soup of the day: special edition


Today, 500 billion people in 175 countries will be celebrating Earth Day.

Here at alphabet soup, I am rereading and embracing an outstanding children’s book published just last year, which illustrates the importance of protecting our marine environment:

        TRACKING TRASH by Loree Griffin Burns (Houghton Mifflin, 2007)
          64 pages, ages 9-12

Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion, by Loree Griffin Burns (

), is the story of Dr. Curt Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer who initiated a research project to track trash (flotsam such as sneakers and rubber duckies from cargo spills ), to learn more about ocean currents.

Using a computer modeling program called OSCURS, Ebbesmeyer was able to verify data gathered from beachcombers like himself to further understand the extent of ocean pollution and how it is harming marine life.

I was especially horrified to learn about the Garbage Patch, a four thousand pound mass of discarded fishing nets discovered in the Pacific Ocean, that takes a week to cross by boat! The ongoing GhostNet Project continues to monitor the Garbage Patch and locates other tangled monsters that trap fish and harm coral reefs. 

Tracking Trash, a Junior Library Guild selection and winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award for nonfiction, is the perfect example of what a good science book should be — a fascinating treasure of information presented in a highly readable, engaging style. Loree’s passion for her subject will inspire children as well as adults, and motivate them to take a more active role in caring for the world’s oceans.

Although I usually make alphabet soup to celebrate new book releases, I’ve made a special bowl today just to thank Loree for writing this wonderful book. Those of you who’ve already read the book and shared it with your children or students are welcome to dive into the bowl and slurp especially loud, so that others will know how good the book is, and want to read it, too!

Happy Earth Day!

                May the tides be good to you, but mind the currents.
           (The best way to eliminate alphabet flotsam is to swallow it whole.)
To view the necropsy of an albatross found on Kure Atoll in Hawaii, click here. Birds think plastic is food, and it is killing them.

For more about Loree, visit her website, which has some great photographs documenting some of the research for this book, and check her blog for updates about her next project, Hive Detectives.


6 thoughts on “soup of the day: special edition

  1. Happy Earth Day!
    Sam Phillips—at her MySpace site—has a re-make of “Black Sky” (from “Martinis and Bikinis”) up for Earth Day — all acoustic. It’s beautiful.
    Jules, 7-Imp


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