Green Kids Books

The adorable aardvark Arthur returns to book stores this month in Marc Brown's Arthur Turns Green. This new book comes (after a 10 year hiatus) just in time for Earth Day. Practicing what it preaches, the new Arthur tome is printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink.

Books are a great way to introduce concepts of environmentalism to even the youngest of children. My pre-schooler and I are big fans of Jeanine Behr Getz's Think Green!. The illustrations by Jenny Nightingale are fun and each page contains a simply stated idea about how kids can be green, such as “Green is . . . Freddy turning off his TV and light to save electricity before he leaves his room.”

Most little ones I know love character books. If that's the case with your child, you may want to consider Dora Celebrates Earth Day! by Emily Sollinger, the Handy Manny book Think Green by Marcy Kelman, or No Place Like Earth with Mickey and his clubhouse gang by Susan Amerikaner. You can also join Little Critter (I love this odd looking little guy) as he plants a tree, makes a climate control machine, and helps the polar bears in It's Earth Day! by Mercer Mayer.

For the over 4 set, there's Judith Angelique Johnson's Eco series: Eco-Neighbor's Guide to a Green Community, Eco-Student's Guide to Being Green at School, Eco-Shopper's Guide to Buying Green, and Eco-Family's Guide to Living Green.

I love Dr. Seuss. So, my absolute favorite green kids book, with a message for everyone big and small, is hands down The Lorax. First published in 1971, the story chronicles the plight of nature spokesperson Lorax (who speaks “for the trees because the trees have no tongues”) against the greedy Once-ler (representing industry). It's a beautifully illustrated story with a poignant message. The educational campaign The Lorax Project provides discussion questions, activity sheets, and lesson plans for educators. There's even going to be a Lorax movie. The 3D CGI film will be released on March 2, 2012, Dr. Seuss' birthday. I hope the movie is a fitting tribute to a man who was so far ahead of his time in teaching children about preserving the environment.

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