Little Free Libraries

10 Pinterest Boards: Little Free Libraries

I love this trend; people and organizations set up cheerily decorated boxes, fill them with books, and invite the world to stop by and read. Take a book, leave a book, share a book, love a book.

In addition to the generosity of spirit that goes into building and maintaining little free libraries, there’s a ton of imagination. Birdhouses, miniature replica schools, or even my personal favorite: a T.A.R.D.I.S. library! Hopefully you can find more time to read on the inside …

We’ve assembled a list of ten of our favorite Little Free Library boards from Pinterest. They’re all loaded with cool stuff, so I’m just going to mention my favorite from each one. If you have a board of your own, be sure to share the link in the comments section.

  1. Katherine Reinhart: As a Kansas resident, I was especially taken with the little cabin library perched atop a twig “twister” a la Wizard of Oz.
  2. Helen Wahl: The one to watch for here is a big inverted bowl. It stands up on legs tall enough to allow patrons to step underneath and view the circular shelves, while keeping book and readers out of the elements.
  3. Mar Schaeffer: I love the theater library on this board. It’s done up to look like a classic movie theater, complete with marquee.
  4. Storytime Standouts: Science fiction fans, unite! The pin to pine for is a bigger-than-life-size R2-D2 library. These are the books you’re looking for …
  5. Kelly Morgan: A favorite here is the little library with a roof shaped like an open book. What could be more inviting?
  6. Kath Lucas: On this board you’ll find a little free library made from a converted microwave. It’s just the thing for when you’re “not quite done” with your book.
  7. Katie Lopez: A truly stunning library is the one created using a grandfather clock. With one of these, you’ll always have time to read!
  8. Mary Catherine: This board feature a number of re-purposed phone booths, each one enjoying new life as a library. Move over, Superman. Super Reader needs some room!
  9. Jabones Violet: A friend of mine is an amazingly talented woodworker. The wooden library with the beautiful sunburst roof on this board looks like something he might design.
  10. Judy Arnold: What’s special about this board? Most of the pictures feature smiling Little Free Library patrons, from tiny tots choosing their first volumes to young men completing their Eagle Scout projects. This board proves that libraries, no matter what size, are a vital part of our lives.

Are there little free libraries in your town? What design features would you build? Spread the word, and share a book!

Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin-based Little Free Library initiative.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress

To a bibliophile, the Library of Congress has got to be pretty much the coolest thing ever. Eight hundred thirty-eight miles of shelves? Count me in.

Our national library is the research arm of Congress. Open to the public at no charge, it is believed to be the largest library in the world. While the Library of Congress doesn’t house every book published in the United States, it is home to more than thirty-six million books (including all of the Little Pickle Press titles currently available) and more than one hundred twenty-one million other media offerings.

According to the Library’s website, the Library of Congress has four main priorities. “First, to make knowledge and creativity available to the U.S. Congress on a continuing basis. Second, to acquire, organize, preserve, secure and sustain for the present and future use of Congress and the nation a comprehensive record of American history and creativity and a universal collection of human knowledge. The Library’s third priority is to make its collections maximally accessible to Congress, the government and the public through such means as its website. Its fourth priority is to add interpretive and educational value to the basic resources of the Library to highlight the importance of the Library to the nation’s well-being and future progress.”

In addition to providing information to Congress, a major function of the Library is copyright registration and research. The bulk of the collection is made up of copyright deposits; the process was centralized by Congress in 1870.

Although volumes are restricted to the premises, anyone age sixteen or older is welcome to use the reading rooms and collections. The Library welcomes 1.6 million visitors each year, and offers guided tours to visitors of all ages.

Say what you will about Congress (not here, please; this is a family show), they definitely have the most amazing library. And it’s ours, too! The next time that you’re in Washington, D.C., be sure to visit the Library of Congress.

International Youth Library

The International Youth Library

When you think about libraries, what’s the first image that pops into your head? The local library a few blocks away? One of those tiny little lending libraries in someone’s front yard? The bookmobile that cruises by every Tuesday?

What if your library were housed in a castle, complete with towers, a protective ring of trees, and its very own lake?

It’s not a fairy tale; it’s the Internationale Jungendbibliothek, the International Youth Library. Located in Blutenburg Castle in Munich, Germany, the International Youth Library’s stated mission is: “supporting international children’s and youth literature through collection, cataloguing, and outreach efforts. The Library’s mission is the preservation of cultural diversity as it is manifested in the world’s literature.”

