Earth Day occurs every year on April 22nd, providing the perfect opportunity to release our inner eco-warrior and teach children about the importance of looking after and living in harmony with mother nature. The question is… how should you go about it?
It can be tricky figuring out how to celebrate this wonderful day whilst simultaneously imparting some choice bits of green wisdom, but don’t worry; we have the answer for you — Earth Day-themed read-aloud books!
And just to be sure you find the right ones, we’ve scoured the bookshelves of the world and the web to find the very best Earth day read-alouds of all!
OUR TOP PICK
In Earth Day Every Day, we follow Trina, a schoolgirl determined to do her part for our shared home.
She plants trees, forms an amazing Earth Day club with her friends, and most importantly of all, decides that she’ll live every day as if it’s Earth Day.
The story is nice and simple, which lends itself to a good old read-aloud session, and it imparts some essential lessons along the way, including the importance of the three Rs: Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling.
It doesn’t get more wholesome than Earth Day — Hooray!, an awesome book about Ryan, Luke, and Carly, three friends determined to collect and recycle 5,000 cans before Earth Day.
Why? Well, for one, it’s an exciting and noble challenge that the characters take pride in, but the real goal is to raise enough money that they can afford some pretty flowers to plant in their local park.
It’s a dynamite story, and just to be sure the really little ones in your audience understand the plot, there are tons of interesting facts about recycling sprinkled throughout.
Lion and his pals plan to celebrate Earth Day by planting lots of trees and recycling as much as possible, but Monkey has different plans.
Today is Monkey’s birthday, and he thinks that his animal buddies should be celebrating him the way he celebrates them on their birthdays.
However, he’s finding it tricky even convincing his well-meaning friends that his birthday falls on Earth Day.
This one is an absolute blast to read out, and any kids in your audience that share Monkey’s predicament of having a birthday on a holiday will find the story incredibly engaging.
My Friend Earth personifies our planet to emphasize how amazing it is to us. When you think of all the wonderful aspects of nature being personal gifts to you, it’s easier not to take the environment for granted.
After hearing this amazing story read aloud, children will be enthused to act in turn and be nice to their kind friend, Earth.
But don’t just read this book! Be sure to turn it around to show the children all the lovely illustrations and die-cut details.
Kids are curious critters, and it’s important that we answer their questions in order to help them understand themselves and the world around them better, and that’s precisely what Mr. Jones does when he’s asked by a pupil why we should recycle.
He takes them on an informative field trip to a recycling plant where they learn the importance of recycling and looking after the environment — Nice one, Mr. Jones!
Children can make a game out of anything, so when the kids in Recycling Is Fun learn about the values of recycling, they quickly find joy in the act.
It’s a simple and utterly infectious story that will have your audience slurping their juice boxes double-quick just so they can join in on the fun and get recycling.
In What Does It Mean To Be Green, we follow a young girl and boy on their green learning journey.
They’re determined to understand all the ways in which they can actively help the Earth and why each act is so important.
This is a special book in that it doesn’t just tell kids about green values, it tells them in no uncertain words what they can do to live by those values.
Okay, so cards on the table… This isn’t so much of a read-aloud book as it is a discussion-inducing book, as there are no words. Yep, that’s right; it’s a picture book, but the old adage, “a picture’s worth a thousand words” certainly rings true here.
The pictures follow the journey of a paper bag, from part of a tree in the forest, to the little boy who finds it at the grocery store. You can narrate the story in your own words if you like, or simply show your audience and allow them to start the discourse.
While it’s not technically an Earth Day book as such, the moral is very much aligned with those of April 22, so it’s definitely with a read… or a look anyway.
This isn’t your typical read-aloud book, as there’s no story, but it’s still a fantastic option for Earth Day.
Full of fun facts pertaining to waste, recycling, and nature, kids will learn more from a couple of pages of this book than they will from many of the other books on this list put together.
There are tons of awesome illustrations to show your audience too, and the book itself is made out of responsibly sourced materials and soy ink.
Ah, Curious George… what a stand-up monkey. In this story, he hears that the local science museum is introducing a “green day”, and, true to form, he wants to know all about it and help in any way he can.
However, as is ever the case for this well-meaning monkey, in his eagerness to get involved, he gets into a spot of bother with the greater community.
Don’t worry, though, as the community is just as eager to go green, and George is forgiven in the end.
Abigail doesn’t want just any pet; she wants the perfect pet, and when she comes across Fido, a young potted tree, she’s sure she’s found it!
Not only does Fido provide shade whenever Abigail needs it and “sit” better than any dog, the tree offers up the very air she breathes.
As Fido grows larger, it becomes increasingly difficult for Abigail to keep her perfect pet, but whether she can or can’t keep her pet isn’t the most important question. It’s whether she should keep Fido as a pet that really matters in the end.
Zonia doesn’t live in a house on a street like most of us; the rain forest is her home, and she lives in perfect harmony with the flora and fauna of this beautiful wilderness.
She’s friends with sloth families, hangs out with giant anteaters, and gets her steps in with the jaguar that also calls the rain forest home.
Hers is a contented life, but when she hears a troubled voice ringing out somewhere within the forest, she must choose carefully how she responds.
This book is the best way to introduce young children to the Rain Forest and its inhabitants, and it’s a super fun read-aloud book to share on Earth Day.
There’s a lot more to trees than meets the eye, and in this book, Jen Green makes it her mission to reveal them.
Covering topics such as how trees “communicate”, record the past, and anticipate future events, it effectively defamiliarizes the dinosaurs of the plant world in the minds of both children and adults alike.
Inspired by indigenous-led environmental movements across the US, water is the protagonist in this book, and it falls upon us all to protect it from harm, and thus, protect ourselves and the Earth on which we live.
There’s nothing Rocket loves more when visiting her island-based grandparents than hitting the beach and going surfing, so when she finds her favorite natural beauty spot strewn with trash, there’s no way she’s going to stand by and do nothing!
Her spirited response to this tragic turn of events whips the community into a green frenzy, uniting everyone under the green banner.
The caring for and showing appreciation of Earth should not be resigned to just one day, but with so much on our agendas, it’s not always possible to prioritize green education, so when we get this one chance to go all out, it’s important that we make the most of it.
Armed with your voice and a few of these awesome Earth Day books, you’ll be able to do just that, ensuring that the young minds in your presence understand how crucial looking after our planet is.
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