Book Review: Eco-Friendly Families (Win a Copy!)

Photo: Amazon

I didn’t know what to expect when I started into Eco-Friendly Families by Helen Coronato.  I am, after all, only considered “moderately green.”  Would this book, with over 200 pages of family time mixed with eco-awareness be too much for my already hectic lifestyle?  Find out what I loved about it, and how you can snag a copy, too!

I saved this book back for awhile after I received it.  I was overwhelmed with green literature and wasn’t sure how I could handle another book claiming to be the guide to all things eco-friendly.  I gave this book a chance, however, because it had a unique angle:  families.  It’s not every day that a book on the subject is written to include everyone in the home – from the tiniest to the oldest.  I was hooked.

Let me start by saying this book is full of ideas.  So many, in fact, that the average reader may become overwhelmed by all the tips, tricks, and nuggets of useable info.  No one (especially the author) intend for you to make all the changes in the book.  The best part?  You are probably doing some of it and may not even be aware of the benefit!

The book starts with a primer on Taking Inventory: Getting Ready to Go Green.  Ms. Coronato has a family herself, and understands that no change can be done without planning and communication between all family members.  Whether you are interested in changing the way you eat, growing your home recycling program, or finding healthier cleaning alternatives, there will be preparation involved.  (Tip:  If you want to get the most out of this book, take advantage of the “Five-Minute Makeovers” scattered throughout the pages.  They are not only completely doable, but inspiring, too!)

The book then goes into the formula for living green:

Fundamental + Financial + Functional = Forward

The author understands that green is only as good as it is simple, affordable, and useful. These are the tips that will be implemented and easily taught to your children  FOR A LIFETIME.  Way to go, Helen, for grasping the common sense that can accompany any small home green movement.

Other topics discussed in depth and with very specific action plans, goals, and checklists include:

  • A 12-month schedule of Green Goal Setting (something practical for all seasons)        

  • Reduce (personal waste, excessive and dangerous driving, and personal toxins)


  • Reuse (the basics, a little frugality, plus cute and creative ideas for the kiddos)


  • Recycle (how to really buy recycled, e-waste, and precycling for beginners)


  • Room-by-Room Ecodesign (your home in stunning green detail)


  • Your Food (what you wish you didn’t know, plus how to deal with it)


  • Cleaning Green (DIY options for the frugal, healthy, and safety-minded)


  • Green Special Occasions (who knew birthdays could be so special?)


  • Green Sites (the appendix of all appendices)

No, you don’t have to have a family to enjoy this one.  In fact, it’s all-around good advice for families of one to 100 (college campuses need green, too.)  I found it to be a balanced look at green for every level, and even with the occasional reference to green theories I haven’t quite gotten on board with, it is mild in its politics and bold in its genius.  This is one book that avoids lip-service and gives you the means to go out and do it!


Want to give it a read?  I have 3 new copies of Eco-Friendly Families to send to a few lucky Wise Bread readers.  To enter the giveaway, post a comment below by September 20th, 2008. U.S. and Canada only.  Must be 18 or older to enter.

Wise Bread will not sell or use your email address for any purpose other than to contact the winner.

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Alice Hansen

I'd love to see the books 12 month plan - thanks for the chance!

Guest's picture

We've been working on going green for sometime - I would love a copy of this book! (if I don't win, I've bookmarked it for later purchase) ;) Thanks -- Leia

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alex l

Everyone can benefit from this book not just families. and everyone should live like the book advocates: recycle, reuse, educate

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Would love to get a chance to check out this book!

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Great giveaway, thanks so much!