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About Virginia Aronson
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Mottainai means waste. Popular with the Japanese for generations, mottainai (pronounced moe-tie-nye) is the Buddhist term for essence. One can say mottainai and mean "waste nothing." Or, if something appears wasteful, one might remark, "mottainai."
A kind of modern day fairy tale, Mottainai: A Journey in Search of the Zero Waste Life is the story of a young man who has everything and feels nothing but frustration. Until he meets an unusual stranger and learns how little we really need—and why living differently is important for each of us, and for the planet.
A typical American Millennial, Greer Grassi stumbles on a grassroots movement to change the world. More interested in material accumulation and boosting his bank account, he puts his lifestyle of comfort on hold after he falls for a charming activist. To woo the girl, he takes a job at her nonprofit organization and embarks on the wacky but required training program in rural Japan. There, he lives off the grid with a cranky guru who talks trash and drinks too much. Yet, mottainai is the journey that will change the young man's outlook—and his life.
An ancient Japanese philosophy popularized worldwide by the late African activist Wangari Maathai, mottainai is both an individual consciousness and a global movement toward zero waste. To support this important worldview, Mottainai: A Journey in Search of the Zero Waste Life provides an entertaining story, an allegory about what it takes for us to change our comfortable, wasteful lifestyle in order to save our beautiful, beleaguered planet.
Includes tips for cutting back on waste and helpful resources/references.
A cautionary tale with depth and humor, A Garden on Top of the World is environmental fiction that will take you to the year 2066 where Greenland is much warmer, more crowded and lacking in fresh food. Hundred-story high rises house extended families from American coastal cities relocated after the Sixth Sea Rise. Work and school are conducted from overcrowded apartments, and homeless people camp out in the streets.
16-year-old Jonnie brings together a small community on the roof of her high rise and finds a smart way to feed people. Jonnie knows little about how food grows because meals come in packages ordered online and delivered by drone. Dishes are manufactured in the home using 3D printers.
Includes resources on gardening, urban gardens, heirloom seeds and organic foods.
Jonnie's search for who she is and what she might be able to offer the world is one that will resonate with readers of all ages. The information she learns about healthy food, sustainable agriculture, and urban gardens may inspire readers to start their own gardens.
A Garden on Top of the World combines the dystopia of The Hunger Games with the environmental consciousness of Paul Fleischman’s landmark young adult novel Seedfolks. Aronson has knocked it out of the park with this stark, fascinating picture of Earth’s future, where growing your own food and starting an urban garden is not only a radical idea, it may just change the world.
—Debbie Reed Fischer, author of This is Not the Abby Show
Virginia Aronson takes us to Greenland in 2066 to suggest what happens if sea levels are allowed to continue to rise. It’s not good! But amid the overcrowding and hunger, the book is also a testament to the resilience of humans. Our heroine finds a way to grow food again, something people have forgotten how to do. This may be the only dystopian YA novel that actually teaches readers how to tend a garden, a useful skill even now before the rising seas force dramatic changes to life as we know it.
—Clare Ellis, Founder, Stone Pier Press
Set in a future that’s been shaped by rising oceans and population relocation, A Garden on Top of the World is a haunting dystopian tale that will capture the hearts and minds of readers and not let them go. In Jonnie, Aronson has created a character who’s both charming and relatable, even though the world she lives in is grim and strange. You can’t help but root for her to find herself while she navigates adolescence, family obligations, and societal and environmental obstacles. Each detail of Jonnie’s life is a believable and terrifying possible progression from where we are today. I could not put this book down. It gave me so much to think about.
—Brenda Ferber, author of Julia’s Kitchen
Burmese Pythons are crawling across Florida from Lake Okeechobee to Key Largo. Hundreds of thousands of Green Iguanas relax along canals and on pool decks around the southern part of the state. And other non-native animals like seven-foot Nile Monitor Lizards and poop-tossing Rhesus Monkeys are scaring Florida residents.
How did all these animals get into our public parks, canals and lakes, undeveloped areas and suburban yards? The unfortunate truth is, kids and their parents are partly to blame. Parents are purchasing cute baby animals for their kids, then abandoning the unwanted adult pets in the Everglades and anywhere else they think the animals might survive on their own. Some species are indeed surviving—and they are breeding wildly, becoming nuisance species.
This book provides identification information for the most common exotic species and has the answers to these questions:
- What are these animals and how did they get here?
- What is a humane way to get rid of them?
- When should a trapper be called?
- Can I feed them?
- Are they dangerous?
- What is the effect of all these exotics on the environment?
- What can we do to help with the problem?
Readers learn how to stay safe, be humane, and appreciate nature—and are encouraged NOT to purchase exotic animals as pets.
Recommended by the National Association of Science Teachers
Here is the story of Florida's citrus wizard, an immigrant boy from China who became a brilliant man who blessed the world with his horticultural gift. In China, the expression "Gift of the Unicorn" means a blessing from the gods to the most fortunate of parents: an exceptionally bright son. In 1860, a simple farming family was so blessed. The Lues named their baby boy with the sparkling black eyes Gim Gong, which means "double brilliance." When he was only twelve years old, Lue Gim Gong left China to seek his fortune in America. The adventurous boy sailed across the Pacific to work in a shoe factory. The life of a Chinese immigrant was difficult, but the magical unicorn would soon bless the boy again. The factory workers all received tutoring in English, and one teacher recognized Lue's unusual brilliance. Appointing herself the young boy's benefactor, Miss Fanny Burlingame took Lue under her sheltering wing. Lue eventually lived with the wealthy Burlingame family, tending their gardens in Massachusetts and their citrus groves in Florida. In the rural central Florida town of Deland, Lue revealed his extraordinary genius with plants. With the support of "Mother Fanny, " Lue developed world-famous species of citrus, including a super-hardy sweet orange and a perfumed grapefruit the size of a soccer ball. He faced illness, lost love, business failure, and heart-breaking prejudice, but Lue's genius continued to flower and bloom.
Virginia Aronson is the author of 28 nonfiction books for both young and adult readers. Her poetry has appeared in dozens of literary journals. She lives in South Florida with her husband and son. South Florida Spin is her first fiction collection.