Earth Day, Environment

Earth Day resources for classroom and home use including picture books and printables.

Introducing a wonderful selection of green-theme picture books that promote Earth Day, recycling and environmental awareness

Green-theme picture books deliver important messages about caring for our environment to children. These books belong in classrooms and home libraries. Perfect for Earth Day, we love the idea of going green and promoting environmental awareness in children through picture books.

Our Growing and Learning Green workshop for teachers includes many wonderful picture books that explore environmental themes.

Free Environmental Awareness Printables for Kids

At the bottom of this page we share
Free Earth Day and Environmental Awareness Printables for Kids

And, elsewhere we write about ten picture books about recycling, Read about Recycling

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet... A beautiful Earth Day quote from

Highlighting Green Picture Books that Promote Environmental Awareness

cover art of 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World10 Things I Can Do to Help My World written and illustrated by Melanie Walsh
Picture book about recycling, water conservation, energy efficiency
Published by Candlewick Press

Striking die-cuts and a fun format enhance to this delightful read-aloud. Big, bold illustrations – perfect for a group setting – show readers ten ways young children can help our world and be eco friendly. With reminders to turn off the light when leaving a room, turn off the tap off when brushing teeth, put out a birdfeeder in the winter, draw on both sides of the paper and walk to school rather than drive, youngsters will feel empowered to make a difference.

Additional notes such as Every time you do this, you save eighteen glasses of water. and Turning off lights and using more efficient lightbulbs saves valuable energy. will engage and inspire older readers.

Made from 100% recycled material 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World’s eco-friendly tips are great for preschool and kindergarten. For older children, 10 Things I Can Do demonstrates creative ways to deliver important messages using eye-catching illustrations, factual information and word art.

Possible extension activities could include identifying and illustrating five or ten more ways to “help” (at school or on the playground) using like techniques.

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World at

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World at

image of cover art for All the Water in the WorldAll the Water In the World written by George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson
Picture book about water, the water cycle, and water conservation published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | Simon and Schuster

All the Water In the World playfully and joyfully celebrates water and the water cycle. The first line explains,

All the water in the world… is all the water in the world.

Young readers will know that water sometimes blasts from hoses and collects in puddles but there is much more to the story of water. A breezy, lyrical introduction to the water cycle, All the Water In the World explains that water goes around.

That rain that cascaded from clouds and meandered down mountains and wavered over waterfalls then slipped into rivers and opened into oceans, that rain has been here before.

Positively delicious descriptive words celebrate water, water vapour, clouds and rain, and remind us that we must not take rain and the water cycle for granted; in some dry, dusty places, people must wait and hope for rain.

Beautiful illustrations match the tempo of the text and feature expressive bold colours that blast, splash, drip and gush across the page.

All the Water in the World at

All the Water in the World at

image of cover art for A Grand Old TreeA Grand Old Tree written and illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma
Picture book about trees and ecosystems
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books an imprint of Scholastic

“Once there was a grand old tree. Her roots sank deep into the earth, her arms reached high into the sky. She was home to many creatures.”

Lovingly written and illustrated, A Grand Old Tree is a wonderful tribute to an aging fruit tree. We watch as squirrels scamper, birds chirp and bees buzz in the branches of the tree. Through the seasons, we witness her bloom and produce seeds to blow from her branches. We consider how many leaves she has produced.

One moonlit winter night, she falls. Snow covers her weary trunk and branches. When spring arrives, we can see her offspring growing nearby and we know her decaying trunk is still home to raccoons, insects and lichen. We appreciate her legacy and understand that her children and grandchildren are now growing, flowering, and sowing.

Both informative and quietly reassuring, this is an eco friendly picture book children will enjoy again and again.

Note: there is a concrete poem (the text is printed to represent the trunk of a tree) in the book.

Teaching suggestions from the author’s website

A Grand Old Tree at

A Grand Old Tree at

image of cover art for Bag in the WindBag in the Wind written by Ted Kooser and illustrated by Barry Root
Picture book about recycling, reusing resources, social responsibility published by Candlewick Press

Best suited to children in elementary school, Bag in the Wind is a thought-provoking story about an empty plastic bag. Although still usable, it has been discarded. It is subsequently unearthed at a landfill and is blown back into a world of plants, animals and people.

Beautifully written and illustrated, Bag in the Wind is a picture book that will challenge older readers to think about ways to reuse resources and be eco friendly.

