Pocket Change: Pitching in for a Better World by Michelle Mulder

 817rkjxz8lPocket Change: Pitching in for a Better World by Michelle Mulder, Orca Book Publishers, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0966-6

Format:  hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

What did you like about the book? This book helps the reader think about things we do every day, such as spending money and throwing away unwanted items, in a larger context. The writer’s overall goal is to get people to consider the environmental impact of the way we live, and to make both large and small changes to help make the world a better place. She covers a lot of ground, touching on a variety of topics including the history of money, supply and demand, the Great Depression, child labor, and pollution. She also includes many creative suggestions for ways all of us can cut down on what we buy, what we throw away, and how we treat our planet and each other. There are lots of captioned photographs showing children in action all over the world.  The book also includes an index, glossary, and list of suggested books and websites for further study. Young readers should be thoroughly engaged and eager to try out some the ideas presented here, whether it’s planting a community garden or organizing a Freecycling event. Particularly intriguing is the idea of a Human Library, aimed at decreasing prejudice and increasing understanding between people. According to the author, these events have been organized all over the world, where people can talk to “living books” such as a police officer or a graffiti artist, to learn more about them.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No. In spite of the fact that this book might be a bit overly-ambitious in its scope, it could be just the thing to help young people think more globally, consider their buying habits, and become involved in their communities.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Read Alikes? Recommend to young readers who are interested in starting their own business or in community action. Also, recommend to anyone researching the history of money or child labor.

Who should buy this book? Elementary schools, middle schools and public libraries should find this a valuable addition to their collections.

Where would you shelve it ?  Children’s nonfiction, 339.4.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  No, although it’s worth browsing through it for some inspiration.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

Date of review: November 4, 2016

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