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Children's Nonfiction General

Pedal It!

How Bicycles are Changing the World

by (author) Michelle Mulder

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Feb 2016
General, Environmental Conservation & Protection, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2016
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2013
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2015
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


Pedal It! celebrates the humble bicycle and shows you why and how bikes can make the world a better place

From the very first boneshakers to the sleek racing bikes of today, from handlebars to spokes to gear sprockets, bicycles have continued to capture our collective fascination. Not only can bikes be used to power computers and generators, but they can also reduce pollution, promote wellness and get a package across a crowded city—fast! Informative but not didactic, Pedal It! encourages young readers to be part of the joy of cycling.

About the author

Michelle is the author of several books for children, and she enjoys telling the stories of kids who seize life's opportunities. When growing up in Port Moody, British Columbia, her favourite spot was the library. She loved cracking open the cover of a novel, taking a deep breath, and jumping into another life.

At university, Michelle studied literature, and between courses, she helped dig a water pipeline in the Dominican Republic and flipped burgers for a summer at a McDonald's in Germany. After graduating, she cycled 6000 kilometres across Canada, became a travel writer, taught creative writing in the Arctic, and worked as a simulated patient for medical students to practice on. She also married the pen pal that she'd been writing to since she was fourteen years old, and together they traveled around his home country of Argentina.

Michelle began writing for kids because she's always loved reading children's books. These days, when she's not writing or going on adventures, she enjoys reading, swimming, baking, hiking, and pedaling her bicycle around Victoria, British Columbia, where she lives with her husband and daughter. For more information about Michelle and her books, please visit her website at


Michelle Mulder's profile page


  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award (RMBA)
  • Winner, Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable Information Book Award
  • Commended, Bank Street College of Education Children's Book Committee Best Children's Books of the Year
  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection
  • Commended, Ontario Library association (OLA) Best Bets
  • Commended, Resource Links, The Year's Best Books

Editorial Reviews

"Launches with a lively history of bicycles...Engagingly written...Filled with fun facts and well-captioned photos that provide alluring glimpses into different cultures and locales."

School Library Journal

"Visually appealing...This book would be a great addition to an elementary library as an excellent resource for students learning about the history of cycling and the benefits of using bicycles to man and the environment."

Resource Links

"Packed with facts, colorful photographs, and personal narratives from the author...which adds flavor and authenticity to the text."

Library Media Connection

"An excellent book for upper elementary and middle school students. The history of bicycling and the importance of bicycles in emerging nations are clearly presented. The pictures and drawings are clear. The book contains "Bike Facts," extra information which might intrigue the reader. The author also shows many ways that bicycles are used which might not have occurred to the reader. The book contains an excellent resource list and a very good index."

Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group

"Mulder is a bike enthusiast who has written a hugely entertaining and informative nonfiction book about bicycles...Hang onto your handlebars! Pedal It! is a must-read for kids and adults alike. Now go dust off your bike!"

CM Magazine

"Mulder's evolutionary survey of the bicycle is, like the subject in question, a piece of many parts: a cultural history, a course in mechanics, a soupçon of physics, a spotlight on economic class and a springboard for innovation. In a bouncy, friendly tone, she proceeds roughly chronologically, but has no hesitation to follow a thread or a whim, often in colorful boxed asides...Mulder twines the mechanics of bicycles with cultural phenomenon, the environmental benefits of cycling and even the change in women's fashions...A smart, tangy history of our two-wheeled friend."

Kirkus Reviews

"Opens the door to so many interesting discussions...Filled with beautiful stories and pictures about life in various countries. Children will be amazed by how much a person can carry while bicycling!"

Christy's Houseful of Chaos blog

"This very cool tome for inquisitive children shares a brief history of the bicycle, with interesting facts...From Nepal to Kenya and many countries in between, bicycles are enabling people to run home-based businesses and give them pedal power!"

The International Educator

"The introduction sets a personal tone that Mulder returns to throughout the book in the many sidebars concerning her experiences and those of her friends and family...The quality of the color photographs is quite good...The book's international focus is valuable, and students will find material here that is both interesting and potentially useful for reports."


Librarian Reviews

Pedal It! How Bicycles Are Changing the World

The author of this book in the Orca Footprint series has translated her passion for cycling into a way of life. Here she explains how bicycles were invented, how they have changed and how they are changing life around the world. She details the history of the bicycle through the velocipede and the high-wheeler to the safety bicycle and the invention of air-filled tires. She looks briefly at the impact on women and at the bicycle mechanics who went on to produce airplanes and cars. Finally she examines the unusual ways bicycles are used from taxis to school buses, from food vending to providing health care, from knife sharpening to powering generators and laptops. Photographs on each page make this book an attractive package.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2013-2014.

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