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Celebrating Earth Day with Picture Books

New Picture Books to Celebrate Earth Day

I have a pretty extensive Arthur (the Aardvark, who knew, right?!) collection that my first two kids read obsessively but for some unknown reason, I haven’t read this series with my youngest. I guess it’s because I have them (finally!) all nicely organized on a bookshelf downstairs and there are so many books that once they migrate upstairs they will overtake his room.

So it was a lucky day when a new Arthur book arrived in the mail along with a book about Jane Goodall, both in celebration of Earth Day. My husband opened the packages and immediately called the youngest off the compute, DSi, iMac, iPad, or iBook and read both to him that afternoon as a means to get him off a screen. They liked both of them.

We try to do our part for the environment and we do recycle but my husband said that the Arthur book gave him the tip to unplug the rechargers for our cell phones (3 of them!) when not in use. I knew that but had stopped unplugging the chargers because when I unplugged them, they got “put away” and I could never find the iPhone charger for my phone! I also did another bad thing. I don’t turn off my computer at night but after reading this book (and feeling guilty), now I do. One final resolution: replace paper napkins with cloth but only after getting more cloth napkins in patterns or colors that hide stains.

Picture books do make a difference! As for Me…Jane, I am listening more closely in order to help support the career choices that my children are expressing at their young age, even when my youngest tells me he wants to be a video game developer when he grows up!! Sigh!

p.s. For more information on Earth Day, see

p.p.s. The image is a badge that is $1 on Etsy. Click on image to that link.


Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell

This picture book would make a great board book. It’s a very simple story depicting Dr. Jane Goodall known as both a preeminent primatologist and environmentalist but as a young child. It turns out that it all started with a toy chimpanzee named Jubilee (and if this isn’t true, it will kill me). The reader gets a sense of her curiosity in nature at a very young age, but unlike most children, she was pretty hands on about it. To learn about eggs, she hung out in a chicken coop watching eggs hatch (and if this isn’t true, I will be truly upset). Books also set her on her path; when she read Tarzan of the Apes, she identified with Jane who lived in the jungles of Africa … and one day, she was a cooler, less helpless version of Jane!

My husband read this book to our son who is 6-years-old and both liked it very much, particularly the illustrations. My husband wished that the story had more text and covered more of Jane when she was an adult including her achievements. I can see his point but I also liked how Jane knew very early on at age 10 that she wanted to go to Africa . Learning about her “pivotal” moments as a child helps me, as a mother, to notice those quirks about my children. My middle child loves elephant stuffed animals and things printed with strawberries. I’m not sure what that means, but maybe it will lead to something?

As for Earth Day, Jane today travels around raising awareness about the plight of chimpanzees and fights to save their natural environment. She set up the Jane Goodall Institute which helps communities in wild places grow more food, have clean water, and send their children to school. Jane’s Roots & Shoots program helps to educate young people worldwide about the world’s environmental issues and to encourage them to play a role.

“Each one of us makes a difference. We cannot live through a single day without making an impact on the world around us — and we have a choice as to what sort of difference we make.” Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE

I think that is the essence of Earth Day!


Arthur Turns Green by Marc Brown

Who doesn’t love the Arthur series by Marc Brown? In this newest book to celebrate Earth Day, Marc Brown goes all out and makes many great and helpful suggestions through the crew at Arthur. We found new ways to turn our house green and it’s great to get the kids involved as they will keep us honest! Whether this is the first Arthur book you read with your child or your 34th (like me, seriously I think I have them all including that Arthur series ghost written and ghost illustrated sold at my grocery store as an incentive to shop there regularly), this is a great book for your book shelf!

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To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Kim Lanier

    I love children’s books and am so glad I have found your blog. I have twin eight year old boys in second grade. Having taught Kindergarten for years, I still gravitate toward picture books and will check them out of the library for the boys.
    My son, Brian did an author report this past winter on Helen Lester since he loves Tacky the Penguin. It is a book for younger kids but he just thought it was so funny. He got to read it to the class after his presentaion which his class thoroughly enjoyed. Helen wrote a book called Author, A True Story. It’s a super book for kids learning to write. Brian’s teacher is going to read it to her class since it shows how long it takes to actually write a story. I wasn’t sure if you’d seen this book.
    Thanks again for all your work on your blog. I enjoy your updates!

    • To Kim,
      Thank you so much for the great book suggestions! I will track them down. I had heard great things about Tacky the Penguin but have not heard of Author, A True Story so excited to read it!

  2. Zoe

    Thanks for sharing these today, I’d love to read me… jane
    Zoe recently posted…I’m looking for a book about… green issues / sustainability / recyclingMy Profile

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