Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reviewed: 5 Disgustingly Cool Books for Kids

5 Disgustingly Cool Books for Kids
by the Daily Dump Team
Daily Dump (2010)
Five Green Stars (disgustingly cool)

Hats off to the good people at the Daily Dump, who have created one of the most remarkable "books" for 8-12 year old children that I have ever seen.  If you have a child, or if you know a child--or even if you just like to act like a child from time to time, then you really need to buy 5 Disgustingly Cool Books for Kids. And if you are a teacher looking for a way to really get your students thinking on Earth Day (or any day), then forget about running a "save the earth" poster contest; instead, get your school to buy a few sets of these books, give your students an hour to read them, and see what kind of project they come up with!

Each of these 8-10 page booklets, packaged together in a brown paper envelope, looks at a different concept related to our environment: how and what we buy and discard, the food we eat, the water we drink--that kind of thing.  These small book don't shy away from big issues like gender, corruption, and consumerism.  But neither do they tell children what to think.  

In fact, 5 Disgustingly Cool Books for Kids don't so much explain or teach as they do provoke children to think about old things in new ways.  You can see this in the fact that none of the five books come with a title, only a pair of photographs that elicit thought.  And the books themselves contain more questions than they do answers, which may be a first for an educational book published in modern India!
Who looks after well water?...  Have you ever swum in a river?... What if I don't say enough? ...Why do pizzas seem cooler than rotis?...Think of the things you value that cannot be found in a market...why don't we think these things are valuable?
Part of what makes these books so striking is the consistently engaging art that comes with them. It looks like Pallavi Agarwal had a lot of fun illustrating this project--and the feeling is contagious. I liked them, my kids liked them, and I think you will also.  To write more about these books might be unfair--you really have to experience them yourself.  But you can feel good knowing that once you are finished using and re-using them, you can either recycle or compost them--after all, they were created by the compost experts!

Buy 5 Disgustingly Cool Books for Kids directly from the Daily Dump.
Don't forget to come back Thursday, when we'll have an Earth Day Interview with Poonam Bir Kasturi, Daily Dump founder and one of the people behind these disgustingly cool books.

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