In addition to workshops, panel discussions, and exhibitions, the library hosts the White Ravens Festival, a six-day gathering of authors and illustrators from around the world. A showcase for both new and renowned authors, the festival aims to share the best in literature for children and young adults, and inspire more of the same.

From its start in 1949 with eight thousand volumes, the International Youth Library has grown to more than half a million titles. More than one hundred thirty languages are represented, and some of the books date back several centuries. Online catalogues are available for both the book and poster collections.

With its focus on children’s literature, impressive collection, and gorgeous setting, the International Youth Library isn’t a fairy tale—it’s a dream come true.


Libraries and Their Place at a Global Summit on Love and Forgiveness

Dr. Loriene Roy, Ph.D., is a professor of the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin. As a writer, researcher, and presenter, she has won numerous awards in library-related and academic fields. She has kindly allowed us to re-post the following piece, which originally appeared on the blog Transcending Boundaries to Increase Cultural Understanding Between Countries.

Established from the estate of an American, Mr. John E. Fetzer, who made his career in radio and television programming and who also owned a championship baseball team (the Detroit Tigers), the Fetzer Institute (USA) is planning a unique event that will take place in September 2012 in Assisi, Italy. This Global Summit on Love and Forgiveness will present positive examples from around the world that illustrate the impact and potential of expressing love and forgiveness. Sixteen sectors were organized to represent different professional sectors including the Information and Communication Professions Sector. The Sectors are nominating cases to be highlighted at the Summit, each case connected to the values of the sector and also demonstrating the potential for proceeding to a “creative next step” with Fetzer support.

If we understand that “Forgiveness is a complex construct without a consensual definition, “then it is not “forgetting, condoning, excusing, or justifying.” Where do libraries lie within these scenarios of love and forgiveness? This presentation examines the core values of our field within the context of cases that were selected as exemplars of love and forgiveness. Did these cases rely on library services? If so, was this reliance overt? If not, why not? In any case, what can be the library’s role in furthering love and forgiveness? Libraries are trusted institutions that are ideal for supporting public forums on topics of deep concern. They serve all members of their communities and are advocates for those who might be disadvantaged due to economies and reduced access to information. Libraries provide community members with the tools to engage in civic discourse, including topics related to love and/or forgiveness. Libraries are meaningful during good times and essential during economically challenging times. They are trusted locations that community members turn to for information and for assistance in skills development. They are venues for community engagement. In times of social stress, libraries are ideal locations where individuals can gather to learn, share, and engage in dialogue. Libraries were established to serve growing immigrant populations. Conversations about serving multicultural populations are even more needed today. Libraries have long served as champions for intellectual access to information; their services, presence, and righteousness in the wake of often oppressive (e.g., anti-immigrant) legislation and behaviors are needed even more than ever if societies are to move closer toward love and forgiveness.

Libraries are sometimes underappreciated institutions–yet those who have not visited libraries recently still respect them for their historical pasts and for their services related to books, reading, and children. Today’s libraries have social commons, information commons, and are the third living space outside of home and work; they are laboratories for discovery. In the midst of misunderstandings around the world, the library–especially the public library–stands as a trusted and unbiased institution for change and a sanctuary for protecting freedom and human rights. It is important to include the library community at the Global Gathering. It is positive and logical to highlight the work of libraries internationally in supporting multicultural library services.

Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Featured B Corp: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Are you tired of big-name publishing houses that churn out cookie-cutter novels? Do you want new and interesting titles that make you think outside the book bag? Are you interested in making the world a better place? Berrett-Koehler Publishers is the company for you!

An independent publishing company, Berrett-Koehler has been a Certified B Corp since January 2012, a move that backs up their mission statement: “Connecting People and Ideas to Create a World That Works for All.”

Rather than focusing on popular genres, Berrett-Koehler Publishers puts the emphasis on personal improvement, offering titles that foster value alignment, social justice, and progressive and effective leadership.

In addition to inspiration, a key descriptive term that can be applied to Berrett-Koehler is stewardship. Seeking to practice what they print, the company aims to provide responsible administration in all aspects of their business, from stakeholders and employees to authors and communities.

Independent does not equal ineffective. A small company can make a big change, and Berrett-Koehler Publishers is doing just that.

Tomás and the Library Lady

Tomás and the Library Lady

Imagine that you are a young boy, uprooted every few months as your parents drive from place to place, following the work available to them. The road is dusty and long, the days are hot and dry.

