HomeBooks by AgeAges 0-3Earth Day Books: Gardens, Compost & Bees

Earth Day Books: Gardens, Compost & Bees

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 12, 2011

Learning to Nurture Nature

Gardening, recycling, composting, and being at one with nature (including our vanishing honeybees) and all it has to offer; these are great ways to connect young children with our environment and encourage them to nurture our special one-of-a-kind Earth.

Picture Books

Compost Stew

By Mary McKenna Siddals (Author), Ashley Wolff (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-7

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher: Tricycle Press; 1 edition (March 23, 2010)

Source: Publisher

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth uses a clever and entertaining rhyme that, just as the title suggests, gives a great recipe for making compost. All of the ingredients are familiar household products, such as vegetable trimmings, coffee grounds, and oatmeal. At the back of the book the “Chef’s Note” can be found—it’s another witty rhyme all of its own and teaches readers what shouldn’t go in compost. The illustrations, which are rendered in gouache and collage, compliment the tone of the recipe with the use of more familiar recyclable materials.

Add this book to your collection: Compost Stew

Sofia’s Dream
By Land Wilson (Author), Sue Cornelison (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-7

Hardcover: 19 pages

Publisher: Little Pickle Press LLC; 1st edition (November 24, 2010)

Source: Author

Sofia’s Dream was written for the sole purpose of inspiring children to take care of the earth. Beginning with the cover image of an angelic young girl soaring high in the sky, her eyes full of hope and untarnished optimism, a magical tone is set for the story. Wilson’s appreciation for nature and environmental protection shine through in this powerfully uncomplicated picture book.

Add this book to your collection: Sofia’s Dream

Water, Weed, and Wait
By Edith Hope Fine (Author), Angela Halpin (Author), Colleen M. Madden (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-7

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Tricycle Press (August 10, 2010)

Source: Publisher

Gardening requires a little hard work and patience, but the benefits are plentiful. In Water, Weed, Wait, Miss Marigold’s class discovers this firsthand when they turn a rocky patch of dirt into a thriving garden. However, this is not just a book about gardening and nurturing the earth, this is also a book about community and the rewards that come from working together. The mixed media illustrations have kid appeal and the tips for “Sprouting Your Own School Garden” on the last double page spread are sure to inspire readers.

Add this book to your collection: Water, Weed, and Wait

Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf
by Olivia Bouler

Reading level: Ages 3-9

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Sterling (April 5, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Eleven-year-old Olivia Bouler’s first picture book proves that one child—one person—can make a difference. An avid bird lover, Olivia is determined to make a difference for the birds affected by the 2010 Gulf oil spill. Sterling Children’s Books said: “She has single-handedly risen over $150,000 via Audobon’s Gulf oil spill recovery program by sending every donor one of her own bird paintings … .” Many of her paintings have been reproduced in this book and have been combined with useful everyday tips that kids can use to get involved and help make our world a better place. The book supports Audobon’s mission and has been printed on FSC eco-friendly paper—a step that should be taken more frequently.

Add this book to your collection: Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf

Jam & Honey
By Melita Morales (Author), Laura J. Bryant (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 3-5

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Tricycle Press (January 25, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Two stories collide delicately when a little girl collecting berries from her garden and a honeybee collecting nectar meet face-to-face. Using sweet and cadent verses, Morales eases the common fear of bees through respect and understanding. The watercolor and pencil illustrations are delightfully colorful and the dotted lines of the honeybee’s flight path highlight just how busy bees really are. Jam and Honey is light, playful, and enlightening.

Add this book to your collection: Jam & Honey

The Honeybee Man
By Lela Nargi (Author), Kyrsten Brooker (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (March 8, 2011)

Source: Publisher

The Honeybee Man is a nice depiction of the life of an urban beekeeper. Facts meet fiction to offer an educational story that highlights how nature can exist within a concrete jungle with the help of man. The afterword and end papers include even more beekeeping facts and diagrams of bees, hives, and the anatomy of a flower. This is a great choice for kids with a strong thirst for knowledge.

Add this book to your collection: The Honeybee Man

Board Book

The Little Composter

By Jan Gerardi

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Board book: 16 pages

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; Brdbk edition (March 8, 2011)

Source: Publisher

The Little Composter is a compact, sturdy, engaging lift-the-flaps board book form the new Teenie Greenies series. Using basic rhyme, a recipe for compost is shared by a young child who plants, waters, and grows his own garden. Printed on 80% recycled paper, this is a playful and earth-friendly choice with true toddler appeal.

Add this book to your collection: The Little Composter

Early Reader

Little Critter: A Green, Green Garden

By Mercer Mayer

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (March 1, 2011)

Source: Publisher

Not everyone enjoys gardening, so it’s nice when this Little Critter story closes with an enjoyable feast that highlights the reward that comes from working on a garden. Due to large text and brief sentences, this is a good, environmental themed choice for beginner readers. Consider it a basic lead-in to a lesson on sustainability or just a fun Earth Day read.

Add this book to your collection: Little Critter: A Green, Green Garden

Chapter Book

Ivy and Bean: What’s the Big Idea? (Book 7)

by Annie Barrows (Author), Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 6-10

Hardcover: 128 pages

Publisher: Chronicle Books (September 22, 2010)

Source: Publisher

Ivy and Bean return in the seventh book of their series, Ivy + Bean: What’s the Big Idea? All the kids in second grade love science. That is until some older kids come to talk to the class about global warming. Author Annie Barrows is so in-tune with the minds of children, and this shines through with the comical experiments that Ivy and Bean try out before choosing they’re brilliant and thought-provoking Science Fair project. To top off another great installment of the series, there are plenty of great explanations of global warming and the many experiments used throughout the book—they can be found in the last few pages.

Add this book to your collection: Ivy and Bean What’s the Big Idea? (Book 7) by Annie Barrows

Scholastic Media

For more literary and language fun in the name of environmental awareness, Scholastic Media’s award-winning television series WordGirl and Maya & Miguel both have Earth Day specials. The WordGirl episode will air on Friday, April 22 and Maya & Miguel on Thursday, April 21—both on PBS Kids.

Check out last year’s Earth Day list for more suggestions: Green with Environmental Awareness

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

  • What a diverse collection of books for encouraging kids to connect with nature and nurture the Earth! Thanks for including Compost Stew, and giving your readers so many ways to dig in… and enjoy!


    April 20, 2011
    • You are very welcome, Mary. Thanks for writing a book dedicated to such an important theme.

      April 20, 2011

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