To me, reading to children is really no different than planting seeds in a garden. I invite you this week to join me in sowing seeds of inspiration, hope, and beauty in the minds, hearts, and souls of our children . . . for both their sake and the planet they will inherit.
This week, let’s marvel with our children over the wonders of the earth, gaining a respect and reverence for creation both through practical life activities, and through living literature!
LET IT GROW! ~Earth Day Read-Alouds~ by age group
SEEDLINGS (ages 3-5)
- My Little Golden Book About God, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
This book in an absolutely perfect child’s introduction to God’s amazing creation.
- The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton
This very well may be my favorite children’s book of all time. It boasts the most enchanting story as well as the most charming illustrations to bring it to life. Virginia Lee Burton perfectly (yet innocently) illustrates the movement of the seasons and passage of time, as well as gently exposes the encroaching of city-life, over-crowding, and pollution. But our slightly personified little house still finds her happy, peaceful, simple ending. In other words, it’s the PERFECT Earth Day Read-Aloud for a small child.
- The Little Red Hen, retold by Paul Galdone
Every day is a good day to read about the Little Red Hen, and Earth Day is no exception. A classic story about the importance of being willing to get dirt under your . . . talons.
- Wonders of Nature, Little Golden Book illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
A simple, yet surprisingly comprehensive look at our amazing earth in one sweet little golden book. You simply can’t beat Eloise Wilkin illustrations for beauty and charm.
- Ox-Cart Man, by Donald Hall
A grounded yet exquisite illustration of sustainable, old-world farming. This book is truly an Earth Day gem. People these days like to talk a lot about what we need to do to save the earth, yet few of us are willing to roll up our sleeves and go back to our . . . roots. We have to be the change for the planet, and that means getting our hands (and knees). . . well . . . dirty. Don’t worry, this book is in no way preachy. No, that was all me.
SPROUTS (ages 5-8)
- The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Let’s celebrate Earth Day by telling our children the true creation story! And yes, even Genesis whispers the name of Jesus.
- Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney
What would happen if people all over the world took “The Miss Rumphius Challenge“? This book is an incredible seed to plant in the mind of a child.
- Bird, Butterfly, and Eel, by James Prosek
An exquisite portrayal of three different animal kingdom life-cycles and migrations, all from a single ecosystem. This book is a story, science lesson, and art exhibit all in one. A truly beautiful cross-curricular read-aloud for Earth Day. Younger listeners will love to tune in to big brother or sister’s reading as the words are few but the pictures are rich and colorful.
- Rose’s Garden, by Peter Reynolds
Another story for budding artists by Peter Reynolds, author of The Dot. This book is about seeds, patience, and faith. A lovely, imaginative Earth Day as well as Art Day read-aloud.
- The Story of Ferdinand,
If all of us could see the world just a *little* bit more like Ferdinand . . . well the world would certainly be a simpler, more peaceful, more beautiful place. Every child needs to hear the story of Ferdinand the bull. Charming from beginning to end.
- A Seed is Sleepy, by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long
A colorful, true-life celebration of seeds! This book brings to life the magic and mystery of life itself. A text book doesn’t teach seeds like this book does, folks. Just sayin’.
- The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss
A classic conservation-themed book, The Lorax is a staple read-aloud for Earth Day. And not to be sacrilegious, but I think the movie is even better than the book . . . so perhaps a read-aloud and watch together duo is in order! “LET IT GROW!”
SHOOTS (ages 8 and up):
- Just a Dream, by Chris Van Allsburg
This picture book was created under the masterful hand of Chris Van Allsburg, author of the ever-famous Christmas classic The Polar Express. As this title is a picture book, you may be wondering why I have categorized it in today’s oldest read-aloud age group. The usual recommended reading age for this book (at book stores or online) is much younger than I would personally recommend. While the reading level is such that a young child can fully comprehend the language, I find that the content itself is so thought-provoking and challenging as to make it more suitable for an older audience. This book is an amazing read and discussion for a middle or high school student. An elementary aged child, on the other hand, may find the weight of this book and the responsibility of it’s message a bit too much to carry.
Without giving too much away, this book takes the reader on an imaginative journey through a dream/nightmare of what the world would/could look like if conservation efforts were (or continue to be) abandoned. The book is haunting and burdensome, yet it leaves the reader empowered for change and hopeful for the future.
*Also consider The Stranger and The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, two other discussion-rich Earth Day reads by Chris Van Allsburg.
- Gregor Mendel; the Friar Who Grew Peas, by Cheryl Bardoe
This book is the definition of living literature; a color-rich celebration of the Father of Genetics. It even goes into scientific detail on his genetic discoveries. This book is far and away superior to learning about Gregor Mendel in a Science text book.
- The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It. by John Seymour
I can’t tell you how much I love this book. It’s like the world’s best farming and sustainability text book. In spite of being information rich, it is also bursting with charming sketch-like illustrations, which makes it a palatable and enjoyable read or peruse. My husband and I love to read it together (yeah, we’re wannabe farmer nerds) as well as aloud to our kids.
- The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I’m not sure this book requires a description based on its ubiquitous nature. Celebrate spring, earth day, exquisite literature, and character-building all in one fabulous read-aloud novel.
Tune in Tuesday for 7 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day with Our Kids!
Thanks for reading!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~