#435 – Let’s Make a Difference: We Can Help Orangutans by Gabriella Francine with Solara Vayanian


Let’s Make a Difference: We Can Help Orangutans

by Gabriella Francine

with Solara Vayanian

Phil Velikan, illustrator

Big Blue Marble Books


About the Book:  Orangutans are an endangered species in Southeast Asia and China. Where there were once hundreds of thousands of orangutans, there are now only approximately 60,000. Those animals are all located on two islands: Borneo and Sumatra. We Can Help Orangutans talks about the orangutan’s life and skills, but is mostly a tool for saving the endangered species by encouraging children to save their change in jars for the orangutans. There are two organizations involved: Kinds With Coins and Coins for Causes.

Orangutans have similar traits to humans including the all-important opposable thumb. These smart creatures create and use tools. A large leaf becomes an umbrella on a hot, sunny, or rainy day. Sticky chins are wiped clean with leaf napkins and fingers are protected from thorny plants when leafs are made into gloves.

The orangutan lives in a nest in the tree. With logging—legal and illegal—along with palm oil plantations remove and destroy orangutan homes. One way people, especially kids, can help is by collecting spare change and sending that to the two organizations listed above.


What I Thought:  Orangutans definitely are near extinct. Without education, new laws, better enforcement of those laws, and increased aid to the orangutan populations, extinction is certain, possibly within the next ten years. Books like We Can Help Orangutans help educate the next group of leaders but that might be too late. The book stresses action needs to occur now. What I really liked about We Can Help Orangutans is the lack of heavy-handed efforts. The book introduces the orangutan including its likes, abilities, eating habits, and where they live.

What is odd about We Can Help Orangutans is the lack of any real information about either organization the text wants kids to send their coins. Neither Kids with Coins or Coins for Causes has a listing in the reference section. The website address for both organizations is glaringly absent from the book. The logos for both organizations are on the back cover. It is up to you to find them. This makes no sense for a book that explicitly states kids should take their coins and donate them to one of these two.


We Can Help Orangutans has enough information about orangutans that classrooms could use the text when teaching about endangered species, the loss of natural habitats, and of course, orangutans. I like the book, I like how the book is arranged, and I think it has enough information for kids to begin caring about the plight of endangered species, orangutans in particular.


We Can Help Orangutans gives kids the information they need to understand and like orangutans, and then asks kids to help save them. I think that is a smart formula. Kids can learn enough about these mammals to like them and want to know more. The references in the back of the book—all with website addresses—and the organizations with comments on the back cover, give kids a great assortment of information. If you want to donate your coins you will need to find out that information on your own.


Let’s Make a Difference: We Can Help Orangutans

by Gabriella Francine    facebook    twitter    interview

with Solara Vayanian    linkedin

Phil Velikan, illustrator    website    blog    facebook

Big Blue Marble Books    website

Released October 1, 2013

ISBN:  9978-1-938504-00-6

32 pages

Age 6 to 9


© 2013 by Big Blue Marble Books, used with permission

Test copyright © 2013 by Gabriella Francine & Solara Vayanian

Photographs © by various individuals; list on credit page





19 thoughts on “#435 – Let’s Make a Difference: We Can Help Orangutans by Gabriella Francine with Solara Vayanian

  1. Saving animals is always a good lesson to teach children. I really like this book.

    The 1st picture looks like someone I know, maybe a book reviewer? Hummm . . .


    • The 1st? It’s eyes are huge, looks scared. What are you trying to say? Well, whatever it is, I do agree about saving animals. I am hoping to soon be able to completely devote my life to rescuing dogs (and reading, riting and reviewing). 🙂


  2. I don’t have any coins, but if I did I would send them. Saving all the apes is a good cause to pursue. Too bad they don’t let you know where to send help. Looks like a good book though. I’ll be checking it out. Thanks!


    • It is a good book for kids and home schooling and for teachers who maybe do a class project. They could read the book and make their project raising to a certain monetary goal to help save the orangutans and in turn mankind. Know a great teacher that might be interested in a class project like that? Woof if you find one. 🙂


  3. Wow. About 9 years ’til No More Orangutans. I really like them. I find them interesting. I saw one at the zoo once. It was HUGE! And, after that, we saw the gorillas, but they didn’t seem that big… Weird.


    • That figure came from a world orangutan society, but maybe another would have different figures. I hope so because 9 years is not much time. I cannot image orangutans gone and then what? chimps, apes, me? Scary. 😐

      HUGE? I have never seen one except photographs. I would love to and I hope I do not need to hurry.


  4. Nice review! Love the photography, the fun facts, and that this is a book that teaches our young about nature!


    • It has all of that. This is a nice book visually and the text teaches a lot. I just wish the coins organizations web addresses would have been somewhere. Otherwise it is a good one for home schooling. How do you know so much Lobo? 🙂


  5. We humans are forcing extinction on so many species due to our over-development, etc., and as much as everyone wants to claim we’re “animals” just like them (which we’re not, though many behave that way), tend to ignore we’re feeding our own extinction *sigh* Amazing, I think!

    And, yes, it does seem odd they didn’t make it easier to accomplish the donation process by including that info :/


    • We need to start learning to find vertical space and not horizontal for more homes. Some countries are already doing this and I wish I could recall which one I saw that was actively building up rather than out. I think we should also be more open to one child per couple. The population is spiralling and is not going to stop unless . . . but that is just my soap box or the day. 🙂


  6. Yes it definitely seems odd that that information was excluded. I had no idea that “within the next ten years” they might be gone – that’s a horrible thought! I shall have to urge my local library to get a copy of this one. 🙂


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