Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, April 23, 2018

All That Trash Written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy

All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff
Written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy
Paula Wiseman Books: an imprint of Simon & Schuster. 2018
ISBN: 9781481477529
Ages 4 thru 18

The publisher sent me a copy of this book to review.

In 1987, Lowell Harrelson, the owner of the National Waste Contractors in Alabama, came up with, what he thought, a perfect solution when he was told that a New York landfill was almost out of room. He would take the 3,186 tons of trash and dump it in North Carolina. “First, he rented a barge to carry the garbage. Second, he got a tugboat and crew to tow the barge.” 

Harrelson’s idea was to use the methane gas created from the decomposing garbage and turn it into energy! Unfortunately, no state in the U.S. would let him dump the stuff. After five months and more than six thousand miles later, a New York judge ordered that the rotten and stinky garbage was to be burned. It became 400 tons of ash. 

McCarthy’s comic style, big-eyed characters, rendered in acrylic paint, perfectly compliment the simple narrative. This informational picture book about the importance of recycling and protecting our environment is engaging.

In addition to a selected bibliography, back matter also includes facts on garbage barge, recycling, and ocean garbage. Readers also learn what the crew aboard the tugboat, Break of Dawn did during those five long months hauling the increasingly rotting (and very smelly) garbage.

This is a perfect book to share with any age when talking about recycling. 

Click here to listen to the 1987 NBC news report featuring Tom Brokaw about the barge. 

If using All That Trash with high school students, may I suggest The Story of Stuff Project. Their website offers many videos on environmental concerns and suggestions on how to become an advocate. According to their film, “The Story of Microfibers, “Every day, the world throws away billions and billions and billions of plastic bottles.”

1 comment:

  1. This looks great! Thanks for the heads up.

    I loved Jonah Winter's Here Comes the Garbage Barge about the same topic, and it's one that's becoming increasingly dire.