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WHAT IS A GREEN ROOF? by Vicki Sando Kirkus Star


by Vicki Sando ; illustrated by Zee Lehar

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-73416-720-7
Publisher: Nausicaa Valley Press

Urban environmentalist and educator Sando makes green architecture accessible to an elementary school audience in this picture-book debut.

The rooftops of New York City come in several colors: blue, black, silver, stone, and green. Sando briefly describes the reasons behind the other structures’ hues before delving into the subject of green roofs and how planting atop buildings can have a tremendous environmental and emotional impact. In well-labeled diagrams and instructional illustrations, the author, along with illustrator Lehar, reveals the layered structure that makes planting atop a roof naturally beneficial. Sando also makes sure to mention the positive impact it can have on people, who “work and feel better when they look at nature.” Sando seamlessly introduces scientific terms (such as compression, tension, habitat), providing definitions inline or in a callout where necessary as well as in a glossary. Lehar’s bright cartoon illustrations depict real New York landmarks with green roofs to show the variety of appearances they can have as well as a variety of New Yorkers. The text’s complexity is best suited for independent readers at the second- or third-grade level, but teachers will also find plenty of plain-language classroom material here.

An engagingly illustrated work that brings a compelling concept to life.