"One cold, windy morning early in spring, a bulldozer was pushing a big pile of garbage around a landfill when it uncovered an empty plastic bag."
Thus begins the journey of a plastic bag over the fence where it is eventually found by a girl collecting cans. She leaves the bag with the lady at the gas station who has paid for her recycling but the bag blows away again and is found by a homeless man.
"A tall man with long hair and a beard came limping along the side of the road, using a metal crutch. The bag came rolling along the shoulder toward him and he caught it with the tip of his crutch. He leaned down and picked it up and wadded it into his pocket"
The bag 'escapes' again and is found by several more people until finally it returns to the little girl who had been collecting cans. She has saved her money and has come into a second hand store to buy a baseball glove and ball. Bag in the Wind is a lyrical exploration of an important environmental topic. Here is some background reading about the problems with plastic bags. The setting for Bag in the Wind is American but there is an Australian campaign to reduce or eliminate the use of bags which is also worth exploring with your students. Bag in the Wind is in our Picture book collection but it could also be placed in Non Fiction because it does have excellent pages of factual information at the back. Here is an excellent Q&A with Ted Kooser and a poster you could use to promote this special book.
You might like to also read my review of House Held up by trees also by Ted Kooser.
The exquisitely observed narrative renders the American landscape’s dubious symbiosis—nominally natural, persistently industrial—worthy of a child’s attention: “There were lots of young trees along the ditch, their twigs covered with hard little buds that would soon open, and the bag got caught on a branch and hung there the rest of the night, flapping and slapping in the wind.”