- Historical Figures
- Women in STEM
- Environmental Activism
Various, see each book.
Summary: I was inspired to make this roundup when someone made an offhand comment to me that they wanted to talk more about sustainability with their kids, but they weren’t sure what they could do (because they were so young). We are currently building our own homestead, and it was non-negotiable for the two of us to use small businesses in the surrounding area, reclaimed building materials when possible, and set ourselves up for a life of growing our own food, converting to solar power, and teaching others. And chickens, definitely chickens.
I have chosen a handful of books for a variety of ages that help to teach children about sustainable living. Gardening, composting, having beneficial pets like chickens are all wonderful ways to not only teach kids how they can grow their own food but also make their immediate environment more healthy.
In The Garden:
Written & Illustrated by: Emma Giuliani
When I say this book is incredible, I cannot stress it enough. This oversized book is filled to the brim with creatively shaped flaps to lift as two children, Plum and her younger brother Robin, spend all four seasons in their garden. Gardening is something I’ve always loved to do with my students, their proud feelings of accomplishment encourage them to learn more and work hard.
In the Garden has beautiful artwork and information without being overwhelming. People can grow their own food in small spaces, wherever they live. Growing and getting your own food close to home not only lowers the carbon footprint, but it also helps hone observation skills and learn more about the world around us. This book has so many helpful tips, like a peek inside a garden shed to make sure the correct tools are available, what to do about rabbits, and what to do with all those dry crunchy leaves before it snows. The book is inviting, colorful, and engaging for readers. Teaching kids to garden and be in charge of the food that they will later cook is a fantastic way to introduce waste production and reduction, composting, and Emma Giuliani’s book is a must-have!
Kindly sent by Princeton Architectural Press
Chickenology: The Ultimate Encyclopedia
Written & Illustrated by: Barbara Sandri, Francesco Giubbilini & Camilla Pintonato
I lived for a time in my early childhood on a farm in Kansas, and one of my chores was to collect eggs from our flock of chickens every morning. I also had a chicken named Duchess that would sit on my lap while I watched Sesame Street. I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can have another flock of my own, and this book could not come soon enough!
Did you know that roosters dance for hens affection? What about the importance of having a perch inside a henhouse? What about the difference between an Araucana and a Silkie chicken? If you sit around blissfully dreaming of the garden compost that chickens will provide for you, or spend your time online looking for hen therapy programs, Chickenology is the book for you.
Chickens are fantastic pets, they provide companionship, eggs, and funky plumage. They eat bugs that can negatively affect gardens, and even have a 300 degree field of vision! If I haven’t convinced you yet, we probably can’t be friends. If I did convince you that you need chickens in your life, you need this book and also let me tell you about goats…
Kindly sent by Princeton Architectural Press
Last: The Story of a White Rhino
Written & Illustrated by: Nicola Davies
This book is based on the true story of Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino, although it’s relatively told as the rhino himself as the narrator. Pieced together by the bits of Sudan’s history we do know, the text itself is sparse and poetic.
I think this book raises an important issue about zoos, conservation, and poaching. The style of illustration isn’t my most favorite (which is of course a personal opinion and has little bearing on the importance of the story itself), but Last introduces young audiences to the idea of extinction. I appreciate that the story is based on a real rhino, because there are follow-up videos and photos that can be looked at afterwards to help explain and teach more continuing information to readers.
Kids Who Are Saving the Planet:
This early chapter book introduces readers to 5 kids making a huge impact on the world by helping their environment. Mikaila Ulmer is passionate about saving the bees, Ridhima Pandey petitioned the Indian government to care more about carbon emissions, the Gladstone brothers care about birds, and Jaden Anthony found his cause by making a comic book to raise money for Flint’s water crisis.
I also love that not only are the causes diverse, but so are the kids! There are lots of illustrations; readers feel accomplished after finishing a chapter instead of being intimidated by large chunks of text. There is also additional back matter talking about different causes the reader could join, and ideas for how to raise awareness. This book embodies my mission that kids are never too young to make a difference, and I love that real people are highlighted! Opportunity for continuing activities and conversations abound with this, and I’m sure bringing in short news clips or videos about the kids would be a great addition to reading the book as well!
Kindly sent by Simon & Schuster Canada as a #bookstagang_bestof2020 submission