Preparing children for Earth Day by reading quality books helps them build their background knowledge and increases student engagement in Earth Day activities. Whether your students participate in school-wide Earth Day projects or celebrate the day with classroom activities, setting the stage is important. Consider these delightful educational books designed with early elementary students in mind.
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals
This is a delightful book about composting. It follows the A to Z format describing the ingredients that go into compost, from apple cores to zinnia heads with many child-friendly options in between. Bright, friendly graphics, including a curious dog, make the book both fun and appealing. This book makes a great introduction to starting a classroom or school compost bin.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
This classic brings concerns of the earth alive for children with it’s traditional Dr. Seuss rhymes and wacky illustrations as it teaches children what happens to the earth and its creatures when the trees are cut down. This book reminds early elementary students that the earth’s beauty can soon be lost if we do not pay attention and show respect for it.
The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole
The eccentric Ms. Frizzle takes the class on a magical field trip to explore the effects of carbon dioxide emissions into the air. Like other books in the Magic School Bus series, the book is filled with scientific facts for further information. While the basic text can be read to young children, the accompanying facts will promote further learning for older readers.
The Earth and I by Frank Asch
This charming little book is ideal for the very young. Its brightly-colored graphics reveal the beauty of the earth and ways a child interacts with the earth on a daily basis, from playing outside to eating the plants the earth produces. Its simple story illustrates actions children can take to prevent pollution or improve the health of the earth.
Recycle! by Gail Gibbons
This informative book provides children with background information about landfills and the need to reduce our dependence on them as a means of getting rid of trash, but it doesn’t stop there. This book teaches children how to recycle properly and even provides realistic activities children can participate in to improve recycling efforts in their communities. This book is appropriate for elementary classrooms.
While all these books are great for teaching children awareness of the issues facing the earth, choose those that emphasize the topics you are currently teaching or that enhance the Earth Day projects you have planned.