We are avid Earth Day proponents. If you’ve ever heard us speak, you’ve probably heard us say that every day is Earth Day. This month we feature a number of new environmental titles for children, many with activities that young readers can do while sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic. According to a March 18, 2020 article in Scientific American, “a number of researchers today think that it is actually humanity’s destruction of biodiversity that creates the conditions for new viruses and diseases like COVID-19, the viral disease that emerged in China in December 2019, to arise—with profound health and economic impacts in rich and poor countries alike. In fact, a new discipline, planetary health, is emerging that focuses on the increasingly visible connections among the well-being of humans, other living things and entire ecosystems.”
Now, more than ever, it’s time to show our children how to become better stewards of our planet and appreciate the beauty around us.
One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet by Anuradha Rao With stars from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, this book profiles twenty environmental activists of color from around the world. Their individual stories show how they went from kids who cared about the environment to leaders in their communities.
Wildlife Ranger Action Guide: Track, Spot & Provide Healthy Habitat for Creatures Close to Home by Mary Kay Carson Dive into citizen science with a new book from a respected STEM author. This book is all about showing young readers how to make the world a better place for honey bees, monarch butterflies, frogs, lizards, and more. We love books that encourage children to take an active role in protecting wildlife.
Garbage: Follow the Path of Your Trash with Environmental Science Activities for Kids by Donna Latham; illustrated by Tom Casteel When we say, “Throw it away,” where is away? This book helps children track what happens to their garbage. Where does it go? Does it break down? How? Can we decrease the amount we’re throwing away? The authors include a number of hands-on STEM activities to get kids doing…and thinking!
The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth: Understanding Our World and Its Ecosystems by Rachel Ignotofsky In this illustrated tour of Earth’s ecosystems, Ignotofsky makes conservation science accessible and entertaining using art, maps, and infographics. Young readers will discover how our planet works and how to become better stewards of its life-giving processes.
The Organic Artist for Kids: A DIY Guide to Making Your Own Eco-Friendly Art Supplies from Nature by Nick Neddo Did you know the natural world can provide art supplies? This title connects kids to their wilderness roots and reminds them that art used to be made with all-natural materials. Through a number of different art projects, such as creating your own paintbrushes and paint, Neddo shows young readers how to practice awareness and perception, two skills necessary to the creative process. A great antidote to Nature Deficit Disorder!
Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman This Green Earth Book Award title offers a wake-up call for middle-grade and young adult readers as they try to make sense of the flood of environmental news. Readers discover there is more at work than merely wanting to help — money, politics, history, and psychology are all connected.
Generation Green: The Ultimate Teen Guide to Living An Eco-Friendly Life by Linda Sivertsen Sure, we want to be eco-friendly, but how do we accomplish that? Siversten offers dozens of tips on how to shop, dress, eat, and travel with a lighter carbon footprint.
Human Footprint: Everything you will Eat, Use, Wear, Buy, and Throw Out in Your Lifetime by Ellen Kirk A powerful visual tool from Ellen Kirk and NatGeo that helps kids visualize the extent of their consumption. Did you know we each consume 13,056 pints of milk; take 28,433 showers; and eat 12,888 oranges, 14,518 candy bars and buy $52k,972 of clothes in our lifetime?
Recycle This Book: 100 Top Children’s Book Authors Tell You How to Go Green edited by Dan Gutman Dan Gutman assembles essays from a number of noted children’s authors to show young readers what’s happening to our planet and how they can take action to save our world.
Friends of The Earth: A History of American Environmentalism with 21 Activities by Pat McCarthy A collection of inspiring stories about the women and men who had the foresight to preserve Yosemite, Mt. Ranier, the Grand Canyon, and the Florida Everglades. Through these stories, young readers form a picture of American environmentalism and conservation. McCarthy helps kids act with 21 eco-activities.
Rachel Carson and Ecology for Kids: Her Life and Ideas with 21 Activities and Experiments by Rowena Rae Rachel Carson’s life and work were rooted in the study of nature. She’s best remembered for her book, Silent Spring, which exposed the harmful effects of chemical pesticides in the US. In addition to Rachel Carson’s biography, this title includes a timeline, resources, sidebars, and 21 hands-on activities to inspire our next generation of environmental thinkers.
World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky and Frank Stockton An urgent look at overfishing in our world ocean. A world without fish affects ocean ecosystems, our economy, biology, politics, history, culture, food, and nutrition. Stockton’s graphic images offer a unique representation to the frightening possibility of a world without fish.
No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg Greta Thunberg is the Swedish teen that has rocked the climate change argument. She began with once-a-week protests, which sparked a global movement among millions of tweens and teens. This title features a collection of her inspiring speeches at climate summits around the world. Greta has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and was Time’s 2019 Person of the Year.
Looking for more Earth Day titles? Check out the annual Green Earth Book Award lists. And don’t forget the following classics that might already be part of your collection:
- The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rainforest by Lynne Cherry
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
- Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
STEM Tuesday book lists prepared by
Nancy Castaldo has written books about our planet for over 20 years including, THE STORY OF SEEDS, which earned the Green Earth Book Award, Junior Library Guild Selection, and other honors. Nancy’s research has taken her all over the world from the Galapagos to Russia. She strives to inform, inspire, and empower her readers. Nancy also serves as the Regional Advisor of the Eastern NY SCBWI region. Her 2018 multi-starred title is BACK FROM THE BRINK: Saving Animals from Extinction. Visit her at www.nancycastaldo.com.
Patricia Newman writes middle-grade nonfiction that empowers young readers to act on behalf of the environment and their communities. The Sibert Honor author of Sea Otter Heroes, Newman has also received an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book Award for Eavesdropping on Elephants, a Green Earth Book Award for Plastic, Ahoy!, and a Eureka! Gold Medal from the California Reading Association for Zoo Scientists to the Rescue. Her books have received starred reviews, been honored as Junior Library Guild Selections, and included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists. During author visits, she demonstrates how young readers can use writing to be the voice of change. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com. Stay tuned for her upcoming Planet Ocean – fall 2020.