Earth Day: 3 great books to spark a conversation with your kids about the environment 5 months ago

Earth Day: 3 great books to spark a conversation with your kids about the environment

"Unless someone like you cares an awful whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

As parents we can bestow a lot of wisdom on our children. And hopefully we do. Some of our lessons are more important than others and, like with most things, children learn a lot of their behaviour not so much from listening to what we say to them, but rather by watching how we actually do the things we talk about.

One of the most vital and important things we can discuss with our children today is how to care about the environment. How to care for this beautiful blue planet we are all living on, that we, as adults, are literally just borrowing from our children and grandchildren. And that our generation have done such a disastrous job of looking after.

Greta Thunberg. The fires in the Amazon. The plastic in our oceans. Chances are, especially if you have children of school-going age, they will have caught snippets of news, and they might have questions. Or feel scared. Or just want to know more.

So how do we talk about it? How do we tackle a topic that is so huge, so complex and, to an extent, also so scary? How do we instil in our children just how important caring for the environment really is? And how do we do this is a manner that is age-appropriate to them, and in a way that sparks a little voice in their head that thinks "I can do this – I can make a difference!"?

Books. I have decided to start with books. We read bedtime stories every evening, and then we always snuggle down for a little chat – so this is my golden opportunity. Right now, we are reading these three on repeat, and loving them so, so much:

1. The Lorax

Oh, how we love all Dr. Seuss' books in our house, and, in particular, The Lorax – the book Theodor Seuss Geisel (which was his full name, of course) wrote inspired by an actual tree in a nearby park in his hometown of La Jolla in California.

The Lorax is a hilarious and timeless story, with the trademark humour and silly rhymes of Dr. Seuss, that packs a punch with its important ecological message – without feeling scare-mongery or preachy. Instead, The Lorax is the original eco-warrior, as he tries to save the Truffula trees from the greedy Once-ler’s axe. The Dr. Seuss blend of zany pictures and unique rhyme, rhythm and repetition, means that all ages will learn from and love this wonderful book.

If you ask me, the entire Dr. Seuss collection is a must for reading to your kids, and especially this book.

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2. What A Waste: Rubbish, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet

Everything you need to know about what we're doing to our environment, good and bad – from pollution and litter to renewable energy and plastic recycling – in one place.

This environmental book will teach keen young ecologists about our actions affect planet Earth. Discover shocking facts about the waste we produce and where it goes. Did you know that every single plastic toothbrush ever made still exists? Or that there's a floating mass of rubbish larger than the USA drifting around the Pacific Ocean?

It's not all bad news though. As well as explaining where we're going wrong, What a Waste shows what we're doing right! Discover plans already in motion to save our seas, how countries are implementing schemes that are having a positive impact, and how your waste can be turned into something useful. Every small change helps our planet!

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3. The Last Tiger

This moving story warns of what the future might hold if we neglect our duty of care to our environment. In a world that has been destroyed by human carelessness, a little boy discovers the last tiger. But where did he come from? Through their adventure together they rediscover a natural way of living, and lead the world to a sustainable future. With striking illustrations crafted in ink line and collage, this thoughtful yet uplifting picture book leaves a lasting impact.

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