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New Interview: CBI Clubhouse

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"When we first interviewed nonfiction picture book author Barry Wittenstein in August 2018, he had two books out and three more on deck, all sold without an agent. Fast forward to today, and Barry’s books have garnered starred reviews, appeared on best book lists, been named a Junior Library Guild selection, and received Children’s Choice Awards. His "A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation" (illustrated by Jerry Pinkney) won a 2020 Orbis Pictus Award (which recognizes outstanding nonfiction for children). Barry continues his run of nonfiction picture books with social impact with his newest title, "The Day the River Caught Fire: How the Cuyahoga River Exploded and Ignited the Earth Day Movement."

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Orbis Pictus Award


Discover the true story of how a 1969 fire in one of the most polluted rivers in America sparked the national Earth Day movement.

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"A testament to the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire, which helped to spark Earth Day and the environmental movement."

"Wittenstein writes an engaging story and, in an appended note, challenges his audience to take responsibility for saving the planet."


"Conversational storytelling, while repeated “HO-HUM”s capture the complacency contributing to the dire state of affairs. An author’s note further drives home the seriousness of today’s situation." 


"While young readers may take for granted the concept of environmentalism, the book does an excellent job depicting the nascent moments of the movement that led to the first Earth Day celebration, the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, and legislation such as the Clean Water Act." 

As America changed,
so did the corner store

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"Wittenstein endeavors 'to better understand the past by looking at just one building.'"

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"Wittenstein's tale of neighborhood change is convincing in its specificity." 



"An interesting book that brings readers along through 100 years of history against the background of just one building."

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Tom Bober

“Not so much the story of a person but of a place.”

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