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The Day the River Caught Fire
How the Cuyahoga River Exploded and Ignited the Earth Day Movement
Table of Contents
About The Book
Discover the true story of how a 1969 fire in one of the most polluted rivers in America sparked the national Earth Day movement in this nonfiction picture book by award-winning author Barry Wittenstein and beloved illustrator Jessie Hartland.
After the Industrial Revolution in the 1880s, the Cayuhoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, caught fire almost twenty times, earning Cleveland the nickname “The Mistake on the Lake.” Waste dumping had made fires so routine that local politicians and media didn’t pay them any mind, and other Cleveland residents laughed off their combustible river and even wrote songs about it.
But when the river ignited again in June 1969, the national media picked up on the story and added fuel to the fire of the recent environmental movement. A year later, in 1970, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency—leading to the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts—and the first Earth Day was celebrated. It was a celebration, it was a protest, and it was the beginning of a movement to save our planet.
About The Illustrator
Jessie Hartland is the author and illustrator many nonfiction titles for young readers, including Our Flag Was Still There, which was named a Bank Street Best Book of the Year. The New York Times praised her “joyful folk-art illustrations” in Harlem Grown, written by Tony Hillery. She has painted murals at a Japanese amusement park, designed Christmas windows for Bloomingdale’s, and put her mark on ceramics, watches, and all sorts of other things. She has done drawings for many magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Travel and Leisure Family Club, Martha Stewart Kids, and Bon Appétit. She lives in New York City. Visit her at JessieHartland.com.
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (March 28, 2023)
- Length: 48 pages
- ISBN13: 9781534480834
- Grades: P - 3
- Ages: 4 - 8
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Raves and Reviews
"A lively account of a watershed event."
"A engaging story ... informative."
Resources and Downloads
High Resolution Images
Book Cover Image (jpg): The Day the River Caught Fire
More books from this illustrator: Jessie Hartland
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