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Every Last Drop

Orca Book Publishers | Orca Footprints


In the developed world, if you want a drink of water you just turn on a tap or open a bottle. But for millions of families worldwide, finding clean water is a daily challenge, and kids are often the ones responsible for carrying water to their homes. Every Last Drop looks at why the world’s water resources are at risk and how communities around the world are finding innovative ways to quench their thirst and water their crops. Maybe you’re not ready to drink fog, as they do in Chile, or use water made from treated sewage, but you can get a low-flush toilet, plant a tree, protect a wetland or just take shorter showers. Every last drop counts!

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Michelle is the author of several books for children, and she enjoys telling the stories of kids who seize life's opportunities. When growing up in Port Moody, British Columbia, her favourite spot was the library. She loved cracking open the cover of a novel, taking a deep breath, and jumping into another life. At university, Michelle studied literature, and between courses, she helped dig a water pipeline in the Dominican Republic and flipped burgers for a summer at a McDonald's in Germany. After graduating, she cycled 6000 kilometres across Canada, became a travel writer, taught creative writing in the Arctic, and worked as a simulated patient for medical students to practice on. She also married the pen pal that she'd been writing to since she was fourteen years old, and together they traveled around his home country of Argentina. Michelle began writing for kids because she's always loved reading children's books. These days, when she's not writing or going on adventures, she enjoys reading, swimming, baking, hiking, and pedaling her bicycle around Victoria, British Columbia, where she lives with her husband and daughter. For more information about Michelle and her books, please visit her website at www.michellemulder.com

 
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Home Sweet Neighborhood

Orca Book Publishers | Orca Footprints


Picture a busy avenue. Now plant trees along the boulevard, paint a mural by the empty lot, and add a community garden. Set up benches along the sidewalks and make space for kids' chalk drawings, and you've set the scene for a thriving community. Placemaking—personalizing public and semi-private spaces like front yards—is a growing trend in cities and suburbs around the world, drawing people out of their homes and into conversation with one another.

Kids are natural placemakers, building tree forts, drawing on sidewalks and setting up lemonade stands, but people of all ages can enjoy creative placemaking activities. From Dutch families who drag couches and tables onto sidewalks for outdoor suppers to Canadians who build little lending libraries to share books with neighbors, people can do things that make life more fun and strengthen neighborhoods. Home Sweet Neighborhood combines upbeat text, fun facts and colorful photos to intrigue and inspire readers.

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Michelle Mulder is the founding author of and has written six other titles in the Footprints series—Pedal It!, Brilliant!, Every Last Drop, Trash Talk, Pocket Change and Going Wild. Michelle has also written the novels The Vegetable Museum, Not a Chance, Out of the Box, After Peaches and several other books for young people. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia. For more information, visit michellemulder.com.

 
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Out of the Box

Orca Book Publishers


Life is smoothest for thirteen-year-old Ellie when she keeps her opinions to herself, gets good grades and speaks carefully when her parents ask her to settle their arguments. She feels guilty that she welcomes the chance to spend the summer in another city with her mother's older sister, Jeanette. Ellie makes a new friend and learns to play an Argentine instrument called the bandoneón, which she finds in her aunt's basement. When she goes searching for the bandoneón's original owner, she discovers a story of political intrigue and family secrets that help her start to figure out where her parents end and she begins.

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"A very rich and engaging story. Short crisp sentences are packed with stunning realistic description and action that bring the people and places of southern Vancouver Island BC fully alive...Out of the Box is, without a doubt, another stunning indication of Mulder's ability to weave a highly engaging and believable story, one that young readers will thrill to read, and one which has furthered her reputation as an important contributor to contemporary realistic Canadian children's literature. Highly Recommended."

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"[Mulder] skillfully introduces young readers to two issues rare in their fiction: mental health, usually addressed only peripherally, and the Argentinian 'disappeared' people of the 1976-1983 military dictatorship...Mulder does a commendable job of portraying Ellie's mom's illness from all perspectives, such that no one character comes off as callous or self-centered or fabricated...Out of the Box balances the voices and the messages superbly, suggesting its inevitable inclusion on 'must have' book lists."

