Resource Review

Written & Compiled by Tiffany Tillman


One Hundred Is a Family

One Hundred Is a Family written by Pam Muñoz Ryan is a rhyming counting book that explores the big idea of community by asking, “How large or small is a family and who makes up this core community with whom most of us spend the bulk of our lives?”  Each number shows a different family doing an activity together, such as “FIVE is a family planting seedlings in the ground,” and “SEVEN is a family keeping traditions of the past.”  Especially as numbers increase after 10, we see the make-up of a family changing into a community-family as, for example, “FIFTY is a family mending after an angry wind” and “SIXTY is a family sharing a neighborhood street.”  These illustrations show an entire community coming together to help each other or enjoy spending time together.

Cheerful illustrations depict multicultural characters engaging in a variety of activities.  There is a myriad of stories shown on each page, especially as the people increase with each number.  Readers will enjoy looking at every detail.  One Hundred Is a Family ends with its title connection:  “ONE HUNDRED is a family caring for the fragile universe…and making life better for every ONE on earth.”  This is a great book to share when celebrating family and community, and asking students how families, schools, and communities help each other! 

This review was excerpted and adapted from , which is written by the Sustainability Academy’s librarian, Susanna Paterson.  Visit this blog regularly to learn of more children’s books related to the Big Ideas of Sustainability.



Mother Nature’s Child

Mother Nature’s Child, a film by Camilla Rockwell, explores the role of nature in children’s health and development - from early childhood through adolescence.  The film recalls a time when children played freely outside from dawn until dusk and comments on the effects of “nature deficit disorder” today.  It asks questions about play based learning, risk-taking and healthy child development, the importance and role of unstructured play outdoors, urban nature connections, and educating for the whole child.

The film features experts in child development, environmental education, nature awareness, brain development and research, education, and adolescent leadership.  Experts such as David Sobel and Jon Young add commentary and insight into the importance of connecting with the natural environment and developing a sense of place.  Preschool children from Beyond the Walls in Washington, DC inspire educators to break down the walls of the classroom and get children outside. 

After watching the 57 minutes of children laughing and playing in nature ,one will surely remember that a deep connection to that which sustains us is imperative to healthy development and a sustainable future.


Young Children and the Environment:  Early Education for Sustainability

Young Children and the Environment:  Early Education for Sustainability by Julie Davis is a book for pre-service and practicing early childhood educators, teacher educators, policy makers, and educational leaders who aspire to infuse Education for Sustainability into their practice, pedagogy and policies.  The book features collections of theory, research, practical application and ethics on early childhood Education for Sustainability (EFS) with a focus on education IN the environment, education ABOUT the environment, and education FOR the environment.  Davis, an expert in early childhood environmental and sustainability education, tackles the controversial issue of young children and their ability to understand and/or address environmental problems by stating that it is unethical to shelter young children from the environmental and contemporary issues which they will inherit as their future and are most likely already aware of.  The book provides examples of children’s interest in and ideas about such problems and their plans for addressing them.  Davis believes that even the youngest of children are capable of complex thinking and have a right to practice decision-making and community planning.

Other chapters pertain to leadership for sustainability and systematic approaches for using the lens of sustainability to transform campus practices and culture, curriculum, and community partnerships.  Case Studies and examples from Australia provide rich documentation of how the early childhood sector is rediscovering the need for children to connect with and be immersed in nature and community.

Early Childhood EFS is a new and emerging field in the US, and Julie Davis’s documentation and articulation of Australia’s early childhood EFS work is a great resource as we work to infuse sustainability into every sector of our educational system.

Cambridge University Press, 2010, ISBN 0521736129, 320 pages, available for $59.95 from Cambridge University Press

This article appeared in the SSP's Fall 2011 Newsletter.

Download a PDF of the article here.

Download the Fall 2011 entire newsletter here.


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