Now imagine that into the midst of this life comes an almost magical being, one with the gift of limitless adventure and the means to escape the drudgery of everyday life.

Tomás is the son of migrant farm workers; with his parents, brother, and grandfather, he travels between Texas and Iowa as the seasons change. The work is hard, but the strength of the family prevails. Papá Grande, Tomás’ grandfather, tells stories in Spanish to keep his grandsons entertained. One afternoon, he tells Tomás to visit the local library in search of new stories.

Feeling shy and out of place, Tomás hesitates on the steps of the vast building. His fear is short-lived, however, as the library lady invites him inside for a drink and a chance to read anything and everything he wants.

Tomás accepts, opening the door to friendship and endless possibilities.

As a lifelong library patron, I don’t remember the first time that I wandered the stacks. What I do remember is the sense of reverence that I feel, much like Tomás feels, every time I visit a library. Tomás and the Library Lady is a truly beautiful book, visually and emotionally. Based on the early life of University of California Chancellor Tomás Rivera, Pat Mora’s story is accompanied by warmly inviting illustrations by Raul Colón.

For any parent seeking diversity in children’s literature, or a way to recapture the sense of awe that comes with knowledge, Tomás and the Library Lady is an excellent choice.


Happy Sixth Birthday, Little Pickle Press!

Yes, it’s our sixth birthday, and we’d like to share six reasons that Little Pickle Press rocks!

  1. Free lesson plans.
  1. Empowering and inspiring stories.
  1. Timely and engaging themes.
  1. Low carbon footprint.
  1. High-quality books.
  1. YOU!

We wouldn’t be here without the support of our wonderful readers, so join the celebration and send up a cheer as Little Pickle Press turns six years old!

Sixth Birthday

Featured Young Writer of the Month:

Crazy About Birds

In honor of Earth Day (and a really neat post), Team Pickle would like to present the following essay by Zoe McCormick. It was originally published on this blog in 2013.

My parents often tell the story about when I was four years old and they put up a hummingbird feeder. The first time I saw a hummingbird at the feeder I got so excited that I talked nonstop for over an hour about it. I talked so fast, nonstop, for so long, that my parents began to worry that there might be something wrong with me. They worried that I might be crazy. They were right. I am crazy—crazy about birds.

After seeing the hummingbird at the feeder, I insisted that my parents get some books about hummingbirds. I wanted to do research on hummingbirds so I could figure out what kind of hummers we had at our feeder, and learn everything that I could learn about hummers. Ten years later, I am still crazy about birds.

Crazy about birds

When I was nine, I joined 4-H because I realized that if I did the poultry project, I could talk my parents into getting me a chicken. When I was twelve, my grandmother took me to sit by the lake on her ranch. She brought a bird field guide and binoculars and we spent the afternoon identifying birds. For some reason, I loved seeing a bird and being able to look in the field guide, identify the bird, and learn all about it. Ever since then, I have carried a field guide and binoculars with me almost everywhere I go, and continue to work on bird identification.

Bird identification is an important scientific tool. Bird identification helps ornithologists (scientists who study birds) learn about the health of bird populations as a whole. Bird populations tell us about the health of our planet. Birds are the canary in the coalmine when it comes to climate change. Scientists who study birds are finding dramatic changes in bird populations. Birds are showing up where they are not supposed to be for a lot of reasons. Sometimes, because of climate change, the food they depend on is scarce, and birds have to leave their normal territory to look for food. All birds depend on water for their survival. When we destroy wetlands and dam rivers, we are destroying the water supply and habitat that birds need for survival. The thing is that it’s not just about the birds. We people need a healthy planet to survive, too.

I go birding every chance I get. I enter the birds I see in eBird, a huge online database of bird sightings from all over the world. Scientists use the data from eBird for various studies. I also work with other birders doing data collection. I enjoy meeting other birders and learning from them. I have been working on Waterbird surveys with the Richardson Bay Audubon Center. When my family travels, I do research on the birds in the area that we will be visiting, and plan where we will go birding.

Crazy about birds

There are not a lot of kids who are interested in birding. I sometimes wish there were other kids to go birding with, but the most important thing for me is to be doing something that I am passionate about.

What are you passionate about? How did your parents encourage your passion in a particular field? What are you doing to encourage your kids? Tell us in the comments section!

