Earth Books

In commemoration of Earth Day, I thought I would share three of our favourite Earth-Day-type children’s books.

1. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Written in 1971, The Lorax quickly became a classic children’s story that tells of the danger of not taking care of the planet. The story charts the tale of the Once-ler, a creature who discovers that the fictional truffula trees can be cut down to make a ‘thneed.’ The Lorax – speaking for the trees –protests the cutting down of the trees but the Once-ler ignores the warnings as the production of ‘thneeds’ is making him rich. Soon, ‘thneeds’ are being manufactured in a factory and the forest of truffula trees quickly disappears. The Once-ler watches the Lorax vanish as the last of the trees are cut down.

Nearly 40 years later, the fable of The Lorax still helps to explain basic environmentalism to young children. Interestingly, The Lorax has not been without controversy. In 1988, a logging community in California tried to remove the book from a grade two reading list. And the logging industry has also written its own version of The Lorax called the The Truax (you can download it here) in an attempt to tell its own story.

2. The EARTH Book by Todd Parr

This just-released book by Todd Parr is yet another great addition to this author’s collection of children’s books. With his unmistakable illustrative style, Todd Parr makes environmental conservation understandable for children. Bright, attractive pictures make Todd Parr books always a joy to open. His language is accessible and easy-going and always includes a good sense of humour.

While The EARTH Book is an obvious book to include for this Earth Day post, many of Parr’s books are also related. The Peace Book and It’s Okay to be Different are great books to talk about the world and diversity. Most importantly, the Bear loves Todd Parr. They are books that she is happy to thumb through without needing to know how to read.

3. National Geographic, Our World; A Child’s First Picture Atlas

We bought this atlas for the Bear at Christmas and it has proved invaluable. With bright and easy to understand illustrations, the atlas has become a tool for us to use when we are talking or reading about another place. It has been brought out so she can understand that her cousin doesn’t live in another country, just another province in Canada. And it has also been pulled out so she can understand that our friend is now living in Egypt.

An atlas of any sort is a great way for children to understand their place in the world and begin honing a global perspective. Also, from a literacy point of view, it has been interesting for the Bear to learn that not all books are stories that you read from start to finish – some books are used as a reference.

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