Perhaps we can do something small to celebrate Earth Day at home. It can be as simple as planting seeds for a garden or changing out light bulbs. The Earth Day message of reduce, reuse, and recycle is both one of conservation but also of thriftiness, mindfulness, and caring for our environment — all messages particularly relevant right now.
Here’s an easy list of Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Celebrate Earth Day (and help the planet!):
- Reuse, recycle, reduce.
- Conserve water.
- Use a reusable shopping bag.
- Plant a tree and/or a garden.
- Conserve water.
- Volunteer for cleanups.
- Drive less. Walk and bike more.
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Use reusable water bottles.
How are you celebrating Earth Day? Thanks for sharing your ideas!
Understanding Our Place in the World
My Friend Earth by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Francesca Sanna
This picture book has lovely die-cut pages with gentle curves, depicting a rolling landscape. Patricia MacLachlan’s lyrical prose celebrates the gifts from Mother Earth. In appreciating Mother Earth, the reader is encouraged to be a good friend in return. This is a gentle environmental message for the youngest of readers. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
As a new father, Oliver Jeffers was moved to introduce our planet Earth and our place within it to his new son. His own hopes and wishes for his child are a gently humorous message of kindness and tolerance. New parents will relate to this picture book and veteran parents will nod wisely at his important message. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
It’s Up to Us: Building a Brighter Future for Nature, People & Plant, The Children’s Terra Carta by Christopher Lloyd
Pair this lovely picture book with Here We Are by Oliver Jeffries for a roadmap to taking care of our planet. Part one describes nature, part two describes people, and part three describes our planet. The final section, part 4, is the children’s terra carta — a pledge for sustainability. [illustrated chapter book, ages 6 and up]
Seven kids from Italy, Japan, Iran, India, Peru, Uganda, and Russia share their lives with their families in a peek at a day in their life including what they eat for breakfast to where they sleep. The appealing illustrations also convey a charming realism that makes you feel like you are right there with them. My only criticism is that none of the families include multi-generational or extended families which would further illustrate realistic portrayals of life in some of these countries. Instead, the families are limited to male/female parents and siblings. [nonfiction picture book, ages 5 and up]
This is How I Do It: One Day in the Life of You and 59 Real Kids from Around the World by Matt Lamothe
This is the companion book to Matt Lamothe’s This is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World and it includes drawing activities, postcards, stickers, and a map. In this book, Lamothe expands the number of kids he depicts from seven to fifty-nine! Wow! 59!! Learn what these children eat, wear, and do in this interactive picture book with activities. [picture book with activities, ages 5 and up]
Appreciating Our Natural World
Dear Earth by Isabel Otter, illustrated by Clara Anganuzzi
Tessa, a young girl, writes a love letter to our Earth, celebrating all of the ecosystems, and diversity of plants and creatures. She hopes to share the message of how special our Earth is so that people will take care of it and keep it safe. This is a gentle ecological message with end notes telling the reader that it’s not all gloom and doom. Easy eco-friendly activities are included. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Alba and the Ocean Cleanup: A Story About Saving Our Oceans by Lara Hawthorne
Alba lives in a coral reef, collecting beautiful shells for her home. But as she gets older, it’s harder and harder to find the shells. Instead, her home is littered with garbage. When she sets out further than she ever has, she ends up being discovered by a girl named Kaia who notices her plight. Kaia organizes a cleanup and returns Alba to the ocean. This is a reminder that every person can make a difference by avoiding plastic products, picking up trash at the beach, and making sure that no one in their household pours harmful chemicals down the drain. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The Stars Just Up the Street by Sue Soltis, illustrated by Christine Danvenier
Light is another source of pollution and Mabel can’t see the stars because it’s too bright on her street. She longs to see the thousands of stars that her grandfather talks about when he looked out at the night sky from the prairie where he grew up. No matter how hard Mabel tries, she and her grandfather can only see about a hundred stars from where they live. Mabel has a plan but she needs her neighbors’ help. It takes a lot of persistence and a few allies to persuade the mayor. On the next new moon, Mabel’s stargazing plan is put into action. Everyone gets to gaze at thousands of stars in the sky. A reminder that activism can start at home and that no one is too young to effect change. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Hike by Pete Oswald
This lovely nearly wordless picture book is a reminder to get out of the city and enjoy the natural world. A father and child take a hike and plant a baby tree. It’s a wonderful reminder that a simple hike is an adventure that makes memories for a lifetime. And small acts like planting a tree help to preserve our forests. [wordless picture book, ages 4 and up]
I can attest to how a hike can be a powerful bonding experience. Our death-defying hike in Kauai was an adventure that we will remember forever!
