Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrating Earth Day with Books

Having grown up with an environmental education professor, I have done my fair share of celebrating the earth out of doors—canoe trips down the Connecticut River, cleaning up state parks, reducing our camping footprint—you name it. So today, now that I’m all grown up and frankly never want to sleep on the hard ground again, I am celebrating Earth Day my way—with books. Several years ago I wrote many books about wildlife and conservation, and I still love to read books on these topics. This past year, I contributed to Recycle This Book, compiled by Dan Gutman, which is a collection of stories by 100 children’s book authors of things we have done for the environment.

Here is a selection of books to read, books to share, and in general, books that help us see what we can all do to help sustain our planet.

Tracking Trash by Loree Griffin Burns. This book combines two things I love—cool, interesting science with social mission. It’s amazing to track the trash and learn about ocean currents—and even more emotionally meaningful to understand why we need to work to protect our ocean environments.

The same can be said for Sy Montgomery’s absolutely gorgeous Saving the Ghost of the Mountain. A stunning look at an animal we rarely, if ever, get a chance to see—and a moving account of its importance in our world’s life cycle. I also really love Ellen Jackson's Earth Mother, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon.

When it comes to big, complicated issues like global warming and sustainability, I’m all for the young readers’ edition of Al Gore’s book, An Inconvenient Truth. The graphics are clear and the text makes a complex topic easy to grasp for kids.

If you’re looking for good hands-on books to point you in the right direction for things you can DO, check out the Everything Kids’ Environment Book by Sheri Amsel is a classic—fun, inspiring, and a great resource for anyone looking for effective yet manageable project to do with kids for Earth Day—and any day. The Green Teen: The Eco-Friendly Teen’s Guide to Saving the Planet is an excellent choice to hand young adult readers. And for the littlest readers Todd Parr has a new book out—just in time for Earth Day—The Earth Book. As colorful and appealing as all of Parr’s books, get those little hands on this one and you’ll be ready for an Earth Day Celebration!

Happy Earth Day everyone!

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