It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers
The week leading up to Earth Day is a great opportunity to share a range of wonderful picture books to help start conversations about the importance of doing our part to care for the earth. While there are dozens to choose from, I have tried to highlight some old classics, new releases, and inspiring true stories.
WOW! This amazing new book is filled with stunning photography and lyrical rhythmic text – perfect for reading aloud. A “Thank you” letter to the earth, celebrating all of the wonderful creatures of natural wonders. The end notes provide suggestions for ways we can help the environment. I also appreciated the detailed notes about the photographs – which are truly breath-taking. Great anchor to inspire “Thank you, Earth” writing and poetry.
Giving Thanks – Jonathon London
I love this book and have previously shared it at Thanksgiving. On a walk through the forest, a young boy learns from his father how to show gratitude for all the beauty he sees. His father thanks the earth, sky, frogs, crickets, hawk and deer, the trees and the mushrooms. The boy feels embarrassed by his father’s ritual of thanking everything he sees, but after trying it himself, realizes the power of gratitude. Gorgeous fall painting illustrations by Gregory Manchess.
Our Big Home: An Earth Poem – Linda Glaser
Beautiful and inspiring. Not only could you use this book for Earth Day but also for acceptance and inclusion – no matter who you are, what race or culture you come from – we all share this world and are responsible for its care. This book is filled with joy and a sense of wonder at this “home” all humans share.
10 Things I Can Do to Help My World – Melanie Walsh
I think that one challenge of teaching about Earth Day is helping kids know practical ways they can take care of the earth, besides doing garbage duty at school. This book gives young readers clear examples of how they can help. From turning off the water while brushing their teeth, to using both sides of the paper while drawing, kids will enjoy learning simple ways they can care for the environment. I love the large size of this book, making it great for sharing. It’s visually appealing and cleverly designed with flaps and includes clear, simple language.
My Green Day – Melanie Walsh
A companion to 10 Things I Can Do To Help My World, this book outlines through picture, simple sentences and colourful illustrations how we can all try to be more environmentally friendly in our every day activities. Hidden pictures, flaps to lift and holes makes this a fun book for sharing and reading.
The Earth Book – Todd Parr
With simple language and his colorful signature illustrations, Todd Parr describes to young readers how they can do their part to help the environment. Great concrete examples showing how we can all do our part to make a difference. Use to inspire younger students create their own “Todd Parr” style Earth Day poster!
What Does It Mean to Be Green? – Rana DiOrio
A young boy and girl explore all the different ways they can be Green over the course of a day. They discover lots of amazing facts (like our food travels an average of 1,500 miles to be on our plate!) I like how DiOrio takes the buzzword “green” and explains it clearly to children, giving them lots of ideas for being “green” themselves.
What Matters – Alison Hughes
Great new book for Earth Day! This is a wonderful look at the ripple effect of how one small act – picking up garbage that isn’t yours – has repercussions to make the world cleaner and better. (Think Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed but for the earth!) I also think this book would be great for introducing the concept of the inter-connectedness of ecosystems.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
Liam is a curious boy living in a drab, gray city. One day, he finds a few dying plants growing through an old railroad track. Liam waters and prunes the plants until they grow into a lush garden that overtakes the entire city. By the end of the book, greenery covers the rooftops and pops up in the most unexpected places. I LOVE this magical story and notice something new every time I read it. If you haven’t shared this with your class yet – it’s a MUST read!
The Lorax – Dr. Seuss
“UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
Way back in the 1960’s, long before “going green” was a mainstream concept, Dr. Seuss introduced young readers to the impacts of clear-cutting on the environment. Written and illustrated in classic Dr. Seuss style, but this book focuses on more serious themes of consumerism, economics, deforestation, and the environment. A great choice for older students that will stimulate some great discussions about environmental conservation.
The Wartville Wizard – Don Madden
This book was published in 1986 but it’s message will never be outdated. A cranky old man who spends his days cleaning up the litter left by his fellow townspeople. One day he receives “the power over trash,” which gives him the ability to send the garbage right back where it came from! When the townspeople find their garbage stuck to them, they learn a valuable lesson. Great pictures, great story! This book is lengthy so would make a great read-aloud for older students. (Warning – references to cigar butts and beer cans.)
The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever – H. Joseph Hopkins
This is a beautiful picture book biography of Kate Sessions, the woman who transformed dry San Diego into a beautiful, tree-covered city. Lots of text-to-text connections to Miss Rumphius! A passionate, inspiring celebration of nature. Gorgeous illustrations.
This is the true story of a Gambian woman who was troubled by the plastic garbage bags littering her community. Not only did the bags make an ugly mess, but they also caused illness and death among people and livestock. Isatou and other women cleaned the plastic bags and recycled them into plastic purses. Such a great book!
The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales – Dawn Casey
This is a gorgeous anthology of seven traditional tales from around the world, each one promoting a sustainable lifestyle and living green. Readers learn about the ways that different cultures around the world try living in harmony with the rhythms and patterns of nature. Included are suggested activities to go along with each story including creating a a song-line painting, cooking “anything-goes soup”, making a cornhusk doll, and growing your own tomatoes. Love the link of Earth day and cultural diversity.
Thanks for stopping by! Happy Earth Day, everyone!