On their website the first thing I see is “Always eco-friendly. Always sustainable.” I linger on, intrigued and excited. A few days later we read their books. Soon, I settle on a book set from “Home Grown Books” to review and celebrate Earth Day this year!
“The Environmental Set” is a small boxed collection of seven square books—small enough for little hands to hold and manipulate, and colorful enough to attract. The text is sparse and the font is bold. The vocabulary is simple and basic. The illustrations on the side tie in well. A direct consequence of all of the above is a neat package to nudge and nurture the abilities of early readers in the 3 to 6 years age group. To sum up, I borrow the publisher’s words here: “We pair simple, supportive text with ideas and story lines that appeal to children’s natural curiosity.”
The titles in this set read “Earth,” “Fire,” “Water,” “Air,” “Landscapes,” “In the Garden,” and “Habitats.” The set has books with just one word per page, to a few strung words in some, to a full sentence in some others. The last page on all the books gives a small explanation on the topic and suggests a few simple activities.
We also read “The Adventuring Set” which provides an entirely different experience, yet retains a similar wholesomeness. The illustrations in this set are refreshing—with ink and water color, they resemble blotched drawings and notes from the pages of a diary long lost and found. The details are prolific, but at the same time foster interaction and retelling. The muted colors, ironic as it might sound, make the book stand out. While the style appeals to adults, the simplicity captures the imagination of small children. Some of the titles in this set are “Submarine,” “Let’s play a game,” “Maps,” and “What Comes Next?” As you might guess, they are playful and interactive.
The publishing house was founded by an educator, mother, and reading specialist—this lends credibility to their concept of creating art-based eco-friendly books for beginning readers and for organic learning, using wind power and recycled paper. The outcome is wonderful and meaningful. I see a small black tab on the back of the box that says “Printed locally on recycled paper with no VOC vegetable inks,” and I say the name “Home Grown Books,” aloud—what’s not to love?
We received a copy of this collection of books to review but the decision to write the review was all ours; we were not compensated for the review.