Earth Day Books for Young Children

It’s so easy to fall in love with nature in the springtime. I do every year. I know not everybody is into Earth Day and I know that the problems that face us as caretakers of this planet are vast—sometimes too grim to contemplate. We all make choices every day and I know I do not always make the best ones. And yet I think the first step to solving some of these massive issues is to instill in our children a love of this amazing world we live in, to cultivate a sense of reverence for the nature that is all around us.

Teaching children to appreciate nature is really not necessary; they already love it, wonder at it, learn from it. Children love animals, rocks, sticks, butterflies, flowers. Children need to splash in puddles, dig in the earth, and run their hands across the bark of a tree. They do this without our prompting, as long as we allow them to, discovering all along, unearthing small mysteries and miracles every day.

There is a wealth of children’s books about the earth. More are being published every day and your local bookstore or online retailer is sure to have a display or special on such books in honor of Earth Day. Some have a clear, scientific slant and some have a cute, cuddly animal slant. Honestly, there are so many that no single family could possibly explore them all!

What is a trifle harder to find are books with a reverent stance, that are poetic or provide a global ecological stance without being ALARMING. Here are a few we enjoy:


Frank Ash’s The Earth and I — A simple, rainbow-hued story of a boy who loves the earth and cares for her; perfect for preschoolers.

Graeme Base’s Uno’s Garden — A story of people moving into an unspoiled Eden and ruining it, and then the gradual return of the marvelous creatures and plants that lived there. Eventually they achieve balance with nature. It is also a mathematics story. Asher loves the creatures and the challenge of finding the Snortlepig. Lucas likes the pictures and the math.

Nancy Luenn’s Mother Earth — A beautiful and poetic personifcation of the earth, with a message that we should enjoy all that the earth has to offer and give back to her, too. I found this at the library and then scoured the Internet to find a copy for our home. I think it may be out of print, but you can still find copies.

Linda Glaser’s Our Big Home: An Earth Poem — Illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Elisa Kleven, this book is intricate and stunning: “We all live here. People, ants, elephants, trees, lizards, lichen, turtles, bees. We all share the same big home.”

Tony Johnston’s The Whole Green World — Also illustrated by Kleven. A girl counts her many blessings: shoes, a dog, a stick, a sack of seeds, a watering can, the sun, birds, ladybugs and ants, breezes, cake, a book, the moon, flowers and trees.

From Mother Earth.

From Our Big Home: An Earth Poem.

Shari Halpern’s My River — A used bookstore find published by Scholastic. Perfect for little ones. It shows how the river belongs to all creatures equally.

Earthways: Simple Environmental Activities for Young Children — This book is a good investment and one I’m sure we’ll keep for many years.

Joseph Bruchac’s Between Earth & Sky: Legends of Native American Sacred Places — For slightly older kids, this book tells of earth legends from various native peoples. The oil painting illustrations are lovely.

Nature Crafts for Kids — This is where I first saw the Easter eggs with the negative prints of leaves and flowers. Make a barometer, a birdbath, pressed flowers, candied violets, a sundial, baskets, evergreen garlands, and much more. Another keeper.

If you like what you see here and choose to purchase one of these books for your family, click the links here—my family will be supported just a tad by your purchase.

What’s in your Earth Day book basket?

2 Responses to “Earth Day Books for Young Children”

  • The Tan Family - Syrendell
    April 20, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful recommendations for Earth Day reading! 🙂


  • Sara
    April 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    My pleasure. I hope you will share any book gems you find with us, too! We are crazy about good books in this household.


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

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    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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