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GREAT BOOKS FOR KIDS
  

Recommended Books that Help Children Learn about the Environment and the Natural World while Fostering Respect & Appreciation for Living Creatures

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Dear Children of the Earth
Written and Illustrated by Schim Schimmel

  Recommended books for kids about the earth - Dear Children of the Earth
 

A powerful and inspiring message to the children of the earth from the perspective of the Earth. Incredibly beautiful paintings. The publisher's description explains it well: " 'Dear Children of the Earth' begins a remarkable letter from Mother Earth asking for help from children everywhere. She writes to express her love for each and every child and asks for their love and appreciation in return. In her own words, and with all of her heart, Mother Earth enfolds children with love and entrusts them with her protection."

Ages 4 to 12

Curriculum Components:
Ecology
Improving the Environment
Earth Day

Click here to purchase this book at Amazon.com

Note: I recommend any book by Schim Schimmel, including:
Children of the Earth... Remember and  The Family of Earth.
  

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Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme
Written by Marianne Berkes • Illustrated by Jeanette Canyon

  Recommended Children's Book: Over in the Jungle - Cover Image

I love this book. Fun rhyming / sing along for ages 2 - 7. The illustrations are incredible. This is one of the nicest illustrated children's book that teaches about the environment that I have ever seen. The following Children's Literature review explains it nicely: "Adding perfectly to the exotic rainforest theme, Jeanette Canyon's beautiful polymer clay illustrations will be the first feature to draw the reader's attention to this entertaining counting book. Skillfully using the traditional tune "Over in the Meadow," Berkes describes the activities of rainforest babies from a wide variety of animals, swinging the readers along like the marmosets she begins with, and inviting them to sing like the five baby parrots by including the music in the back. If the fun rhythm and pictures were not enough, other back matter, including information about each animal mentioned, the rainforest in general, a finding game, and recommendations to encourage child participation both from the author and the artist, make this picture book an excellent teaching tool on many levels." - Children's Literature (June 2007)

Ages 2 to 7

Curriculum Components:
Rainforest Habitat
Animal Families
Counting
Clay Art

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
    

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River Song With the Banana Slug String Band
Written by Steve Van Zandt • Illustrated by Katherine Zecca

 
 

Excellent book to teach children about rivers. It's enjoyable, educational and it comes with a CD of the wonderful environmental music group for kids - the Banana Slug String Band singing the words to the "River Song."

Ages 2 to 8

Curriculum Components:
Watershed Ecology
Water Cycle
Seasons

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
   

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Wonderful Nature, Wonderful You
Written by Karin Ireland • Illustrated by Christopher Canyon

  Great book for kids: Wonderful Nature, Wonderful You
 

A wonderful way to teach children important lessons about life by examining the attributes of specific animals (and thus teaching about the animals). Beautifully illustrated.

Ages 6 to adult

Curriculum Components:
Animal Life
Positive Values
Self-Esteem & Confidence

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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Where the Wisdom Lies:
A Message from Nature’s Small Creatures

Written by Hope Ives Mauran

  Great Book about the Environment for Kids - Where the Wisdom Lies
 

Beautiful book with a very important message for kids and adults. (This is a chapter book.)

Read more detailed review

Ages 6 to adult

Curriculum Components:
Animal Life
Habitats
Improving the Environment
Making the World a Better Place
Earth Day

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
   

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Places of Power
Written by Michael DeMunn • Illustrated by Noah Buchanan

  Great Book For Kids: Places of Power
 

"Native people all over the world have always known that our Earth has places of power. These places of power are also places of beauty and of wisdom. They can be found all over the Earth, even in your own backyard. Michael DeMunn reveals how, when you find a place of power, the Earth speaks to the open heart within you. Young artist Noah Buchanan's remarkable oil paintings capture the magic of nature and the reverence of native traditions." Publisher's description (Dawn Publications - Publisher of Great Children's Books about Nature & the Environment).

