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Children's Nonfiction Curiosities & Wonders

Gifts from the Garbage Truck

A True Story About the Things We (Don't) Throw Away

by (author) Andrew Larsen

illustrated by Oriol Vidal

Initial publish date
Sep 2024
Curiosities & Wonders, General, Recycling & Green Living
Recommended Age
4 to 8
Recommended Grade
p to 3
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2024
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A picture book about what we throw away, and why it might be worth keeping!

What if everywhere you looked, you saw something to make? Instead of seeing something broken, you saw something to fix? Instead of seeing something to throw out, you saw something to give away? This is how Nelson Molina sees the world. A former employee for the New York City sanitation department, Nelson saved over 45,000 objects from the garbage to fix and show his community through his museum, Treasures in the Trash.

Explore the hidden potential in what we often discard and think differently about consumption, waste, and the impact of small actions. With themes of upcycling, anti-consumerism, love for community, and finding joy, Gifts from the Garbage Truck inspires kids to think creatively and curiously about what they do (and don't) throw away!

Often, Nelson came across oddly shaped garbage bags.

They clinked and clanked and jingled and jangled.

Is there something more than garbage in here? Nelson would wonder. Is there something someone might love?

"I knew it!" he'd exclaim, tearing the bag open and discovering a new gift from the trash.

Nelson didn't throw the objects into the back of the truck with everything else.

He had a better idea.

About the authors


Andrew Larsen est père au foyer et auteur. Quand il était enfant, il passait toujours une partie de son été au chalet de ses grands-parents, situé sur une colline, près d'un lac. Andrew habite à Toronto. Il a publié sept albums jeunesse.


Andrew Larsen is a father, homemaker and author. When he was a child, he would spend a part of every summer with his grandparents at their cottage on a hill, by a lake. Andrew now lives in a downtown Toronto neighbourhood. He has published seven picture books.


Andrew Larsen's profile page

Oriol Vidal is an illustrator and storyboard artist who lives in Barcelona, Spain. When he’s not drawing or painting, he loves spending time with his family outdoors. Many of the scenes in the Duck, Duck, Dinosaur books were inspired by his trips to camp as a child and summer nights full of lightning bugs. You can see more of his work at

Oriol Vidal's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"An unusual storybook written with a keen sense of what appeals to children and illustrated with a strong sense of form, line, color, and shadow, this beautiful picture book tells a story and makes certain points without becoming didactic. An excellent choice for classroom units focused on trash, conservation, or the environment." — Booklist, STARRED Review

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