Early Literacy | Apr 08, 2015
Susan Ramsay, Early Literacy Specialist HFL&A
March 28, 2015. 8:29 pm. Computer? Off. Television? Off. Lights? Off. We powered down for the ninth annual Earth Hour, hoping that our symbolic acts of replacing brightly lit streets and homes with flickering candles will unite individuals across six continents, 120 countries and 24 time zones to voice concern for planet Earth.
But whether it’s Earth Hour or Earth Day, which falls on April 22, we know that hope for our environment depends on something that lasts longer than one hour or a single day. It will depend on our ability as individuals, businesses and politicians to respect and love our natural world.
For those of us who are parents, grandparents or caregivers of children, this respect and love is easy to share with our youngest global citizens. Children are born with curiosity and fascination for our world that is enviable. Without a single lesson, children know how to make mud pies. They are captivated by birds’ nests and sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with gusto. By exploring the natural world together outdoors, and by thinking, talking and reading about nature, children learn to treat the world kindly. There are many great children’s books to help us celebrate and talk about nature with young children.
If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian is all about skipping rocks, splashing rocks, climbing rocks, and wishing rocks. Photographs and poetic words explore the wonders of rocks and the mysterious places in which children find them.
Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis uses simple illustrations to capture the imagination of a child who, when holding a stick, can magically conduct an orchestra, paint a masterpiece or slay a dragon.
The Earth Book by Todd Parr uses bold colours and simple drawings to help children think of practical ways we can care for Earth – from planting a tree, to saving energy, to reusing old things in new ways.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown is about a little boy named Liam who discovers a struggling garden. He decides to take care of it. The garden thrives and spreads, transforming a dark, gray city into a lush, green world. The illustrations become increasingly vibrant as the garden grows. Liam (who has red hair) is hidden somewhere on every page, making it a fun seek and find book too.
The Lorax by Dr Seuss is a rhyming tale about Once-ler, who came across a valley of Truffula Trees and Brown Bar-ba-loots. His harvesting of the tufted trees changed the landscape forever. The Lorax helps readers see beauty in the natural world and helps us talk about our responsibility to protect it.
Morning on the Lake by Jan Bourdeau Waboose captivates readers with words and illustrations that describe a young boy’s peaceful day in the woods with his grandfather. Grandfather’s gentle guidance helps the boy respect the ways of nature and understand his own place in the world.
Igniting a flame of passion for our environment may start with a candle. It may also start with the knowledge and love for our earth that we explore and share with, and for, our children.