January 18, 2018

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All That Trash by Meghan McCarthy | SLJ Review

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redstarMCCARTHY, Meghan. All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff. illus. by Meghan McCarthy. 48p. bibliog. photos. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Feb. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481477529.

Gr 3-5 –The year was 1987 and a ship full of trash was about to become famous. This is the engaging, humorous, and entirely true story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and its world-traveling adventure. When he discovered a New York landfill was almost full, Lowell Harrelson had a revolutionary idea. The owner of a waste management company wanted to take the trash to an alternate location and test a process that could create electricity from garbage. However, word leaked that an entire barge of trash was setting sail for parts unknown and suddenly no one would let him bring the trash ashore. A five month–long saga ensued, taking the debris all the way to Central America and back in search of a final resting place. The narrative is immensely readable and is graced with comical illustrations that feature period correct facial hair and clothing styles. Readers will gain perspective from several points of view, including government officials, news anchors, and even the captain of the tugboat in this excellently sourced and presented tale. An exceptional addition to environment or Earth Day collections, this will have appeal as both an independent read and a mentor text for whole class studies. The supplementary material includes photos from the actual barge, facts about the barge, recycling, garbage, and ocean garbage, as well as ideas for reusing trash. VERDICT A fresh take on a story of old garbage guaranteed to spark conversations and a desire for actions among students. Highly recommended.–Emily Beasley, Omaha Public Schools

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2018 issue.

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