Ages 5 to adult

Curriculum Components:
Nature Awareness
Personal Empowerment
Inspiration, Multicultural Awareness
Artistic Development

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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The Great Kapok Tree
Written & Illustrated by Lynne Cherry

 
 

Publisher's Weekly explains it well: "In this breathtakingly beautiful picture book, Cherry combines illustrations that reveal a naturalist's reverence for beauty with a mythlike story that explains the ecological importance of saving the rain forests. The text is not a didactic treatise, but a simply told story about a man who falls asleep while chopping down a kapok tree. The forest's inhabitants - snakes, butterflies, a jaguar, and finally a child - each whisper in his ear about the terrible consequences of living in 'a world without trees' or beauty, about the interconnectedness of all living things. When the man awakens and sees all the extraordinary creatures around him, he leaves his ax and "walks out of the rain forest." A map showing the earth's endangered forests and the creatures that dwell within ends the book which, like the rain forests themselves, is "wondrous and rare."

This book can easily be converted into a nice play.

Ages 4 to 8

Curriculum Components:
Rainforests
Trees
Habitats
Improving the Environment
Earth Day

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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A Drop Around the World
Written by Barbara Shaw McKinney • Illustrated by Michael S. Maydak

  Recommended Book for Kids about Water: A Drop Around the World

"A drop of rain is a drop of life a drop of eternity. From steam to snow, from polluted to purified, from stratus cloud to subterranean crack, water links the world in a living flow. Barbara Shaw McKinney and illustrator Michael Maydak take us on an "out of sight" journey from Maine to Mumbai, with just one raindrop as it touches plant, animal and human life all around the world. Traveling with Drop, readers will see the world, inside and out, from solid, liquid and vaporous viewpoints. The everlasting, ever-changing Drop earns our respect for water and its unique role on Earth. Once you've met Drop, you can journey into the heart of nature every time it rains." - Publisher's description (Dawn Publications - Publisher of Great Children's Books about Nature & the Environment).

Special Teacher's Guide Available

Ages 5 to 12

Curriculum Components:
Water Cycle
Water Science
Geography
Multicultural Awareness

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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Pass the Energy, Please!
Written by Barbara Shaw McKinney • Illustrated by Chad Wallace

  Recommended Books for Kids - Pass the Energy Please - Cover

Enjoyable book that interestingly and softly teaches about the food chain. The publisher's description explains it well: "Each of nature's creatures 'passes the energy' in its own unique way. In this upbeat rhyming story, the food chain connects herbivores, carnivores, insects and plants together in a fascinating circle of players. All beings on Earth - from the anchovy to the zooplankton - depend upon the green plant, which is the hero of the story. Barbara McKinney's special talent shines again for being able to present the science curriculum so concisely, creatively, and cleverly."

Ages 6 to 12

Curriculum Components:
Food Chains
Rhyming Verse
Ecology
Animal/Plant Life

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
   

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Give a Hootenanny! Twangy Tunes About Lovin’ the Earth
CD by Heidi Howe

  Recommended music for kids: Give a Hootenanny
 

Read Review of this Amazing Environmental CD

(Ok, it’s not a book. But it’s so unbelievably good, I want this recommendation to reach as many people as possible.)

Ages 1 to 101

Click here to buy this CD at Amazon.com
  

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The Tree in the Ancient Forest
Written by by Carol Reed-Jones • Illustrated by Christopher Canyon

  Recommended book for kids about trees: The Tree in the Ancient Forest

"The remarkable web of plants and animals living around a single old fir tree takes on a life of its own in this stunningly illustrated story. Carol Reed-Jones' repetitive, cumulative verse—a poetic technique that children universally enjoy—aptly portrays the amazing ways in which the inhabitants of the forest depend upon one another for survival. Christopher Canyon's memorable full-color paintings manage to be both magical and true to life. Complete with a guide to the forest creatures and their interrelationships, this book is a valuable learning tool as well as fun for kids." - Publisher's description (Dawn Publications - Publisher of Great Children's Books about Nature & the Environment).

