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Sustainability for kids

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— When people began reading her blog and column for the Honest Weight Food Co-op’s newsletter, she transitioned into writing children’s books on those topics.

“I have four or five other manuscripts looking for a home,” said Smalley. “One is for 8- to 12-year-olds and almost all are on similar themes of how do systems work ecologically and how are we part of those systems.”

“Sheila Says We’re Weird” is the story of a young girl who is fascinated by her neighbors, a family who cooks their own food, composts, hangs clothes on a clothesline and other environmentally friendly practices.

“I wanted a humorous take on how people might look at what each other is doing,” said Smalley. “I wrote it for Sheila and the kids who are curious and don’t understand what their neighbors are doing, but also kids like the one in the story who maybe feel a little out of place among their peers because they are living a different way.”

Smalley tries to implement some of the alternative lifestyle choices that her imaginary Sheila is perplexed by into her own family unit.

“We’re trying to do the hanging out the wash thing. We have the wood stove like in the book … the books shows heating your immediate space and now the whole house,” said Smalley. “We try to bike and walk as much as possible. I got a fully functioning can of worms in my basement so we’ll try worm composting and I try to do backyard gardening.”

She’s also involved with Transition Town, a rapidly growing movement that addresses how communities can tackle things like climate changes, fuel costs and other environmental impacts.

“We’re trying to get people from all walks of life and parts of the community to come together and talk to each other about their vision of how they want life in their community to be,” said Smalley. “It’s a vibrant, exciting model.”

Smalley is in search of a book agent so she can get more books published.

“I have too many manuscripts to try to track down appropriate publishers,” said Smalley. “I need someone to help me.”

“Sheila Says We’re Weird” is available at tilburyhouse.com. Green Conscience Home & Garden Showroom is located at 33 Church St. in Saratoga Springs. The book signing is free.

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