Odes To Our Oceans
A Bevy of Plastic Pollution Books!
Several inspirational books have been published recently by ocean-loving activists seeking to educate, inspire and empower people to join in combating plastic pollution. Join us in celebrating these books that are an invitation to all of us to continue to rally against plastic pollution.
Whether we’re doing a beach clean-up, making art, or lobbying for plastic-free policies, there’s room for so many different talents needed to turn the tide on the tsunami of pollution choking our oceans. These books remind us of a primary tool we can all use in rallying against plastic: our voices!
Author Shell Cleave advises people who aren’t sure how to start making a difference “to learn as much as you can, find your voice, and use it.”
“My passion is the ocean, so that is the area I focus on,” Cleave explains. “But there are so many more - explore and be open-minded. You just might find the creative solutions are looking for you instead of the other way around.”
ECOlunchbox congratulates these authors and is delighted to introduce five books by plastic pollution activists we think you’ll love.
Featured Books & Authors
Kai and Gaia Discover the Gyre Kristal Ambrose
The Littlest Sea Hugger by Shell Cleave
Say Goodbye To Plastic: A Survival Guide For Plastic-Free Living by Sandra Ann Harris
Taking On The Plastics Crisis by Hannah Testa
Washed Ashore: Making Art from Ocean Plastic by Kelly Crull
Kai and Gaia Discover the Gyre
By Kristal Ambrose
Growing up in The Bahamas, Kristal Ambrose has been an exuberant plastic pollution activist and voice for our oceans since founding the Bahamas Plastics Movement in 2012. Her delightful children’s book Kai and Gaia Discover the Gyre is about an ocean-loving young Bahamian girl named Kai (Ocean) who is inspired to bring an end to ocean plastic pollution after her best friend, a sea turtle named Gaia (Earth), becomes stuck at sea in a trash gyre.
While the book’s topic is serious and young readers will learn about issues concerning plastic ocean debris and the hazards it poses to marine life, the colorful illustrations by Stevie Burrows and the protagonist’s can-do approach to the problems create an uplifting and empowering tone. Ambrose, internationally known as “Kristal Ocean,” describes the book as her “love letter to the ocean.”
The book features a foreword by musician and environmentalist Jack Johnson who lauds the book as a powerful reminder that “we all have the power to inspire change and be part of solutions to help our planet.” The book tells how Kai successfully rallies her friends, classmates, teachers and even her country’s leaders to say goodbye to single-use plastics and pass policies to protect against plastic pollution.
Yet again, Ambrose has impressed and amazed us at ECOlunchbox by expanding her award-winning ocean conservation work to include the publication of Kai and Gia Discover the Gyre. We’re delighted to share its publication with our plastic-free community and strongly encourage readers to buy the book for their libraries and share with friends and family.
The Littlest Sea Hugger
By Shell Cleave
Shell Cleave’s love affair with the ocean runs deep. Whether she was combing the beach near her home in Half Moon Bay or surfing the waves, paddling on her SUP or scuba diving to see its depths, the ocean has always tugged at her heart strings. So when Cleave noticed more and more plastic littering the beaches, tossing in the waves and deep below the surface, she was called to action in 2018 to create the non profit Sea Hugger.
Now she’s taken her passion to the page and written a touching children’s book called The Littlest Sea Hugger: A Child’s Journey To Becoming An Ocean Conservationist. The picture book illustrated by Rose Adele chronicles the story of a nature-loving boy who encounters a whale washed up on the beach near his home. While he’s sad at first, Gio rallies his concern into action with the support of his family.
The story is inspired by Shell’s grandson and includes lots of ways children can become ocean conservationists, such as beach clean-ups, skipping straws, choosing reusable containers and other tips to avoid disposable plastics. When children are empowered to take action, Cleave points out, it “can help curb climate anxiety.”The book encourages young readers that we can change the plastic tide before the damage is irreparable if we are all willing to change a few habits.
“I have always wanted to work with the ocean, but I wasn't very good in science,” explains Cleave, who previously worked as a technical writer. “I am a communicator and through Sea Hugger I get to live out my passion using my skills to help the ocean. I also love working with kids and creating life-long conservationists. They are our future!”
We’re big fans of Cleave’s commitment to our oceans and highly recommend the fabulous book she has written to inspire young generations to dive into action. Plus, book sale proceeds go towards her ocean conservation work!
Say Goodbye To Plastic: A Survival Guide For Plastic-Free Living
By Sandra Ann Harris
Founder and CEO of ECOlunchbox
Appropriate for middle school students to adult
ECOlunchbox’s founder Sandra Ann Harris woke up to the dangers of plastics more than 15 years ago when she started packing school lunches for her young children and was determined to avoid plastic toxins and waste. She has been on a mission ever since to help people reduce their dependence on this ubiquitous petroleum-based material.