Bag in the Wind at

Bag in the Wind at
We do not inherit the earth from our ancesters, we borrow it from our children. Native American Proverb

image of cover art for Big Bear HugBig Bear Hug written and illustrated by Nicholas Oldland
Picture book about appreciating the outdoors published by Kids Can Press

Author – illustrator Nicholas Oldland introduces a happy, affectionate bear who shares his love by wandering through forests and hugging flora and fauna, large and small. One day the bear is shocked to find a man with an ax in the forest. The man is planning to chop the one of the oldest trees in the woods. Despite his anger, the bear gives the shocked man an enormous “bear” hug. This simply told fable features bold illustrations and a loving message. Big Bear Hug will be thoroughly enjoyed by children three and up.

Big Bear Hug at

Big Bear Hug at

cover art for Big Earth Little MeBig Earth, Little Me
Picture book about recycling, reusing, planting a garden published by Scholastic

Featuring bright, bold collage illustrations, a ‘lift the flaps’ format and simple text, Big Earth, Little Me provides a great introduction to the idea of helping the earth and making eco friendly choices. Whether reminding youngsters to recycle, turn off the water when brushing their teeth, use a lunch box and draw on both sides of the paper or encouraging children to help in the garden, the message is simple, positive and clear.

Big Earth, Little Me at

Big Earth, Little Me at

cover art for Don't Throw That AwayDon’t Throw That Away written by Lara Bergen and illustrated by Betsy Snyder
Picture book about recycling and reusing published by Simon and Schuster Canada

Don’t Throw That Away! has an upbeat, positive message for very young children: what looks like garbage may be recyclable. Discarded paper, plastic, metal and glass all belong in a recycling bin, an empty jam jar can be transformed into a vase and a plastic milk jug can become a bird feeder. Additional flaps reveal homemade musical instruments, costumes and a car made from a cardboard box.

Great for preschool-age children, the relatively small format (typical of many board books) makes it best-suited to an individual or small group setting. Would be an excellent introduction to an art or craft project reusing discarded materials.

Don’t throw That Away! screensaver

Simon and Schuster’s Circle the Items That Are Recyclable activity

Don’t Throw That Away! at (Little Green Books)

Don’t Throw That Away! at (Little Green Books)

cover art E is for Environment
E is for Environment – Stories to Help children Care for Their World – at Home, at School, and at Play
Written by Ian James Corlett and Illustrated by R.A. “Riley” Holt

Story book about the environment published by Atria Books an imprint of Simon and Schuster

Featuring a friendly, conversational tone, E Is for Environment: Stories to Help Children Care for Their World provides a wealth of useful information for children and families.
After hearing a presentation by Matt Hill and Steph Tait of Run for 1 Planet at their school, Elliott and Lucy are inspired to find all sorts of ways to take action to “green” their world.

Twenty-six chapters (four pages each) cover everything from carpooling to soccer games and wearing a sweater rather than turning the thermostat up to packing a litterless lunch and choosing green, eco friendly gifts.

Each chapter begins with a scenario that suggests an opportunity for Lucy and Eilliott to make a change. Readers are encouraged to answer a question, “What do you think Elliot’s new plan was?” and then read to see if their guesses are correct. Additional supporting information is provided, and more questions prompt readers to consider how they can apply Elliott and Lucy’s decisions to their own lives. Thought-provoking quotes enhance most of the chapters.

  • When Elliott decides to use rechargeable batteries in his favourite toy robot, we learn that rechargeable batteries have up to 28 times less impact on the environment than regular (alkaline) batteries and rechargeable batteries can be reused up to 1,000 times.
  • When the family decides to walk to the post office rather than drive, we learn that Thomas Jefferson remarked, “Of all exercises walking is the best.” and Stephen Wright said, “Anywhere is walking distance, if you have the time.”

In addition to being an inspiring resource for families, E is for Environment is ideal for primary classroom use. Reading one chapter aloud each week could be used to prompt on-going discussions and action including encouraging young researchers to explore the science behind the book.

E Is for Environment: Stories to Help Children Care for Their World at

E Is for Environment: Stories to Help Children Care for Their World at

Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites

cover art for How to Take Care of the Environment
Earth Smart How to Take Care of the Environment – written by Leslie Garrett
Early Reader about recycling, waste reduction, conserving energy, pollution published by Dorling Kindersley

Part of Dorling Kindersley’s DK Readers series, Earth Smart is appropriate for children aged 7 to 9. Generously illustrated with photographs, it is rated “Level 2, Beginning to Read Alone.” Introducing ways we can help to look after the environment, content touches on recycling, a look at a landfill, disposing of toxic substances, reducing energy consumption, dangers of pollution and global warming, the benefits of enjoying eco friendly local produce and ways trees help us.

