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About the book

Bernie’s Escape from Ong Island is an exciting adventure starring Bernie, a beloved puggle (half-pug, half-beagle, 100% awesome) from Austin, Texas. Bernie and his human, Sammy, are taken on a journey to an exotic trash wasteland where their lives are turned upside down. Will Bernie, Sammy, and their new friends find a way home? Will they ever be free of the island and its polluted pitfalls?


Join Bernie and Sammy on this wild ocean adventure as they discover the truth about the dangers of pollution and how it impacts the world’s wildlife. A portion of all profits from Bernie’s Escape from Ong Island will be donated to organizations devoted to the cleanup of the ocean, reusing plastics found in our environment, and promoting a circular economy.

Available at



FREE lesson plans for teachers (or parents) to use in the classroom!

Music Video

Check out our music video. Song by Ken Johnson.


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Coming Soon... Eco-friendly Bernie Merchandise!

About the Author

Harris Family

Jessica Harris (formerly Vogel) has over ten years of experience in energy efficiency with a background in mechanical engineering, project management, construction administration, and extensive experience with utility energy incentive programs. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and is now the proud owner and President of Harris Energy Solutions, a Women Business Owned Entity headquartered in Austin, Texas.


Jessica is also the proud mother of two children. She relocated to the Austin area with her husband from New Jersey. When she’s not working or writing, Jessica enjoys working out, spending time with her family, and hiking.


Jessica has a passion for protecting the environment and is currently working on a children’s book series to educate and encourage action addressing the dangers of plastics in the ocean, deforestation, and pesticide pollution. Bernie’s Escape from Ong Island is her first children’s book.

Help Bernie save the environment


Try to purchase goods you really need—everything from clothes to toys.
For example, on average, a piece of clothing will only be worn seven times before it is thrown away. Let’s break the fast fashion cycle by only buying what we need and loving what we have! Bernie treasures his treats, chew toys, and stylish dog shirts even more now.


When something breaks, try to fix it instead of running out for another expensive alternative.
You can also shop secondhand and even sell some of the things you don’t need anymore to others. Bernie gave his extra tennis ball to a neighbor dog in exchange for a bone the dog was tired of playing with.


Spend time researching what your local area offers regarding recycling programs. See how you can help further the cause! If there isn’t a recycling program nearby, start your own! Bernie and Sammy convinced their whole street to start separating recycled products out of their trash after describing their escape from Ong island.


Make lifestyle changes to benefit Bernie’s less-is-more plan! Act by becoming involved in your local government, agencies, and other organizations that stand behind environmentally conscious efforts. Sammy’s mother and father have been telling their work friends to make an impact with their wallets. If everyone stopped buying single use plastics, then large corporations would be forced to make more energy conscious alternatives.

Environmentally Friendly Corner

There are endless ways to help the environment, and I invite you to explore four ways listed in my book, Bernie’s Escape from Ong Island. Purchase goods you really need. Whether it’s clothes, toys, or everything in between, slow down and think if you really......

With so many buzzwords and hashtags floating around, sometimes it’s helpful to step back to examine what some concepts mean. Today, we want to talk about “biodegradable” and “compostable.” These words can get mashed together by marketers, which then infiltrates our society’s lexicon and the......

There is real-life Ong Island and it is huge. It’s called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). Yikes! The latest estimations of its size indicate a surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers—an area twice the size of Texas. Double yikes! While we are all......

Remember how 90% of our plastic gets trashed instead of recycled? Here are some reminders to help decrease that number, and other ways to recycle more efficiently. First, check with your city on their specific recycling rules and capabilities. Not all plastic is created equally, and......

We have something to celebrate! Recently, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin used artificial intelligence to create an enzyme that eats plastic in mere hours! How amazing is that, friends? There have been efforts like this in the past, but they have all......

Happy National Book Lover’s Day, especially to all of the environmentally-conscious bibliophiles. Here’s your chance to celebrate this little holiday by ordering the book that inspired this blog: Bernie’s Escape from Ong Island. If you’re one of the people who has already ordered, thank you!......