Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Earth Day

Every year, April 22nd is set aside to commemorate Earth Day. Many communities rally around this spring time date to do neighborhood clean-ups and vacant lot green-ups. You can make a difference simply by taking a walk with a rubber glove and a garbage bag, picking up litter as you go.  Or check with your local government to find out about activities that may be going on in your area.

While Earth Day is a valuable teaching tool, every day should be Earth Day.  As a global village, we need to consciously make choices that will add, rather than detract, from the health of our planet.  If everyone pitches in, large-scale change is possible. 

Air and water quality, wildlife conservation, soil erosion, deforestation, climate change, habitat loss, energy conservation... There are so many issues that need a voice and a set of hands to do the work of "going green."  How will you help?

Check of these Earth Day/conservation books to get you started.  Also, take a look at my first blog post, Reading for the Earth:

Earth Day Birthday (Author: Pattie Schnetzler; Illustrator: Chad Wallace) - Sing this book to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and you will follow the behavior of twelve North American species in their natural environment. The illustrations are gorgeous and it ends with a quick Earth Day history and a set of "gift" ideas you can present the Earth with at an Earth Day birthday party!

Stuff! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Author: Steven Kroll; Illustrator: Steve Cox) - At times, it is difficult to find a fiction book with a nonfiction subject matter that doesn't feel preachy or stilted.  Steven Kroll's book finds a way to make teaching about the 3R's fun.  I love the beginning: "Pinch was a pack rat.  He kept everything....There was so much stuff in Pinch's house, it was spilling out onto the street."  Check out this book to discover how Pinch and his community find ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson (Author: Amy Ehrlich; Illustrator: Wendell Minor) - This lovely, illustrated biography of the woman, whose book Silent Spring, launched the modern environmental movement, shows her strengths as a writer, biologist, and thinker.  Always observing and questioning, Rachel Carson wrote books about the sea.  Her last book about the pollutants that would cause the end to songbirds and other living things continues to make its mark on how we view the Earth and our role in caring for it.

Earth Dance (Author: Joanne Ryder; Illustrator: Norman Gorbaty) - The lyrical text of this book invites readers to imagine they are the Earth.  This book is truly a celebratory dance that reminds us that the Earth is our one and only, magnificent home. 

Let's Celebrate Earth Day (Authors: Connie and Peter Roop; Illustrator: Gwen Connelly) - This comprehensive nonfiction book about Earth Day includes its history and contemporary importance. Filled with facts, riddles, quotes, and earth-friendly activities, this book is a terrific place to start when looking for ways to be good to the Earth.  It ends on a positive note, relating plants and animals that have been protected since Earth Day began in 1970.

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