Leslie Garrett’s Blog The Virtuous Consumer

Earth Smart at

Earth Smart at

cover art for Fraser Bear - A Cub's LifeFraser Bear – A Cub’s Life – written by Maggie de Vries and illustrated by Renne Benoit
Picture book about an ecosystem, life cycle of a salmon, life cycle of a bear published by Greystone Books

Weaving together the story of a young black bear cub with that of chinook salmon, Fraser Bear: A Cub’s Life is both informative and engaging. The story begins in January when two sleepy young bear cubs seek nourishment from their mother. Many miles away, chinook salmon begin their journey from the Aleutian Islands to Fraser Bear’s birthplace in the Rocky Mountains. We watch as the young bear grows and matures, experiencing the snowy forest for the first time, seeking food, meeting an angry male bear, enjoying tasty blueberries and discovering a river filled with spawning salmon.

“One day, the mother leads her cubs to the river’s rocky shore. Fraser stares. the water is alive! it squirms. It wriggles, Fraser has never seen water like this before.”

Brimming with factual information, Fraser Bear is beautifully illustrated and will be enjoyed by youngsters aged five and up. Additional notes provide information about black bears and bear safety as well as chinook salmon. A glossary and map also support the text.

Fraser Bear: A Cub’s Life at

Fraser Bear at

cover art for George Saves the World by LunchtimeGeorge Saves the World by Lunchtime
Written by Jo Readman and illustrated by Ley Honor Roberts

Picture book about recycling, reusing and reducing waste published by Random House

Wearing a makeshift superhero cape, George announces his plans for the day, “I’m going to save the world!” Grandpa and his sister are willing to help and it is not long before the trio is finding ways to reduce, reuse, repair and recycle. Large, colourful collage ilustrations include photos and drawings. Readers learn about reducing electrical consumption by hanging laundry to dry, minimizing fuel consumption by walking or riding a bicycle and the importance of turning lights off. Suggestions are also made for recycling, donating, repairing and buying locally produced eco friendly items.

This book was inspired by The Eden Project an educational charity in Cornwall, England. It is worth noting that a sidebar refers to most electrical energy being produced by burning coal. This may or may not be true, depending on where the book is read. In addition, a suggestion is made that animal waste can be added to compost. This suggestion should have included the proviso that the compost ought not to be used for fruit or vegetable crops.

Cheerfully making suggestions without sounding preachy or extreme, George Saves the World by Lunchtime will be a positive addition to an eco-friendly (preschool or kindergarten) classroom or a home library.

George Saves the World by Lunchtime at

George Saves the World By Lunchtime at

cover art for Grandad's Prayers of the EarthGrandad’s Prayers of the Earth written by Douglas Wood and illustrated by P.J. Lynch
Picture book about appreciating the natural world, prayer and death published by Candlewick Press

This beautiful, award-winning book is a tribute to the natural world, the special relationship between a boy and his grandfather and the comfort of prayer. While on a forest walk together, a young boy asks his grandfather about prayer. His grandfather pauses and then encourages the boy to look at the natural beauty around him and observe carefully, “These are all ways to pray, ” said Grandad, “but there are more…The tall grass prays as it waves its arms benether the sky,and flowers pray as they breathe their sweetness into the air.”

A moving tribute to the love between a child and his grandparent, Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth is a book that can be enjoyed on many levels. Best suited to children five and up.

Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth at

Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth at

I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness... a thought provoking quote for Earth Day from Storytime Standouts
cover art for Green Crafts
Green Crafts – written by Megan Friday
Instruction book for making eco friendly crafts published by Walter Foster

Bright and cheery, Green Crafts is generously illustrated with photographs and drawings. It includes introductory remarks, information about tools and materials, project templates and sixteen projects ranging from decorating a canvas tote bag (with paint or fabric) to working with eco friendly reusable water bottles, gift bags and picture frames. As well, there are ideas for designing and decorating t-shirts, working with used blue jeans fabric, making a special gift for Earth Day, creating lightswitch plates with eco-friendly messages and using a decoupage technique to decorate a glass bowl. The crafts will be enjoyed by children aged eight and up.

