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Book details
  • SubGenre:Parenting / Child Rearing
  • Language:English
  • Pages:248
  • eBook ISBN:9780985021511

A Million Tiny Things

A Mother's Urgent Search for Hope in a Changing Climate

by Kenna Lee

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A Million Tiny Things chronicles the escapades of a wanna-be “green mom” trying to keep her sense of humor while hanging on to a lifeline, or at least a laundry line, of hope. In this age of anxious parenting and frantic “save the earth!” messages, Kenna Lee answers the question, “How do we stay out of denial without getting depressed?” With a willful optimism, Lee stumbles across the long distance from eco-overwhelm to self-forgiveness with the help of a growing belief that large numbers of small pro-environment actions can truly add up to a better world.
Discovering herself pregnant with a third child she’d sworn not to have, Kenna Lee wanted more than ever to follow the advice in the never-ending stream of “go green” books and magazine articles. Fortunately for her readers, Kenna’s two toddlers and a bad case of morning sickness turned her oft-foiled attempts at Doing the Right Thing into a darker, but funnier, shade of green. “Kenna Lee says all the things out loud that the rest of us keep to ourselves, and in doing that she gives us the best gift we can hope to receive from a book: the realization we’re not all alone with these dark thoughts of ours.” - Susan Choi, author of A Person of Interest and American Woman, Pulitzer Prize Finalist What those “go green” books and articles almost never address is the real-life gap between our beliefs, our desires to change, and our day-to-day actions, down in the trenches of parenthood. A Million Tiny Things is an on-the-ground chronicle about the process of figuring it all out: mothering and life, from diapers to bio-diesel, carpool politics to climate change. It’s a book for the rest of us, articulating our common anxieties and the discomforts of the “solutions” we are being offered, while still clinging desperately to humor and hope. Through a continuum of personal stories about having more kids than she planned, driving a bigger car than she wanted, eating more junk than she should, and buying a seemingly incessant flow of not-entirely necessary products, A Million Tiny Things describes Kenna’s journey toward righteous green living, replete with both high ideals and low impulses. The book’s three-year narrative span traces Kenna’s oxymoronic minivan-driven campaign to save the planet, ranging from reproduction-induced guilt, through moments of plastic-laden frustration, toward a fragile hopefulness maintained by small eco-righteous actions and constant cracks at self-forgiveness. In the words of her editor, C.A. Carlson: In the end, it’s a book not just about saving the world, but about why the world is worth saving.
About the author
Full-time nurse, part-time environmentalist, and all-the-time mother, Kenna Lee lives in Sebastopol, California, with her three semi-feral children and several domesticated animals. After receiving a liberal arts degree up east, she entered the underground world of homebirth midwifery, only to emerge a decade later into a more normal life as a hospice nurse. Tortured by the distance between her suburban lifestyle and her perceptions of “right living,” Kenna began writing about mothering in the era of global warming, only to discover that her work struck a deep chord in her community of mothers. She began publishing in online venues including,,, and, where she wrote about maternal eco-anxiety in her online column, “Home Eco-nomics. “ Her personal essays have also been published by Brain, Child, Amoskeag (global warming issue), Midwifery Today, the Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses, the American Journal of Nursing, the Northern California Bohemian, and Mothering Magazine, as well as aired on the KQED Perspectives series. The title essay “A million tiny things” is included in the anthology Lavanderia (City Works Press, 2009).
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