Earth Day

The History of Earth Day

Author, artist, and fellow Pickle Dani Greer is a staunch advocate for environmental responsibility. The following is a post that she originally published on this blog is 2011.

“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, 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.

Photo courtesy of; Earth viewed from Apollo 17.

Earth Day

Top 10 Earth Day Ideas

It’s easy to think of Earth Day as a fairly grownup sort of holiday, what with pledges to install a recycling bin or walk to work, but I believe that it’s just as much as kid’s holiday. Kids will inherit this planet, and there’s no time like the present to teach them all of the wonderful ways that we can help to preserve it. Use the following craft ideas to celebrate Earth Day, and sneak in a little bonding time while you’re at it.

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 to 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.

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!

Water Library

Featured Library of the Month:

Wisconsin's Water Library

If you live in Wisconsin, you have access to an incredible resource dedicated to one of the most valuable elements on the planet: water.

Wisconsin’s Water Library was created to provide science-based curriculum, research, and outreach activities related to the water systems of the Great Lakes and Wisconsin. Their extensive collection contains more than thirty thousand volumes, plus videos, journals, and newsletters.

The Water Library was established in 1964 as an extension of the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute. In addition to preserving vast amounts of water-related information for both future use and historical value, the library provides research services to the Water Resources Institute and the Sea Grant Institute, both of which are administered by the University of Wisconsin Aquatic Sciences Center.

While use of the library itself is restricted to residents of Wisconsin, the website offers a number of helpful links and ideas to the interested visitor. Parents and educators can find story time and project ideas, and patrons of all ages can find answers to all kinds of water-related questions.

With Earth Day fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to visit the Water Library and soak up some knowledge.

Green-Collared Job

Green-Collared Job: Now Hiring

It’s important to love what you do, and loving your work makes your job, well, feel less like a job. It is certainly never too late, or too early, to pursue a new career. Consider a green-collared job and do something fulfilling for both yourself and the world around you. You can make some green while saving green.

A green-collared job is a career that works to benefit or conserve natural resources. The green job market is projected to continue growing and more careers are “going green” and becoming more environmentally and socially responsible. Here are just a few green collar job possibilities to explore:

Law: If the Lorax had a job, he would be an environmental lawyer. You speak for the trees! And litigate for them.

Related Careers: Policy, Law

Education: My environmental systems class in high school changed my life. It was the first time I ever thought about things like my carbon footprint, and the first time I ever had to drag around a bag of my trash for a week (but that’s for another blog post), but the moral of that story is that shaping young minds to value and protect our earth’s resources is one the most important jobs of all.

Engineering: They have an engineer for everything, including green structures and systems. Jobs like environmental and civil engineering explicitly focus on issues of conversation and sustainable development. Technology is advancing the ways we can both maintain our lifestyles and protect the environment.

Conservation: Park ranger, Naturalist, Eco Tour Guide, Advocate, Activist … the possibilities are endless! Many of these jobs are offered through non-profits and allow you to work outside with both people and animals.

Construction: Homes and buildings are becoming more sustainable and eco-friendly as new resources, like solar panels, are developed and widely installed.

Agriculture: These careers are fundamentally green in many ways, but more resources are directed towards researching and improving the sustainability of agriculture. More farmers (like ten million according to some experts) are needed to continue small, sustainable farming practices.

Pushing (recycled) paper: Green jobs have offices, too! Most jobs, like sales, accounting, and management are required in green companies, as well. Jobs such as sustainability analysts and sustainability consultants are popping up in many traditional companies.

Tree hugger: Okay, this one doesn’t pay, but this should be a job for all of us!

If you can’t change your career, you can always make your current job a green job! As in your personal life, there are always little ways to change your lifestyle to be more environmentally friendly. We can all do things in the workplace that can minimize our carbon footprint, or even seek out jobs and projects that benefit our environment. Just as you vote with your dollar, you can make a stand by how you earn that dollar. If you’re interested in turning your current job into a green job, consider checking out B Corporations. That’s what we did!

Take a look at these green-collar job boards, and please share your green-collared job down below!

Green Job boards:

Green Arcade

Featured Bookseller of the Month:

The Green Arcade

With a name like “The Green Arcade,” our Featured Bookseller of the Month sounds like double the fun of your typical shop. And it is!

Green is for the environmental message of many titles in the shop inventory; farming, nature, and sustainability are all subjects brought to the fore in The Green Arcade. Green also represents their online catalog, saving paper while sharing the wealth of the printed word.

