by Sandra Steingraber

Da Capo Press, $26.00, 350 pages

Just as every parent-to-be rushes out to get a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting; so should every parent be as eager to read Raising Elijah: Protecting our Children from Environmental Crisis.

Tempering the cold, hard facts with everyday scenarios of family life, mother and ecologist Sandra Steingraber lays it all on the table in a highly readable way. As she relates an inventory of environmental concerns and their effects on children, (plastics, pesticides, arsenic on the playground), Steingraber presents scientific findings that are nothing short of horrific. Addressing how pollutants contribute to preterm birth, asthma, ADHD, and early puberty, this book will be of interest to those at any stage of the parenting process.

It’s clear that the book’s objective is not to elicit paranoia, but to make parents aware of how the environment plays a role in their child’s development. With this newfound awareness, she offers reasonable suggestions for things you can do to protect your children even when our policy-makers have turned a blind eye to the problem. The result is a book that alternates between overwhelming and inspiring. All in all, Raising Elijah is a much appreciated resource for the conscientious parent.

Reviewed by Alicea Swett