EARTH DAY, 2015 on Miss Marple’s Musings – How will you celebrate?

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17506136-mmmainEarth Day’s 45th anniversary could be the most exciting year in environmental history. The year in which economic growth and sustainability join hands. It’s our turn to lead. So our world leaders can follow by example.

I have very excited to kick off my Earth Day celebration with a review of the first in a wonderful non-fiction conservation series for kids. My good friend, author Marcie Colleen is writing the teacher’s guides for these books and recommended them to me. This first one in the series, Doyli to the Rescue: Saving Baby Monkeys in the Amazon, releases today!

doyliTitle: Doyli to the Rescue: Saving Baby Monkeys in the Amazon

Written and photos by: Cathleen Burnham

Additional photos by: Kenyon Burnham and Bay Burnham

Published by: Crickhollow and Crispin Books, April 22nd 2015

Themes/Topics: monkeys, baby animals, environmental conservation, Amazon rainforest, global kids, youth activism, wild animal rescue

Nonfiction – 38 pages

Suitable for ages: 8 -11

Opening Text (comes after some pages illustrating the location of South America and the Peruvian Amazon in particular):

The Yagua Indian man crept through the Amazon rain forest in Peru. He had been hunting a family of red howler monkeys for hours. If he was successful, his family would eat meat that day. If not, they would go hungry. But it was nearly nightfall. He could not hunt much longer. Jaguars, snakes, and other dangerous animals came out to do their own hunting at night.


Doyli to the Rescue: Saving Baby Monkeys in the Amazon is an inspiring photo documentary story of a 10-year-old girl named Doyli who lives on an isolated island in the rainforest region of Peru. She rescues orphaned wild and/or endangered monkeys, and then cares for them until they are old enough to be released back into their natural habitat, the Peruvian Amazonian rainforest.

The story follows Doyli’s packed day as she cares for the orphaned monkeys, travels almost an hour away by canoe to get to school. The greed of the local loggers is visible as is the illegal trade of selling endangered monkeys on the market (a four-hour canoe ride away.) Doyli introduces the reader to the flora and fauna and food of her region as well us some of the individual monkeys she and her family care for.

Why I like This Book:

I am so excited about this whole series about young conservationists. This first story is beautifully authentic in the plight of hungry locals who might hunt monkeys to feed their families, as well as the crimes of larger corporations and individuals which destroy the habitat of the monkeys (and humans) through greed. Children will be inspired by the story of this young girl who saves and rehabilitates many young monkeys who would otherwise perish.

This story highlights a model of small-scale activism – a young girl and her family who are kind, caring, and involved.Faced with animal suffering or environmental problems, children as well as adults tend to respond with, “There’s nothing I can do.” This story proves otherwise. I appreciate the fact that the author emphasizes that Doyli’s daily life is not so different from young Western readers with school and a warm, caring family.

Red Howler Monkey of Peru  - Source Wikimedia Common

Red Howler Monkey of Peru – Source Wikimedia Common

Black Headed Spider Monkey - source Wikimedia Commons

Black Headed Spider Monkey – source Wikimedia Commons






There is an author’s note at the back of the book about how she and her family encountered Doyli and her story. The photographs are professional and engaging and add powerfully to the truth of the message and young readers will find that the photos and text are not only accessible but intriguing and appealing.

Young readers will meet Doyli, a real 10-year-old girl who rescues endangered, orphaned monkeys from the perils of native hunters and the black market. She carries the rescued animals to her island home in the Peruvian Amazon, where she nurtures them with loving care and nourishing food.

WAKA stands for World Association of Kids and Animals. It’s a way to share all these stories of kids – young people not so different from you and your friends – who found a way to get involved and help protect wild animals. What a great start to this new series.

For more on this series of six forthcoming titles on global kids involved in wild animal conservation, visit: . And for the teacher’s guide for Doyli to the Rescue, you can see it here on author/educator, Marcie Colleen’s website.


