By Heather Zubek

AT schools all around Australia there are Wallys hiding and Harry Potters casting spells.

Starting on August 21, Children’s Book Week is filled with visits from authors, storytelling and book parades.  It’s like Christmas for readers!

The author Dr Seuss believed reading and books were an important part of everyone’s lives. He wrote: “The more that you read, the more things you will know.”

He was right. Reading is important for learning and imagination.

Darcy and the Dinosaur is a picture book printed using eco-friendly publishing methods.

Darcy and the Dinosaur is a picture book printed using eco-friendly publishing methods.

Paper reigns

But making books uses a lot of paper, ink and energy.

Paper is mostly made from trees. Trees produce oxygen that we breathe so it’s important to have as many in the world as possible.

Nearly one per cent of one tree is used to make one book. Nearly 54 million new books were sold in Australia in 2016 – that’s about half a million trees!

Stinky ink

The ink used in a book contains toxic material that causes air pollution.

But some organisations want to make books “greener”.

The Opus Group publishing division uses paper from forests that are protected from over-use, and uses non-toxic inks.

It also gets rid of the materials it uses safely and carefully watches how much energy it uses and how much paper and plastic that’s recycled.

Ink from vegetables

blOOturtle Publishing also makes sure all the picture books it publishes are made with the environment in mind.

“We want the planet to be healthy and happy so kids can enjoy our books for a very long time,” says Tracy Weller-McCormack, who runs the company.

“The paper we use is 100 per cent recycled, only power from renewable energy is used, and 90 per cent of the waste … is recycled,” she says. And the ink comes from vegetables.

“I think the colours are richer and crisper and the quality is amazing,” she says.

Environmentally friendly

Nicole Madigan’s book Darcy and the Dinosaurs is the first picture book produced by blOOturtle’s eco-publishing program.

She says the company works very hard to make sure its books are friendly to the environment and still beautifully made.

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