Earth Day is always celebrated on April 22. Although we pay tribute to this National Holiday by educating our children on the importance of conservation and caring for our environment, there is still so much that can be done in terms of reducing pollution, making sure we all live in harmony with every living creature and conserving our valuable resources. Below are some of the Earth Day favorite books we enjoy reading. I hope you can utilize these books not just for this Holiday, but for the entire year, teaching children how to appreciate, respect and cherish our planet Earth.
The three books that have touched our hearts deeply are by Schim Schimmel, who is an internationally renowned professional artist/author with a great love of art as well as the environment. His artwork and books have been lovingly embraced world-wide for their beauty and environmental message.
The Family of Earth
In The Family of Earth Book (buy here), through surrealistic acrylic paintings of leopards, penguins, hippos, and gorillas, each in their appropriate landscape (or floating in space with the moon and stars and planet Earth hovering nearby), Schimmel expresses his beliefs about planetary interdependence of all of Earth’s creatures. “The earth may look different to each of us, but we share only one earth.” Lions live in a world of grassy plains. To dolphins, the world is water. Lush green trees make up gorillas’ world. And yet, all these animals share the same world.
Schimmel describes his paintings as environmental visionary surrealism and hopes to change the way readers see the world. The text attempts to describe the perspectives experienced by a variety of animals. For example, snow leopards don’t see the same environment as dolphins.“Leopards do not swim with dolphins. They have never seen a penguin.” Gorillas call the forest home, while lions live on grassy plains. The point of the narrative is that although all of the creatures live in different habitats, they all inhabit the same planet.
Dear Children Of The Earth
However, perhaps Schimmel’s most famous book is Dear Children Of The Earth (buy here) which is a remarkable letter from Mother Earth asking for help from children everywhere. She (Mother Earth) writes to express her love for each and every child and asks for their love and appreciation in return.
In her own words, and with all of her heart, Mother Earth swaddles children with love and entrusts them with her protection. She explains that we are all one big family~ her children: that we have to take care of our “brothers and sisters” who are not necessarily our kin but are indeed all living creatures. Mother Earth also asks to help keep our “home” clean.
The message in Dear Children Of The Earth book is so simple and yet so moving! Through Schimmel’s “eco-surreal” artwork, the book suggests the interdependence of all of Earth’s creatures, asking for unity, humanity, peace, and respect – what a great message to celebrate the Earth Day!
Children Of The Earth…Remember
Lastly, Children Of The Earth…Remember book (by here) is a tender lesson on sharing and protecting the Earth, enhanced with Schimmel’s stunning artwork.
“And all of these animals are children of this world. For this world is their Mother. And we call this world Mother Earth. The animals are not alone on Mother Earth. These are people living there, too. Billions of people. More people than all the twinkling stars in the night sky. And all of these people are the children of Mother Earth, too. So, the animals and the people and Mother Earth are all one big family.”
We also enjoyed reading Help The Environment Series (on the right), which includes five books: Caring for Nature, Cleaning Up Litter, Reusing & Recycling, Saving Energy, and Saving Water.
Reusing and Recycling book (buy here) shows children simple, hands-on ways to reuse and recycle while explaining why it’s a good idea. Simple text and engaging photos of children and their families taking small conservation actions in their homes, classrooms, and communities make big conservation ideas accessible to beginning readers. “When we reuse boxes, we do not waste boxes. We help the environment.”
Caring for Nature book (buy here) introduces very young children to the concept of caring for the environment in an attractive and accessible way. Based on children’s real-life experiences, the books focus on things children can do to help the environment and keep the world around us clean. In this book, children learn what nature is, what lives in nature, and ways they can care for nature.
In Saving Water book (buy here), children will discover concrete ways to save water — and learn why it is important. “A hose uses lots of water. We save water when we use a watering can instead of a hose.”
In Cleaning Up Litter book (buy here), children will discover simple ways to clean up the world — “Sometimes there are no trash cans. When we take litter with us, we clean up the world.”
In Saving Energy book (buy here), children will learn ways to save energy. “We use energy to make cars work. When we walk or take the bus, we save energy.”
Finally, Earth Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays) book in the middle (buy here) is very simple, straightforward book with controlled vocabulary, and a text of fewer than 400 words. The book also includes pronunciation guides to less familiar words.
Read here a post about another inspiring book that we love I Cherish Planet Earth Book with a Matching Game.