Join the No-Plastic Challenge – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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As Some of you know, I have set aside October as a plastics-free month, where I am doing my best to buy nothing with plastic in it and reduce the use of plastic in my home. I shall be blogging about this each Tuesday for the month. So it made sense to try and include some children’s books on the topic, as that is the focus of my blog.

Title: Join the No-Plastic Challenge! A First Book of Reducing Waste

Author & Illustrator: Scot Ritchie

 Publisher: Kids Can Press, 2019

Ages: 4-8

Genre: narrative nonfiction

Themes: plastic scrap, environment, conservation, waste management, refuse, recycling, community, plastics, single-use plastics, sustainability


It’s Nick’s birthday, and the five friends are taking the ferry to the island for a picnic. Nick has been learning about plastic pollution, and he’s given his friends a challenge: to go all day without using single-use plastics.


For his birthday celebration, Nick has challenged his friends – Yulee, Sally, Pedro and Martin – to spend the day without using any single-use plastic. This means they use their own cloth bags for shopping, they say no thanks to plastic straws and, instead of balloons, they decorate with kites and streamers made of natural materials. The children discover that not using plastic is not that hard. They also learn about what plastic is made of, how much of it surrounds us and how it’s polluting our oceans and affecting the food chain. Most importantly, the five friends learn ways to use less – including just saying NO! The book concludes with fun ideas for readers to do a No-Plastic Challenge of their own!

Why I like this book:

This friendly introduction to a super timely topic is part of Scot Ritchie’s Exploring Our Community series.

It’s easy to be preachy or super negative about the this urgent topic, but Ritchie takes a proactive approach, empowering young children with creative ideas for what they can do about it. The gang of kids is diverse and the illustrations are fun and cartoon-like, and feature detailed scenes where you can find the facts and some solutions. Every double-page spread has either a large image, or a comic-styled through-line, with one paragraph of explanation and a second below adding more facts. The book covers a lot of ground beyond no straws and reusable bags, including: ecological shopping, acknowledging some plastic is useful if you want spectacles, laptops etc, and easing yourself into becoming single-use plastic free. 

It has strong curriculum links in science, including: environmental awareness, conservation, sustainability and stewardship. It also offers character education lessons in responsibility, citizenship and initiative. It is a great addition to classroom and school libraries.


There is a brief glossary at the back of the book from which I learned two new words!

Tiki the Penguin’s Guide to the Problem with Plastics

Nat Geo’s Talking to Your Kids About Plastic

K-3, 4-6 and 7-12 curriculum guides on Plastic Pollution

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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18 Responses to Join the No-Plastic Challenge – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Very timely topic! I see it in news stories, even in commercials. This is such a perfect topic and activity for students, particularly since it impacts their world. Enjoyed the video for kids. Good luck with your plastic-free month. I know we are cutting back, too.

    • Joanna Marple says:

      Thank you. Funnily enough I had planned this book a couple of weeks ago because I decided on my month of plastic reduction.

  2. Wendy Wahman says:

    Thanks for bringing attention to this, Joanna.

  3. Absolutely!! It’s so hard to change habits. Again, kids lead the way. 🙂

  4. This book looks EXCELLENT! I’ve just placed a hold request at the library. All best on your plastic-free month!

  5. I just found this book, too! Best of luck with your plastic-free month! I’m looking forward to reading more.

  6. Kids Can Press is putting out some great books! For me, the biggest “sacrifice” is getting take-out in plastic (albeit recyclable) containers. Some restaurants are doing compostable, but we’ve still a long way to go. Love that this book gives positive ways to make a difference. The power of the individual should never be underestimated!

    • Joanna says:

      I feel I am learning so much already in my research and commitment this month. Are you talking about take-out delivered to the home? If you collect it, maybe some places would be willing for you to bring your own container? The only reason I haven’t faced this is my budget 🙂

  7. Joanna, this sounds like a wonderful and needed book. I hope my library has it. Or I’ll ask them to order it. Thank you for highlighting it.

  8. A very timely topic. This topic has been very much on my mind. Thanks for sharing this book!

  9. A very timely book. We also are looking at ways in our country to reduce the use of plastic. People are making an effect not to use any plastic or only if it can be used again and again. We now use cloth bags for groceries etc… Good luck on your plastic free month, Joanna.

  10. Wow! A book for the times. Definitely going to look for a copy.

  11. What a terrific idea and creative way to encourage kids to think about their reliance on plastic and how to break out of that cycle!

  12. Patricia Nozell says:

    Can’t wait to find this book! I’m so glad I was looking for another review on your site & circled back to read this post!

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