Craft Star: Green Crafts at

Craft Star: Green Crafts at

cover art for Gummy ToesGummytoes – written and illustrated by Sean Cassidy
Picture book about respecting wildlife and urban wildlife published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside Limited

Gummytoes is a tree frog who can change the colour of his skin and leap great distances. He longs to be admired so he steps into the limelight and amazes the neighbourhood children with his antics. The squealing youngsters respond by grabbing him and putting him into their terrarium. Before long Gummytoes discovers that being the centre of attention is not all he had hoped. He is lucky. He is able to use his special qualities to escape and make his way home.

This is a story that will encourage readers to consider the impact of capturing creatures for display. In addition to entertaining youngsters, Gummytoes provides factual information about gray tree frogs. The book could be used to prompt discussions about animals that use camouflage, nocturnal animals, natural habitats of tree frogs and wild creatures living in urban areas.

Suitable for children aged 4-8

Gummytoes was shortlisted for the 2006 Syrca Shining Willow ( in the Best Picture Book category) and the 2005 OLA Blue Spruce (also in the Best Picture Book category). It was also a Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice selection in 2005.

Gummytoes at

Gummytoes at

cover art for I Can Save the EarthI Can Save the Earth! – written by Alison Inches and illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
Picture book about the environment published by Simon and Schuster

Max is a Little Monster in more ways than one. He not only looks like a monster, he behaves like one. He litters wherever he goes, he uses too much water and toilet paper in the bathroom and he forgets to turn the lights and tv off when he leaves the room. As well, he is greedy with his toys: even when he’s outgrown them, he keeps them all to himself. One evening, he is watching his favourite television show when there is a power failure. When Max goes outside, he surprised by what he sees and hears. In the moonlight, Max notices flowers blooming and he hears crickets and an owl. When Max sees a shooting star, the transformation to “green” is complete. and, even when the power is restored, Max notices the natural world and takes eco friendly steps to make it better. He collects litter at the beach and learns to compost garden refuse. His wasteful bathroom habits change and he remembers to turn off lights. He decides, “fresh air feels good on my fur!” and is committed to recycling, eating healthy foods and trading toys with his friends. End notes include a glossary of terms used in the story I Can Save the Earth!: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle is an introductory resource and is best suited to children aged four to six.
Note: This 8″x8″ paperback book is printed on 100% post-consumer waste (Forest Stewardship Council certified) recycled paper with soy-ink.

I Can Save the Earth at

I Can Save the Earth at

cover art for If Rocks Could SingIf Rocks Could Sing written and illustrated by Leslie McGuirk
Picture book about the alphabet and treasures found on the beach published by Tricycle Press – The Crown Publishing Group Random House

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet shows us treats that many of us could completely overlook when exploring a shoreline. Ms. McGuirk is an avid observer and, over many years, has amassed an exciting collection. She has gathered together all sorts of eye-catching and intriguing rocks. She has one for every letter of the alphabet as well as a bird, a couch potato, a dog, an elephant…

Young children will thoroughly enjoy exploring If Rocks Could Sing and are certain to want their own collection of intriguing rocks. Share this with children aged three and up and you’re sure to be setting off on your own quest for rocks that sing.
If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet at

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet at

cover art for If the World Were a VillageIf the World Were a Village – A Book about the World’s People
written by David J. Smith and illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong
Picture book about the Earth’s people published by Kids Can Press

Imagine you lived in a village of one hundred people and that the village represented our entire planet. “Five of the villagers would be from Canada and the United States, three villagers would speak Russian, seventy-six would have electricity and thiry-two would breath polluted air.” Part of the Citizen Kid series of books, If the World Were a Village does a marvelous job of making difficult concepts easy-to-understand and helping young readers to become mindful and appreciative of the diverse world community.

Two page spreads explore the world’s nationalities, languages, ages, religions, food, air and water, school and work, money and possessions, energy, and health. The author’s straightforward approach enlightens and is supported with detailed endnotes. Bright, bold and detailed illustrations beg readers to pause, explore and understand the wealth of factual information represented.

A valuable resource for children five and up.

