Green Children's Books: Big Earth, Little Me

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Every week, I go to the local elementary school to read to a kindergartner as part of the "Bigs in Schools" program. Usually, I check out books from the school library to read to my student during his lunch time, but when I got a new children's book in the office, I decided to take it to the reading program to see if my child would like it.

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Big Earth, Little Me (Scholastic 2009); Photo Courtesy Scholastic

The new book, Big Earth, Little Me (Scholastic 2009), written by Thom Wiley and illustrated by Kate Endle, is a pop-up picture book that highlights the simple tasks that youngsters can help out with around the house. These tasks are healthy for both the home and the planet. The book is printed on recycled Kraft paper and uses soy-based inks. My student loved the vivid colors, charming people illustrations and pop-ups on almost every page. The sentences are simple and easy to understand. As I read the book to my student, we talked about picking up litter around the house, turning off the water when brushing our teeth, using both sides of our papers that we draw and write on, turning off the lights when we're not in the room and using a lunch box if we bring our lunches.

After each page, my child enthusiastically told me that he did these things at home and at school. On the page that promotes recycling, he took my hand and walked me over to the class recycling bin and told me that's where they put their paper. I picked up the globe in the classroom and explained to him that this is the planet, which houses billions of people, and we all have to do our part to take care of it. Though he may not have fathomed how big the world was, he did understand that doing this simple things were good for everyone, without even having to call it being "green." It was just being a good citizen.

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"I can turn off the lights," is one of the tips in Big Earth, Little Me (Scholastic 2009); Photo Courtesy Big Earth, Little Me by Thom Wiley. Scholastic Inc./Cartwheel Books. Copyright 2009 by Kate Endle. Reprinted by permission.

This 16-page book is great for kids ages 4 through 8. Available in stores this March, it costs $5.99. Big Earth, Little Me provides a fun way to talk to children about the environment and these simple green things that we can all do to lessen our carbon footprint. Though it's simple, these light green values should be at the core of what we teach our children about conservation and responsibility.

For the parents out there, how do you educate your children (or grandchildren) about protecting the planet? For everyone else, what are your green icebreakers that you have stored away in your mind when you know you want to talk to someone about the planet and conservation? Leave a comment to discuss!