Eco Kids Self-Sufficiency Handbook: STEAM Projects To Help Kids Make a Difference

BRIDGEWATER, Alan & . 168p. diag. index. photos. Fox Chapel. Jan. 2019. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781641240307.
Gr 4–7—This title contains 28 DIY STEAM projects, ranging from complicated constructions to sewing projects—a solar-powered buggy along with a patchwork rag bag. There is a distinct homespun feel to these projects. The volume has pages of inspirational quotes and grounding ecology principles mixed in; however, the quotes do not tie into the book's theme immediately, and the ecology principles lack depth and support for further research. A standout activity is the a furoshiki wrap, a traditional Japanese cloth gift-wrapping. Most of the projects require adult help, significant outdoor space, and a generous budget. A shed-building project lists materials and suggests researching online newspapers or resources to find salvaged building materials. At times, the section on tools addresses adults; at others, it's targeted to kids. The authors argue that self-sufficiency will lead to ecological improvements but don't fully explain or cite images depicting ecological concepts, and fail to explore in depth the idea of self-sufficiency. The section on learning how to knit starts with finding leftover wool and tells readers to find an adult to teach them how to knit. The Native American button bracelet is patronizing in its nonspecificity, stating that kids should do a "quick look on the Internet at pictures of Native American costumes." There is only one person of color photographed in the book. The images of projects are all set in bucolic green backyards. All the craft projects lack step-by-step instruction.
VERDICT A strictly additional purchase for libraries serving those with an interest in self-sufficient living.

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