A Guatemalan community turns trash to treasure, thanks to a teacher’s “crazy idea.”
It all starts when Seño Laura, taking a break by the frame of a never-finished new school one day, notices that the soda bottle in her hand is the same width as the structural supports. Her principal, the children at the overcrowded local school and the other residents of Granados are quickly enlisted to gather thousands of discarded plastic bottles and stuff them with trash to create “eco-ladrillos” (bricks) and stack them into walls. Much hard work later—and much of it done by energetic young Fernando and other children—the village not only has a fine school, but has been thoroughly cleaned of litter to boot. Better yet, other communities have been inspired by Granados’ example to undertake similar projects of their own. Only some of the figures in Darragh’s very loose ink-and-watercolor illustrations have individualized features, and her pale palette doesn’t really capture the distinctively vibrant look of soda-bottle walls (a photo at the end offers a tantalizing glimpse). Nevertheless, this true story celebrates both the value of teamwork and a triumph of ingenious recycling.
A likely hit with young eco-activists, despite the bland visuals. (afterword) (Informational picture book. 6-8)