Arcade is for the hours of mental adventure you can enjoy inside the shop itself. Remember the penny arcades from years past? You can rekindle that sense of excitement as you explore shelves featuring niche books and local authors. And you won’t have to keep bugging your folks for coins!

Whether you’re tooling around San Francisco or looking online, The Green Arcade is one stop you’ll want to make. Peruse the online catalog, and don’t forget to check out their list of links for conservation, service, and sustainability resources.

Go Green, and you’ll see what we mean!

Little Pickle Press wants to help you save green when you spend some green! During the month of April, you’ll receive 30% off of your order AND free shipping when you order one of our green titles: Sofia’s DreamWhat Does It Mean to be Green?or A Bird on Water StreetUse code BEGREEN at checkout.

Earth Activism

Earth Activism

It’s April and that always brings to mind Earth Day on the 22nd. It’s easy to blow off the date, claiming that one person can’t really make a difference. But I’m here to tell you, one person can make a difference. I have, and so has Jack.

In A Bird on Water Street, thirteen-year-old Jack is growing up in a landscape devastated by a century of poor mining practices. All the trees in his world were cut down to fuel the roasting heaps, which removed copper from raw, mined ore. The practice left a fifty-square-mile area of denuded landscape stretching across the north Georgia and Tennessee towns of McCaysville, Copperhill, and Ducktown. Before the smelters were enclosed, those open roasting heaps pumped clouds of sulfuric dioxide into the air nonstop (which came down as acid rain and killed off any remaining vegetation). Jack has spent his life watching friends and family die from cancers believed to be caused by his toxic home. Talk about feeling powerless!

And yet, Jack finds a way to drive change. His passion for trees and nature ends up giving him the means to shape his life and his home for the better.

Earth Activism


I found a way too—by sharing Jack’s story about this very real man-made environmental disaster and a young boy navigating his way through it to better understanding and change. Through Jack’s observations, the reader is made aware of the impact that mankind can have on Mother Earth—this seemingly tough environment which is actually quite fragile. The reader learns how greed and apathy can have lasting and long-reaching results. And most importantly, the reader learns that even a young boy, through his passion for trees and nature, can make a difference. All it takes is desire for change, and that is something we can all embrace.

Earth Activism


What can you do? Plant a tree, turn off the lights, walk instead of drive, recycle, write a story to increase awareness. Or just share A Bird on Water Street with the young readers in your life. If knowledge is power, then sharing this story of environmental redemption could change the thinking of the next generation, making them better caretakers of our globe. And isn’t that what Earth Day is all about?

Share the Earth activism message with your kids! During the month of April, you’ll receive 30% off of your order AND free shipping when you order one of our green titles: Sofia’s Dream, What Does It Mean to be Green?, or A Bird on Water Street. Use code BEGREEN at checkout.

Green Living

Featured B Corp of the Month: Green Living

This April, we’re seeing green—Green Living that is! This month’s Featured B Corp of the Month is Green Living, Canada’s award-winning cause marketing agency. Our friends to the North bring top experts from every field to connect your brand to conscientious customers, helping you reshape and redefine what it means to be successful in business. Last year they were honored “Best for the World” by B Corp and they show no hint of slowing down!

Green Living

Their online publication, Green Living Online, is a network that brings information and resources together to create a one-stop shop wealth of information, connecting you to the items you want and educating you about the product—all at the same time. Now, anything you could ever want to know about living conscientiously and sustainably is available with the touch of your mouse! You can find exactly what you want with just a few clicks. Or you can let the many tabs of information entice you to wander around the site, reading about everything from food to fashion to news—like a certain writer who got sidetracked learning about Responsible Landscaping Tips instead of writing this article …

Green Living

At the 2015 Green Living Show, their flagship event, this company demonstrated its strong commitment to the environment and healthy living—free admission was offered in exchange for old recyclable electronics! There was food (lots of it), shopping, educational speakers and panels, and lots of opportunity to play and explore with exhibits and workshops. Visit the homepage to see a list of their attractions; it’s family friendly!

We wholeheartedly agree with their motto, “A Healthier You, A Healthier Planet” and appreciate them for keeping both the planet and us healthier.

Make Green Living your homepage today, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.


It’s Easy Bein’ Green

Huzzah! April has arrived, which means that real spring weather will (hopefully) be sticking around for more than a breath or two. Earth Day is right around the corner, and Team Pickle is looking to celebrate.

