The Kids' Solar Energy Book cover image

The Kids' Solar Energy Book

  • 795

By: Tilly Spetgang and Malcolm Wells

A book about solar energy that even grown-ups can understand.

Using appealing cartoons with a cast of lively and curious kids, experts Malcolm Wells and Tilly Spetgang demonstrate how solar power works in a wonderfully clear and understandable way. The fun lesson unfolds in a classroom where students explore solar energy and today’s technology: active systems, passive solar, and the conversion of sunlight into electricity. In addition to learning why the sun is superior to nonrenewable fuels, young environmentalists will discover the many cool things you can do with this clean and natural energy. And it’s all spiced with irreverent humor that makes the complex subject not only easy to grasp, but delightful. Plus, for their adult friends and relatives, it is a simple and clear lesson on the need for solar power in this environmentally challenged world we live in.

Look Inside the Book:

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Author & Illustrator Bios:

Tilly Spetgang, author

Tilly Spetgang is a newspaper journalist, author, magazine writer, teacher at the Writer’s Workshop for Rutgers University, and a former radio talk-show host. A lifelong conservationist, she was the force behind the worldwide effort to put bricks in toilet tanks to reduce the amount of water used when flushing, which led to the retooling of tanks from 8 to 1.6 gallons of water per use.

Read more about Tilly.

Malcolm Wells, author

Malcolm Wells, a renowned architect, is considered the father of earth-sheltered solar design, as well as a writer, artist, cartoonist, columnist, and solar consultant. He has lectured worldwide to professional groups and on college campuses, written for numerous ecologically minded magazines, written more than twenty books, and provided the forewords and introductions for many "green" books.

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Awards & Honors:

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Editorial Reviews:

Through the Looking Glass, March 2013

We are going to join Mrs. Robinson in her classroom. Today she is going to talk about what it means to be an environmentalist in an active and meaningful way. She begins by talking to her students about the fact that Earth belongs to them. They have a role to play in protecting Earth even though they might not feel that they are important. But how can they play a role? They are only kids, right?

Now they are, but in the not too distant future they will be tax-paying adults and they will come to understand that there are a lot of problems that need to be solved. There are a lot of “injustices” that they will have to address.

One of the big problems that we humans have is that we are too dependent on oil, an energy source that is not infinite. In fact, we are running out of oil and need to come up with an alternate form of energy and quickly.

Mrs. Robinson then tells her students about how solar energy was used by people in the past, how people are using it today, and how we can use solar heat (which is free) in all kinds of ways if we are creative. She talks about active and passive solar collecting systems, the need for insulation, and how solar cells work. Then, just to wrap things up, she talks to her students about some experiments that they can try that will help them explore the concepts she has talked about.

What makes this book so successful is that it is informative and entertaining at the same time. Running along the bottom of every page is a scene from the classroom. We see young people sitting at their desks, goofing off, sleeping, and doing all the other things that students are prone to do. The teacher’s words are at the top of the page, and beneath them are the students’ comments, many of which are funny or sarcastic, intelligent or rather silly. As the narrative unfolds we see how the students start to take in what the teacher is saying, though of course they cannot help cracking jokes as well. —Marya Jansen-Gruber


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ISBN: 978-1-936140-46-6

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Ages: 8 and up
Page count: 88
10 x 7

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