The nation’s students are practically at the midpoint of their summer vacation. Judging from my own children, the luster of summer activities has started to wane. We just aren’t seeing the same enthusiasm when preparing to go to the neighborhood pool or park as we did during the first days of summer.
So what do we do to entertain kids? TV, video games, computers, movies, are the easy way out. How about a novel concept–it’s not so innovative when you come to think about it–how about getting lost in a good book?! That’s my favorite regardless of age. Like a magic carpet, a book can allow you to travel anywhere across the globe in space or time. You can explore new worlds, learn new things, and live new experiences from the comfort of your home.
I’m pleased to see an increasing variety of books and educational materials available for children nowadays. In addition to the children’s classics, there are numerous books that have literary and educational value. Many of these books are actually instilling environmental values without being didactic. For example, “The Lorax“, by Dr. Seuss, was frankly ahead of its time. First published in 1971, the book chronicles how mindless progress can ravage the earth’s natural resources if we don’t take the necessary steps to protect the trees. Also, the book by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, “I see a Kookaburra!” helps you explore the animal habitats of indigenous animals of several regions such as the American South west, the rain forest in the Amazon River basin, the grasslands of central Africa and the Australian forest. Popular children’s series are also getting on the green bandwagon with “Charlie and Lola: We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers” and The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute (Anymore). Another favorite of mine tells the story of the bioluminescent bay of La Parguera with the coquís (Puerto Rican tree frogs) Rafi and Rosi by the Puerto Rican author and illustrator Lulu Delacre .
In exploring educational activities for children I found an annotated bibliography of children’s literature with environmental themes I would like to see if any of your favorites are on this list. I urge you to go on a green adventure. Happy reading.
About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.