When I was a kid, we lived in the last house at the top of a big hill in the woods of Pennsylvania. In addition to our pets–our dog Sparky, a tankful of fish in my bedroom, frogs in a terrarium in my sister’s room, a birdcage with parakeets Blueberry and Snowflake in my brother’s room–we were surrounded by wildlife outside, too. Right in our backyard we encountered snakes, rabbits, bats, bugs, once a bear, and more salamanders than you could possibly imagine. In fact, the salamanders were so plentiful that my brother and I would take turns flipping over a rock and snatching them up as they fled. We had a small plastic terrarium that we’d put them in to watch what they did. I even took some into school because my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Dean, said it would be a good project to observe them. What I didn’t realize then was just how much we were disturbing everything about those poor little salamanders’ lives–their habitat, yes, and also their life cycle (they almost always died in our care if we didn’t let them go soon enough).
To paraphrase Maya Angelou, when you know better, you do better.
Enter: The Animal Lover’s Guide to Changing the World.
This book breaks down the myriad ways we can all help animals in need, from the ones in our homes to the ones in our backyards to the ones on the other side of the world. It’s easy, digestible, and–most importantly–nonjudgmental.
The accessibility of the writing turns complex themes, like the interconnectedness of people, pets, and the environment, into succinct, actionable steps. In fact, one of the strengths of this guide is the “Comment and Share” section at the end of every chapter that distills the main point into bite-sized chunks with clear steps to take to make a difference.
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A simple reference for helping animals
One of the great things about this book is that you can dip in and out of individual chapters to learn about the topic you’re most interested in, or quickly refer back to a topic without losing anything in the mix. It’s set up like a reference guide, though it’s written like a narrative.
My two fave chapters focused on the power of words–how we speak about things matters–and the impact our actions have on the environment. The latter of those two united the importance of environmentalism and the lives of the animals around us and inspired me and John to put hummingbird feeders around our yard!
The ultimate lesson I took from The Animal Lover’s Guide to Changing the World is one we talk a lot about around here: Do your best.
No one is perfect. No one should strive to be perfect. But we should all strive to do better when and where we can.
Align your actions with your values
Who is this book for? Honestly, I think because it’s written in such an accessible way, it’s perfect for a YA audience on up. It would be a great conversation starter or project inspo in a classroom setting, but it’s also a succinct reference to keep on your shelf to pull down for ideas and motivation.
I was lucky enough to receive a proof of the book to review since it doesn’t come out until June 5. However, you can pre-order a copy on Amazon!
YIPPEEE! I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!
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A big, huge THANK YOU to Stephanie for reaching out to share her book with me so that I could share it with you guys! And an even bigger thank you for her publishers providing this giveaway copy!