make lovely, lovely dirt!) We are making underground watering containers out of plastic soda bottles, and a worm composting tower out of a couple of cast-off storage containers. We are also figuring out a way to reuse sink and clothes washing water by filtering it and using it to water the garden.

How about you? Share some of your ideas and experiences with reusing with us!

Save a Life. Buy a Scarf.

By Kelly Wickham, Social Media Director

Genet Scarf, FashionABLE
Back in October of last year I went on a trip with the ONE Moms group and learned a lot about what the group does to help decrease preventable diseases and eliminate extreme poverty. That sounds simple enough, but what I really wondered was this: what does that look like? It’s my favorite question to ask when I learn about something new. If there’s a new teaching practice that someone is explaining to me I ask, “What does that look like in the classroom?” and it’s a question that, as a learner, has served me well.
Do you know what eliminating extreme poverty looks like for women in Ethiopia? It looks like a company that takes women off the streets and teaches them skills and transfers that skill into an employable probability. The company that brought this to life for me was Live Fashionable, a non-profit fair-trade in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. First, I want you to meet a woman who works there named Genet.

Genet and her daughter
This is Genet and her daughter who is 6 years old. Genet left her abusive family and, unfortunately, ended up on the streets as a sex worker. I’m certain that I don’t have to tell you how dangerous a job that is and, since this is a story with a happy ending, let’s leave that behind and get on to the good stuff.
Genet is a weaver who made this gorgeous scarf that came from a brilliant crowdsourced idea from Gabrielle Blair, Design Mom and founder of the ALT Summit design conference. Gabrielle traveled with me and Rana DiOrio, our own Chief Pickle here, when we traveled with ONE Moms. Basically, it ended up being a contest to design a special scarf that Genet would make and FashionABLE would sell. The profits, of course, would help sustain Genet and her daughter and provide a way for her to make a living for her family.

That’s what it looks like. It looks like a mother in Ethiopia working with a mother in France for a conference in the United States that brings awareness to a global organization that is making a tangible difference in the world.

Genet scarf being worn by ONE Mom Maya Haile
Doesn’t that look beautiful?
The first time the ONE Moms visited the FashionABLE factory we took to our own social media accounts and reached out to our family and friends and shouted from the rooftops YOU HAVE TO BUY A SCARF FROM THIS PLACE. Do you know what it looks like when a group of women with a reach of 25 million tells everyone they can to buy something? It looks like this: a cleared out, sold out factory that has to hire more women that saves lives.

This coming Mother’s Day would be a fantastic time to get in on this action of making a difference in the world and owning a hand-crafted scarf from Genet. Due to the special nature of how the scarf came about, it is a limited edition that ships on April 17. Having seen what this looks like first-hand, I can tell you how great it feels to buy a FashionABLE scarf knowing what the outcome really is and what it looks like: it looks like supporting women.

The Genet scarf is $65 and you can buy it at FashionAble here or here.

Save a Life. Buy a Scarf.

By Kelly Wickham, Social Media Director

Genet Scarf, FashionABLE
Back in October of last year I went on a trip with the ONE Moms group and learned a lot about what the group does to help decrease preventable diseases and eliminate extreme poverty. That sounds simple enough, but what I really wondered was this: what does that look like? It’s my favorite question to ask when I learn about something new. If there’s a new teaching practice that someone is explaining to me I ask, “What does that look like in the classroom?” and it’s a question that, as a learner, has served me well.
Do you know what eliminating extreme poverty looks like for women in Ethiopia? It looks like a company that takes women off the streets and teaches them skills and transfers that skill into an employable probability. The company that brought this to life for me was Live Fashionable, a non-profit fair-trade in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. First, I want you to meet a woman who works there named Genet.

Genet and her daughter
This is Genet and her daughter who is 6 years old. Genet left her abusive family and, unfortunately, ended up on the streets as a sex worker. I’m certain that I don’t have to tell you how dangerous a job that is and, since this is a story with a happy ending, let’s leave that behind and get on to the good stuff.
Genet is a weaver who made this gorgeous scarf that came from a brilliant crowdsourced idea from Gabrielle Blair, Design Mom and founder of the ALT Summit design conference. Gabrielle traveled with me and Rana DiOrio, our own Chief Pickle here, when we traveled with ONE Moms. Basically, it ended up being a contest to design a special scarf that Genet would make and FashionABLE would sell. The profits, of course, would help sustain Genet and her daughter and provide a way for her to make a living for her family.