Harris’ most recent endeavor is the publication of a memoir and how-to book called Say Goodbye To Plastic: A Survival Guide For Plastic-Free Living. The book is an inspirational call to action to join the plastic-free movement and features a foreward by Dianna Cohen of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
The middle of the book has chapters broken down by rooms of the house and packed with how-to tips for beginner and advanced plastic-free lifestyle aficionados. Readers can use the index to quickly find easy plastic-free tips to say goodbye to plastic in their kitchen, dining room, bedroom, bathroom, etc… The book’s “personal action” and “citizen activist” challenges at the back of each chapter pointedly show how individual action can have a ripple effect.
The author’s lyrical introduction and moving conclusion are odes to the ocean describing both the beauty of our seas as well the deep challenges we face, such as the resurgence of the humpback whale population that’s once again under dire threat. This time it’s plastic pollution and boat traffic - not whale hunting - that is killing the mammals. Harris compellingly drives the point home that “we protect what we love,” as Jacques Cousteau said.
“I hope my story can inspire others to jump into action around their passions and make positive change in our world,” Harris explains. “It’s tough sometimes to know how to get started because problems like plastic pollution are so immense. I’m so grateful I let my heart guide me in starting ECOlunchbox as a mission-based company so I could work on behalf of the ocean educating, inspiring and empowering people to say goodbye to plastic since 2008.”
We recommend Say Goodbye To Plastic for adult and teen readers who love nature, are curious to learn more about the origins of plastic pollution, and are seeking guidance on how to systematically weed plastic out of their lives. Harris’ personal journey as a plastic pollution activist and entrepreneur provides a compelling storyline that makes her book an enjoyable read.
Taking On The Plastics Crisis
By Hannah Testa
Hannah Testa was an early comer to the plastic pollution movement and has been a friend of ECOlunchbox and our plastic-free mission for a decade. The 19-year-old’s grassroots activism story started when she was an elementary school student educating classmates, friends and neighbors in Cumming, GA. Testa’s ah-ha moment about the dangers of disposable plastics struck her when she was just 10 years old.
In her inspirational book Taking On The Plastics Crisis, Testa shares how she grew up passionate about plastic pollution and gradually expanded her activism. From her hometown she took her message statewide and led a campaign to pass legislation in her home state of Georgia limiting single-user plastics.
The youth activist has presented to thousands of adults and children across the world - as well as big businesses and local, state, and international government officials - on plastic pollution and practical ways residents can reduce their plastic footprint. She is the founder of the non-profit called Hannah4Change.
We highly recommend Testa’s book, which is written for young adult readers. It’s an uplifting and sometimes humorous account of what one girl can do as she grows up to change the world around her and, in the process, inspire others to do the same. Appropriate for readers of all ages, the book is a page-turning read that lights the heart with the potential of achieving great change by starting with personal action.
Washed Ashore: Making Art from Ocean Plastic
By Kelly Crull
Kelly Crull was visiting the zoo with his family when an enormous sculpture of a parrotfish caught the attention of his whole family. “My kids ran over to take a closer look, but there was this moment when we all kind of stopped and said, “Whoa! What’s going on here?” Crull remembers incredulously. “And that’s when we realized this sculpture was made entirely out of ocean plastic.”
This encounter with a sculpture by the non-profit Washed Ashore based in Bandon, Ore was the ah-ah moment for Crull who has recently published a book showcasing 14 stunning animal sculptures created completely from ocean trash. The book features eye-popping, high resolution photos of the sculptures so readers can see all the plastic components used to create the animal sculptures. Fascinating facts about each ocean animal are paired with action tips to call readers young and old to think of creative new ways to protect the world’s oceans. For example, readers are encouraged to reduce plastic use, hold a beach cleanup, and make their own plastic art.
“My favorite part of the book is that along the bottom of each page is a series of images of ordinary, household objects that you can search for in the sculpture on that page. It's kind of like Where's Waldo?” Crull says. “It’s a game, and kids love it!”
The non-profit Washed Ashore was founded by sculptor Angela Haseltine Pozzi who started finding washed ashore plastic debris near her home on beach walks and was determined to turn the trash into art to call attention to marine plastic pollution. The sculptures travel the country to teach people about the importance of these animals—and the problems caused by plastic pollution.
As a long-time fan of Washed Ashored education art exhibits, we’re thrilled that Crull has captured the magic of these awesome sculptures and created an engaging book that can be enjoyed by all ages either at home - or in school. We commend his effort and recommend the book’s purchase for personal use and gifts to create a ripple effect and build engagement among family and friends who may be interested in plastic pollution aversion.