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"Ellie's narration authentically conveys her gradual growth, the insecurities that surround her developing friendships, her role in a dysfunctional family, and the pleasure she takes in music. Adults and their relationships are portrayed credibly...A bit of Argentine history rounds out the believable plot, adding a bit of mystery and tension beyond Ellie's immediate world."

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"The novel addresses many topics—the thousands who "disappeared" under Argentina's military dictatorship, tango music, homelessness, mental illness...Ellie's struggle to show her mother love while creating healthy boundaries resonates, as does the glimpse into a dark period of Argentine history."

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"The novel provides an honest perspective on Ellie's mother's mental health issues, as well as a subtle, elegant nod to same-sex relationships...Ellie's voice is strong and engaging, and the story is realistic in its lack of easy solutions...with a wrap-up that is as subtly complex as real life."

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"A wonderful story about a teen dealing with difficult family issues and learning about a little-known period of world history, at least by today's teens."

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"A fantastic middle grade novel. Although the author touches on many themes...she manages to integrate them seamlessly into the plot while avoiding preachiness. Ellie's voice is authentic and the novel's resolution is realistic. The subplot involving the thousands of people who 'disappeared' under Argentina's military dictatorship adds an element of mystery to the story and should enlighten readers who may not be familiar with this period in Latin American history."

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"Young readers will thrill at this read!"

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"There's a lot going on in this text, but the simple first-person narration will make the story accessible to readers who want an interesting story simply presented."

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"A wonderfully written first-person, middle grade novel...Ellie's care and love of family, feelings of guilt, and uncertainties will resonate with readers of this engaging novel."

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"Never heavy-handed, Ellie's frank narration explores her feelings of guilt, and her tale will appeal to middle-school readers. The author weaves in facts about the bandoneón, its use in tango music and its connection to the political unrest and attendant atrocities in Argentina between 1976 and 1983."

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"Adolescent readers will easily relate to Ellie's attempts to establish her own identity separate from the expectations of her parents...Succinct and well-paced."

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"[A] subtle work, blending an exploration of mental instability and a dysfunctional family relationship with a subplot involving an Argentinian immigrant...Mulder's novel avoids easy solutions to the more serious problems of Ellie's family."

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Michelle Mulder is the founding author of and has written numerous titles in the Orca Footprints series including Pedal It!, Every Last Drop, Trash Talk and Home Sweet Neighborhood. She has also written several works of fiction including The Vegetable Museum and Not a Chance. Michelle lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

 
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After Peaches

Orca Book Publishers | Orca Young Readers


Ten-year-old Rosario Ramirez and her family are political refugees from Mexico, trying to make a new life in Canada. After being teased at school, Rosario vows not to speak English again until she can speak with an accent that's one hundred percent Canadian. Since she and her parents plan to spend the whole summer working on BC fruit farms, she will be surrounded by Spanish speakers again. But when her family's closest friend Jose gets terribly sick, Rosario's plans start to unravel. Neither Jose nor Rosario's parents speak English well enough to get him the help he needs. Like it or not, Rosario must face her fears about letting her voice be heard.

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"After Peaches has strong educative potential as a tool for introducing and discussing the experiences of New Canadians. Moreover, the novel is an interesting and engaging read that might better help children to understand the topic and its complexity than the typical type of resources that teachers might otherwise employ. Recommended."

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"An excellent, gripping premise."

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"The author's portrayal of immigrant life is convincing. The reader will sympathize with Rosie, and see the courage in making and learning from mistakes…Recommended."

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"Written in first person with clarity and understanding, this chapter book reflects the experiences and emotions of the many immigrant children who work to fit in despite sometimes feeling ill at ease in their new countries…Handsome jacket art and a sturdy paperback format make this quietly appealing narrative an attractive choice."

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"An inspirational read for any child who is learning a second language."