Kids Can Press Teaching guide for If the World Were a Village

Citizen Kid Website

If the World Were a Village – Second Edition at

If the World Were a Village – Second Edition at

cover art for Lessons from Mother EarthLessons from Mother Earth written by Elaine McLeod and illustrated by Colleen Wood
Picture book about respecting nature and growing food published by House of Anansi Press Inc. | Groundwood Books

Lessons from Mother Earth tells the story of a young girl who learns from her grandmother. They leave a small cabin and, with her grandmother’s guidance, the young girl discovers the bounty of fresh food provided by Mother Earth. Lamb’s-quarters, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, rosehips, dandelions and mushrooms are all part of the bounty.

Appropriate for children aged four and up

Lessons from Mother Earth at

Lessons From Mother Earth at

cover art for Lucy's SecretLucy’s Secret – written and illustrated by Mireille Levert
Picture book about gardening published by Groundwood Books

When Lucy visits Anna Zinnia’s garden, she is enchanted by all she sees; beautiful flowers and busy insects. When Anna Zinnia reveals a box of seeds, she tells Lucy, ‘In each seed lies a hidden, baby flower.’ Lucy plants the seeds and then waits and waits for the young plants to appear. Lucy’s Secret is richly illustrated and simply told. It will be a lovely accompaniment for your springtime seed planting and gardening activities.

32 pages, ages 3 to 5

Lucy’s Secret at

Lucy’s Secret at

cover art for One WorldOne World written and illustrated by Michael Foreman
Picture book about the environment published by Andersen Press Co.

“She thought of all the creatures who lived under the sky, the animals who shared the warmth of the sun and bathed in the soft, silver light of the moon.”

After taking time to consider the diversity of animals on earth, a young girl visits a beach along with her brother. Together, they explore a wondrous tidal pool, filled with seaweed, small fish, sea anenomes, starfish. Unfortunately, it is not long before the children discover that the pool has been marred by a rusty tin can and a blob of oil. As the day at the seashore progresses, the youngsters fill a bucket with water, they add sand, pebbles, seaweed and shells before deciding to catch some tiny, live creatures. With their small sandpail marine habitat complete, the children revisit the rock pool and discover that it is no longer beautiful; the discarded, rusty can and the oil are all that remain. Startled at what they see, the children set about returning the sand, pebbles, seaweed, shells and fish to the pool. They remove the tin can and draw the oil out of the water using a seabird feather. Satisfied with the progress they’ve made, they decide to enlist the help of other children when checking the tidal pools the following day.

Beautiful illustrations and “not-too-much text” make this a lovely read aloud for children aged four and up. This is a picture book that begs readers to discuss not only the story but also the illustrations as Foreman gently depicts deforestation, air pollution and the threat of global warming.

One World at

One World at

Doha College curriculum tie-in for One World

Wendy North’s ideas for using One World in a classroom

cover art for Picture a TreePicture a Tree – written and illustrated by Barbara Reid

Marvelous Plasticine illustrations may initially distract young readers from the thought-provoking text in Picture a Tree. Using a combination of Plasticine and paint, Ms. Reid has created beautiful, richly detailed images of trees and the variety of people living, working and playing near them.

Readers are encouraged to notice how trees, whether enormous or freshly planted, change through the year, how various creatures dwell in trees and how the life cycle of a tree can be viewed metaphorically. A variety of perspectives are also shown as Ms. Reid illustrates shadows of trees, more than one reflection and the view from above a forest of trees.

You may see a drawing on the sky. A game of dress-up. The first drops of colour then all the art supplies at once.
image of a spread from Picture a Tree

Simply beautiful, Picture a Tree is sure to inspire young artists and encourage environmental awareness. It is suitable for children aged four and up.

Picture a Tree at

Picture a Tree at

cover art for Salmon CreekSalmon Creek written by Annette LeBox and illustrated by Karen Reczuch
Picture book about ecosystems and the life cycle published by Groundwood Books

A wonderful resource for children interested in our natural world and students studying Pacific salmon, Salmon Creek is a beautifully illustrated picture book about one Coho salmon: Sumi. Beginning when Sumi first feels and hears the creek around her, “Sumi was blind, but she could hear the wind whispering through the cedars. She could hear the creek stones lifting and falling as the salmon mothers built their nests. And if she pressed against the curve of her egg, she could hear her salmon mother singing. Home is the scent of cedar and creek. Home is the journey’s end.” Richly detailed illustrations show us the wildlife that frequents the banks of the stream (bears, raccoons, heron, ducks and eagles) and Sumi’s growth and travels from alevin to fry, smolt and finally a fully grown fish, ready to spawn.

