THIS TREE COUNTS! Wins Green!
by Alison Formento
The trees in Southern California aren’t sporting fall colors like the ones here in the Northeast, but they are still lovely.
This eucalyptus tree was outside McKinley Elementary where I met students who love nature and writing as much as I do. Not only was it a thrill to share This Tree Counts! with them, but I was impressed by the stories Ms. Suomu’s first graders are creating in their Writers’ Workshop. They already know the value of planting idea seeds and how you have to revise and edit to make a story grow.
McKinley’s students are lucky enough to take frequent trips to the Santa Monica Public Library, only a few short blocks away from their school. This gorgeous 104,000 square foot facility is a nationally recognized green building, designed and opened in 2006 with the intent of significantly reducing the building’s negative impact on the environment. There is everything and more that you’d expect at a library—the “more” includes several peaceful reading gardens and weekly green living workshops on every environmental topic imaginable.
Last week the Santa Monica Public Library hosted a special green event entitled “Sense & Sustainability and the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature.” This Tree Counts! won the 2011 prize in the category for Youth Fiction, and it was an honor to attend the ceremony with my wonderful illustrator Sarah Snow to accept the award for our book. This is the fifth year the library has presented the Green Prize to encourage and commend authors,
illustrators, and publishers who produce quality books that support the ideas and broaden public awareness of sustainability.
We received a hefty, stylish award made out of recycled glass and then joined in a lively discussion on current sustainable and environmental trends led by Andrew Basmajian representing the Office of Sustainability and the Environment for the City of Santa Monica. And yes, that long title fits on his business card made from recycled paper, just
like our book.
It was a special honor to receive green recognition for This Tree Counts!, especially since it came from librarians who love trees, too.