See, we’re offering a really cool deal that lets you save some green when you buy green—our awesome green titles, that is. During the month of April, if you buy What Does It Mean To Be Green?, Sofia’s Dream, or A Bird on Water Street, you’ll receive 30% off of your entire order AND get free shipping. Not sure which one to get? Don’t worry; we’ve compiled some of the reviews for each title to help you make up your mind.

What Does It Mean To Be Green?

“Looking for a simple way to explain to a child what it means to be Green and Eco-friendly? The book What Does It Mean To Be Green? by Rana DiOrio and published by Little Pickle Press is perfect to help you do just that! It is written well with cute illustrations and easy for children to understand. This books encourages children to help others, even grown-ups, to be green too!” —Easy Green Mom. Read the full review here.

What Does It Mean To Be Green? takes young readers on an educational quest to find the meaning of living green. Written by Rana DiOrio, the story opens with a comically homonymic journey through other meanings of being green such as feeling sick in a car or looking like a frog. The author guides the reader through the true meaning of being green with environmentally-friendly tips in kid-friendly language. DiOrio even includes some eye-catching statistics about the importance of protecting the Earth’s precious resources in a way that adults and children alike will be awestruck by the sheer waste that occurs.” —Angela Pike, The Giggle Guide. Read the full review here.

Sofia’s Dream

“Whether you are looking for a well-illustrated and charming bedtime book or a gentle lesson (but strong message) in caring for our environment, Sofia’s Dream is an absolute delight for children and parents, alike.” —Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review. Read the full review here.

Sophia’s Dream is a beautifully written (by Land Wilson) and illustrated (by Sue Cornelison) book about a “thoughtful girl” named Sophia and her relationship with the moon, “her giant pearl.” The story is written in a melodic rhyme and draws both adults and children into Sophia’s journey to understand the moon’s “gloomy face.” —Marnie, Carrots Are Orange. Read the full review here.

A Bird on Water Street

A Bird on Water Street takes the specific problems of a lesser-known locale and deftly layers universal teenage concerns, such as the question of what kind of person to become, and what path to take. Appropriate for advanced elementary/middle school readers, the book holds crossover appeal for older teens with its attention to setting and culture. A useful author’s note provides historical context. This book is recommended as an example of hope amid bleak landscapes.” —Karen Rigby, Foreword Reviews. Read full review here.

“After reading A Bird on Water Street, I’m more appreciative of the wealth of trees, birds and even bugs (!) in my own neighborhood. I highly recommend this enjoyable read.” —Jeanne Ryan, author of NERVE. Read full review here.

Little Pickle Press

Of course, it’s all well and good to talk about living the green life, but Little Pickle Press walks the walk, too. Behold:

“DiOrio has made a huge commitment to “green” business practices. Little Pickle books are manufactured in Wisconsin with soy inks and recycled paper. They’re packed in cartons made with recycled cardboard, and when gift wrap is requested, the press uses paper ribbon with recycled content, printed with soy ink. Early on Little Pickle pursued certification as a B Corporation, and it has just been recertified.” —Linda Carlson, Independent Book Publishers Association. Read the full review here.

“DiOrio … works with eco-minded vendors and is mindful of the environment at each phase of the supply chain, eschewing dust jackets, printing with soy inks on recycled paper, and donating 10 percent of the purchase price of three of its books to the Starlight Children’s Foundation. The publisher is also courting authors whom DiOrio believes embrace its mission of positive change.” —Bridget Kinsella, Publisher’s Weekly. Read the full review here.

Like what you’ve read? Choose your favorite and use code BEGREEN at checkout to get your 30% savings and free shipping. Of course, if you can’t decide, we won’t mind a bit if you decide to buy all three.

Sierra Club

The Sierra Club: A Range of Possibilities

Considering the difficulty of coordinating ten people for a dinner party, it’s nothing short of amazing that the Sierra Club boasts two million members and supporters. Sounds like pretty compelling evidence for the belief that more and more people every day are becoming concerned about the health and welfare of our planet.

A self-described “environmental organization,” the Sierra Club was founded in 1892 by conservationist John Muir and a few of his close friends. While the group organizes more than twenty thousand local and international outings each year, the Sierra Club is no mere hiking fraternity. Its members are the driving force behind much of our better-known ecological legislation, including the establishment of national parks, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

In 1916, two years after John Muir’s death, his dream of a bureau to oversee and protect national parks was realized when President Wilson created the National Park Service. Since then, the Sierra Club has worked tirelessly to create, expand, and preserve protected wilderness areas across the country, helping to save some two hundred fifty million acres from over-logging, flooding via dams, and industrial destruction.

