Earth Day

Make every day Earth Day with these great books for kids!

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.  ~Native American Proverb

We Planted a Tree.  Diane Muldrow.  Golden Books, 2010.
In very simple text we see people planting trees in various locations with examples of how we all benefit.  Simple digital art work.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

All the Water in the World.  George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson.  Atheneum, 2011.
A feast for the eyes and ears, this noisy and lyrical introduction to the water cycle begs to be read aloud.  Thirsty air licks it from lakes, sips it from ponds, guzzles it from oceans…  The beautiful illustrations are digital, but look like paper and paint collage.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! (Gilbert Goes Green).  Diane deGroat.  Harper, 2011.
Gilbert is frustrated that he can’t come up with a good idea for a springtime poem or an Earth Day project, but after taking some advice from his Dad, he becomes inspired.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Arthur Turns Green. Marc Brown.  Little, Brown and Company, 2011.
Arthur’s class project is called The Big Green Machine.  The students have to” find ways to make our planet a better place to live,” instructs Mr. Ratburn.  Arthur is enthusiastic and shows his family how easy it is to make simple changes.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

The Busy Tree.  Jennifer Ward.  Marshall Cavendish, 2009.
In simple, rhyming couplets, the Busy Tree tells its own life cycle story and how it provides a home for all kinds of creatures.  Lovely, realistic oil paintings.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Common Ground : The Water, Earth and Air We Share. Molly Bang.  Blue Sky Press, 1997.
Bang uses a parable about a village that overgrazed their sheep to demonstrate our shared responsibility for conserving resources in today’s world.  A small, but very powerful book.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd- 6th grade

The Curious Garden.  Peter Brown.  Little, Brown & Co., 2009.
Liam discovers an abandoned elevated train track with a few plants growing.  He tends the little garden and it grows, blossoms and spreads, bringing life to a gray city.  Inspired by the true story of Highline Park in Manhattan.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-3rd grade

Dear World. Takayo Noda.  Puffin Books, 2005.
A beautifully illustrated collection of poems about how children see the world.  Handmade paper and watercolor collages are exquisite.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-4th grade

Dumpster Diver.  Janet Wong.  Candlewick Press, 2007.
Steve the electrician puts on special gear and, with the help of the kids in his apartment building, goes dumpster diving on a regular basis.  Together they transform discarded objects into clever, useful and imaginative new things.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

The Earth and I.  Frank Asch.  Harcourt, 2008.
A simple story in which a boy relates his special friendship with the earth.  A great “green” message.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade

The Earth Book.  Todd Parr.  Little, Brown and Company, 2010.
A great introduction about simple, everyday actions that make a big difference.  Parr’s caring approach, signature bold colors and thick black outlines make this a favorite for the youngest.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Earth Day Birthday.  Pattie L. Schnetzler.  Dawn Publications, 2003.
Set to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” is a great way to emphasize our shared responsibility to care for our environment and all of its inhabitants.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-4th grade

Earthsong. Sally Rogers.  Dutton, 1998.
Rogers, a children’s folksinger, has created an environmental message tot he tune of “Over in the Meadow”: “Over in the Endangered Meadow.”  It features 11 endangered animals from around the world.  Rich paintings bring the message beautifully to life.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Energy Island : How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World.  Allan Drummond.  Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2011.
The true story of how residents of a small Danish island over time made small and big changes to switch to renewable energy.  People from around the world visit the island to learn about their accomplishments.  They achieved 140% reduction in ten years.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-6th grade

A Grand Old Tree. Mary Newell DePalma.  A.A. Levine Books, 2005.
A beautiful depiction of a tree’s life cycle for young children.  Effective word choice and tissue paper collage and watercolor illustrations make this a stand-out.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Here Comes the Garbage Barge! Jonah Winter.  Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010.
In the spring of 1987, the New York town of Islip put 3,168 tons of garbage on a barge in search of somewhere willing to take it.  There were no takers, so the 162 day journey ended up back in Islip.  The entire inside of the dust jacket shows how the unusual illustrations were made.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-3rd grade

I Love Our Earth.  Bill Martin.  Charlesbridge, 2006.
A celebration of the seasons, climates and colors of the Earth.  Fabulous photos of children around the world.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Mama Miti : Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya. Donna Jo Napoli.  Simon & Shuster, 2010.
This is the third and perhaps most visually beautiful picture book about the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize recipient who transformed her country by getting women to plant millions of trees.  Truly inspiring.  Combine this with “Planting the Trees of Kenya,” and “Wangari’s Trees of Peace” for inspiration on many levels.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-6th grade

