High-tech alumni aim to change the social paradigm of environmental issues with a children’s book
Roxy Hreb and Zach Fieldman were attending High Tech High School when they came up with the idea for their new self-published book, “Eco the Elephant Saves the Jungle.”
Jersey City resident Hreb and Hoboken resident Fieldman hope their new children’s book will make children more aware of climate change. The main message is to take action, recognize a problem and learn how to solve it.
“By changing the social paradigm surrounding environmental issues from an early age, we hope to bring about more widespread change through the lessons expressed in Eco the Elephant,” the authors said.
Sensing that there were no business opportunities at school, they started a business club to get people interested in starting a business. Both Hreb and Fieldman were environmental scientists at Hi Tech, which contributed to the environmental theme of the book.
“I always wanted to write books that would get published,” Hreb said. “I thought it would be with novels, but we started with a children’s book. This stemmed from both commercial and environmental interests.
Hreb and Fieldman also found inspiration for the Peppa Pig series book and Dr. Seuss books such as The Lorax. Neither of them have younger siblings to draw inspiration from, so they both had to immerse themselves in summer reading with children’s and science books.
“We wanted an animal that kids would recognize, then modeled on a character that kids could put their shoes on,” says Hreb. “We came up with the name Eco first, and then we took the alliteration from there.”
Throughout the process of creating and running an LLC committed to sustainable business practices, High Tech alumni ensured that the eco-friendly book was printed on recycled card stock and used environmentally friendly inks. The book was illustrated by New York artist Zelda Jones.
The authors plan to create an Eco the Elephant book series and are looking to eventually develop a line of toys, clothing, and TV episodes surrounding their main character, Eco.
Both Hreb and Fieldman graduated from high tech this year. In the future, Zach wants to pursue a career as an environmental entrepreneur, while Roxy will pursue a career in environmental start-ups focused on renewable energy.
Next fall, Zach will attend San Diego State University and focus on business and entrepreneurship. Roxy will attend Harvard University focusing on environmental studies or economics.
You can order a physical or digital copy of “Eco the Elephant” by visiting www.ecotheelephant.com; you can also find copies at local Hudson County bookstores, including Little City Books, 100 Bloomfield St., Hoboken, and Little Boho Bookshop, 164A Broadway, Bayonne.