It is never too early to teach children about the wonders of nature. In honor of the back to school season, here are my recommendations for kid’s travel books that focus on environmental issues in an informative, yet empowering manner.
Baby – 2 years old
- The Curious Garden by Peter Brown is the story about a boy who discovers a neglected garden and decides to take care of it. He eventually inspires all the town’s residents to do the same thereby creating a lush, green area for all to enjoy.
3 – 5 years old
- The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry is a story about a man sent into the Amazon rainforest to cut down a very large kapok tree. As it takes the man some time to reach the tree, the combination of the heat and the sounds of the rain forest induce him to sleep. During his slumber, all the animals of the rainforest including snakes, birds, frogs and a jaguar appear to him in a dream to plead their case for why the tree should not be chopped down. When the man awakens, he ultimately makes the decision to not cut down the tree.
6 – 8 years old
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss may be a classic, but the message still rings true. The story is told by Once-ler, who one day comes upon a place filled with wondrous flora and fauna. Upon discovering the Truffula
Tree, he decides to chop them all down to produce his versatile apparel, Thneeds. Over time the trees disappear as do all the other flora and fauna leaving Lorax behind to warn the entrepreneur that his deeds will ruin the entire area. Paying no mind, Once-ler continues until one day there is nothing but a rock. Now that Once-ler has learned his lesson, he salvages a Truffula Tree seed leaving its care to a child.
- Cactus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson is a story about a saguaro cactus and its life in the North American Sonoran Desert. The story is full of facts about this fragile ecosystem as well as wonderful illustrations.
9 – 12 years old
- World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky is a book aimed at tweens that explains what is happening to the oceans and to fish and ultimately how that affects an entire ecosystem. The author is a former fisherman who factually explains the economic, political, historical, cultural and social aspects of overfishing and how supporting sustainable fishing helps. Also, there are tips for kids to empower them to ask questions about the fish they are eating.
- Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect Our Planet by Harriet Rohmer is a compilation of 12 people throughout the United States with one story from Mexico who are
helping to preserve the environment. Also included are tips on how young people can get involved in their own communities.
Click for more information about how ecotourism helps kids better relate to environmental issues.