Over the years I’ve read some wonderful children’s books, but recently with a renewed dedication to visiting our local library each week, we’ve discovered books that really capture the essence of bringing children closer to nature. I love hearing about favorite books so I’d like to share my new discoveries. To make the list fun and more complete, I thought I’d select a book from each age bracket starting from babies until mid-elementary. After this age, chapter books enter the picture with bed time routine, so this list is for the under age 10 crowd.
When I think about books to read to babies I always think Dr. Suess. Since you won’t get the immediate gratification or feedback when reading to a baby – pick books that are fun to read, flow easily, and have a message for you to understand and remember once that baby starts to grow. The Lorax and The Giving Tree have two of the strongest messages and are books that can be read all throughout your child’s development. The Lorax is the type of book that you take away a new message each time you visit the pages. Long before your child discovers the movie, they should experience the strong messages on helping the environment from hearing the words read by their parent.
Kiss The Cow – I was smitten by the book cover before even opening the book! The story is wonderful and current in today’s world of appreciating and respecting the work that goes into producing food. Kiss The Cow is about a curious little girl named Annalisa and her cow named Luella. When the little girl milks the cow and forgets the kiss – who will be the first to back down? A magic cow who demands a kiss on the nose to keep milk flowing is a message of thanking our food supply, explained in a light and funny way! As you’ll see from the book cover (via Candlewick Press) this book is precious for both parents and younger children to read!
Kindergarten – Grade 2 Pick:
We keep renewing Seal Song from the library because it is such a refreshing change in children’s literature. Seal Song is a story about a boy that helps his father fish in a small town and secretly swims with seals in a secret cove. When he rescues a seal tangled in netting, he makes a wish that the seal could live on land. That night the seals sing and a mysterious girl arrives on the docks. The main character Finn and this girl immediately start a friendship but there is unease that she is a magical selkie until the seals sing again. Andrea Spalding did a great job writing this book and I love the special messages about our connection and rewards for helping nature.
Grade 2 – Grade 4 Pick:
Eagle Boy has another amazing book cover and is published by Random House. This story is based on a popular Northwest Coast Native tale and tells the story of ‘Eagle Boy’ who is born an orphan and grows up to love his eagle friends, despite the fact the rest of his tribe distrusts these birds. He is eventually outcast for his love of eagles, but after the tribe can’t find a food source, both the boy and tribe are saved from starvation by the eagles. A great book about individuality, standing up for what you believe in, and humanity. The pictures are also stunning!
Here is a variety of book picks from mom contributors via Mommy Footprint fan page. Here are their suggestions on books that engage children with nature! I know I’ll be adding a few of these to my Christmas list – what about you?
– Hey Little Ant
– Owl Moon
– The Last Wild Witch
– The Salamander Room
– We Planted A Tree
– A Log’s Life
– The Nature Corner
– Bear Hug
– The Whale and the Snail
– Jessie’s Island