It is never too early to teach your child about the world around us. The books in this list are selected to help inculcate a sense of ecological awareness and responsibility in children age 3-6. A mixture of fiction and non-fiction titles, they also encourage proactive action with ideas and suggestions on how children can do their part to save the environment.
The Little Hummingbird
Author: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Publisher: Vancouver: Greystone, c2010
Call No.: JP 398.2 YAH -[FOL]
Summary: The story opens dramatically with a huge forest fire. Creatures big and small race to the edge of the forest in a bid to escape, all except one – Hummingbird, despite her small size, and the flames around her, flies to the stream to pick up a drop of water. She flies back and forth rapidly, carrying water in her beak and dropping it onto the fire – one drop at a time.
As the story unfolds, you, and the other animals, wonder if Hummingbird’s efforts will ever make a difference in the raging fire – which is the important point the story wants to make. Written and illustrated by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, the story conveys the author’s belief that everyone can do their part in protecting the environment, and that every small action can make a difference.
Yahgulanaas' Haida (indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest coast of North America) background shines through the totem-carving illustrations that decorate the book. Children can appreciate a different style of illustration and make out the different forest animals. Coloured in bold red, black and white, the book is also a good peek into indigenous culture. Yahgulanaas explains at the end the significance of hummingbirds in the culture of many indigenous groups of the South, Central, and North America.
The simple storyline makes this story suitable even for young children. For older children, the story provides opportunities to discuss themes such as the environment and everybody’s part in protecting it. After reading the book, children may also want to try their hand at drawing animals in this style.
The Little Hummingbird was nominated for the 2012 Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award.
Recycling Is Fun
Author: Charles Ghigna
Publisher: North Mankato, Minn.: Picture Window Books, c2012
Call No.: JP GHI
Summary: Recycling can be a lot of fun! Join the various characters in this book as they go about doing their part to protect our precious Mother Earth through the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle).
This book is filled with vivid and colourful pictorial representations. It also comes with simple rhyming words that are suitable for children aged 4 to 6 years old. This will help them to understand the importance of recycling, and help them apply what they learn to their daily life at home.
Parents can also bond with their toddlers through a simple hands-on activity that is provided at the end of the book.
I Can Save The Ocean!: The Little Green Monster Cleans Up The Beach
Author: Alison Inches
Publisher: New York: Little Simon, c2010
Call No.: JP INC
Summary: Max is a little green monster who loves the beach and likes to play in the ocean. Trash like empty bottles and plastic bags make the ocean look ugly. Max helps to clean up the trash on the beach to keep the ocean clean. He tells other people not to litter on the beach and warns them not to throw rubbish into the ocean.
When he finds out that pollution at home is also bad for the ocean, he even changes his way of life to help keep the ocean clean and beautiful.
Read this book to find out how you can play a part too!
The Green Mother Goose: Saving the World One Rhyme at a Time
Author: Jan Peck and David Davis
Publisher: New York: Sterling, 2011
Call No.: JP 811 PEC
Summary: We do not normally associate nursery rhymes with eco-friendly issues. Thus, the discovery of this book is a pleasant surprise, and is especially useful for parents who would like to highlight environmental, earth-friendly themes to preschoolers in a fun and interactive way. It contains the rework of thirty popular Mother Goose rhymes, and you can try guessing together with your child where they originate from, and spot the differences from the original. You can also try singing out the reworked rhymes to the tunes of the original rhymes such as the tune to Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush for the reworked rhyme Here We Go Round the Neighbourhood.
Eco-friendly topics, such as organic gardening, are given quirky twists: “Organic Mary, not contrary / How does your garden grow? / With ladybug smiles and compost piles, / And pretty herbs all in a row.” There is a good variety of environmental themes covered, from the usual conservation and recycling, to more unique ones like free-range chickens: “Hickety, Pickety, free-range hen, / Speckle-feathered clucking friend. / Hen is thrilled ‘cause she’s cage-free, / She’ll lay great eggs for you and me. / Sometimes nine, and sometimes ten, / Hickety, Pickety, free-range hen.”
For preschoolers, this is a refreshed re-visit to the Mother Goose rhymes and will also help in building phonological awareness. Some of the rhymes are simple enough for early readers to read on their own too: “One, two, / We can renew. / Three, four, / We can do more. / Five, six / Our world to fix. / Seven, eight, / We’re not too late. / Nine, ten, / Time to begin.”
On closer look, you may also notice that some of the illustrations look like they are crafted from recycled paper, with remnants of print on them. This falls nicely in line with the green theme and adds to the overall whimsical feel of the book.
Helping the Environment
Author: Vic Parker
Publisher: Chicago: Heinemann Library, c2012
Call No.: JP 363.7 PAR
Summary: How can we make a difference to the environment? Children discover how to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and more with this book. Children reading the book will not only learn about harmful effects of pollution and the increasing amount of rubbish generated by humans, they will also learn specific and actionable examples of how they can put the 3Rs into practice.
As part of a series that encourages volunteering in many forms – from helping the environment to helping the elderly – the book offers ideas and a simple checklist to motivate children to do their part voluntarily. The series as a whole tries not only to impart knowledge but also values such as the importance of being considerate and helpful, whether towards the environment, animals, or the community.
The layout of information in the book, its bite-sized pieces of information and large, full-coloured photos that support the text help young readers in their comprehension of the content. There are a few harder words which are printed in bold, allowing readers to refer to the glossary at the end of the book for the meaning of these words.
Author: Barbara L. Webb
The book covers are the copyright of the respective publishing companies.
Publisher: Vero Beach, Florida: Rourke Publishing Group, 2012
Call No.: JP 591.56 WEB
Summary: Helping Habitats is part of a series of books on the environment that aim to increase eco-awareness amongst children. In this book, the author introduces young children to some of the natural habitats of the world and the animals that live in them through colourful photographs.
Children learn that animals have adapted to the conditions of the habitats in which they live, to help them find the food, water and shelter they need to survive. For example, polar bears have rough pads on their feet to prevent them from slipping on the ice, while toucans have adapted to eating the fruit that flourish in rainforests.
Children are also shown how some human activities have placed these habitats in danger. Deforestation, overfishing and the burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity are causing animal habitats to disappear or change too quickly for the animals to adapt to. Peppered throughout the book are some simplified solutions to these issues. The author ends with some ways that young children can personally do to play a role in saving the habitats and the animals that live in them.