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Celebrating Earth Day With Our Favorite ‘Green’ Books

April 20, 2011

This Friday is Earth Day so in order to celebrate we are recommending some of our favorite ‘green’ books for children. These books range in age from board books for toddlers to series for young adults but they all remind us how important it is to do the little things like plant a tree, recycle, tend a vegetable garden or turn off a light switch to live greener.  Please share you’re Earth Day favorites with us!


The Lorax

When I think Earth Day, I think The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. First published in 1971, this important book chronicles the plight of the environment as well as the Lorax, a creature who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler, a faceless character who’s made it his mission to tear the trees down in order feed his Thneed-making business.

As so many children have before me and since, I first heard this classic fable during an earth day themed story time in my first grade classroom. I remember being awe-struck at Dr. Seuss’s striking illustrations and glorious rhymes as the Florida sun beat down on my back through the large window in our classroom. At the time I had already become a Dr. Seuss fan, leaning on his tales during bedtime and long car trips. But this experience with Seuss as a child really sticks out. As someone who works with books and is asked where my love for them truly began, I can rely on key moments in my childhood to answer and this memory always comes up.


The Smash! Smash! Truck

This is one of our favorite transportation books & the boys love yelling SMASH louder & louder as the smashes get bigger in the story. I think it is a great way to introduce the concept of recycling & the water cycle to preschool age kids.



Books of Ember

Post-apocalyptic books are all the rage these days thanks to best-sellers like The Hunger Games and Maze Runner. But in 2003 we published City of Ember, which went on to be a best-seller (as well as a movie) and the first in the Books of Ember Quartet. These books deal with environmental apocalypse, though throughout the first book the reader is kept mostly “in the dark” about why electricity is failing and there are food shortages. Jeanne Durprau’s books are a great way to start discussions about the both environment and societal behaviors.


Water, Weed, and Wait

This is a great choice for kids who are interested in gardening. Tying in nicely with the current national emphasis on organic foods, gardens and community efforts, teachers and parents will love the simple text and bright, cheerful art in this picture book.

We Planted a Tree

This book pairs a poem that links growing families and the trees they plant with Bob Staake’s retro art, resulting in a powerful but age-appropriate message for kids about the importance of trees in our world. Teachers can supplement the story with information on Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, mentioned in the text.



HOOT, FLUSH, SCAT by Carl Hiaasen

I may be Carl Hiaasen’s oldest fan. I started reading his marvelous books when his first adult novel Tourist Season was released in the mid 80s. I happily own a first edition, and yes I told him this when I was lucky enough to meet him. Carl’s three novels for kids middle grade readers are as good as and maybe even better than his adult books, they are well told stories which like his adult books always carry an environmental and/or social message, all without being preachy. Kids are always the agents of change, and he also gives us some great family relationships—SCAT has a storyline that makes it a great book to recommend for Father’s Day, and any of these books are perfect for the classroom or even a town-wide read.
Carl Hiaasen will make you want to be a social or environmental activist and will make you want to read more of his books, luckily for all of us there will be a new story from him, CHOMP, on sale in March of 2012. I can hardly wait.





FIRST LIGHT by Rebecca Stead

Sure you know Rebecca Stead from her award-winning book WHEN YOU REACH ME, but if you haven’t read FIRST LIGHT you are in for a real treat! Peter’s father studies global warming and his family will travel from their home in New York City to Greenland for his latest project. There Peter makes a few discoveries of his own, environmental, perhaps a bit magical and most surprising to him an amazing family connection as well. Told in the alternating voices of Peter and Thea whose worlds eventually collide to save both of their futures, this is an intriguing story of secrets and connections.


Wonders of Nature Little Golden Book

Spring shows us nature at its best… Tadpoles growing into frogs or the transformation of a caterpillar a butterfly.



The Little Composter and Eco People on the Go!

These brand new lift-the-flap board books show toddlers how to love and respect the earth and all living creatures with simple rhymes and colorful illustrations.  Environmentally friendly in content and substance, they are printed on 85% recycled paper with soy ink and water-based varnish and they’re absolutely adorable!


One Comment leave one →
  1. Rivka Kawano permalink
    April 23, 2011 11:23 pm

    What great books! Here are two other great gardening books that I loved:

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