April: budding flowers, peek-a-boo sunshine, and soft breezes. We have the privilege of enjoying these tiny moments, and in return have the opportunity to say thank you to Mother Nature on April 22: Earth Day. It is our hope these selections will keep the environmental conversation past the 22nd, and will empower your child to know they have the potential to make the world a better place.
Note: This year’s global celebration is dedicated to ending plastic pollution—a daunting but important goal in the face of recent news about the increasing Pacific Ocean “garbage patch”.
by Dr. Seuss (Random House $14.95) Age 3-8
Possibly inspired by the first Earth Day in 1970, Dr. Seuss published this classic environmental allegory in 1971, and it’s been a children’s best-seller ever since. Speaking through the character of the “Lorax,” Seuss paints concerns that are even more resonant today about the exploitation of natural resources and our responsibility as stewards of our planetary home.
It’s a serious subject, skillfully disguised for young readers within Seuss’s trademark whimsy. Brilliantly memorable rhymes and weirdly undulating illustrations capture our attention, as we learn about the vanished Lorax, who spoke for the trees and warned against rampant deforestation. Despite the dire themes, the book leaves us with a hopeful warning that’s making fresh rounds on social media in our own time: Unless someone like you … cares a whole awful lot … nothing is going to get better … it’s not.
by H.A. Rey, adaptation by Erica Zappy (HMH $6.99) Age 3-7
Based on the PBS “Curious George” series, this is one of several “science storybooks” that feature the popular monkey exploring his world with a bright-eyed naiveté every child can relate to.
George is about to toss a big bag of un-sorted trash down the garbage chute when he hears about a neighborhood recycling contest. Intrigued, he brings readers along while he learns all about recycling: what it is, where our trash goes, and how we can help keep our planet clean.
This book offers fun facts, a helpful glossary of terms, and includes a bunch of easy recycling craft projects for kids–like a plastic bottle bird feeder or a cereal-box robot with paper tube arms and legs!
by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger (Philomel $17.99) Age 4-8
With the newly released follow-up to She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton continues to spin female perseverance, intellectual curiosity and innate talent as inspirations for change for little girls (and boys) everywhere.
In a voice both celebratory and defiant, Clinton introduces us to heroines familiar and less-so (Marie Curie, Aisha Rateb, Kate Sheppard), in fields as diverse as science, sports and activism. The stories told are impactful in their simplicity, as Clinton distills the most meaningful details of long and complex lives to best reach her young audience.
Boiger’s drawings help readers engage with each subject as an intellectually hungry child, and the short biographies provide just the right framework to stimulate a youngster’s imagination.