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Then, I read James and the Giant Peach. James and the Giant Peach is an adventure about a young boy who crosses the Atlantic with his best friends, who just so happen to have many legs and an exoskeleton. My days as a bugnapper were officially over.
This experience taught me how important books are in shaping the values of children. However, I’m not the only one who can benefit from the lessons of my transformation. What literature can you use to introduce environmental lessons for your kids?
Here are the 6 best children’s books to raise young environmentalists:
- The Lorax: Dr. Seuss’s cautionary tale has a very strong pro- conservation message. The Lorax stresses to children the importance of following your conscience, even if it means, marching against the current of society. Plus young children -and any adult – will love the wacky rhymes and the vibrant illustrations of Truffula Trees and Bar-ba-loots.
- Charlotte’s Web: E. B. White’s pastoral tale provides children with a realistic depiction of work on an early 20th century farm. Charlotte’s Web encourages young children to recognize the lasting impact that even the smallest spider can have on the lives of others.
- James and the Giant Peach: My favorite book by Roald Dahl depicts nature as a form of salvation. An abused orphan, James, finds refuge from his pitiful guardians via a flying peach. James’s crew-members include ladybugs, spiders, centipedes and earthworms that teach James about the many services and how insects benefit our environment.
- The Wind in the Willow: Kenneth Grahame’s novel has delighted children for over a century in its charming depiction of the adventures of Toad, Ratty, Mole, and Badger. It, also, examines the threat that modern technology has on the purity of the natural world and its occupants. Toad teaches a great lesson upon returning from the Industrialized World to his river community, with a greater appreciation for the simple, country life.
- My Side of the Mountain: Jean Craighead George’s novel is a must-read for the budding environmental enthusiast. Twelve-year-old, Sam, decides to live on his own in the Catskills. Sam, and by extension young readers, become seasoned in wilderness survival skills. My Side of the Mountain also touches on a common sustainability dilemma: being a connected participant of modern society, while embracing the tranquility of nature.
- The Secret Garden:Peppered with floral imagery, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic book is a love letter to the natural world and explores redemptive effects that nature can have on a family. The depression and isolation that Mary Lennox and the Cravens experience is lifted through their work in the garden, allowing the characters to blossom into a unified family.
Note: If you are on a budget, all of these books are available to borrow from the public library free of charge. Check them out!
Happy Reading! Do you have a favorite green novel for young adults? Tell us in the comments.