5 Minute Changemaker: Say No to Plastic Straws

by Marsha Rakestraw Plastic straws are one of those little things we don’t think much about. We pop them in our to-go drinks. Restaurants often automatically include them with our beverages. They’re readily available at restaurants, bars, cafeterias, special events, and so on. But ask this turtle and all the other sea animals, and they’ll…

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Saving Animals and Empowering People Through Humane Education: An Interview With Tod Emko

Tod Emko is a conservationist from New York City. While Emko’s “day job” is as a web developer for Blue State Digital, a cause-oriented agency that managed both Obama Presidential campaigns online, he spends a lot of his time as an educator and changemaker. After having crewed with Sea Shepherd Global for several years, Emko…

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books

4 Books About Transgender Youth

by Marsha Rakestraw Not only do people who are transgender have to deal with bullying, violence, and bigotry, but young people also must frequently grapple with changing bodies, unsupportive families and schools, and the challenges of navigating a very unique experience. Children who may be transgender need to read about others who share their experiences,…

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marisol doesn't match

5 Children’s Picture Books Celebrating Identity

by Marsha Rakestraw Even we adults struggle with our identity, so imagine how challenging it is for children, in a world full of mixed messages, stereotypes, and media and cultural pressures. Celebrating identity is a powerful and vital part of raising healthy, compassionate, thriving young citizens. Here are 5 children’s picture books that celebrate identity….

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Resources for Teaching About Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice

by Marsha Rakestraw (Almost) every being on Earth shares a common need for clean air, water, and shelter. But we don’t share equitable access. For example: More than half of people who live close to hazardous waste are people of color. Black children are twice as likely to suffer from lead poisoning than are white…

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tree hugger

Treehuggers: Children’s Picture Books Honoring Trees

by Marsha Rakestraw Trees are mythical, magical and mysterious. We depend upon them for everything from the air we breathe to the inspiration for bad poetry to a source for the very materials that make our lives possible. Kids love trees. They love to climb them, trounce around their leaves, notice who lives in them,…

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10 Tips for Helping End Child Labor

by Marsha Rakestraw Last updated January 31, 2019. “The change starts within each one of us, and ends only when all children are free to be children.” – Craig Kielburger Have you recently purchased a soccer ball? Something embroidered? Something made from cotton? Chocolate? Clothes? Produce? If so, there’s a good chance you’ve purchased something…

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eco-friendly

21 Children’s Picture Books for Exploring Eco-Friendly Actions

by Marsha Rakestraw Earth Day may be every day, but our relationship to the natural world often gets a little extra attention in April. Children are hungry to connect with their world and learn what they can do to make a positive difference. Check out these 21 children’s books that help inspire a desire to…

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The Power of Positive Peer Pressure

by Marsha Rakestraw A 2012 survey of teen volunteers revealed that the main reason teens volunteer is because their friends are doing it. As social animals we pay attention to what those around us are doing; and because we like to feel part of the “in” crowd, we’re often willing to conform so that we’re…

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Resources for #WeNeedDiverseBooks

by Marsha Rakestraw When I was a child, I read a lot of books. A lot. And other than the occasional title, like The Snowy Day, the people in all those books looked like me. White. Able-bodied. Heterosexual. Despite our growing population of children of color in the US — who now outnumber white students…

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