I Can Save the Earth! is from the line of “Little Green Books” teaching children about the environment. In this story we’re introduced to Max, a little monster with some bad habits. Max throws his trash anywhere he pleases. He lets his sink overflow, and clogs his toilet with paper. He leaves every light in his house on, until one day there’s a blackout. Max goes outside to see what caused it and discovers how beautiful the earth is. He hadn’t noticed how much he loves the beach, and animals, and playing outside. Max changes his ways to help the earth. He conserves energy, recycles, reduces and reuses. He’s a green monster now, and you can be too!
10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh provides ten fun and easy eco-tips. These are all kid-friendly activities that a child (and their gaurdian) can do to help the planet without leaving home. Walsh suggest turning off the lights when you leave the room, or turning off the water while you brush your teeth. She also provides compelling reasons to follow her advice, for instance, remind your parents to unplug the TV when you’re not watching it because “many electrical appliances use energy even when they are turned off. Of course there’s a page about recylcing your cans, glass, compost, plastic, and paper. In fact, the book itself is made out of 100% recycled material!
Stranger in the Woods is subtitled “A Photographic Fantasy” and that’s exactly what it is. Created by wildlife photographers Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick, the book takes us into a snowy forest. “Take care!” the blue jay caws to the family of deer below, “Stranger in the woods!” All the animals are a-flutter seeking out this stranger. “I do see him!” chatters the squirrel. Who is it? The creatures all wonder. It’s an edible snowman! The animals enjoy the stranger, left for them by some thoughtful children. Besides a lovely story and beautiful pictures, the book also includes a “Recipe for a Snowman” so you too can leave a treat in the woods.
Polar Bear Puzzle is part of the Adventures of Riley series by Amanda Lumry and Laura Hurwitz, endorsed by the Smithsonian Institute and the World Wildlife Fund. This series is really creative in that it mixes photographs with drawn illustrations, and stories with non fiction facts. For instance in Polar Bear Puzzle Riley goes to visit his biologist uncle Max in Churchill Canada, Polar Bear Capital of the world. Due to climate change, Uncle Max must tag and transfer bears to colder parts of the country, and Riley gets to help! On the way they meet several other arctic animals, and even see the northern lights. This is a very cool book with tons of timely information.
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax is a great jumping off point for educating your child about current issues concerning the environment. Narrated by a regretful character called the Once-ler, it tells the tale of his destruction of the Truffula trees. The Once-ler discovered the Truffula’s tuft could be knitted into a thneed, a sockish, sweaterish thing that despite seeming to lack any utility, starts selling like hotcakes. Motivated by greed, the Once-ler builds a thneed factory, chopping down Truffula trees left and right. Enter the Lorax, a stout mustachioed creature who acts a spokesperson for the trees. He begs the Once-ler to quit manufacturing thneeds–the pollution is endangering all the local species! But the Once-ler fails to heed the advice of the Lorax, and makes a total mess of the landscape, leaving us with an “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
The Water Hole by Graeme Base is a really amazing book. In essence it’s a counting story: animals show up in progressive numbers to drink from “the water hole.” However it seems the more animals there are, the less water in the hole, leaving them to converse amongst themselves (in animal language) where they think the water must have gone. Then there is a very sad page depicting a complete lack of water. Finally it rains and all the animals return to drink. I think the story can be thought provoking for a child (where does water come from, why is it important, etc), and the illustrations are spectacular, depicting not only the drinking animals but also “hidden” animals you and your child can search for.