Sierra Club members pride themselves on preserving our national, natural heritage. As we celebrate Earth Day this month, let’s remember how far we’ve come with eco-legislation, and think of how far we have to go.

Let your voice be heard. Make every day Earth Day.

Share the environmental message with your kids! During the month of April, you’ll receive 30% off of your order AND free shipping when you order one of our green titles: Sofia’s Dream, What Does It Mean to be Green?, or A Bird on Water Street. Use code BEGREEN at checkout.


Kids Say the Smartest Things

Little kids are amazing. They soak up new information like sponges, and they’re wildly enthusiastic about the things that they love. It was my privilege to visit with a group of first-graders recently; we talked about the vital connection between life and Earth, emphasizing the need to keep our planet clean and healthy. Despite the broadly abstract nature of the topic, the students took the talk to heart, creating essays and pictures about why it’s important to take care of the Earth. Click on photos to enlarge.


“If you don’t pick up trash you will not have food and water. If you don’t take care of the Earth you will spread germs. If you cut down lots of trees you will not have oxygen.” –Makiya


“Trees give us oxygen so we can smell.” –Samantha


“It keeps us alive; to keep the animals safe, we need a clean world.” –Zackary


“So we don’t suffocate. What would we eat and drink? What would you do if your friends couldn’t breathe?” –Gavin


“I am picking up the park because I want to stop pollution and put it in the trash can. If you cut down the trees we have no oxygen.” –Lane


“I like to clean Earth. I like to do it because I like to live. When you clean you help the Earth; that is good because you would be able to breathe.” — Kaylee


“Trees help us to breathe. Trees keep the dirt in place. We need the Earth clean.” –Hannah

These are just a few of the terrific essays that were turned in; all of the kids did a great job and asked plenty of thoughtful questions. A special thank-you to Abigail, Aleycia, Patrick, Ozzy, Teagan, Gage, Addison, Alexys, Jacob, Marcus, Carston, Zach, Evan, Austin, Hannah, Makiya, Samantha, Zackary, Gavin, Lane, Kaylee, and Tommy. If you’d like to continue the conversation with your own kids, consider picking up a copy of What Does It Mean To Be Global? or any of our other eco-friendly, green titles.

Why do YOU want to help take care of the Earth?

Featured Young Writer

Featured Young Writer of the Month:

Why Do Kids Care About Our Planet?

In keeping with this month’s theme regarding the vital connection between life and Earth, we’ve reached into the archives to find this gem from Featured Young Writer Sarah Marjorie. Sarah wrote this as an eighth-grader, and her words ring just as true today.

Why do kids care about our planet? We care because it’s our future. The planet Earth is our home. It supplies us with the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the nutrients that are necessary for us to survive. At my school, which is a three-year middle school, we spend each year focused on one part of the Earth. In sixth grade, we studied the global water crisis and raised money to build a well. In seventh grade, we studied land and how it is changing. This year, in eighth grade, we studied the air and atmosphere around us. Just yesterday, I finished my final project, an iBook about global warming. Every student that attends this school comes to care about the Earth in his/her own way.

Adolescents care about our world because we want to change it. Everyone dreams of it, from toddlers to teens. We want to make a difference for the better. Whether our impact is on one person’s world or an entire nation, kids care about the Earth because it is our home and we hold the power amend, modify, and redesign it the way we want. We need to live here and future generations do, too, but we’re responsible for taking care of it to live naturally and in harmony with nature.

With all the talk of global warming and climate change, kids feel like the Earth is theirs to take care of, and it is. We are the Earth’s future, and if we don’t take care of it, everything we know and love could possibly be effected. Due to the fact that kids care about the planet, we have the power to change it and use our knowledge and technology to keep it safe. We know this and that’s why we care about the Earth.

Little Pickle Press music

Relish the Sweet Side of Little Pickle Press:

Songs to Savor

In addition to an ever-growing list of award-winning books, Little Pickle Press has also produced music! Related to two titles, these green-themed songs come straight from the heart, and will hopefully speak to yours. Here with lyrics and a bit of background is our own Chief Pickle, Rana DiOrio.

