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Green Books for Kids

2009 July 30

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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. Michael E. Baily permalink
    July 30, 2009

    It is critical to get children interested in environmental affairs as early as possible and keep them engaged through their school careers so they will be good citizens when they graduate from high school. The books on your list will help a lot to get young children interested. Local city and county libraries can also be of help in this effort as well. So I have passed the list in your article on to the Circulation Manager of our City of Mission Viejo Library to ask if it has those books and also if an environmental awareness book display could be set up either in the children’s department or in the display bookcase by the front door. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  2. Jeanine Behr Getz permalink
    August 4, 2009

    Think Green! by Jeanine Behr Getz has been well received by teachers, librarians, educators, troop leaders, parents and KIDS! – I have the great privilege in my everyday life of sharing the gift of reading and environmental messages of Think Green! with 3-8 year olds. I am always tickled by the ideas they have, impressed by the questions they ask and thrilled when I receive an email or phone call from parents letting me know the master plan to get all adults to think green, via their children, is working! Best to you. http://www.kidsthinkbig.com

  3. Lina-EPA permalink*
    August 5, 2009

    Great suggestions. BTW–at the my daughter’s school’s book fair last year, I was impressed by the number green books they had. They were under the science category. I believe Think Green! was among them.

  4. Melissa permalink
    August 8, 2009

    The National Wildlife Federation’s green blog recently covered this:
    http://www.greenhour.org/content/blog/detail/8093. Another great list is from the National Environmental Education Foundation: http://eeweek.org/resources/green_reading.htm#middle

  5. green permalink
    October 5, 2009

    I would suggest using GreenTextbooks.org
    Save Money, Save The Planet

    GreenTextbooks.org specializes in the recycling of textbooks, DVDs, CDs. Buying used textbooks not only saves you money, but cuts down on greenhouse gases caused by the manufacturing of new textbooks.
    With GreenTextbooks.org you’re not only saving trees, you are saving some green.

  6. Afrika permalink
    May 1, 2011

    While every one is focusing on going green, the ideal way is here…within this article. What is the role of younger generation in the Green campaign? ‘Many of these books are actually instilling environmental values without being didactic’ this is a great fact and for many Parents, we look forward to finding more of these insightful books online for our children this spring!

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