Updated: Sep 1, 2022
Sheila Says We're Weird is the first picture book in awhile that has lured my nine-year-old over to the reading couch. Usually he thinks he's too old for picture books, but this one really spoke to him. This wonderful book, written by Ruth Ann Smalley and illustrated by Jennifer Emery, is basically a book about his own life experience.
Every page in this book shows a family making a green lifestyle choice, like hanging laundry, composting, shopping local, and growing their own food. Sheila, their the neighbor, is constantly telling them their choices are weird. My kids could really relate to this family because they are often fielding questions about their vegetarian and zero waste lunches or their patched clothing or their chilly house. Usually their friends are understanding, but they have definitely come home before angry or sad because someone called them weird.
But most of their friends are like Sheila, who eventually realizes that she really likes to live green too. Actually, my kids end up giving lots of tours of the garden, showing their friends how to pick vegetables and baking from scratch with friends who have never done it and gathering eggs in the chicken tractor. It turns out, kids especially really like to live green, even if it's not how they live at home.
My hope is that the Sheilas of the world will teach their parents what they've learned and will grow up to live green and because we all need to make these changes.
P.S. I'd like to give another shoutout to my local library for this and so many other wonderful books over the years!