Suggested Activities for Earth Day:

  • Join Roots and Shoots. I had the privilege of hearing Jane Goodall speak in Brooklyn last week. And of the many wonderful things she shared, some of the most inspiring stories were from the organization Roots and Shoots which she set up. It is youth-led community action and learning program and the program builds on the legacy and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall to place the power and responsibility for creating community-based solutions to big challenges in the hands of the young people.
  • Earth Day Photo Contest at Sierra Club. Join in this photo challenge.
  • Choose a reusable tote bag and decorate it. Use acrylic paint, fabric markers or paint pens, stickers, animal or earth-themed rubbers stamps, stencils, etc. — You could draw plants, write your name or a fun quote about Earth.
  • Gardening. Plant your own veggie garden or trees or flowers to attract bees. Jerusha Klemperer, Associate Director of National Programs at Slow Food USA, writes, “Children who learn in and around edible gardens and farms learn firsthand to make connections between food and the environment, food and personal health, and food and community well being.” Gardening also teaches responsibility and the importance of caring for the planet.
  • Make a Bee Waterer and help hydrate our pollinators.


  • Cook a special Earth Day meal. Plan a menu with your kids that uses locally produced foods, is healthy and has minimal impact on the environment. Favour vegetable and bean products. Try and have organic food completely. Decorate the table with recycled decorations made by your kids.
  • Read some of the books I have been suggesting: Why Are The Ice Caps Melting? Life in the Ocean. The Last Polar Bear. Compost Stew. Parker Pastures. Sequoia, Galapagos George. A Grand Old Tree. Edmund Pickle Chin A Donkey Rescue Story.
  • Head to a park, stream or nature center for play or a picnic. Also try doing your errands on foot or by bike (maybe easier in Europe than the US). And make sure to explain why this helps the planet. All the (healthy) sweat is for a reason, after all. Even if you live in a big urban center, there are always some amazing walks to be discovered.
  • Set a Family Challenge. Everyone loves some competitive family fun. See who can make the least amount of trash in a week or collect the most cans/bottles. Tip: Create a grand prize to increase motivation.

A final announcement – the winner of last week’s giveaway of one of Teresa’s Robeson’s prints or an e-copy of each of her four SF anthologies is Manju Gulati Howard. Congratulations, Manju, and Teresa will be in touch with you! Thanks for everyone’s participation.

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9 Responses to EARTH DAY, 2015 on Miss Marple’s Musings – How will you celebrate?

  1. I’ve been enjoying your picks to celebrate Earth Day! Those are fun activities that you’ve suggested, too. My younger son (whom i’m still homeschooling) and I were watching a biology DVD where the professor expressed concerns over dwindling biological diversity due to human actions (expansion, overpopulation, etc.) and it makes me even more worried than I normally am when an expert expresses dismay. I hope that enough people will care enough to take action to help the species not plunge us all into an irreversible environmental catastrophe.

    On a more cheerful note, congratulations to Manju! It was a privilege to be interviewied by you, Joanna. <3

  2. Thinking of activities I do beyond your suggestions (definitely making that bee hydrator!) has just given me a great idea for an ‘alternative’ birthday gift too! Perfect! I have been trying to reduce the use of plastic in my life, and it’s helped me dig a lot deeper into the choices I want to make. Rock on, Joanna. You are a great influence on budding environmentalists – off all ages!

  3. What a unique pick for Earth Day! I’m utterly captivated by your thought-provoking review of this intriguing book, as well as delighted to find my COMPOST STEW among your other suggestions for reading. I thank you so much for including it, and welcome you and your readers to join me in celebrating Earth Day with a giveaway of the book on the COMPOST STEW Facebook page >

    Meanwhile, thanks again, Joanna, and Happy Earth Day!

  4. I have also enjoyed your Earth Day posts. Love your passion. Thank you for introducing me to Doyli to the Rescue. My great granddaughter has taken an interest in rescuing animals. I’ve been looking for something like this to share.
    I also enjoyed your bee hydrating activity and sent the link to my sister-in-law, who has five hives on their organic farm. She’s lost a couple of hives last year. Great post.

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