Ages 4 to 10

Curriculum Components:
Forest Ecology / Habitat
Interdependence
Conservation
Cumulative Verse

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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Over in the Ocean, In a Coral Reef
Written by Marianne Berkes • Illustrated by Jeanette Canyon

  Environmental Books for Kids - Over in the Ocean
 

Another beautifully illustrated book by Jeanette Canyon. Also a fun rhyming book based on the children's song "Over in the Meadow." The back of the book has nice information about the animals in the book, as well as fun movements to use while reading or singing.

Ages 2 to 7

Curriculum Components:
Animal Families
Marine/Coral Reef
Counting
Clay Art

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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The Forever Forest: Kids Save a Tropical Treasure
Written by Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini • Illustrated by  Rachel Crandell
 
Recommended Environmental Kid's Book: The Forever Forest
 

A nice book about the animals and story of The Children's Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica - a rainforest that has been preserved by the efforts of children all over the world. This forest is an excellent, real life example of kids making the world a better place!

Ages 5 to 11

Curriculum Components:
Rainforest Habitat
Biodiversity
Social Action
Earth Day
Improving the Environment
Children Making a Difference

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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Old Turtle
Written by Douglas Wood
• Illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee

  Recommended book for kids - Old Turtle
  

Publisher's Weekly describes the book nicely: "Long ago, an argument arose between mountains and rivers, stars and ants, lions and bears on the nature of God. A terrible cacophony of quarreling voices rang out until wise Old Turtle quelled the din, explaining that 'God is all that we dream of, and all that we seek. . .all that we come from and all that we can find.' But soon disagreement was heard again as the world's people raised voice and fist against each other, harming the natural order. Illustrated in exquisite watercolors, this eloquent plea for unity and understanding between people and nature is both frank and understated. Chee captures the mysterious beauty of the world in pastels imbued with quiet energy, complementing the lilting cadence of the poetic text. Certainly both author and artist have combined rare talents to produce an enchanting book..."

Ages 4 to adult

Subjects:
Nature
Character and Values
Compassion and Honesty
Religion and Philosophy


Please Note: The story is about recognizing God in nature. I am not sure how appropriate this is for classroom use. A teacher and class in a public school gave it to me, so obviously some teachers think it is.

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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If You Were My Baby: A Wildlife Lullaby
Written by Fran Hodgkins • Illustrated by Laura J. Bryant
     
If You Were My Baby - A Wildlife Lullaby
 

Sweet picture book for small children that teaches about the different things that animal parents teach their babies.

Ages 2 to 7

Curriculum Components:
Family Relationships
Animal Life
Nature Appreciation

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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My Favorite Tree: Terrific Trees of North America
Written & Illustrated by Diane Iverson
 
Recommended Books for Kids about Trees - My Favorite Tree
  

"From the aspen to the yew, the native trees of North America have given us food, shelter and an important part of our heritage. Naturalist-illustrator Diane Iverson's book is both useful and fun. It combines a sweet intimacy with the most interesting facts about 27 major trees and their relatives, such as their vital statistics, dependant wildlife, record-holding trees of the species, and the role they played in the lives of the Native Americans and the Colonists." - Publisher's description (Dawn Publications - Publisher of Great Children's Books about Nature & the Environment).

Ages 4 to 12

Curriculum Components:
Nature Awareness
Nature Appreciation
Natural History
Plant & Animal Life

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Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon
Written by Jules Bass
• Illustrated by Debbie Harter
    
Recommended Book for Kids - Herb the Vegetarian Dragon
  

Description from School Library Journal: "A decidedly moral tale involving a bevy of knights, damsels, and dragons, as well as a brave girl named Nicole. The only vegetarian dragon in a land full of carnivores, Herb peacefully tends his garden while others of his species munch on the castle's inhabitants. When the knights decide to catch and behead any dragons they can find, poor Herb is easily apprehended and imprisoned. He is about to be wrongly executed for the murders when Nicole steps in (and into his mouth) to prove his innocence. Using Herb as an example, the king makes a bargain with the rest of the dragons: if they agree to stop eating people, then the knights will stop hunting them. The carnivores agree, and there is a happy ending, as "dragons and people, meat-eaters and vegetarians, live together in peace and harmony." Some of the scenes are a little scary, especially the one in which Herb is tied down in preparation for beheading by a man in a black hood. However, the tone of the text remains light and the cartoon illustrations are humorous, with googly-eyed dragons and people being eaten without apparent pain. Herb is the goofiest dragon of all; he always seems to be gazing lovingly at some living thing. Lush with growing plants and green grass, the artwork is filled with details that readers will pore over." - Susan Marie Pitard, Weezie Library for Children, Nantucket Atheneum, MA  