That’s what it looks like. It looks like a mother in Ethiopia working with a mother in France for a conference in the United States that brings awareness to a global organization that is making a tangible difference in the world.

Genet scarf being worn by ONE Mom Maya Haile
Doesn’t that look beautiful?
The first time the ONE Moms visited the FashionABLE factory we took to our own social media accounts and reached out to our family and friends and shouted from the rooftops YOU HAVE TO BUY A SCARF FROM THIS PLACE. Do you know what it looks like when a group of women with a reach of 25 million tells everyone they can to buy something? It looks like this: a cleared out, sold out factory that has to hire more women that saves lives.

This coming Mother’s Day would be a fantastic time to get in on this action of making a difference in the world and owning a hand-crafted scarf from Genet. Due to the special nature of how the scarf came about, it is a limited edition that ships on April 17. Having seen what this looks like first-hand, I can tell you how great it feels to buy a FashionABLE scarf knowing what the outcome really is and what it looks like: it looks like supporting women.

The Genet scarf is $65 and you can buy it at FashionAble here or here.

What Does It Mean to Reduce?

By Audrey Lintner

It’s a good question. In my case, if reducing means cutting down on my daily vat of coffee, I plan to run screaming from the building. Luckily, that’s not what we’re talking about today.


In the environmentalist’s handbook, the Three R’s are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Let’s have a look at that first one: Reduce. According to the dictionary, reducecan mean to make smaller, as in weight.


Yeah, totally not going there.  I like me the way I am.


Another definition is to lower in degree or intensity. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. Reduce, to lessen. Carbon footprints, anyone?


I can think of three ways to reduce, right off the top of my head. No, not a haircut. I mean stuff like packaging, water consumption, and fuel. Let’s start with water. Overused and underrated, water is actually one of the easiest resources to conserve.


The next time you drop an ice cube, toss it in a potted plant instead of your sink. Sweep your driveway instead of hosing it down. Build a rain barrel to quench thirsty garden plants. Shower in your clothes to save on laundry.


Okay, maybe not that last one. But you get the idea.


What about packaging? If location is a prime factor in choosing, let packaging be a prime factor in using. Select products with a minimum of wrappings and trappings, and try to pick things in recyclable packaging. This will not only reduce your environmental impact, it’ll reduce your stress. If I need an engineering degree to open a box of cereal, I’m opting for eggs.


Now for the biggie: fuel. The consumption of fuel can be reduced on local and global scales. Looking for produce? Bike to the Farmer’s Market and stock up on veggies. This not only saves gas in your car, it cuts the number of miles that your tomatoes travel in order to reach you. Plan shopping excursions in order to get the most out of every mile. Park in a central location and walk to as many of your destinations as possible. Carpool whenever possible, or use public transportation.


Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

When you get your gray matter in gear, you can do just about anything. Nudge your noodle into conservation mode and share some of your best reducing ideas in the comment section. We love to “read” from you!

What Does It Mean to Reduce?

By Audrey Lintner

It’s a good question. In my case, if reducing means cutting down on my daily vat of coffee, I plan to run screaming from the building. Luckily, that’s not what we’re talking about today.


In the environmentalist’s handbook, the Three R’s are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Let’s have a look at that first one: Reduce. According to the dictionary, reducecan mean to make smaller, as in weight.


Yeah, totally not going there.  I like me the way I am.


Another definition is to lower in degree or intensity. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. Reduce, to lessen. Carbon footprints, anyone?


I can think of three ways to reduce, right off the top of my head. No, not a haircut. I mean stuff like packaging, water consumption, and fuel. Let’s start with water. Overused and underrated, water is actually one of the easiest resources to conserve.


The next time you drop an ice cube, toss it in a potted plant instead of your sink. Sweep your driveway instead of hosing it down. Build a rain barrel to quench thirsty garden plants. Shower in your clothes to save on laundry.


Okay, maybe not that last one. But you get the idea.


What about packaging? If location is a prime factor in choosing, let packaging be a prime factor in using. Select products with a minimum of wrappings and trappings, and try to pick things in recyclable packaging. This will not only reduce your environmental impact, it’ll reduce your stress. If I need an engineering degree to open a box of cereal, I’m opting for eggs.


Now for the biggie: fuel. The consumption of fuel can be reduced on local and global scales. Looking for produce? Bike to the Farmer’s Market and stock up on veggies. This not only saves gas in your car, it cuts the number of miles that your tomatoes travel in order to reach you. Plan shopping excursions in order to get the most out of every mile. Park in a central location and walk to as many of your destinations as possible. Carpool whenever possible, or use public transportation.


Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

When you get your gray matter in gear, you can do just about anything. Nudge your noodle into conservation mode and share some of your best reducing ideas in the comment section. We love to “read” from you!

IBPA Publishing University 2013

By Kelly Wickham

Later this month both Rana DiOrio, Chief Pickle around these here parts, and I will be attending the Independent Book Publisher’s Association Publishing University in Chicago to learn more about the industry’s best practices, share and learn ideas for the publishing business, and hopefully leave with more knowledge in improving Little Pickle Press to its highest standards possible. In effect, it is a conference designed for newer publishing houses as well as the cutting edge (and ever-changing!) industry that includes the digital landscape of the publishing world.

Rana will be speaking at the event, and I will be attending for the first time. In my almost 20 years as an educator, both in the classroom as a teacher and as an administrator who leads both teachers and students, I have attended my share of conferences. Once, when a consulting firm was leading the work we do at my home school district in a conference, I got up and spoke so muchthat the owner of the firm approached me and asked me to speak. I didn’t mind talking in front of people and also, and this one is important, I’m pretty opinionated and passionate about teaching and learning. That was a banner moment for me, when I realized that the comfort I felt in doing the work of educators and the importance of teaching others about the knowledge I gained from working in schools, could be a way to get out of my comfort zone.

In the last 6 months, I have gone headlong into the world of children’s publishing in a way that I never expected. First, I met Rana on a trip to Ethiopia that combined passions we long held in promoting social good and supporting women and girls. Then, we connected over family, healthy eating, and good literature for children. When it came time to join the team at Little Pickle Press, I was overjoyed and, to be honest, slightly terrified.

Many things about the publishing world are still a mystery to me, though I am learning more each day and finding new passions for the work LPP does. The first book I helped to promote was Jodi Carmichael’s Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food and, when I read it, I saw multiple connections to the work I do in schools with children who are on the Autism Spectrum. In fact, April is Autism Awareness Month and now that book has taken on a whole new meaning for me as an educator as well.

The way we do things in Education World is to seek out the best practices for teaching, as we reach every student in the classroom. We look at data, try new things, assess students’ abilities in mastering skills, and then we do it all over again. We have “wonderings” about the work. I wonder what would happen if I taught it this way? I wonder how I can get this group of students to connect with this content? Now, of course, I have “wonderings” about the publishing world. I wonder how you monitor e-book trends when they’re constantly changing? and I wonder what the experts have to say about producing and distributing books into into the marketplace?


I’m sure that I’m missing things and will come home renewed and ready to learn even more. That’s what I’m positive will be similar between the Education World and Publishing World. My hope for what I will learn at Publishing University is that all the newness of the publishing process and the fascinating digital world of e-books will develop that sense of being a lifelong learner that I’ve honed in teaching.

What else should I expect?

If you’re going to be at Pub U, be sure to come see us at Rana’s session called Going Digital: Go It Alone or Get Help? that she’s co-presenting with Chintu Parikh of KiteReaders!

IBPA Publishing University 2013

By Kelly Wickham

Later this month both Rana DiOrio, Chief Pickle around these here parts, and I will be attending the Independent Book Publisher’s Association Publishing University in Chicago to learn more about the industry’s best practices, share and learn ideas for the publishing business, and hopefully leave with more knowledge in improving Little Pickle Press to its highest standards possible. In effect, it is a conference designed for newer publishing houses as well as the cutting edge (and ever-changing!) industry that includes the digital landscape of the publishing world.

Rana will be speaking at the event, and I will be attending for the first time. In my almost 20 years as an educator, both in the classroom as a teacher and as an administrator who leads both teachers and students, I have attended my share of conferences. Once, when a consulting firm was leading the work we do at my home school district in a conference, I got up and spoke so muchthat the owner of the firm approached me and asked me to speak. I didn’t mind talking in front of people and also, and this one is important, I’m pretty opinionated and passionate about teaching and learning. That was a banner moment for me, when I realized that the comfort I felt in doing the work of educators and the importance of teaching others about the knowledge I gained from working in schools, could be a way to get out of my comfort zone.

In the last 6 months, I have gone headlong into the world of children’s publishing in a way that I never expected. First, I met Rana on a trip to Ethiopia that combined passions we long held in promoting social good and supporting women and girls. Then, we connected over family, healthy eating, and good literature for children. When it came time to join the team at Little Pickle Press, I was overjoyed and, to be honest, slightly terrified.