Only a Tree Knows How to Be a Tree by Mary Murphy
Our place in the world is both unique and interconnected. Mary Murphy celebrates the nature of each living thing with tender text and exuberant illustrations. It’s a loving message that every single one of us and thing is special and treasured. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
Welcome to Your World by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, illustrated by Jaime Kim
Mother and baby scenes from the natural world are presented in this lyrical rhyming picture book perfect for celebrating Mother’s Day, National Poetry Month, and Earth Day! This makes a lovely bedtime story! [picture book, ages 2 and up]
The Nest That Wren Built by Randi Sonenshine, illustrated by Anne Hunter
Riffing off This Is the House That Jack Built, two wrens build their nest and hatch their young. The rhyming text also the drama of the threats to their nest and babies. Endnotes include facts about wrens and a glossary. This book dovetails perfectly for both April’s National Poetry Month and Earth Day! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Human Town by Alan Durant, illustrated by Anna Doherty
Junior and his sister Lulu want to visit Human Town and their elephant parents let them go. This is a theme park where humans are on display, the last of their kind because they are dying out from pollution, watching too much TV, and fighting with each other. After the visit, the elephant family has a snack and goes home. They are sad at the thought of a world with no humans, but the humans are on the path to extinction. They hope that it doesn’t happen to them. I love how this book turns endangered species on its head with this provocative thought. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
Tiny House Living
Sissy Goes Tiny by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, illustrated by Penny Weber
“I believe that Sissy Goes Tiny is going to open so many minds for people! A tiny house is absolutely not for everyone, but we all like to dream and step into the shoes of another lifestyle in our minds. Learning about this lifestyle I think will help people be more supportive of people who do choose to live unconventionally. Sissy and her family are a great example of that.” Co-author and tiny house dweller, B.A. Norrgard
Co-written by Audrey Press’ own “Head Elf” Rebecca Flansburg, Sissy Goes Tiny is a beautiful book that is about SO much more than living in a tiny house on wheels!
Eight-year-old Sissy and her parents make the bold choice to downsize their life and embark on a journey of living tiny and doing more with less. At first, Sissy struggles to get used to the idea of living in a tiny house on wheels and traveling around the U.S, but as she and her mommy and daddy learn about downsizing, repurposing, and how “stuff is just stuff,” she soon understands that a life of “living tiny” will be filled with the big adventures and learning. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
A Cross Country Roadtrip
Under the Milky Way by Frané Lessac
Under the starry skies of North America, life is vibrant with trick or treating in Salem, MA, Chinese New Year celebrations in San Francisco, and a night market in Toronto. These are just a few of the celebrations hosted around the U.S. and Canada depicted in this lovely picture book. Compare the diversity of peoples and events here with Lessac’s companion book, Under the Southern Cross. It will show the reader that people all over the world are more similar than different. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Under the Southern Cross by Frané Lessac
Under the night sky in the Southern Cross, life is busy! There are families watching movies outdoors, football games, turtle hatchings, and more. Lessac gives the reader a vibrant tour of the people, landscapes, and animals in Australia at night. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
This Land is Your Land by Woodie Guthrie, illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen
The lyrics from Woodie Guthrie’s iconic song are imagined as a cross-country road trip by the singer himself in this gloriously illustrated picture book. Kathy Jakobsen includes related history both of the U.S.’s Great Depression and of the song itself through her illustrations and sidebars. This is a deeply and lovingly researched visual ballad to Woodie Guthrie! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Travel Guide for Monsters by Lori Degman, illustrated by Dave Szalay
Monsters need special instructions for their road trip across the United States. Use this funny picture book for a different perspective on what not to do during a cross-country trip. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
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p.s. Related posts:
Food for the Future: Sustainable Farms Around the World
- Junior Library Guild Gold selection
- Selected as one of 100 Outstanding Picture Books of 2023 by dPICTUS and featured at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair
- Starred review from School Library Journal
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.