Ages 5 to 10

Subjects:
Acceptance
Tolerance
Vegetarian / Herbivore

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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The Dandelion Seed
Written by Joseph Anthony • Illustrated by Cris Arbo

  Recommended Books for Children - The Dandelion Seed
 

As way too many people use toxic chemicals to rid their lawns of these plants, a beloved story about a dandelion seed is long overdue. (Dandelions are actually beneficial plants.)

This is a beautiful story about a dandelion's journey through its life, with thoughtful parallels to our human experience.

Ages 3 to 10

Curriculum Components:
Life Cycles
Trust
Nature Awareness
Artistic Development

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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Eliza and the Dragonfly
Written by Susie Caldwell Rinehart • Illustrated by Anisa Claire Hovemann

     
Recommended Children's Book: Eliza and the Dragonfly
  

This Skipping Stones (Vol 17, No. 4) review describes the book nicely: "In this endearing picture book, young Eliza finds a dragonfly nymph in a nearby pond and watches it grow. Every day, she visits the baby dragonfly, wondering when it will crawl out of the pond and fly away. Magnificent watercolor illustrations portray the beauty of nature."

This book does a nice job of weaving science into the story. There is also a nice resource section for more  specific information  on dragonflies.

Ages 4 to 10

Curriculum Components:
Life Cycle of the Dragonfly
Wetlands Habitat
Observation Skills

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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On One Flower: Butterflies, Ticks and a Few More Icks
Written by Anthony D. Fredericks • Illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio

    
Recommended Habitat Book for Kids - On One Flower
   

"While walking through the fields, two young boys discover the wondrous joys of watching tiny beings in our world. A colorful assortment of insects is seen living, eating, and laying their eggs on a strikingly beautiful flower called a goldenrod. The story is told in fast moving, clever rhyming verse that immediately catches the interest of the reader. Each page, which is beautifully illustrated, introduces a new insect and its characteristics. To help the reader remember these fine creatures on a deeper level, the author repeats what has been said from the previous page until at the end of the story all the insects are gathered together in verse. At the end of the book, there is a wonderful section called the field notes. This explains in detail about each insect featured in the book and where they are found. The best part of this section is entitled "Fantastic Facts," where children can read an unusual and interesting detail about each insect. This delightful book would be a great way to introduce a unit on invertebrates (insects) to young learners." - Children's Literature (December 2006)

Ages 4 to 10

Curriculum Components:
Rhyming Cumulative Verse
Plant Habitat
Interdependence

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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Near One Cattail: Turtles, Logs and Leaping Frogs
Written by Anthony D. Fredericks • Illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio

    
Recommended Science Books for Kids - Near One Cattail
 

"Here is a world where tadpoles play, and crowds of bugs dance through the day." So begins this lovely tribute to the importance and beauty of North American wetlands. This title, the fourth collaboration between this author and this illustrator on the theme of environmental awareness, tells of the exploration by a little girl of the wetland area surrounding one cattail. Wetland wildlife of all sorts is encountered in her exploration, and the interdependence of each species is shown through the beautiful watercolor illustrations as well as in the cumulative format of the text. A very creative hybrid of fiction and nonfiction, this book combines the compelling features of rhyme and narrative to add interest to enormous amounts of information about wetlands. An illustrated glossary and an extensive list of additional resources about wetlands will make this book useful to teachers at all elementary levels. Integration of the curricular areas of science, social studies and language arts in the classroom will be an easy and enjoyable task using this book." - Children's Literature (Summer 2005)

Ages 4 to 10

Curriculum Components:
Rhyming Cumulative Verse
Pond Habitat
Interdependence
Ecology

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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In One Tidepool: Crabs, Snails and Salty Tails
Written by Anthony D. Fredericks • Illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio

    
Recommended Books to teach Science to Children - In One Tidepool
  

"Have you ever ventured to the edge of the sea and peered into a tidepool? A whole community of creatures lives there! This salty, splashy habitat is unique and colorful. Vivid close-up art and amusing text make this both fun and educational for children. "Field notes" in the back offer intriguing glimpses of these creatures, from snails to sponges, adding educational value. After reading this book, children will peer into tidepools with new eyes." - Publisher's description (Dawn Publications - Publisher of Great Children's Books about Nature & the Environment).

