A World Filled with Wonder

Whether it's Earth Day or any other day, young readers will find themselves drawn to the stunning environments and creatures portrayed in these books. From the waterfalls and hummingbirds of the Iguazú to the Truffula Tress of The Lorax, these bilingual books will get kids thinking about what they can do to protect our fragile planet.

For related environmental classroom resources, take a look at our web resources section of Earth Day lesson plans!

Animal Poems of the Iguazú

Inspired by a visit to the Iguazú National Park in South America, Francisco X. Alarcón celebrates its animals, skies, waterfalls, and more in these short and vibrant bilingual poems. Each page holds pulsating paintings that swirl and move, further vivifying each poem.

Butterflies on Carmen Street

Illustrated by: April Ward

Julianita is excited to receive her very own caterpillar to raise at school! Yet when her caterpillar, Tiger, finally emerges from his chrysalis, Julianita doesn't want to let him go. She worries that he will get lost on his way to Mexico. "Tiger knows the way to Mexico because it's in his heart," her Abuelito reassures her. She feels sad to see Tiger fly away, but Julianita knows that someday, she will follow him to back to her grandfather's beloved homeland.

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message

In this poignant and graceful picture book, Chief Jake Swamp gives thanks to Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants for sharing their rare and precious gifts. According to the author's note, these words are still spoken at ceremonial and governmental gatherings held by the Six Nations. Available in Spanish. Related classroom activities are included in this teachers guide.

Hello Ocean / Hola Mar

A child narrates her visit to the ocean, inviting readers to explore it with her. She experiences the sea with all of her senses through realistic illustrations and lyrical language in this gently rhyming tale.

I Know the River Loves Me

Celebrate the river's magic and music with this poetic tribute that also speaks to the importance of taking care of our rivers. Vivid aqua and green waves swirl across the pages, bringing the river and her friend to life.

Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: The flagship book in the Keepers of the Earth series, this environmental classic teaches children respect and stewardship for the Earth and all living things. Joseph Bruchac's lyrical retellings set the stage for Michael Caduto's abundance of related activities. Beginning with Native American stories, this invaluable and time-honored resource provides readers with an abundance of hands-on activities that will inspire children to understand and appreciate Native American cultures and the Earth.

Look Up! Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer

Illustrated by: Raúl Colón
Age Level: 6-9

Meet Henrietta Leavitt, a 19th-century scientific pioneer. From careful observations, Leavitt discovered that the brightness of a star determines its distance from Earth, helping us better understand the vastness of the universe. Warm colored pencil and watercolor illustrations by Colón create a contemplative mood. Back matter includes quotations, a glossary, information about other female astronomers, and more.

My Colors, My World

Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Little Maya longs to find brilliant, beautiful, inspiring color in her world…but Maya's world, the Mojave Desert, seems to be filled with nothing but sand. With the help of a feathered friend, she searches everywhere to discover color in her world. In the brilliant purple of her mother's flowers, the cool green of a cactus, the hot pink sunset, and the shiny black of Papi's hair, Maya finally finds what she was looking for. Also available as a board book.

My Island and I: The Nature of Puerto Rico

Illustrated by: Alexis Lago
Age Level: 6-9

"Written by Caribbean naturalist Alfonso Silva Lee, My Island and I is a colorful children's picturebook about the natural ecology of an island — from fallen trees becoming food for fungi and termites to the thoughts of lizards and the interaction of fish. The watercolor-style illustrations by Alexis Lago bring to life the festive, multifaceted wonder of natural life." — Children's Book Watch

Native American Gardening: Stories, Projects, and Recipes for Families (The Keepers of the Earth series)

Age Level: 6-9

"Stories about the cycle of life illuminate learning activities in Native American Gardening: Stories, Projects and Recipes for Families by noted storytellers Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac. Using tribal tales from across the country as inspiration, the authors provide practical information about seed preservation, planting and maintaining the garden, reaping and cooking the harvest." — Publishers Weekly

Native Defenders of the Environment

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: From the Native Trailblazers series comes a book with the stories of twelve brave people who work tirelessly to save our environment. Readers will learn about Grace Thorpe, who worked to keep Native reservations from becoming nuclear waste dumps; Tom Goldtooth, the director of the Indigenous Environmental Network; and Ben Powless, a founding organizer of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition.

