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NIEHS Publishes Kids' Book

Sharon, a young girl, sets out on a quest to find the environment, which her teacher, Miss Clark, says people need to keep clean. Herman, a squirrel who seems to know more than he's telling, helps Sharon look.

Sharon is the main character in a new read-along children's book published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Although the printed version of Sharon Finds the Environment is new to bookshelves, Sharon has been tested and praised by young readers on the NIEHS Kids' Page for more than a year, accessible through the NIEHS web site at In fact, there is a second Sharon story also on the web, along with other stories, games, music and much else.

NIEHS director Dr. Kenneth Olden said, "Young people can begin to grasp the concept of the environment very early, to know that what goes down the drain doesn't just disappear, and that people have to cooperate to keep the environment healthy." He said the booklet is ideal for parents or other adults to read to children, or for children with early reading skills to read for themselves. The book has 14 pages balanced between text and large, colorful art.

Even before the original artwork was added, the text and clip art from the web site received a Department of Health and Human Services Plain Language Award in March 2001. The text was written by NIEHS News Director Tom Hawkins and was field tested on various nieces, nephews, kids, and grandchildren of people in his office, all of whom came up with helpful suggestions.

Copies of Sharon Finds the Environment are available at no cost for single copies or in limited quantities for use by schools, clinics, public health departments, pediatric practices, libraries, health fairs, etc., by phoning (919) 541-3345, or by emailing

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