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  • The Day the River Caught Fire: How the Cuyahoga River Exploded and Ignited the Earth Day Movement

The Day the River Caught Fire: How the Cuyahoga River Exploded and Ignited the Earth Day Movement

The Day the River Caught Fire: How the Cuyahoga River Exploded and Ignited the Earth Day Movement
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
4+
Release Date
March 28, 2023
ISBN
978-1534480834
Buy This Book
      
Discover the true story of how a 1969 fire in one of the most polluted rivers in America sparked the national Earth Day movement in this nonfiction picture book by award-winning author Barry Wittenstein and beloved illustrator Jessie Hartland.

After the Industrial Revolution in the 1880s, the Cayuhoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, caught fire almost twenty times, earning Cleveland the nickname “The Mistake on the Lake.” Waste dumping had made fires so routine that local politicians and media didn’t pay them any mind, and other Cleveland residents laughed off their combustible river and even wrote songs about it.

But when the river ignited again in June 1969, the national media picked up on the story and added fuel to the fire of the recent environmental movement. A year later, in 1970, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency—leading to the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts—and the first Earth Day was celebrated. It was a celebration, it was a protest, and it was the beginning of a movement to save our planet.

Editor review

1 review
Well Written Story that Helped Start Earth Day
Overall rating
 
4.7
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Learning Value
 
4.0
Growing up only a few hours from Cleveland, I was somewhat familiar with the story of the Cuyahoga River and the multiple times it had caught fire. I did not know, however, that it actually helped start the Earth Day movement.

The Day the River Caught Fire is a well written children's picture book. It's written in a way that is fun and easy for children to comprehend and read aloud, while still getting an important message across.
Kids will enjoy seeing everyone who stepped up to put a stop to the poisoning of our water systems, including Cleveland's first Black mayor, Carl Stokes.

The illustrations do a wonderful job of showing kids what the pollution once was like, and how the Earth could be. They are engaging and help get conversation started.

Included is some interesting information in the back, such as an author's note; an environmental timeline; links to environmental organizations, videos, websites, and books; and the Earth Day website where kids can learn how to get involved.

A perfect book for every day and an important part of our homeschool library!
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