In December, world leaders will meet in Paris at the United Nations Conference to negotiate a new agreement on climate change. This agreement is critical for reducing carbon emissions globally and preventing temperatures from reaching critical levels. If the leaders can come up with a plan, it will help determine the state of the Earth that we leave to our children, which makes it all the more important to educate kids and encourage them to respect the environment and develop sustainable habits. Here are a few books to help put them on the right track.
10 Things I Can Do to Help my World
(Candlewick Books, $10)
by Melanie Walsh – Ages 4-8
This book gives children concrete ways to contribute towards preserving the planet. It includes small gestures like helping to sort the recycling and turning the water off when brushing your teeth. The book uses fun lift-the-flaps to help teach children how they can make a positive contribution. The author’s use of the first person helps children understand that the planet is their global home and gives them a sense of responsibility towards the earth. It also gives examples that link our consumerism with the deteriorating state of the planet. The child-like illustrations make the book all the more relatable to its young readers who, by the end, will hopefully be budding environmentalists.
Where’s the Elephant?
(Candlewick Books, $20)
by Barroux – Ages 5-9
This book by French illustrator Barroux will be released in Canada in March, 2016. The mostly illustrated book is presented as a search and find in the style of Where’s Waldo. Children are asked to look for an elephant, a snake and a parrot within beautifully illustrated pages that depict the jungle. Beneath this game-like format, however, is an important message about the impact humans have on the environment. As children turn the pages, the animals become increasingly easy to find. This is because the jungle is gradually being cut down to make way for housing developments. The book is very effective in helping children see how wildlife is threatened by deforestation and other human impacts on the environment. Children might finish the book with more questions than answers, but their raised awareness and curiosity may inspire them to keep learning about the topic and contribute to a solution.
(Pan McMillan., $9.99)
by Julie Bertagna – Ages 12-16
There are already several island nations in the South Pacific that are at risk of becoming completely submerged. This reality is what inspired author Julie
Bertagna to pen this science fiction novel for teenagers, which is set in the year 2100. The story follows 15-year-old Mara, who lives on an island named Wing that is on the verge of disappearing. Nearly all the land on the planet is submerged, but when Mara hears of some land that is still elevated, she leads a group who wants to find it. As they journey across waters where countries once stood, you’ll be reminded of the story of Noah’s Ark. Mara and her peers are refugees trying to find a new place to call home, adrift through no fault of their own. The novel is prescient in its vision of a world where the ice caps have melted substantially. It confronts our reliance on technology as the sole means to solving the problems we create, revealing to readers the need to show greater respect toward nature.