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship

Illustrated by: Peter Greste
Age Level: 6-9

When a tsunami orphans a young hippopotamus, a group of concerned Malidi (on the east coast of Kenya) villagers figure out how to capture the 600 pound baby thus beginning his new life in an animal sanctuary with a new and unlikely companion — a 130 year old tortoise named Mzee. Full color photographs and straightforward text are used in this inspiring, appealing and true story told first by a young girl and her father.

Parrots Over Puerto Rico

Age Level: 6-9

Puerto Rican parrots, once abundant, came perilously close to extinction in the 1960s due to centuries of foreign exploration and occupation, development, and habitat destruction. In this compelling book, Roth and Trumbore use collage illustrations and a unique format to recount the efforts of the scientists of the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program to save the parrots and ensure their future.

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian

Illustrated by: Julie Paschkis
Age Level: 3-6

Butterflies were once thought to be "beasts of the devil." Maria Merian, a perceptive young German naturalist, knew better. She recorded her notes and drawings on the butterflies' transformation in secret so that she would not be accused of witchcraft and later became a famous scientist and artist who helped the rest of the world understand natural life cycles. Margarita Engle brings her extraordinary story to life, accompanied by Julie Paschkis' gorgeous illustrations.

Talking with Mother Earth

Age Level: 6-9

"This literary offering stands out for its beauty and depth of expression. Argueta, a Pipil Nahua Indian, reaches deep into his childhood in rural El Salvador for memories and for his connection to Mother Earth. The poems alternate between bitterness and joy. Nahuatl words are peppered throughout, almost defiantly…Poems about fire, wind, and water speak to those life-giving forces as friends and protectors." — School Library Journal

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Young Reader's Edition

Age Level: 9-12

When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba's tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season's crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family's life forever: he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William's windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.

The Desert Is My Mother

A girl with long, dark hair appreciates the surprisingly lush and colorful desert: "I say feed me,/She serves red prickly pears…" The poetic text in both Spanish and English is placed on different colors on one side of the page; crisp, full-color illustrations appear on the opposing page to celebrate this beautiful setting.

The Elders Are Watching

Illustrated by: Roy Henry Vickers
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: As Native elders have advised from time immemorial, this is a gentle plea to respect the natural environment. When the award-winning poet David Bouchard first saw the artwork of First Nations artist Roy Henry Vickers, he was struck by Vickers' reverence for nature, the vibrancy of his colors, and his perceptive understanding of Canada's rugged West Coast. In this new edition of their collaboration, their vision is as fresh and relevant today as it was when the book was first published.

The Great Kapok Tree

The Great Kapok Tree is home to many inhabitants of the rain forest, including anteaters, bees and butterflies, monkeys, toucans, tree frogs, and jaguars. When a man who has come to cut the tree down falls asleep in its shades, the creatures whisper in his ear what will happen if they lose their home. The lush illustrations of the tropical setting practically hum with with the sounds of the rain forest. Spanish version also available.

The Lorax

This powerful, classic fable from Dr. Seuss sums up the cost of human progress to the natural environment, including the destruction of animals, trees, and fresh water and air. A glimmer of hope is left at the end, however: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." Spanish version available.  Related: Reading Rockets' Lorax Reading Adventure Pack (English/Spanish)

Wangari's Trees of Peace

"Wangari lives under an umbrella of green trees in the shadow of Mount Kenya in Africa." So begins this tribute to Wangari Maathai, a young woman who saw deforestation turn the lush lands of Kenya into a barren desert. Wangari began to plant seedlings and encouraged the women around her to do the same. By 2004, 30 million trees had been planted and Wangari won the Nobel Peace Prize. Jeanette Winter skillfully presents both Wangari's successes and challenges through spare text and bold illustrations. An author's note provides additional information about Wangari's life story.

We're Sailing to Galapagos: A Week in the Pacific

Illustrated by: Grazia Restelli
Age Level: 3-6

"A colorfully garbed couple take readers on a jaunty journey to the Galapagos Islands. For each day of the week, the rhymed text introduces one of the islands' unique animals. The repetition of the chorus "We're sailing to Galapagos. I wonder who we'll see" encourages audience participation. The bright collages create striking vistas that will also enhance group sharing. The youngest listeners will enjoy the visit to giant tortoises, black iguanas, and blue-footed boobies before they sail home." — School Library Journal