Earth Day, April 22—- NOT canceled!
Just because we’ve been socially distancing from each other this past year doesn’t mean we should do that when it comes to the Earth. Earth Day 2021 is still on! In fact, the theme, Restore Our Earth, is more relevant than ever.
Can you imagine being stuck in your house 24/7 and only being able to see nature in books or on tv? Oh, wait. That happened. So, didn’t being quarantined give you a new appreciation for the big, blue marble we call home? Who didn’t miss being able to play at the park, smell the roses at a local arboretum, or go swimming in the neighborhood pool? Thankfully, our separation was only temporary. But what if it were permanent? That’s why this Earth Day is so, so important! But what can you do? Really, what can one person do?
Back in 1970, after seeing the destruction that resulted from a massive oil spill in California, a Wisconsin Senator sought to educate the country about the dangers of not caring about our beautiful Earth. Through his efforts and encouragement, his ‘seed’ of an idea ‘germinated’ and even ‘blossomed’! This year, over 190 countries across the world will participate in Earth Day 2021!
So, what kind of seed can you plant?
As we restore our lives post Covid-19, why not plant a ‘seed’ by helping your students participate in this year’s Restore Our Earth, Earth Day? An incredibly diverse collection of Earth Day books found below will provide the perfect environment needed for germination. You’ll find poetry, fiction, non-fiction, recipes, interactive pages, and even love letters to the Earth. Can you imagine what might blossom?
The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole
A beloved and bestselling science series, The Magic School Bus goes green in this picture book about global warming. Ms. Frizzle boils down the hot topic to scientific facts that are presented to students in a fun and informative way. This book will help students understand climate change and feel empowered as they learn how they can help to heal the Earth!
Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel
A garbage-filled town is rescued by Michael Recycle, an inspiring environmental superhero whose story will entertain and inform students about the importance of recycling.
Teacher tip: Using inspiration from the story, collaborate with your students to create an Earth Day pledge that the class will maintain throughout the remainder of the school year.
Michael Recycle Meets Litterbug Doug by Ellie Bethel
A lazy, messy, and wasteful boy, Litterbug Doug is a menace to the Earth’s health! But with the help of Earth’s green superhero, Michael Recycle, Doug evolves from a wasteful litterbug into a helpful recycler!
Michael Recycle and Bootleg Peg by Ellie Patterson
This installment of Michael Recycle follows his journey as Earth’s green crusader to the high seas! Students will gain information about oceanic environmental issues, as well as how Michael Recycle plans to fix these problems.
The Earth and I by Frank Asch
A child’s friendship with the Earth is celebrated in this poetic story about loving nature. The child feels empathy for the Earth, and he finds a way to make it happy once again in this sweet tale of friendship that is perfect for an Earth Day lesson.
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals
This alphabet book teaches students how to compost things from apple cores to zinnia heads. Composting is an underrated, yet invaluable green practice that deserves more attention within the classroom! If you’re tired of the traditional Earth Day stories on recycling, opt for this book for a friendly introduction into composting.
My Friend Earth by Patricia MacLachlan
This mentor text is a love letter to Earth that is sure to touch the hearts of young and old readers alike. The poetic text thanks to the Earth for the many wonderful things she does, like tending to the animals, watering our lands, and protecting tiny seeds so they may grow in the springtime. With an interactive format, My Friend Earth is a great story for celebrating the planet on Earth Day and any other time of the year.
Teacher tip: Have your students create their own love letters to Earth, just as if they were writing to a friend or family member. Ask them to write about their favorite parts of the natural world and why they love them!
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
We Are Water Protectors is inspired by Indigenous-led environmental movements throughout North America in the fight to protect water from corruption. This story of environmentalism is perfectly told with poetic language accompanied by vibrant illustrations for an Earth Day lesson on conservation efforts.
One Earth by Eileen Spinelli
In reading this book, students will simultaneously celebrate the Earth while discovering ways to take care of it! This book is conservation-themed, reminding the reader of the beauties of the natural world, as well as providing encouragement to look after the planet.
Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayre
Thank You, Earth is a love letter to the planet that explores the complex beauty of the natural world that constantly surrounds us. Poetry and photography intertwine to create a reading experience that contains elements of science, nature, and language in this rich mentor text. From life cycles to weather patterns, this book is an excellent addition to any class’s Earth Day collection!
The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry
A man falls into a deep sleep after a long day of trying to chop down a huge Kapok tree. During his slumber, the residents of the forest come to whisper in his ear about how trees are treasures to Earth and the environment. This loving lesson on the importance of trees is paired with lush pencil and watercolor drawings to illustrate the vibrant Amazon rainforest.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
A little boy named Liam helps transform his gray city into a green oasis one garden at a time! This mentor text presents environmentalism through an urban lens to emphasize the importance of green spaces in our modern world.
Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf by Olivia Bouler
11-year-old Olivia Bouler raised $175,000 for the Gulf Coast oil spill recovery by selling her own bird paintings. Olivia tells her story in this mentor text that is accompanied with her own hand-drawn illustrations, facts about birds, and photographs that celebrate Olivia’s conservation efforts. This book provides students with an example of a young conservationist, inspiring readers of any age to start making positive changes.
The Earth Book by Todd Parr
Printed with recycled materials and earth-friendly ink, The Earth Book embodies a playful sensitivity in its exploration of environmental conservation. This picture book provides readers with eco-friendly ideas to lead greener lives.
Teacher tip: Ask your students to reflect on a type of animal or part of Earth that they want to protect. Get creative by bringing out craft materials to help students bring their vision to life.
Poetrees by Douglas Florian
This collection of poetry will take readers on a linguistic adventure through the whimsical world of trees! Poetrees is an excellent addition to any classroom set, serving as a great book for Earth Day and poetry lessons!
Teacher tip: Have your students create their own Earth Day poetry! In Poetrees, concrete poems create the shapes of trees, so students can use this inspiration to write their own shape poetry about the natural world.
Curious George Plants a Tree by H. A. Rey
Curious George tries to help out the science museum in their plans for a “Green Day” by recycling things all across town! George runs into problems when he figures out that he’s been recycling the wrong things. Thankfully, George’s community is there to help him out of the jam.
Earth Day: An Alphabet Book by Gary Kowalski
Told in the classic ABC format, this alphabet book celebrates Earth’s diversity from fruits to animals, insects and more!
Teacher tip: Create your own ABC’s of appreciation by assigning different letters to the students and having them draw pictures of their favorite things about Earth.
What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting by Jess French
This book covers a plethora of environmental topics, ranging from pollution and litter, to renewable energy and plastic recycling. This book is realistic in the presentation of environmentalism, but it’s not all bad news! What a Waste also explains to readers what we’re already doing right, as well as the creative innovations that are currently being developed.
After looking over these resources, why not take the ‘Restore Our Earth’ challenge by planting a seed, helping it germinate, and watching it blossom?
If you would like to see a larger list of suggested books, go to my Amazon List.