I remember when I had the pleasure of listening to the rough mix of Dreaming, written by Jasmine Saldate and produced by Terrance Kelley to complement our children’s picture book Sofia’s Dream by Land Wilson and illustrated by Sue Cornelison. I sat at my laptop with my earphones on and listened to it over and over again. It made me smile, sing, sway, and then later, hum. Part of the thrill of listening to this uplifting song was the realization that this is my job—listening to, critically analyzing, and critiquing beautiful music is part of my job now! I digress.

The Inspiration:
Jasmine’s inspiration for the song came from witnessing how mothers love their children and appreciating the lengths to which mothers will go to ensure that their children are safe and happy.

The Lyrics:

Verse 1

You are my home
I’ll care for you; you’re not alone

You are my friend
On me you can always depend

I would fly to the moon at night
Just to make sure everything’s alright

It makes a difference in every way
To keep dreaming


So dream of what
The Earth would be
With the help of you and me
What we do on Earth today
Makes a difference in every way
Aiming high in all we do
Will inspire other too.

Plant a tree and hug a friend
Help a neighbor and lend a hand

Many things that we can do
To keep dreaming

Verse 2

Imagine a place
Full of beauty we all can embrace

Sharing a dream
Keeping Earth full of beautiful things

And we could fly to the moon at night
Just to make sure everything’s alright

It makes a difference in every way
To keep dreaming (Chorus)

Little Pickle Press music

Little Pickle Press has also produced an original composition for What Does It Mean To Be Green? The music and lyrics are, once again, by Jasmine Saldate; the song was produced by John Alevizakis of Little Buddha Studio.

The Inspiration: According to Jasmine, being green is something everyone should want to be! Her inspiration for the What Does It Mean To Be Green? song came from an image of a child with a super-hero cape saving the world by being green. The song flowed from that powerful image.

The Lyrics:

Green, green what does it mean?
She’s your Earth; treat her kind.
Be green, green and keep her clean.
She’s your earth; treat her kind. (Chorus)

Many things we throw away.
We could use them again in some way.
If we find a box we could be in luck.
Look dad, I turned this box into a truck!

And when you want to get somewhere,
There are ways to spare the air.
Ride a bike, or take a walk instead,
Or if you have to drive, carpool with a friend. (Chorus)

I like to splash when it rains.
Why let the water just go down the drain?
Set your pots outside and walk away.
They’ll be full in a couple of days.

See a light on when no one’s there,
Turn it off, we all should care.
Save a tree, energy, electricity;
If we all save a little then we will all be . . . (Chorus)

The Songs: By now, I’m hoping your interest is piqued. If so, please consider listening to the songs by linking here for What Does It Mean To Be Green? and here for Dreaming. And by all means, please tell us what you think about Little Pickle Press music by leaving a comment!

Water Crisis

Water Crisis: A Q&A with Matt Damon

Hey, there! Let’s start the week with a little quiz, shall we? It’s a short one, I promise.


A. is good for your kidneys and overall health.

B. covers most of the planet, but only a tiny fraction of that water is clean and drinkable.

C. can have an impact on quality of education.

D. is a vital link in the connection between life and earth.

If you suggested E., all of the above, you’re right. Water is absolutely necessary to our daily lives, and not just because we can use it to make coffee. Every part of your body relies on the water in each cell to function. While this big blue marble known as Earth is awash in water, about 97% of it is salt water. A piddling 8% of the remainder is unpolluted.

Imagine waking up knowing that you have to walk four (or more) miles to get your water for the day. You can’t go to school, because your family’s survival comes before your education. You can’t go to work, because you need those precious hours to search for water to keep your family alive. When you do finally get your hands on enough water to fill your bucket, you may not be so keen to have a drink. Contaminants and bacteria from human waste, decomposing animals, and who knows what is likely to be floating around in there.

After coming face-to-face with the water crisis, Gary White and Matt Damon founded, an initiative that will provide regular access to safe supplies of water to the nearly one billion people around the world who are currently without such access. Having surpassed their initial goal of reaching two million people with safe water and sanitation, Gary White had this to say: “Young girls are going to school, women are able to become economically productive, more children are living past their fifth birthday, and families are healthier and living with greater dignity.”

With success like that, no donation will ever be considered a drop in the bucket. Please watch the two embedded videos to see why the water crisis is a world crisis, and then take a moment to give what you can. You can help spread the word by sharing this post and by following #WaterCrisis on Twitter.