Many things about the publishing world are still a mystery to me, though I am learning more each day and finding new passions for the work LPP does. The first book I helped to promote was Jodi Carmichael’s Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food and, when I read it, I saw multiple connections to the work I do in schools with children who are on the Autism Spectrum. In fact, April is Autism Awareness Month and now that book has taken on a whole new meaning for me as an educator as well.

The way we do things in Education World is to seek out the best practices for teaching, as we reach every student in the classroom. We look at data, try new things, assess students’ abilities in mastering skills, and then we do it all over again. We have “wonderings” about the work. I wonder what would happen if I taught it this way? I wonder how I can get this group of students to connect with this content? Now, of course, I have “wonderings” about the publishing world. I wonder how you monitor e-book trends when they’re constantly changing? and I wonder what the experts have to say about producing and distributing books into into the marketplace?


I’m sure that I’m missing things and will come home renewed and ready to learn even more. That’s what I’m positive will be similar between the Education World and Publishing World. My hope for what I will learn at Publishing University is that all the newness of the publishing process and the fascinating digital world of e-books will develop that sense of being a lifelong learner that I’ve honed in teaching.

What else should I expect?

If you’re going to be at Pub U, be sure to come see us at Rana’s session called Going Digital: Go It Alone or Get Help? that she’s co-presenting with Chintu Parikh of KiteReaders!

First Friday Book Review: A Long Walk to Water

By Kelly Wickham, Social Media Director, Little Pickle Press



A Long Walk To Water
By Linda Sue Park

Reading level: Ages 10 and up

Hardcover: 128 pages

Publisher: Sandpiper; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0547577311

ISBN-13: 978-0547577319

Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.5 inches

Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces


My first career was as a classroom English teacher, and one of the things I battled quite often was getting reluctant readers interested in books. So, it’s no surprise that I became passionate about reading YA literature and searching for things that would engage my students. I have long been a fan of Linda Se Park, who won the Newberry Medal for her book A Single Shard, so when I read a title that my current 6th grade students read as part of their Global Water Crisis project, I knew the teachers had chosen the perfect book. As we explore and celebrate Earth Day during the month of April, we here at Little Pickle Press are excited to share a review of Linda Sue Park’s A Long Walk to Water, a fantastically engaging book for older children.


The Story: Using alternating viewpoints between a girl in 2008 named Nya and a boy in the Sudan in 1985, the story describes the long walks each of them has to take. The character Salva Dut is a real life Sudanese “lost boy” who tries to escape the rebel soldiers and survive crossing crocodile-infested waters to get to safety; Nya is a fictional character who spends up to eight hours each day in search of water. Told alternatingly, we see that while Nya walks daily to the pond for water, Salva walks toward safety in Ethiopia after there is an explosion in his village and his teacher tells all of the schoolchildren to run away. The simple plot allows for readers to get a sense of the spare life that both children live while offering a glimpse of hope by the end.


The Artwork: As a middle grade book, there aren’t illustrations, but the author does provide a useful map at the front of the book that details Salva’s route as he walks. I found it helpful to have a globe or map available when reading this with my own children so we could talk about where the story takes place.


The Passion: Since Linda’s book is based on a true story, she is careful to take readers on this journey with sympathetic real and fictional characters who face unimaginable hardships. The story is all the more striking, knowing that more than 3,000 of these “lost boys” searched for safety and their families during a time of political unrest during the Second Sudanese War. She tells Salva’s story in a compelling way with the insertion of her fictional character of Nya, and writes a conclusion that will satisfy readers immensely.


The Message: The powerful message of hope comes full circle after Salva is adopted by an American family in New York but still chooses to return to his country and help them find clean water sources. It’s a story of survival and the futures that await us even when the world is so very dark. My hope is that children who read this will dig further into researching the global water crisis and find ways to make a difference in their daily lives as well as working to help developing countries.


My Only Issue: I would suggest an environmentally-friendly book option printed on recycled paper with soy inks and without a dust jacket. It’s also wise to be cautious about the cruelty the characters experience and the issues of war and violence, but it can be a good catalyst for discussing what happens in the world and the descriptions of the “lost boys” who searched, on foot, for their separated family members. That can be a scary concept for some children, as are the hardships Salvo faces.

The Conclusion: Read this book with your middle grade children and be prepared to have conversations about the global water crisis. You might even consider a project with your family after reading this book. Salva runs the Water for South Sudan project that you can read about here. You can also sponsor clean water at The Water Project in Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone, or Rwanda.