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"The book doesn't avoid introducing its young readers to real-life issues...Maintain[s] narrative unity and avoids sentimentality and self-righteousness in its depiction of the exploitation of immigrant workers."

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Michelle Mulder is the founding author of and has written numerous titles in the Orca Footprints series including Pedal It!, Every Last Drop, Trash Talk and Home Sweet Neighborhood. She has also written several works of fiction including The Vegetable Museum and Not a Chance. Michelle lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

 
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Not a Chance

Orca Book Publishers


Dian has been coming to the Dominican Republic with her doctor parents for years. Now that she's thirteen, she had wanted to stay home in Canada, but instead she is helping her parents set up their clinic and looking forward to hanging out with her Dominican friend Aracely. When fourteen-year-old Aracely makes a shocking announcement—she is engaged to be married—Dian struggles to accept that Aracely has the right to choose her own destiny, even if it is very different from what Dian would choose for her.

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"The Dominican village in which the novel is rooted is well realized, and the characters do not feel one-dimensional. Dian...is well characterized and relatable. Not a Chance is a well-written and engaging novel."

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"There is an authenticity to Dian, caught in a web of moral dilemmas and attempting to navigate between the rigid cultural dictates of the village and the equally rigid viewpoints of her parents...Readers will empathize with Dian as she struggles to find her own voice and her own path towards social justice...Dian claims a different course than her parents and her actions may encourage readers to make change in the world themselves...Mulder has delivered a provocative book which will challenge young readers at home or in the classroom, giving vivid insight into complex cultural challenges we all must face in a global world."

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[Starred review] "Mulder's spare prose neither makes light of a delicate issue nor paints it with a broad brush. Quietly perceptive and provocative."

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"Mulder's provocative tale about a cultural clash avoids heavy didacticism with lively dialogue and carefully nuanced behavior for each of the believable characters. Readers will feel for Dian as she tries to establish her identity, engage her overbearingly politically correct parents, and begin a friendship with a Haitian boy that provokes a racist response from the community. It's a lot of growing up for one summer, but this engaging story intelligently takes on the matter of haves and have-nots."

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"A fine novel about clashing cultures. Dian's direct narration clearly establishes the complexity of life in Cucubano, and underlines the double-edged choices every character faces...'It would do us all good to quit trying to fix the world and actually enjoy it for once,' Dian tells her parents at one point. Mulder's thoughtful, engaging novel manages to do both."

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"Explores the contrasts between traditional island-culture mores and Western ideals...The story moves swiftly with animated writing and plenty of dialogue. Readers will empathize with Dian...[and] the Dominican characters are likewise complex...Cultural details and Spanish words are incorporated into the text. Complicated issues, including children’s rights, Western ethnocentrism, and racism, are all illuminated in this story of cross-cultural friendship and respect. Readers will grow in understanding, along with Dian, who concludes, 'It’s about balancing the dancing with the doing.'"

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"Readers will be challenged to look beyond truths born of cultural conditioning, as both Dian and Aracely struggle to understand one another. The conflict between Dian and her parents is believable...Mulder demonstrates her knowledge of remote village life in her depictions of poverty, spirituality, and conformity...Because the issues are so contemporary, it is the perfect multicultural novel."

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"Dian’s struggle with cultural differences makes for interesting reading...A quick read that may inspire some readers to reflect upon what Dian learns and apply it to their own lives."

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Michelle Mulder is the founding author of and has written numerous titles in the Orca Footprints series including Pedal It!, Every Last Drop, Trash Talk and Home Sweet Neighborhood. She has also written several works of fiction including The Vegetable Museum and Not a Chance. Michelle lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

 
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Pedal It!

Orca Book Publishers | Orca Footprints


Pedal It! celebrates the humble bicycle—from the very first boneshakers to the sleek racing bikes of today, from handlebars to spokes to gear sprockets—and shows you why and how bikes can make the world a better place. Not only can bikes be used to power computers and generators, they can also reduce pollution, promote wellness and get a package across a crowded city—fast! Informative but not didactic, Pedal It! encourages young readers to be part of the joy of cycling.

