Things to Read - Earth Day Reading for Kids

(As you can tell by the picture, T's an environmentalist (who happens to like Tom Waits).)

Since Earth Day is next Friday (April 22nd) I decided to get the kids some books about planet friendliness. Here's what we've been reading (and for more suggestions re: teaching kids about nature and the environment - check out this past post):

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest
This book has triggered some controversy in our house. The plot is simple enough - lumberjacks come to the rainforest to chop down the great Kapok tree, while one of the lumberjacks sleeps the animals explain to him the importance of the tree. After we read the book the girls made me research if anything we owned came from Kapok trees, I couldn't find much information (does anyone have suggestions?). Then F asked if any other "really big trees" have been cut down for lumber or products. So we ended up watching this youtube video on the destruction of giant redwoods. F cried. Needless to say, we've been talking non-stop about forest destruction since then (I wish these books came with parents' guides, as I know nothing about the kapok tree).

We Planted a Tree
A really simple book with beautiful illustrations that emphasizes the importance of trees in our world. P loves it. Luckily, we planted three new trees in our yard two years ago, otherwise P would be planting more right now.

The Adventures of an Aluminum Can: A Story About Recycling (Little Green Books)

We've been reading this book and its companion - The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling (Little Green Books) - over and over lately. I highly suggest both books, both because I actually learned a lot from reading them AND because they really emphasize the miracles of recycling. My only gripe is that the books do not address what happens when recycling does not occur, so kids only see the best case scenario and not the ocean's plastic soup.

The Lorax (Classic Seuss)

One of the best children's books ever written as well as the best environmental story every told. Despite the fact that we've read this over and over again (since the girls were small), it always makes me cry. A short movie also exists - Dr. Seuss - The Lorax/Pontoffel Pock & His Magic Piano, which follows the book exactly.

Our Big Home

This book consists of a long poem that discusses all the things we share in "our big blue home." I find it a little cheesy, but the kids seem to like it, especially P (our 4 year old). Its short length makes it a good bedtime story.

The Three R's: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle (What Do You Know About? Books)
This simple story introduces the concept of reduce, reuse, recycle to children. I like it because it caused my kids to ask lots of questions about the environment and where trash goes. So we've spent some time together googling the answers (got to love google).

What about everyone else? Any good book suggestions?


  1. When I was in school to be a teacher we had to go into elementary schools and put on plays with a class. My group did a play with a bunch of second graders using the Kapok Tree book as the basis. It is such an awesome memory for me of kids dressed as different animals telling the man not to chop down their tree. It was a wonderful play. The kids made all the decorations and it was wonderful. That book is a favorite in our home. I don't know much about the Kapok tree itself, but I do know that we all need to do our best to recycle and reuses to prevent so much destruction.

    I can't wait to reserve the rest of these books at my library.

  2. I would love to see a play like that! F has become obsessed with the Kapok tree book, she even brought it to show and tell today.



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