*2016 EUREKA SILVER*
*2016 LIVING NOW AWARD, Books for Better Living*
*RIF Multicultural Collection*
*Skipping Stones Honor Book*
*CBC Recommended Reading*
*Santa Monica Public Library Green Prize for Sustainable Literature*
In a Guatemalan village, students squished into their tiny schoolhouse, two grades to a classroom. The villagers had tried expanding the school, but the money ran out before the project was finished. No money meant no wall materials, and that meant no more room for the students. Until one boy got a wonderful, crazy idea. The idea not only solved both problems, but also inspired others.
Why not use soda bottles, which were scattered all around, to form the cores of the walls? Never underestimate the power of an idea!
Laura Kutner, the real-life “Seno Laura” in The Soda Bottle School, wrote this book because she wanted to “inspire young readers to believe in themselves and work together to make the world a better place, and have fun at the same time.”
Sometimes thinking outside the boxor inside the bottleleads to the perfect solution.
About the Author
Suzanne Slade is the author of 100 books for children, including many titles on science topics. Suzanne holds a Mechanical Engineering degree, and has worked on Delta IV rockets and car braking systems before beginning her writing career. She lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband and two children.
Laura Kutner is the real-life “Seño Laura” in The Soda Bottle School.
Aileen Darragh is a graphic artist and illustrator. She lives in Sanford, Maine, with her husband, her three girls, and their golden retriever Shadow. Her previous work includes To Touch a Cloud by Scott Arnold. Aileen provides volunteer graphic design services for her local library reading programs and for local school teachers. (Aileen is also a working mom, as assistant to the CEO of Dole &
Bailey, Inc.) She and her kids love art projects of every kind: needlepoint,
needlepunch, embroidery, sewing, beading, building doll houses, painting,
drawing, and dyeing fabric. They have a chest of old clothes and love to dress up and put on impromptu plays (with the dog playing the prince when necessary).
Black Beauty, the model for Give A Goat is owned by a friend of the family.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
How can one crazy, little idea solve a couple of very big problems? It is 2007, and Fernando Jose lives in the small Guatemalan village of Granados, under the shadow of the mighty Tuncaj Volcano with his Mama, Abuela, and Abuelo. He is a fourth grader, and his favorite teacher is Seno Laura. However, Granados has two big problems. First, the school is unfinished and too small, housing 200 students with two grades in each classroom and two children at each desk. Second, now that products in fancy packages have started arriving from other countries, Granados has plastic soda and water bottles along with a lot of other trash all over town, and there is no recycling center or even a garbage dump. One day during recreo, Seno Laura is drinking a cold soda from a plastic bottle. That’s when she and Fernando have a crazy little idea that involves picking up all the bottles and trash around town and even in nearby communities. This solved the garbage problem, but how will it help to deal with the school-crowding problem? Co-author Laura Kutner, who is the real-life “Seño Laura” in the story, is the founder of Trash for Peace, a nonprofit organization which works to promote environmental education both in the United States and internationally. The Soda Bottle School is based on her own experience as a visiting school teacher in Guatemala. In the back are an extended author's note that provides further information about the actual project and a glossary of the Spanish words included in the book, which also features Aileen Darragh's cheerful watercolor illustrations. Kutner and co-author Suzanne Slade wrote it to “to inspire young readers to believe in themselves and work together to make the world a better place, and have fun at the same time.” The authors' profits from this book will be donated to build more bottle schools and to promote environmental awareness. It has been described as a “very cute and inspiring story” and “a lovely warm inspirational book.” I whole-heartedly agree.