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"Mulder is a bike enthusiast who has written a hugely entertaining and informative nonfiction book about bicycles...Hang onto your handlebars! Pedal It! is a must-read for kids and adults alike. Now go dust off your bike!"

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"Opens the door to so many interesting discussions...Filled with beautiful stories and pictures about life in various countries. Children will be amazed by how much a person can carry while bicycling!"

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"Mulder's evolutionary survey of the bicycle is, like the subject in question, a piece of many parts: a cultural history, a course in mechanics, a soupçon of physics, a spotlight on economic class and a springboard for innovation. In a bouncy, friendly tone, she proceeds roughly chronologically, but has no hesitation to follow a thread or a whim, often in colorful boxed asides...Mulder twines the mechanics of bicycles with cultural phenomenon, the environmental benefits of cycling and even the change in women's fashions...A smart, tangy history of our two-wheeled friend."

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"This very cool tome for inquisitive children shares a brief history of the bicycle, with interesting facts...From Nepal to Kenya and many countries in between, bicycles are enabling people to run home-based businesses and give them pedal power!"

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"Visually appealing...This book would be a great addition to an elementary library as an excellent resource for students learning about the history of cycling and the benefits of using bicycles to man and the environment."

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"An excellent book for upper elementary and middle school students. The history of bicycling and the importance of bicycles in emerging nations are clearly presented. The pictures and drawings are clear. The book contains "Bike Facts," extra information which might intrigue the reader. The author also shows many ways that bicycles are used which might not have occurred to the reader. The book contains an excellent resource list and a very good index."

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"The introduction sets a personal tone that Mulder returns to throughout the book in the many sidebars concerning her experiences and those of her friends and family...The quality of the color photographs is quite good...The book's international focus is valuable, and students will find material here that is both interesting and potentially useful for reports."

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"Launches with a lively history of bicycles...Engagingly written...Filled with fun facts and well-captioned photos that provide alluring glimpses into different cultures and locales."

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"Packed with facts, colorful photographs, and personal narratives from the author...which adds flavor and authenticity to the text."

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Michelle Mulder is the founding author of and has written numerous titles in the Orca Footprints series including Pedal It!, Every Last Drop, Trash Talk and Home Sweet Neighborhood. She has also written several works of fiction including The Vegetable Museum and Not a Chance. Michelle lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

 
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Brilliant!

Orca Book Publishers | Orca Footprints


Did you know that cars can run on french-fry grease or that human poop can be used to provide power to classrooms? Kids in Mexico help light up their houses by playing soccer, and in the Philippines, pop-bottle skylights are improving the quality of life for thousands of families. Brilliant! is about what happens when you harness the power of imagination and innovation: the world changes for the better! Full of examples of unusual (and often peculiar) power sources, Brilliant! encourages kids to look around for new and sustainable ways to light up the world.

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"Mulder investigates our energy dependence and explains other environmentally friendly possibilities in a fun, exciting, and optimistic manner...Clear language and catchy wordplay in the sub-headings help make the science behind energy accessible...[Mulder's] passion for environmentalism is obvious and her enthusiasm contagious. Brilliant! will spark the interest of many future innovators who can and will change the world."

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"Brilliant! takes not only a tour around the world, but a journey through time…This book is accessible to all students and, more importantly, everyone can find themselves represented in some way. The diversity of ideas and uses being presented will open the eyes of any reader and challenge them to think differently about every single resource they use and the endless possibilities of what may come. Enjoy the journey!"

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"Environmental problems are treated as exciting opportunities for ingenuity, rather than a scary future menace. Geothermal heat, wind, hydroelectric power, and the sun are all discussed as potential alternate sources of energy, but biofuel is given the most attention. More cutting-edge approaches, such as burning human waste or creating energy through play, encourage kids to look for solutions in unexpected places."