Ages 4 to 10

Curriculum Components:
Rhyming Cumulative Verse
Interdependence
Ecology/Habitat

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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Ancient Rhymes, A Dolphin Lullaby
Written by John Denver • Illustrated by Christopher Canyon

  John Denver's Ancient Rhymes - A Dolphin Lullaby - Book Cover
  

John "Denver's gentle lullaby comes to life in Canyon's gorgeous paintings. It tells of a baby dolphin, which, in much the same way as a human baby, learns of many dolphin ways while it's still in its mother's uterus. When it's born, it leaps about, tasting the air and racing the seagulls. Denver's hope was that this dolphin baby would teach humans the song of the dolphins and tell them how to share the earth in harmony. Canyon's work richly paints a portrait of the dolphin's watery world, with stippled effects that evoke the sun shining through the water and the foam on the crest of a wave. Youngsters will even gain a better understanding of dolphin birth... A better-than-usual effort in the trend of song illustration." - Kirkus Reviews (September 2004)

Ages 2 to adult

Curriculum Components:
Marine Life
Sing-Along/Read-Along
Nature Awareness

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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Home for a Tiger, Home for a Bear
Written by
Brenda Williams
• Illustrated by Rosamund Fowler
    
Recommended Book for Kids - Home for a Tiger, Home for a Bear
 

"A tiny spider threads its way through the illustrations on each page of Home for a Tiger, Home for a Bear, a children's picture book about the wide varieties of homes different animals have. 'Kangaroo mom has a pouch, / Where baby joey likes to crouch. / Cuddly koala munches leaves; / Lives in eucalyptus trees.' The last few pages offer more detailed facts for curious young readers about different types of natural habitat and the creatures that live there - and the variety of spiders to be found in the energetic color illustrations! A delightfully fun read-aloud, look-and-find book." - Midwest Book Review

Ages 2 to 8

Curriculum Components:
Animals Homes / Habitats

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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Sunshine On My Shoulders
Song by John Denver • Illustrated by Christopher Canyon

    
Recommended Book - John Denver's Sunshine on My Shoulders - book cover
  

"John Denver's Sunshine On My Shoulders presents a picture book version of the hit song by John Denver enhanced with an adapted text and brilliant color illustrations by Christopher Canyon. The charming story presents the adventures of a young girl enjoying the outside world and the thrill of life. A rapturous experience meant to be shared between young and old, John Denver's Sunshine On My Shoulders is an inventive and charming tribute to a fondly memorable tune." - Midwest Book Review (September 2003)

Ages 2 to adult

Curriculum Components:
Natural Awareness
Sing-Along/Read-Along

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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Whole World
Sung by Fred Penner •Illustrated by Christopher Corr
    
Recommended Books for Kids - Whole World
 

Book and CD adaptation of the classic song  "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."  The back of the book includes information on the natural areas that are mentioned in the song, as well as ways to reduce global warming.

Ages 2 to 9

Curriculum Components:
Natural Awareness
Sing-Along/Read-Along

Click here to buy this book at Amazon.com
  

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GREAT BOOKS FOR KIDS
  

Recommended Books that Help Children Learn about the Environment and the Natural World while Fostering Respect & Appreciation for Living Creatures 
 


If you know of a great book that you think should be listed here, please send a summary of the book and any other relevant information via E-MAIL or mail to Children of the Earth United - P.O. Box 258035 ~ Madison, WI  53725 If possible, use the format of the above book reviews.  Book recommendations by adults AND children are gratefully received.

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