Spring might be the time of year when nature comes alive after a long winter’s rest, but summer is the time of year when WE come alive. While you are spending your days outdoors with your kids this summer enjoying the seasonal weather, here are some great, environmentally-focused books to read together.
Childsake.com has books for every age range and reading level, with topics that include “Habitats and Ecosystems”, “Water and Its Cycle”, “The Living Earth” and “Biodiversity.” They also have books that educate about specific animals and their unique plight, such as whales and the health of the oceans they live in, and polar bears and the effect the shrinking arctic has on their population.
Within the theme of Extinction & Conservation is the book Almost Gone: the World’s Rarest Animals, written and illustrated by Caldecott winner Steve Jenkins. This book for grades K-3 examines twenty-one endangered animals found throughout the world, and draws attention to the critically low numbers that remain. The beautiful cut-and-torn paper collage artwork that illustrates the book does a great job of capturing the attention of young readers.
Another book, Common Ground by Molly Bang teaches grades 3 -7 about the issues of pollution and sustainability by using a colorful parable of what happens to a village when over-grazing sheep wreak havoc to the fields. The story serves as the basis for analogies to the overuse and depletion of our planet’s natural resources – the seas, forests, water, air and fossil fuels.
No matter what your reading ritual is, take some time this summer to incorporate awareness of environmental issues into the summertime fun. Spending so much time outdoors, playing in the sunshine and cavorting with nature makes this the perfect time to teach appreciation of our environment and how we can protect it for generations to come.