The key to getting young people fired up about environmentalism is to present them with a balance of information and plausible solutions. This fresh crop of books is intended to give kids clear and achievable ways to contribute to saving the world.
Eco Babies Wear Green by Michelle Sinclair Colman, illustrated by Nathalie Dion, shows savvy newborns composting their cheerios, running on solar energy, and carpooling on the back of mama’s bike. A witty primer for the very youngest eco-warriors.
My Bag and Me! by Karen Farmer, illustrated by Gary Currant, is a board book for toddlers that demonstrates how bringing and reusing your own shopping bag can “help save the planet one bag at a time.” The story is packaged with a child-sized reusable bag so your tyke can walk the talk “paper and plastic no more!”
Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter is a picture book that tells the story of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai’s mission to reverse the deforestation of Kenya by planting seedlings. Starting with only nine baby trees, she ends up with the Green Belt Movement planting thirty million trees! Her story encourages kids to start small to achieve big results.
A Child’s Introduction to the Environment: The Air, Earth, and Sea Around Us by Michael and Dennis Driscoll, illustrated by Meredith Hamilton, is written for school-age kids. It’s jam-packed with earth science facts, hands-on experiments, a handy glossary (aquifer anyone?), and a terrific Web-linked bibliography to “read more about it.”
Earth Matters: an Encyclopedia of Ecology by consultant editor David de Rothschild is a compendium of information for older readers. It’s a great reference book, with chapters on every ecosystem accompanied by brilliant photographs. The book itself is made from recycled materials and printed with vegetable inks.
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv discusses the growing disconnect between children and the natural world. In meticulously researched and entertaining prose he ferrets out the reasons for said disconnect (stranger fear, community restrictions, time constraints on the overscheduled child, etc.) and suggests remedies for the effects of nature-deficit disorder. Finally, he creates a road map for families, schools, and other organizations to reconnect with nature. This book is as eye-opening as it is inspirational and is the precursor to the national initiative “No Child Left Inside.” Get outside and play!
Wild Rumpus Books
Minneapolis, MN, 612-920-5005