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"A great addition to an elementary library as an excellent resource for students learning about sustainable energy sources."

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"An upbeat exploration of the often-curious world of alternative energy...The book is peppered with exotic photographs, as well as quick-shooting boxed items, to catch the attention of busy eyes. A smart, welcoming introduction to alternative fuels, one that puts the greater world in readers’ hands."

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"Mulder presents an objective, positive approach to teaching young people about traditional, non-renewable sources of energy, and also about looking for alternative sources of renewable energy, sometimes in unexpected places...An excellent choice for introducing children to the variety of energy sources available today and to the complexities of the energy discussion."

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"A high interest book dealing with the topic of alternative sustainable energy sources. The information is all presented in an easy to read narrative format."

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"Teeming with creative innovations from around the globe...The illustrations and colour photos enhance the text, and the ‘Energy Facts’ and ‘Power Lines’ sections fill the spaces and create more energy themselves!...An informative, entertaining and electrifying addition to the Orca Footprints series. This energetic book is a must-have for any school library. Highly Recommended."

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"A book that combines history and science to teach children about sustainable sources of energy...Lots

of pictures and personal vignettes lighten up its tone and deliver a powerful message: finding new, sustainable ways to harness energy is not only possible but can be incredibly fun...Mulder’s passion for sustainability is contagious and this is a good book to have a conversation with your children about ways to change the world."

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"A terrific informational book for students to learn about sustainable energy sources in the world. It has beautiful photographs and is packed with information that students can learn. It will also help students learn about other parts of the world that they may not know about as it is a book about global energy. Wonderful book. Highly Recommended."

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"These are books that should be in classrooms everywhere. They are brilliantly designed and truly informative for children wanting to know more about the footprints we leave in our world...As has been the case with the previous books in this series, the illustrations and clear photographs give essential meaning to the text. The 'Power Lines' and 'Energy Facts' boxes add personal observations and humor, as well as much needed information. Get it for your classroom, your library, or your home to provide food for thought and action! Put on your own thinking cap, and try to visualize new ways to improve life on our planet."

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Michelle Mulder is the founding author of and has written numerous titles in the Orca Footprints series including Pedal It!, Every Last Drop, Trash Talk and Home Sweet Neighborhood. She has also written several works of fiction including The Vegetable Museum and Not a Chance. Michelle lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

 
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Pocket Change

Orca Book Publishers | Orca Footprints


Until a few hundred years ago, people were embarrassed to buy bread in a store. Families took pride in making almost everything they owned. These days, many people take pride in buying as much as possible! New clothes, a speedier bicycle, the latest phone. If we've got money, someone can sell us a product that will supposedly make our lives better. But each year, humanity uses resources equivalent to nearly one and a half Earths, and we're still not meeting everyone's needs. Around the world, people are questioning consumerism, leaning toward more sustainable lifestyles and creating a whole new concept of wealth. What if you could meet all your needs while getting to know your neighbors and protecting the environment at the same time? Find out how growing a tiny cabbage can fight poverty, how a few dollars can help ten families start their own businesses and how running errands for a neighbor can help you learn to become a bike mechanic—for free!

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"The language is simple enough for younger readers to understand without oversimplifying the topics. Parents and other adult readers will probably be able to learn something new from this book too! The book also presents readers with activities that they can do and organizations that they can learn more about, allowing kids to help solve some of the problems mentioned in this book. Overall, Pocket Change is a surprisingly radical book which encourages kids to question why we live the way that we do, and empowers them to make a difference!"

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"Its important message makes it a solid addition for group debates on social and environmental change."

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"An important and accessible book for growing communities."

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"Ambitious in scope and mission...valuable in its illustration of alternative models of commerce."

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"Timely and engaging."

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Michelle Mulder is the founding author of and has written numerous titles in the Orca Footprints series including Pedal It!, Every Last Drop, Trash Talk and Home Sweet Neighborhood. She has also written several works of fiction including The Vegetable Museum and Not a Chance. Michelle lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

 
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