When Earth Day rolls around, I feel like I need to shine a special little light on all things green. Sure, we recycle in our house, we turn the lights off when we leave a room, and love talking about the creatures of the world and how we respect the earth. But… EARTH DAY! A day dedicated to appreciating, recognizing, and pampering our world. That deserves a little something extra, right? That’s why this year, I hit the library and found six amazing books to help celebrate Earth Day with children in a positive, inspiring, and educational way.
6 Books for Celebrating Earth Day with Children
Recycle! A Handbook for Kids
By: Gail Gibbons
Gail Gibbons is a great go to nonfiction author for children’s books. When I found out she had a book on recycling, I got it THAT DAY. This is the perfect book for explaining the hows and whys of recycling. The best part is, you can stick to the main text for younger children and add in the labels, and additional text on the page for a more in depth study when they’re ready. This is a pretty information centered book, but the pictures and language make it completely appropriate for some advanced preschoolers and definitely great for young school age kids.
Clifford’s Spring Clean-Up
By: Norman Bridwell
This is truly one of the books in our regular bedtime story routine. I’m a pretty big fan of Clifford books, ergo my kids are fans of Clifford. What I love about Clifford’s Spring Clean-Up is the simple, clear approach on giving to the community. It is a great fit for any spring cleaning you might want to encourage, and adds Clifford’s well intentioned disasters for a little comic relief. This book is positive, simple, and has a complete list of ideas specific to Earth Day in the back. Perfect for preschool age readers.
Curious George Plants a Tree
By: Margret and H.A. Rey
Follow everyone’s favorite monkey on an Earth Day friendly adventure. He and the man with the yellow hat are invited to a “green day” celebration at the museum. George gets a little carried away collecting paper for recycling and shenanigans and good green lessons follow. A familiar character and simple text, make this a great fit for preschool and primary readers. There is also a list of kid and earth friendly tips at the end. A great conversation tool for families.
Almost Gone: The World’s Rarest Animals
By: Steve Jenkins
You might recognize this author’s name from What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?, another great book about animals. Almost Gone profiles many endangered animals sharing facts about the animal and potential causes for their drop in population. Extinction is a pretty big (and not always happy to think about) topic, but I appreciate how Jenkins takes the time to highlight animals making a comeback too. This is listed as a good fit for ages 5 – 9. It might get a little long for younger end of that spectrum, but could be broken up into segments.
By: Betsy Franco
This isn’t a book geared towards Earth Day specifically, but a story that lends itself to appreciating the intricate life cycles in our world. Written in a similar style to the classic children’s story The House That Jack Built, this book begins with the green algae in the pond and paints a picture of the wildlife in and around a pond that is absolutely mesmerizing. You can use this book as a tool to guide conversations about what human interaction does to the existing cycles of the animal world and what our responsibility is in preserving nature as we enjoy its majesty. A good read for most any preschool or school age child. There is something for everyone to like in this one.
Planting a Rainbow
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than reading about and planting beautiful flowers for spring! Planting a Rainbow has become a board book classic. Yes, a board book. While it’s available in paperback, the board book is easy to find and also harder for toddlers and young preschoolers to destroy. In our home, board books aren’t labeled as just “baby books” which means my almost 5 year old can enjoy Planting a Rainbow as much as my almost 2 year old. You can read this book, and set up your own Earth Day project of planting flowers. Maybe you’ll plant bulbs for the fall or just some spring pansies. Either way, you’ll be beautifying and sprucing up the Earth.