New Picture Book Teaches Kids about Air Quality

By Melissa Payne

We’re big readers in our house. With two small children always looking for something to do, reading is easy, fun, and lets Mommy (and Daddy) sit down for a minute. Recently, we’ve started getting into books that correspond to the seasons- books about falling leaves in autumn, snow and holidays in the wintertime, and planting seeds in the spring. We can now add another season to our repertoire- ozone season- which lasts from May until October.

“Why is Coco Orange?” is a new book about a chameleon with asthma who can’t change colors. He and his friends at Lizard Lick Elementary solve this mystery as they learn about air quality and how to stay healthy and active when the air quality is a concern. This picture book explains the concept of ozone to young children in a way that they can understand. My kids keep coming back to this book, and find something new to learn every time.

Parents, teachers and other caretakers will learn along with the children as they read this story together. Schools, libraries, doctors’ offices, and families can take advantage of the book–it’s free to order your copy. With Earth Day (Friday, April 22) and Air Quality Awareness Week (May 2-6) coming up, now is the time to place your order. Celebrate the return of warmer weather with Coco and his healthy tips. Happy reading!

For more information on air quality, please visit airnow.gov

About the author: Melissa Payne has worked at EPA Headquarters since 1997, and currently works on air quality rule implementation.

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