Kids can do it too: How a children’s book can inspire community-based action for the environment

An illustration of three people bending down near a stream to pick up trash.

(Images from the picture book courtesy of Maria Zaharatos, Shelby Atherton, Ruby Walker)

Related Topics:
Biodiversity, Colleges & Education, Oceans, Plastic, Pollution, Storyfest 2023

Meet Ángela, a shy but curious girl from Quito, Ecuador.

In Ángela and the Plastic Problem, she embarks on a journey to discover what her local community and communities across her country are doing to increase sustainability by combating plastic waste. Learning about intiatives in other cities and even going on a trip to the marvelous Galápagos Islands, she is helped and inspired along the way by her best friend, Julia, and her Mamá.

Ángela meets new friends like Pedro and his mother to continue her exploration of Ecuador, facing her fears to discover how community can tackle plastic pollution together.

In this children’s book, youth will hopefully be inspired to take action after learning about what other people are doing to combat plastic waste. 

Cover of FARO's original children's book. An illustrated young person wearing pink clothes stands in shallow ocean water while picking up litter.Books like this can help inspire action.
Cover of FARO’s original children’s book. 

Ángela and the Plastic Problem was written as an original story by first-time and emerging authors Maria Zaharatos & Shelby Atherton, edited and published with support from Elena Negrón, and illustrated by Ruby Walker.

The following two page spreads are an excerpt from the book. 

Two panels from the children's book. In one, an illustrated classroom with a teacher and students. The main character day dreams about biodiversity in the environment. In the other, a family sits at a dinner table while the main character day dreams about the Galapagos Islands.

The book is made available through the Texas-based educational nonprofit organization, FARO: Projects for Global Education, which writes educational curricula and children’s books on global issues.

For interested readers who liked this excerpt, you can check out the full book available on Amazon, and keep an eye out for our Kindle version coming soon! 

For teachers or others who want to use the book for educational purposes – please contact FARO at

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children, Community, ecuador, education, plastic reduction, plastic waste, sustainability

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