Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day 2016

Today is Earth Day 2016 and I thought I would share some favorite books that we have been reading this year.

Go, Little Green Truck by Roni Schotter, pictures by Julia Kuo
Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2016
32 pages, age 4-6
Little Green is a happy little pickup truck, he's strong and sturdy and loves helping Farmer Gray do farm chores, until one day he is replaced by a big new shiny blue pickup.  Now, Big Blue does all the things Little Green used to do and Little Green is put out to pasture.  But Farmer Gray's daughter Fern misses Little Green and convince her dad to refurbish him.  He's given a new engine that uses corn and soy oil to run, and Fern spruces his body up with some painted flowers, fruits and animals and Little Green is back in service - beautifully recycled and environmentally friendly.  

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Random House, 1971
45 pages, age 6-9
The Lorax was published only a year after the first Earth Day and carries a strong message of what happens when corporations greedily use the earth's natural resources with abandon.  The Once-ler tells the story of what happened to the land of the Lorax when he arrived there and chopping down all the trees to mass produce Thneeds.  As the land became more and more polluted, everyone had to move away and pretty soon there were no more trees left to cut down, the air was dirty, and the name desolate.  There is hope at the end in the form of a tree seed, though.  This is a great book for teaching kids about caring for the environment, and even though a lot has been done, there is still more to do.
Visit The Lorax Project for some ideas for teaching The Lorax and for getting kids involved in helping to save the earth.

Water Runs Through This Book by Nancy Bo Flood, 
photographs by Jan Sonnenmair
Fulcum Publishing, 2015
64 pages, age 8-12
If we didn't appreciate the power of water before the water tragedy in Flint, Michigan, we do now. To me, there is nothing quite as wonderful as a cold glass of water, until it isn't there anymore.  In this book, Nancy Bo Flood takes the reader on a round-the-world tour of the wonders of water using prose, poetry and stunning photographs and each page reminds the reader of why water is so important to life.  At the end of the book, there are suggestions for actions that young (and old) readers can do at home and at school.  There is a list of resources and a nice glossary.  Nancy's most important message in this book - always be grateful for the water we have.  If you read only one book this Earth Day, consider this one, after all, water is the source of all life.

Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature by Maria Ana Peixe Dias, 
Inés Teixeira do Rosráio, and
Bernardo P. Carvalho
Frances Lincoln, 2016
368 pages, age 8-12
This is another of my favorite books this year.  The subtitle is "With more than 100 plants and animals, plus an introduction to weather, geology, and the night sky."  What better way to help young readers learn to appreciate the earth than with hand-on activities they can do no matter where they live.  The illustrations are rather minimal, with few colors but they are still spot on.  This is a great resource book as well as a great activity book and would be ideal for introducing kids to the natural sciences.  I can remember my Kiddo exploring nature in the park and at the beach and a book like this is just what she needed but didn't have.  It's a hefty volume but its packed full of good stuff.  

Earth Day is 46 years old now, and there is still so much that needs to be done.  Curious about what you and your Kiddos can do?  Check out the Earth Day Tookkit to learn how to take matters into your own hands!

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