Looking for a good book to share with a special child this summer now that school is “out”? Here’s a great book about the travels of a single use plastic bag which may quickly become a new favorite.
Titled Bag in the Wind (Candlewick Press, 44 pages), this book by Ted Kooser will help adult readers escape the daily grind and travel along with young listeners as the protagonist is buffeted by the winds of fate, interacting with a diverse cast of characters. The differing goals of each character will affect the destiny of the “hero.”
Writing a compelling saga about an inanimate object like a plastic bag may seem far-fetched. However, that is exactly what Kooser does with his book. This feat seems more plausible once you learn that Kooser is a past Poet Laurate and Pulitzer Prize winner. Along with illustrations by Barry Root, Kooser’s text will engage any youngster’s imagination.
Without noticing, readers and listeners alike will learn about waste, reuse, and recycling. Litter, poverty, and homelessness are also touched upon, as well as kindness and charity. Goal-setting plays a major role in a surprising plot twist. You really will care about this bag and want to see how the story ends.
At the end of the book, you’ll find two pages of facts and action items specific to the problems of single-use plastic bags. However, the story itself will generate conversations about all of the other issues. Like any good children’s book, it educates as it entertains and instills values as it provides an opportunity for shared quality time.
Want to know more about Ted Kooser?
How old were you when you first became interested in environmental issues? Why?
I don’t know when I became interested, but it may have been in the 1960s when we young people were questioning everything about “the establishment.”
How has writing children’s books been different than writing poetry?
The simplest way to describe the difference is that a children’s story is narrative –– something happens over a period of time –– whereas nearly all lyric poetry describes something that happens at one moment. There is, of course, narrative poetry, but I’ve written very little of that.
What has been your favorite feedback or experience from writing children’s books?
I love to see my words illustrated by the kind of talented illustrators Candlewick chooses. I have always loved illustrated books and it’s a thrill to have some of my own.
What do you find most gratifying, personally, about the life you have lived?
I love it when I get “fan mail” from readers who have been pleased with something I’ve written, and I’m lucky in that I get one or two letters a week. And I always reply because I want those people to understand how important it is to me that I have reached them through my work.