Review summary: This book has almost no cons (rare) and too many pros to list. If you’re interested in learning about how to green yourself, your home and your family this book is the perfect affordable guide and I highly recommend it for families.
Product: Green Guide Families: The Complete Reference for Eco-Friendly Parents by Catherine Zandonella; from National Geographic Books; March 16, 2010.
Cost: The best price I’ve seen for Green Guide Families: The Complete Reference for Eco-Friendly Parents is $14.93 (paperback) at Amazon. They don’t appear to have a digital version available.
From the publisher: “When we published Green Guide: The Complete Reference for Consuming Wisely in 2008, Meryl Streep called it “the ultimate green living reference.” Now, building on that success, here’s a guide to eco-friendly parenting that’s expertly organized and filled with practical advice, definitive explanations, and imaginative ideas.
Addressing the key environmental issues faced by parents of young children today, this book takes a straightforward approach to such urgent concerns as lead-painted toys; the risks and benefits of vaccinations, antibiotics, and vitamins; the potential side effects of plastic bottles and containers; how to manage food allergies and avoid fat- and sugar-filled snacks; and much more.
Author Catherine Zandonella combines knowledge and experience as she helps parents guide youngsters through a society that doesn’t always make green lifestyle choices easy. She also offers sensible advice on raising children who “think green” right from the start and shows how green choices can actually cost less.”
What’s covered in Green Guide Families:
- Each chapter is broken up into logical order – covering what you’d expect from the chapter title. In case you’re rushed there’s a very good “Take Action” section at the end of each chapter covering key points and action steps you can (and should) take right away.
- Nice little segments of green dictionary words, green on a shoestring and other eco-facts and tips are scattered throughout the book.
- If there’s a topic families need that wasn’t covered I must have missed it. This book takes you from baby care into the teen years and beyond – everything you need to make smart green choices.
- Excellent resource section at the back of the book.
What I adore about Green Guide Families:
- According to author Catherine, when thinking about how to go green, it is important to remember that protecting the environment and protecting your family’s health go hand in hand. Just follow the simple rule, “If it is good for the planet, then it is most likely good for my child.” I like that thinking and it’s a great mindset to have if you’re going to write a green book for families.
- Not only does this book cover why you should go green but why exactly each green step you take is healthier for your children. A lot of books say, “GO GREEN!” with no real evidence to back up why you should. The reasons given in this book are smack on and compelling.
- A nice big chunk of this book is devoted to not only engaging your child in your green adventures but engaging your child in nature, which is a pet topic of mine. I loved the focus on how kid are 100% able to be a super smart part of your green family. What’s even more amazing is that there are sections devoted to each stage of a child’s life; the early years, elementary years, preteens and teens. I’ve never seen a book do this.
- I think the tips were logical, easy to follow and that any green parent can make the time to follow through. The book isn’t asking you to move mountain, but to take small steps that all in all contribute to a greener home, family and planet – which is exactly how you should sell green issues.
- The book never talks down to families (or children in particular). You won’t feel guilty reading this book but empowered to easily do more for the earth. I hate green guilt trips and this book is free and clear of them.
- Rainforest Alliance Certified and FSC Certified (i.e. printed on paper from sustainably managed forests).
Were there any negatives?
- I think the book’s design would benefit from a few images to break up the text. Good basic design overall, but nothing to write home about.
- If you’re looking for a book specifically on raising baby green, this may not be the book for you. Many helpful baby tips are offered in Green Guide Families, but it’s not, in my opinion, broken down enough. For example diapering only takes up four pages. This isn’t a total con, because this is a whole family book, not a green baby book, however if you’re looking for a book more suitable for new green parents and extensive on the baby care issues I’d check out The Eco-nomical Baby Guide instead of or along with this book.
- Very few individual products are covered. For example, when speaking of eco-friendly diapers it’s noted that many are on the market, but examples aren’t given. I actually approve of this move because green companies can come and go fast, thus dating a book plus some companies end up not being as green as we thought. That said, resources for more info are listed in this book (see the back of the book) but I know some people like products throughout books so I’m mentioning it.
- I don’t think this is a great book for old school greenies. I already knew a lot of what was covered and not much of the book was new to me.
5 out of 5 little trees! It was really hard to find any cons with this book. If I had to write the perfect general green guide for families, I’d want all the topics they choose included. Green Guide Families is also one of the few green books I’ve read that actually delves into whole life green living – i.e. raising kids green from the start and I loved the large nature presence in this book. As noted above in cons, I don’t think this book is ideal if you’ve been living green for a good long while but it was written more for families new to green so I’m not taking away a point for this.
If you’re interested in learning about how to green yourself, your home and your family this book is the perfect affordable guide and I highly recommend it for families. BONUS – National Geographic sent me an excellent list of green family tips right from author Zandonella, so I’ll be posting those a bit later (watch for them).
- Buy Green Guide Families: The Complete Reference for Eco-Friendly Parents
- Learn more about Green Guide Families at National Geographic and check out their other green book selections.
- Learn more about author Catherine Zandonella.
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[images ©2009 National Geographic]