The afterward includes illustrations of and information about the life cycle of the Coho salmon, a commentary regarding threats to wild salmon, additional resources, a glossary and suggestions for how kids can help.

Salmon Creek at

Salmon Creek at

cover art for Sandy's Incredible Shrinking FootprintSandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint
Picture book about one’s ecological footprint published by Second Story Press

Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint tells the story of a young girl who, while visiting her grandpa, happily runs to a nearby beach. She loves to explore the seashore and is shocked to find a pile of garbage others left near a fire pit. She is disgusted by the waste and works to collect the candy wrappers, pop cans and mustard bottles. Before long, she meets an old woman who roams the beach and collects the litter others have left behind. The woman encourages the girl to consider, “The footprint of your life – the mark you leave on the world.”

This breezy, empowering picture book includes colourful collage illustrations made from natural and recycled materials. Suitable for children aged six and up.

Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint at

Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint at

cover art for Seal SongSeal Song written by Andrea Spalding and illustrated by Pascal Milelli
Published by Orca Book Publishers

In folklore, selkies are mythological creatures that can change shape. Selkies live in the ocean as seals and on land as humans.

Each morning Finn helps his father fish but he is secretly anxious for the opportunity to slip away from the wharf and the cannery. He wants to swim with the seals.
“Sing to me.” said Finn. “Sing the seal song that brings good fortune.”
The seal blew a fish breath and disappeared below the waves.
But, despite Finn’s pleas, he does not hear the seals sing.

One afternoon, while enjoying his usual swim with seals, Finn notices a commotion in the waves, his favourite seal has been caught in an old fishing net. Finn dives into the ocean, rescues the seal, feeds it and nurses it back to health. He has made a new friend. Finally his wish is granted; he hears the seals sing.

Father is not happy with Finn and does not believe that a seal song will bring good fortune. He is suspicious when a mysterious child appears near the wharf. The other fishermen warn, “That child will never let salt water touch her skin. If it does, she must return to the sea.”

Sheila becomes a good friend to Finn but she does not swim in the ocean with him nor does she allow salt water to touch her skin. Meanwhile, the salmon fishing is good, Finn and his father are especially lucky and the old fishermen attribute their good fortune to Finn’s new friend.

Richly illustrated with beautiful, evocative oil paintings, Seal Song is a thought provoking look at what it means to be a friend.

For older children, Seal Song could lead to an exploration of folklore, shapeshifting, friendship, sacrifice, social responsibility and/or salmon fishing.

Seal Song at

Seal Song at

cover art for The Earth and I
The Earth and I – written and illustrated by Frank Asch
Picture book about the environment

Suitable for very young children, The Earth and I explores the relationship between a young boy and the world around him. We observe the boy viewing a rainstorm, celebrating a rainbow, playing with dirt and water in his backyard, going for a walk, raking leaves, planting seeds and eating fresh produce. “I sing for her. She sings for me. I dance for her. She dances for me.” When the boy discovers garbage littering a park, he clears away the garbage, plants a flower and embraces a tree.

An important eco friendly message expressed simply, The Earth and I is well-suited to a preschool read aloud setting. As well, distinctive watercolour illustrations could serve as inspiration for young artists.

The Earth and I at

The Earth and I at

The good man is the friend of all living things.cover art We Planted a TreeWe Planted a Tree – written by Diane Muldrow and illustrated by Bob Staake
Picture book about trees and ecosystems published by Golden Books an imprint of Random House

Young families in Brooklyn, New York and in Africa each plant a tree. As their trees grow, We Planted a Tree takes us to visit beautiful trees budding in Toyko and gorgeous bright, pink blossoms in Paris.

“The sun kept shining.
The pink blossoms dropped off,
But soon there were green leaves,
Green, green shiny leaves,
Which had food inside for the tree.

This joyous celebration of trees and the impact of planting just one, highlights that they can be a source of food and shade, they help to clean our air and they can prevent soil erosion. As well, readers learn that trees are home to birds and animals.

We Planted a Tree at

We Planted a Tree at

cover art When the Earth WakesWhen the Earth Wakes – written and illustrated by Ani Rucki
Picture book about the seasons

A lovely book for very young children, When the Earth Wakes invites readers to observe as spring arrives, the earth is awakened and a mother bear stretches with her young cub. We watch the snow melt and the two bears frolic in the sunshine and warm breeze. Before long it is summertime; butterflies, salmon, thunderstorms and starry nights change the natural landscape once again. When leaves begin to change and blueberries ripen, the two bears know it is time to prepare for winter. A lovely, gentle circular story about the changing seasons and our beautiful earth.

