Great Books for Young Readers. Encouraging Sustainable Living

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A few months ago, during a solid attempt at spring cleaning, I had the realization that I’d somehow lost my way in the practice of sustainable living. You can read my confession and recommitment to a more eco-conscious lifestyle here. The short version is that my 3-year-old and “cleaning helper” called me out after noticing the embarrassing number of giveaway bags that had heaped up during the closet cleaning process.

It was an eye-opening moment which led me to reevaluate and take ownership of the wasteful day-to-day behaviors I’ve adopted without even realizing it.

Since then, my husband and I have tried to become more proactive about finding new opportunities to teach our children about sustainable living. As a part of this more hands-on approach, we’ve looked for ways to integrate these lessons into our children’s existing routines as much as possible.

One of my favorite ways of doing so has become incorporating learning about green living into our evening reading time. Thankfully, we’ve been able to find a wide variety of books through the local libraries or used book stores.

The following are a few we’ve loved so far.

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World By Melanie Walsh.

This sweet book describes various ways to practice environmental stewardship within day-to-day routines likely familiar to most young children. It’s refreshingly simple yet incredibly meaningful.

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth By Mary McKenna Siddals.

A cute and kid-friendly description of the various “ingredients” which can be used to create compost. Any child who loves getting their hands dirty will love this one. And it’s a pretty decent introduction for parents too!

The Earth Gives More By Christiane Engel.

Beautifully illustrated, this book takes you on a poetic journey through the seasons while exploring the earth’s various terrains. Along the way, readers learn just how much our earth provides us and the value of preservation.

Charlie and Lola: We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers By Lauren Child.

If you’re not familiar with the wonderfully witty Charlie and Lola book series, they’re definitely worth checking out. In this adventure, Lola is on a mission to win a recycling competition. Her prize? A new tree to plant. Her journey is funny, inspirational and informative.

Touch The Earth By Julian Lennon.

In this whimsical story, readers travel through the world on an airplane called the White Feather Flier. The characters find various opportunities to clean and care for the Earth. The book’s interactive style is sure to keep your child engaged. This is one we decided to purchase and keep. As a bonus, a portion of the proceeds support Julian Lennon’s White Feather Foundation which encourages humanitarian and environmental initiatives.

At this impressionable age, we have the unique opportunity to cultivate a love for our planet and to help build the skillsets required to further preserve and protect the earth. My hope is to raise stewards of the earth and that someday caring for nature will simply feel second nature to them.

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Paras is an Iranian American, born in Tehran and raised in Texas. She is now pleased to call Colorado home. She is the mother of two rambunctious boys, a wife to an equally rambunctious husband (genetics!) and a pediatrician. Paras attended medical school at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and went on to complete her pediatric residency training at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Her special interests include childhood advocacy, healthcare education, and she absolutely loves working with new parents. After having children of her own, she quickly realized that raising kiddos was not as straightforward as many pediatric medical texts or parenting books might imply! She has found it extremely fulfilling to navigate the challenging, yet rewarding world of being a working mom alongside her patients and peers. In her spare time, Paras enjoys hiking, embroidery and is an aspiring yogi on the journey to attaining and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

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