Michael Recycle. Ellie Bethel.  Jonas, 2009.
Michael Recycle travels from town to town, like a super hero, to encourage people to recycle.  The town of Abberdoo-Rimey took his suggestions to heart and made many changes. Bold, bright, quirky illustrations and rhyming text make this a fun read-aloud.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-3rd grade

Love Your World : How to Take Care of the Plants, the Animals, and the Planet. Dawn Sirett.  DK, 2009.
In an inviting scrapbook format, kids learn simple ways to “go green.”  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-3rd grade

Nibbles:  A Green Tale. Charlotte Middleton.  Marshall Cavendish, 2009.
All the guineas pigs in Dandeville loved dandelions.  They loved them so much, they nearly ate them into extinction.  Nibbles realizes something must be done, so he goes to the library to do some research.  He secretly protects the last dandelion left until it creates seeds that he uses to create a sustainable garden.  A humorous, informative, enjoyable read-aloud.
Read-aloud K-2nd Grade

Planting the Trees of Kenya : The Story of Wangari Maathai. Claire Nivola.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008.
Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her environmental and human rights achievements.  She taught women and children the importance of collecting and planting tree seeds to combat the dire effects of deforestation in Kenya.  Because of her efforts, 30 million trees have been planted since 1977.  Picture Book Biography.
Read-aloud 2nd-6th grade

Poetrees.  Douglas Florian.  Beach Lane Books, 2010.
Eighteen poems celebrate trees with humor, wordplay, puns and facts.  The vertical design is perfect for sharing with large groups.  He uses a variety of artistic techniques to create the illustrations, including rubber stamps, collage and water colors.  A verbal and visual treat.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade

Pond Walk.  Nancy Wallace.  Marshall Cavendish, 2011.
Buddy, the bear, and his mother take a walk around a pond, observing, learning about and drawing the insects and animals and plants they see.  He also learns that limnology is the study of bodies of fresh water.  There is a lot of info here, so you may want to break this up into more than one session.  Picture Book
Read-aloud 2nd-3rd grade

Super Science Projects about Earth’s Soil and Water.  Robert Gardner.  Enslow Elementary, 2008.
Concrete step-by-step instructions make most of these projects possible for students to do on their own.  Based on national standards.  Scientific principles are explained for each activity.
Non-fiction 4th-6th grade

Tell Me, Tree : All About Trees for Kids. Gail Gibbons.  Little Brown, 2002.
Presents parts and growth cycle of trees and explains photosynthesis.  Directions for making tree identification books are included.  Classic Gibbons.   Non-fictionPicture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-3rd grade

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World : Fun and Easy Eco-Tips.  Melanie Walsh.  Candlewick Press, 2008.
The recommendations in this visually appealing book are actions young kids can do and get excited about.  A simple action is stated and the reason why is revealed under a die cut on the next page.  Picture Book
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

This Tree Counts.  Alison Formento.  Albert Whitman, 2010.
There is only one tree behind the school, so Mr. Tate’s plants more as they learn 10 ways a tree supports the needs of different animals and people.  Picture Book.

365 Penguins.  Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet.  Abrams, 2006.
A family receives on penguin a day for 365 days, creating all sorts of problems.  On New Year’s Eve, Uncle Victor, an ecologist, arrives explaining that he has been sending them because he wants to take them to the North Pole where he thinks they will have a better chance of survival.  The family breathes a sigh of relief when he takes all but one.  The next day, a bigger box arrives—with a polar bear.  Oversize Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-4th grade

Wangari’s Trees of Peace : A True Story of Africa.  Jeanette Winter.  Harcourt, 2008.True story of how the Nobel Prize winner decided to take action when she saw her country’s forests being destroyed.  A powerful picture book biography of a modern day hero.
Read-aloud K-4th grade

What’s So Special About Planet Earth? Robert E. Wells.  Albert Whitman, 2009.
Two boys and a dog tour the other planets in a super fast spaceship, learning why humans cannot live there.  Returning to Earth, they learn why it is the only place just right for humans and ways in which we need to care for our planet.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-4th grade

Yucky Worms.  Vivian French.  Candlewick, 2009.
While helping his grandmother garden, a young boy learns all about the benefits of earthworms and how they help plants grow.  Worms help impart information in humorous speech bubbles.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-2nd grade

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