It’s never too early to instill a love of literature in the very young. Children’s books familiarize kids with early concepts of print, offer a unique literacy and linguistic experience with their playful language and rhyming text, are often a child’s first introduction to high-quality art. Most importantly, reading together helps families to create warm memories. Each month, we’ll bring you sweet suggestions* for building children’s collections. This April we’re focusing on books, games and activities to celebrate spring and Earth Day 2018.
- Plants Feed Me, by Lizzie Rockwell
It’s no secret that I love Lizzy Rockwell’s work, and Plants Feed Me is a treasure that shouldn’t be missed. The text is perfectly accessible for children of all ages, and explains to kids in such a simple yet technical way that we eat plants; all of a plant’s parts, in fact. The book opens with the line “I am a plant eater” and goes on to explain in simple text how plants grow, the different parts of a plant, and how we enjoy them. The ending really touches a soft spot for us: “Plants feed me. Plants feed the world.” You might know that I strive to “bring the world into our home”, and this book doesn’t fall short in helping children to see this simple, global connection: the idea that plants feed each and every one of us.
2. Plant the Tiny Seed, by Christie Matheson
In this fun, interactive book children explore how tiny seeds grown and bloom into beautiful flowers. What’s more, they’re a part of the action! What child wouldn’t love a book in which they press the seeds into the soil, wiggle their fingers to water the seeds, or clap to bring sunshine after the rain? Christie Matheson’s books are a little bit of magic for young readers.
3. And Then It’s Spring, by Julie Fogliano
Julie Fogliano will always hold a very, very dear place in my heart. I shared a while back that her book, If You Want to See a Whale, was one of our wedding readings, so when I came across And Then It’s Spring I immediately added it to this list. Following a snowy winter, a young boy decides that he’s had enough of brown and sets out to plant a garden. He and his dog dig, plant, play, wait . . . and wait . . . until at last, the brown becomes a more hopeful shade of brown, a sign that spring may be around the corner. And Then It’s Spring is told with Julie’s patient, hopeful tone – the tone that punctuates our collective wait for spring.
4. Plant a Kiss, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Plant a Kiss has a very, very simple text about a very, very lovely idea: Little Miss plants a kiss, and her one small act of love blooms into something beautiful. This story of love, kindness and giving is simple enough for babies, but lovely enough for children of all ages.
5. Bear Wants More, by Karma Wilson
We were gifted a set of Bear books for Christmas last year and they were a fast favorite. Bear Wants More has really lovely, rhyming prose, a range of vocabulary that is fun for adults and really pushes the envelope for kids, and a story that focuses on friendship. This tale about a bear, hungry after hibernating all winter, just can’t get enough roots, berries, or fish! His friends help him satisfy his springtime hunger in a sweet and surprising way.
7. How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?, by Chris Butterworth
How Did That Get In My Lunchbox is a playful way to introduce children to the concept of Farm to Table. Following foods from their origination at a farm, through the production process, onto the shelves of your local store, and finally, to their plate, this story shares with children the life of the foods we eat.
Save the Earth:
8. The Earth Book, by Todd Parr
Each and every one of Todd Parr’s books combines humor and sensitivity, the perfect combination for capturing children’s attention and capturing*and* their hearts. In The Earth Book, Todd gently suggests ways that children can help the earth and it’s creatures in this sweet introduction to environmental conservation and doing our part to protect our planet.
9. Don’t Throw That Away!, by Lara Bergen
Don’t Throw That Away is a lift the flap book, focused on reusing household items, and is made of recycled material. Talk about a good model! I love that this cute little book has realistic suggestions for kids around ways to give trash a new purpose.
10. I Can Save the Earth, by Alison Inches
I Can Save the Earth features a cute and likeable little green monster named Max who is always getting into trouble, and mistreating the earth in the process. When his shenanigans cause a blackout, he is forced to see the world from a different perspective. What he discovers is that earth is a beautiful place, and that it needs our help to care for it. Our daughter was inspired by Max to use less toilet paper, and I think your children will find inspiration here as well!
11. Rainbow Weaver, by Linda Elovitz Marshall
Rainbow Weaver is a new book to us, and a fast favorite. I picked this up at an educational conference recently, and it’s brought to us by one of my favorite publishers for children: Lee and Low Books. Set in Guatemala, Rainbow Weaver follows the story of Ixchel, a young girl frustrated by both her desire to help out at home by participating in her family’s traditional Mayan weaving, and by discarded bags in her community. With a little creativity, Ixchel tackles both of these problems and creates something both innovative and beautiful. Based on the work of Mayan Hands, a fair-trade organization out of Albany, New York, this gorgeously illustrated stories is both heart-warming and inspirational.
12. Wangari’s Trees of Peace, by Jeanette Winter
As a child, Wangari was surrounded by trees in her homeland of Kenya. Years later, when she returns, deforestation has taken place, and she realizes that soon all of the trees she had loved will be gone. Wangari decides to take action – she starts by planting nine seedlings, and before she knows it, her efforts have turned into a country wide movement. This true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner is an inspiring example of how one woman’s determination and vision inspired great change.
13. Chandra’s Magic Light
Chandra’s Magic Light is a beautifully illustrated book, outlining two girl’s struggle to provide their brother a solar lamp to replace his smoky old oil lamp. The girls work to improve both the environment and their family’s health in this touching story. Set in Nepal, this book lends itself to *gorgeous*, colorful illustrations.
14. If You Plant a Seed, by Kadir Nelson
If You Plant a Seed is a *gorgeous* book that very simply equates planting and cultivating a seed of kindness to the way in which a planted seed grows and blossoms into a plant. This simple metaphor is a great way to introduce children to the idea of nurturing kindness and positivity.
15. Let’s Go to the Farmer’s Market, by Molly Smith
This fun set is great for guiding older kids (I’d say 6 and up) through a farmer’s market exploration. It comes with a reuseable bag and activity cards with tasks such as finding root vegetables at the farmer’s market, along with suggested questions to ask the farmer when they find it.
16. Farmer’s Market Create and Play Activity Book, by Deanna F. Cook
I love this book. It’s a go-to birthday gift for all of my daughter’s friends, and really just such a pleasure. With sticker sets to help create a DIY farmer’s market goods, punch out garden markers and craft activities and ideas, this cute craft book is everything you need to put together an imaginary garden and market for earth centered pretend play.
I’ve confessed my love for all things Eeboo before, and the Green Market Spinner Game and Life on Earth Memory Games are no different. Durable, adorable, and simply a ton of fun, these games will introduce children to early studies of agriculture and biology in simple, engaging ways.
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