A couple months ago now in a staff meeting a colleague shared one of those books that gives your shivers. You all know of what I speak. This time around it was A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz. In this beautifully illustrated book Rabinowitz tells the story of a boy who stutters except in the company of animals and goes on to give voice to wildlife conservation and in particular wild cats, like the jaguar he met at the Bronx Zoo many, many years ago. Oh yes, and that boy is him! This book got me thinking about all the fabulous narrative non-fiction out there, particularly the books which focus on connecting children to the planet around them, and of course incorporating all this into storytime! (Because honestly, what else do we think about!?)
So after putting the call out to our fabulous Tweeps, I got lots of lovely ideas and wanted to throw them all together to create a list of literacy resources for Young Conservationists! Because there is a range in age I’ll break them down as such, though some are great right across the board.
Toddler- Kindergarten Crowd
First off a couple of my favourite read-aloudable (shhh!) environmental books include 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh and One Child, One Planet by Bridget McGovern Llewwllyn. Our tweeps had the following book ideas to share: Angela likes Junkyard by Mike Austin, Heather suggested Rose’s Garden by Reynolds, Angie had a whole bunch like The Curious Garden by Brown, The Gardener by Stewart, Plant a Little Seed by Christensen, And the Good Brown Earth by Henderson and finally Brandy mentioned the lovely All the World by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon.
Now that your books are chosen how about crafts and activities? I stumbled upon the gold mine that is the Earth Day and Environmental Awareness for Kids Board by Carolyn Hart of Storytime Standouts. And then a couple storytime outlines to round us out: Earth Day Storytime by Mollie Kay, Preschool Storytime: Earth Day by LibrErin and with great music and puppet suggestions another Preschool Storytime: Earth Day by Carol Simon Levin.
Because I truly think A Boy and A Jaguar is best suited for kiddies 5 and up I wanted to include some other resources for putting together a school age Young Conservationist program (or club, oh how 10 year old Dana would have swooned!) A couple other books which would be fun to read throughout a program, while throwing some songs and games in there include The Tree Lady by Hopkins, Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Roth, selections from the movement known as The One and Only Ivan or alternatively beautiful panels from Ottaviani’s graphic novel Primates.
I found one really neat school age storytime on a new-to-me blog called Librarianism Chronicles all about Garbage, Garbage, Garbage! Finally our twitter-pal Brytani came up big with some music recommendations which could also be used with a crowd of any age. She likes Jack Johnson’s 3 R’s, Raffi’s This Land is Your Land (about Canada!) and Water in the Well.
While Earth Day is plenty far away, this gives you enough time to check out some new books and more importantly post your brilliant ideas below. Thanks to all who shared thus far, after all it’s sharing which makes our beautiful planet go around (SCIENCE!)