All kindergartners in the Tucson Unified and Vail school districts should be taking home a free, new book that they can keep.
"Jeremy Jackrabbit Recycles the Can," released Saturday in Phoenix, was written by Phoenix-area attorneys and University of Arizona grads Sasha and Rodney Glassman.
The couple raised about $75,000 from foundations and corporations to publish and give away copies to students. About 6,000 Pima County kindergartners and 48,000 in Maricopa County will get the free books.
"It's great to give students the opportunity of ownership," said Calvin Baker, superintendent of the Vail School District, which will receive 1,000 books.
The free book promotes reading and pride of ownership, Baker said.
"Books for the home library are always a bonus," especially for students who have limited opportunities to own books, said Teri Melendez, TUSD director of elementary schools.
Written in rhyme in English and Spanish, the story centers on Jeremy Jackrabbit, a drum-playing rock-band member. When hopping home through the desert, Jeremy stumbles on an aluminum can and his desert-critter pals use the incident to teach him about recycling.
The story is illustrated with bright, colorful children's art that was selected from almost 1,000 entries in a contest sponsored by the Phoenix Public Library. The book has a kid-friendly bilingual recycling guide, and the introduction (written for parents and teachers, not kids) is from Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow.
The recycling book follows the couple's 2010 effort, "Jeremy Jackrabbit Harvests the Rain."
That book's illustrations were selected from a contest through the Pima County Public Library. The Glassmans raised about $35,000 to distribute more than 14,000 copies of the water-harvesting book to Southern Arizona kindergartners, said Rodney Glassman, a former Tucson City Council member, local businessman and philanthropist.
Glassman said in an email that the goal of the book project is to promote literacy, sustainability and community collaboration and that it could be effective in language immersion classes.
Teachers can use the books in classrooms before the books go home, Melendez said. The website (jeremyjackrabbit.com) has lesson plans aligned with Common Core Standards, guidelines of what students are expected to learn.
Teachers will receive the books late in the school year when there is more flexibility in their lesson plans, Baker said.
"Jeremy Jackrabbit Recycles the Can"
By Sasha and Rodney Glassman
Contact Ann Brown at email@example.com