Just in time for Earth Day, we have a special interview with Tim Magner, the author and publisher at Green Sugar Press, whose books encourage kids to explore, examine and investigate the natural world around them. His book AN ENVIRONMENTAL GUIDE FROM A TO Z, provides 26 opportunities for kids to learn about the Earth they live on. From the Amazing Amazon to the Zoo, every letter explores a topic, idea or solution to better help kids comprehend and care for for the environment. Let's ask him a few questions!
What inspired you to write AN ENVIRONMENTAL GUIDE FROM A TO Z?
Patrick, one of my seventeen nephews, and now in 3rd grade, kept telling me about what he was learning in school—from the destruction of the rainforest to the struggling polar bears. He was sad. I chose to write a book about the wonders of the natural world and to encourage kids to get out and learn more about it by enjoying it.
What is you favorite letter in the book and why?
Can I have two? "L is for Lugari" is fun because I spent a couple weeks in Colombia visiting with Paolo Lugari and Gaviotas. Seeing firsthand how Lugari turned a wasteland into a new forest was over-the-top cool. I also love the "C is for Cycle" page, probably because I like conversations about how nature has no garbage dumps. When I visit classrooms I usually bring my worms and explain how they eat my left-overs and turn it into a valuable fertilizer for my plants.
Your book explores many different regions and people in the world. Why should a kid living in a city care about Mt. Kilimanjaro or the Inuit Eskimos?
Funny you should ask. Actually, I believe it's far more important they first know their backyards or nearby park than Africa or the Arctic. Learning about nature starts with the nearby and expands, so we included ideas to get out and learn more about what's around them, i.e. "Have you considered keeping a journal of your local habitat—to write about what you see, smell and hear?"
What is the single most important idea about the environment that you wish all kids knew?
Again, just one?
I want kids to know that exploring outside is loads of fun and, chances are their parents and grandparents got to have more fun than they did because they got to play outside often.
As John Burroughs said, "Knowledge without love will not stick, but begin with love and knowledge is sure to follow." So, once kids fall in love with the earth, they'll learn that we need nature for everything in life. Better yet, nature teaches us everything we need to know—from energy flows and nutrient cycles— to create a better future.
This is the most exciting time in the history of the world to be alive.