Friday, April 22, 2011

In Celeration of Earth Day: A Book Review and Giveaway: Raising Elijah by Sandra Steingraber

Did you guys listen to the news yesterday? They spoke of a study that confirms the effects of pesticides on the IQ levels of children. I was well aware of this as a result of reading the fascinating book called Raising Elijah. It's being released today--Earth Day and the connections couldn't be more clear.

Sandra Steingraber is an internationally known ecologist and environmental educator. She has lectured and spoken publicly on the environmental dangers and challenges facing our country in the past and well into the future. While she carries academic titles and rewards of renown, such as the Rachel Carson Leadership Award, perhaps her most treasured title is that of mother to her two children, Elijah and Faith. Raising Elijah is one part memoir and one part educational treatise, but all informative and entertaining.

Steingraber discusses the ongoing environmental crises our nation faces, but does so in a way that makes it understandable to the layperson. She alerts readers to the dangers in their daily environment and how it can affect the must vulnerable citizens: our precious children. Things that we never think of during our daily meanderings are rife with danger: the playground equipment, your child’s plastic raincoat. Playground equipment is often made of pressure-treated wood. The wood is treated with pesticides; this includes arsenic, a carcinogenic. It leeches out of the equipment; it leeches out, into the soil. Your children put their hands in their mouths…you fill in the blanks. The same issues apply to many backyard decks. Ever take a whiff of your child’s plastic raincoat and your shower curtain. The fumes have questionable effects on the human body.

Issues in the environment that affect psyche, such as the new levels of terror may people feel since the 9/11 attacks, affect milk production in breastfeeding moms. Even the declining age of puberty of American girls, calls into question how environmental factors may weigh in.

The author alerts the reader to the social, economical and political forces that influence and impact the world around us and ultimately our very health and life. What is a real eye-opener is how much of the dangers are known by corporate America and those charged with protecting the public good and yet dangers are allowed to continue and indeed even proliferate in some circumstances.

Steingraber writes through the eyes of a scientist whose intellectual knowledge base is tempered and refined through her mission as a mother. She shows us how our choices as parents can affect our immediate environment and the greater world around us. She makes it clear that working as individuals and collectively, we can make a difference in our personal lives and for the common good.

Sandra Steingraber has taken a work that could have been a dry and didactic expository and turned it into a fluid, intimate narrative—sometimes funny, always entertaining and definitely illuminating. It’s a book that everyone—parents and not, should avail themselves of, for the good of themselves and for those they care about.

The publisher was kind enough to send me the hardcover in addition to the ARC. I'm giving the hardcover away. If you would like the opportunity to receive it, just leave a comment that answers this question: Do you think there's anything we can do to make sure corporations and the government protect our health or is that an impossible goal? Don't forget to leave your email so you can be contacted if you win. That is all.

Giveaway ends Monday, April 25, 2011. Open to residents of the US only.



  1. Gosh, it's hard NOT to think it's impossible. You think that having standards and checks would prevent things like this from happening but, it seems to be whatever is cheapest wins!
    As a mom, all I can do is stay informed and try to make the best decision for my family.
    I would love a chance to win this book.

  2. I am so clueless how people can make governments and corporations protect our health. I suspect that it may have something to do with money. Doesn't it always? I know that we need to pass the word so others are aware of the things that are dangerous. A book like this should be read by all parents and non-parents too. I would love to have a copy of this.

  3. Great post!
    I think that the government could do something to prevent the pesticides and other chemicals from affecting us, but spend the money on other things, or whatever it is they do. So this is why its good to pay attention to what you buy is made of, etc.
    It would be lovely to have a copy of this book.
    alovelylittlebookblog AT gmail DOT com

  4. Excellent post. I like to think it's not impossible, but sometimes I wonder if it will happen soon enough. It is all about what is cheapest or what looks best (green grass vs weeds) and it makes me really sad.

    Thanks for the contest! Please enter me, I'd love to read this book.

  5. Sorry, my e-mail is amack at pathcom dot com


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