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  • Susie Csorsz Brown

Favorite books: The Lorax

"Study Nature. Love Nature. Stay close to Nature. It will never fail you." ~ Frank Lloyd Wright.

This book is probably not much of a surprise: I love my green spaces, I love being outdoors. And honestly, who wouldn't love to be surrounded by truffula trees? This book is a fun way to help kids start to see their impact - both good and bad - on the world around them. Bigger picture, though, and how this is a useful book for all sorts of lessons is the message that one does not have to follow norm just because it is the norm; we should ask questions, we should wonder, and we should do what we think is right rather than what is easiest.

The Lorax's message 'Unless' is an important one: we can make a change. We need to have a sense of social responsibility beyond our small selves: our environment depends on us; our cities depend on us; our schools depend on us. We can't just sweep through the hills, cut everything down that we want, and serve only our own needs... especially when those selfish needs fly in the face of others. Sure, if we take only one tree, that is a sustainable act. What if everyone takes a tree? What if everyone picks a flower?

I remember one spring, my middle son went out into the yard and found some beautiful tulips blooming. A full circle of red. He picked every single one of them and brought them into the house, partly to please me and partly to please himself. I almost cried. If you've ever had tulips in a vase, you know they don't last long. Surrounded by those beautiful blooms, I sat right down and explained to him that while his gift was heart-felt, we could now only enjoy those tulips fleetingly; had we left them in the yard to sway in the sun, they would have lasted at least 2 weeks. He is now my strongest champion to not have cut flowers inside the house; he knows it is best to enjoy them outside, in their own environment. Sustainability is important.

The other message this book addresses is questioning the norm. Just because the big and the wealthy say one thing does not always mean that the message is correct or applies to you. make sure you agree with the message before you sign on.

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