Earth Day Reads for your family
Earth Day is just around the corner and there’s no better time to explore some wonderful new books about the environment, composting, and the climate challenge with your young readers than right now. Check out some recommended readers for this eco-celebration!
Book: My Friend Earth
Author: Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrator: Francesca Sanna
Reading Level: Pre-K - 3rd Grade
Why We Love It: My Friend Earth takes the big ideas of nature and environmentalism and makes them accessible and friendly to young readers. Rather than representing earth as “Mother” it represents earth as “Friend”, with examples of all the ways that earth loves and protects us and all the reasons we must love and protect her in return. The illustrations are beautiful and interactive and it is an excellent introduction into larger scientific ideas that will inspire young readers.
Author: Marikka Tamura, Illustrator: Daniel Rieley
Reading Level: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Why We Love It: It’s not easy to discuss oil spills with young readers, since they can be fraught with politics and alarming images. Penguins Don’t Wear Sweaters is a uniquely accessible way into explaining some of the bigger oil spill implications through loveable marine life characters. Ultimately, readers will learn that our favorite animals are happiest when their environments are left alone.
Author: April Pulley Sayre
Reading Level: Kindergarten - 6th Grade
Why We Love It: The striking photography and simple, but beautiful poetry of this book will appeal to readers of all ages. Thank You Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet showcases all of the reasons we must band together to protect the planet and all of the organisms that live there. At the end of the book, there are also excellent resources for conservation projects for families. This book should be a staple of any Earth Day celebration.
Book: We Are Water Protectors
Author: Carole Lindstrom, Illustrator: Michaela Goade
Reading Level: 1st-5th Grade
Why We Love It: When discussing climate change issues, it’s vital to talk about how deforestation, industry, and rising sea levels impact communities of color. Many of the most effective eco-movements today are led by indigenous communities, and We Are Water Protectors helps to highlight their influence and the importance of supporting the movement. It takes the conversation to the next level for all readers.
Author: Joanna Cole, Illustrator: Bruce Degen
Reading Level: 2nd Grade and Up
Why We Love It: The Magic School Bus series has, through television and books, long communicated large science ideas to young readers. From the water system to how the human body works, the books break down big concepts into fun, accessible, and interesting stories that encourage conversation and involvement. The Magic School Bus And The Climate Challenge has, for lack of a better word, that magic touch that young readers will love.
Author: by Mary McKenna Siddals, Illustrator: Ashley Wolff
Reading Level: Pre-K - 2nd Grade
Why We Love It: Composting doesn’t have to be scary! In Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth, young readers will be introduced to some of the basic ideas behind composting and what can and cannot be part of the composting process. It’s an inspiring and informative story that will have your young readers interesting in starting home or school composting programs of their own.
Author: Nicola Davies, Illustrator: Emily Sutton
Reading Level: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Why We Love It: For young readers who love animals, Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth explores just how interconnected animal life really is, and why it’s important to protect all pieces of the larger ecosystem. Author Nicola Davies is a zoologist, and her expertise is highlighted in a beautiful and accessible way through striking vintage illustrations.
Author: Eileen Spinelli, Illustrator: Anne Kennedy
Reading Level: Preschool - 3rd Grade
Why We Love It: Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green is the kind of story that really encourages young readers to make a difference in their own lives and in their communities. The book is playful, with its cast of animal characters, but offers actionable steps that may lead to greater involvement in the green movement and eco-protection.
Author: Lara Bergen, Illustrator: Vincent Nguyen
Reading Level: Preschool - 1st Grade
Why We Love It: If you’re looking to introduce very young readers to larger conversations about the climate challenge, The Polar Bears’ Home: A Story About Global Warming is an excellent way to do so. It showcases the impact of climate change on beloved species and offers young readers tips on reducing their own impact on the environment. The book is part of the Little Green Books series and printed on recycled paper!
Book: The Lorax
Author: Dr. Seuss
Reading Level: 2nd - 5th Grade (but really for everyone!)
Why We Love It: An Earth Day reading list is not complete without one of the original and most famous earth-centric reads for kids, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. It is a classic story, with memorable lines — I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees — and even more memorable sentiments — Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not. The Lorax is both a symbol of the movement and inspiration for so many books and programs that followed.