Striking coloured pencil illustrations make When the Earth Wakes well-suited to a read aloud setting.

When the Earth Wakes at

When the Earth Wakes at

cover art for Why Should I Recycle?Why Should I Recycle? written by Jen Green and illustrated by Mike Gordon
Picture book about recycling

Why Should I Recycle? is part of a series of books that includes Why Should I… Save Energy, Save Water, and Protect Nature. It explains that items typically tossed into the garbage often can be reused. On a field trip to a recycling center, Mr. Jones explains that bottles, cans, plastic, clothing and paper can all be used again. Additional suggestions include composting, donating used clothing, books and toys, reusing plastic bags and choosing to buy items made from recycled materials.

Endnotes for teachers and parents include suggestions for points to discuss as well as follow-up activities and a list of books about pollution, conserving energy and recycling.

Best for children aged 4 – 6, Why Should I Recycle? provides an introduction to this subject and is well-suited for use in a classroom library.

Why Should I Recycle? at

Why Should I Recycle? at

cover art for Winston of ChurchillWinston of Churchill – One Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming written by Jean Davies Okimoto and illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell
Picture book about global warming published by Sasquatch Books

The town of Churchill, Manitoba describes itself as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World. Tours to see polar bears are offered from early October until the middle of November and use special vehicles to cross the tundra.

In Winston of Churchill: One Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming we meet a rather unique polar bear. Winston is fearless and powerful. When he calls his compatriots together, they listen intently to his warning, “The ice is melting. We are losing our home. The time has come for action. This is no time for ease and comfort. It is the time to dare and endure.” Winston urges the bears to fight for ice. “We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight on the hills. We shall never surrender.”

Delivering a positive message that many individuals, making small changes can have an impact on global warming. Winston of Churchill is a very enjoyable read aloud. Clever wordplay and illustrations will be thoroughly enjoyed by adults as well as children.

Winston of Churchill: One Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming at

Winston Of Churchill: One Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming at

cover art for Wolf IslandWolf Island written and illustrated by Celia Godkin
Picture book about wolves, seasons and ecosystems published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside Limited
Picture book about an ecosystem published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside Limited

In Wolf Island author-illustrator Celia Godkin has created a sensitive, fictional exploration of the importance of biodiversity, the relationship between predator and prey, and the complex relationships within an ecosystem.

Wolf Island is home to many plant and animal species including a family of wolves. The island ecosystem functions well until a log raft drifts near the shoreline. Curious wolf cubs climb onto the raft and are soon floating away from the small island. Frantic howls draw the adult wolves to the raft and, moments later, the wolves are all aboard the raft. With the departure of the wolves, the island’s natural balance has been disrupted.

As the seasons pass, the wolves’ absence begins to be felt. An abundance of deer produce more fawns would otherwise be on the island so more grass and leaves are consumed. With less vegetation available, the rabbit, fox, mouse and owl populations are each impacted in turn. Soon many animals experience hunger and suffering. A difficult winter causes hardship but produces an ice bridge from the mainland to the island and the emaciated wolves are able to return home to their territory.

Well-suited to late primary grades, Wolf Island is an excellent introduction to biodiversity and offers many possibilites for further discussion and exploration.

Detailed Teachers’ Guide including page-by-page commentary, topics for discussion and a glossary

Wolf Island at

Wolf Island at

Free Printables for Environmental Awareness and Earth Day from Storytime Standouts

Our Free Printables for Environmental Awareness and Earth Day Help Children Learn About the Environment and Recycling

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Step 2 – Pin this page, share this page or “Like” us on Facebook.

Step 3 – Choose from any of our 250 free downloads, including these free Environmental Awareness / Earth Day printables.

Free printable green-theme domino game for children

image of PDF icon  Green Domino Game

Uses a variety of "green" symbols

Free printable environmental awareness game for children

image of PDF icon  Green Board Game Cards

Make your own board game and use these cards with it

Free printable green-theme riddles

image of PDF icon  Green Riddles - Part 1

image of PDF icon  Green Riddles - Part 2

Free printable recycling-theme writing paper

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Children Love the Earth

Green theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Recycling Boy and Girl

Green theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Tree with bluebird

Tree theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Tree including roots

Tree theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

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