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Explaining Environmentalism to Children Through Books
Today is important because it’s Read Across America Day! A day millions of children across the United States and throughout the rest of the world will celebrate literacy.
Schools, libraries, and businesses will also celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday and host Seuss-centric or Lorax themed activities. The Lorax opens in movie theaters and even though it hasn’t received praise from everyone, parents and educators are using the book and new animated movie as a launching pad to discussing this year’s green theme.
Most of us know the story of the Lorax (published in 1971) and the Truffula trees he tries to save as the Once-Ler moves in to chop the trees down to manufacture a product everyone thinks they need. The Once-Ler decimates the pristine forest world and the creatures, including the Lorax must abandon their home.
The Lorax is extremely popular and makes explaining environmentalism and the effects of industrialization and deforestation to young children easy because of Seuss’ usage of rhyme and his quirky, intriguing characters and illustrations.
A common complaint about children’s books that discuss environmentalism is that they are one-sided and only present the viewpoint of the extreme conservationist: choosing to portray industry and humans as reckless and evil. That may be so but it is essential to remember that a part of literacy is reading comprehension. Reading isn’t just about going through the motions and screaming, “I’m done! Next!” at the end. Reading and thinking about what is read encourages discussion and a one-sided book can lead to conversations about opposing viewpoints.
Here is a list of ten “green books” for children, from babies to teenagers, that can lead to lively discussions and awareness:
Eco Babies Wear Green by Michelle Sinclair Colman
The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rainforest by Lynne Cherry
A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History by Lynne Cherry
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
B is for Blue Planet: An Earth Science Alphabet by Ruth Strother
The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
Recycle!: A Handbook for Kids by Gail Gibbons
Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling
Hoot by Carl Hiassen
The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids: The Secret Behind What You Eat by Michael Pollan
DK Eye Wonder/ EyeWitness, the Magic School Bus series, the Magic Tree House series and other science oriented books about eco-systems, animals and nature are excellent in presenting children with a factual look at the world.
1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.
1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.
2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.