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Helping Family and Friends (I Can Make a Difference
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Gr 2-5-Big or small, near or far, this series offers motivation and ideas for readers interested in lending a hand. Opening the door for someone who needs help, setting the table, cleaning a bedroom, or playing with a toddler are all examples of volunteering. Suggestions on a larger scale like raising funds or sponsoring an event are included, but the ideas are always realistic for the intended audience and often family-centric. An opening section on why one should volunteer includes a checklist of five benefits and culminates with "have fun!" The rest of each volume looks at specific examples that build from routine, home-based, and completed quickly to those that are more complex, long-term, and far-reaching. For example, Animals begins with pets and pet choice before talking about wild and endangered animals. Environment includes many simple reduce-reuse-recycle ideas beginning with composting, picking up litter, growing your own food, planting trees, and conserving water and electricity-all voluntarily. It goes on to suggest cleaning up a vacant lot, organizing a sponsored event dedicated to help a local environmental issue, or working on an awareness campaign for a worldwide problem like the destruction of rain forests. A concluding checklist includes a cautionary caption about safety. A large, full-color photo on each page mostly supports the text. Don't look for details on "how-to" here; instead, offer these books to readers looking for inspiration, or for adults needing a fresh approach to some hands-on civics lessons.-Carol S. Surges, Longfellow Middle School, Wauwatosa, WI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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