Celebrate Earth Day With These Books and Activities!

As we all celebrate Earth Day today, I wanted to share a few books that are perfectly paired with activities to bring some fun to everyone’s Earth Day celebrations.

Big Ideas For Little Environmentalists Series by Maureen McQuerry, Illustrated by Robin Rosenthal

Up first is a fantastic new board book series from Putnam Books For Young Readers called Big Ideas For Little Environmentalists. Perfect for fans of the Baby Scientist series, the BabyLit series, and the Feminist Baby series, Big Ideas For Little Environmentalists encourages small children to make a big impact. The series includes four titles written by Maureen McQuerry and illustrated by Robin Rosenthal, each highlighting a real life environmentalist and the impacts they made.

Inspired by each of the iconic environmentalists covered in the BIG IDEAS series, here are four Earth Day Activities from Maureen perfect for every Little Environmentalist!

Explore an All-Senses Scavenger Hunt with Aldo Leopold

Aldo Leopold’s childhood love for nature led to a life dedicated to protecting and preserving the environment, encouraging others to appreciate nature with all senses and without harmful activity.

Create an Earth Day bingo card with written prompts of things for your child to find around the neighborhood. When they find something that fits a description, have them draw a picture in the correct box. Make sure to include all senses, encouraging your child to touch, smell, see, and listen to the world around them. For example: find something that feels rough; find three things that are blue; identify an animal by its sound; describe three different scents from nature. Decide on a reward for completing the scavenger hunt.

Make a Nesting Ball with Rachel Carson

Some of Rachel Carson’s earliest observations of nature were of the birds in her yard. In the spring, birds look for material to build their nests.

For this activity, find a kitchen whisk and a piece of string or yarn to hang it from a tree. With your child, fill the wires in the whisk with sticks, leaves, moss, pet hair, and small strips of string, cotton fabric, or yarn. Hang it where birds can find it. Then watch and see which birds come. What do they look like? What materials do they like best? Draw a picture or tell a story about the birds that visit.

Plant a Seed of Hope with Wangari Maathai:

Realizing trees are important for the health of the land and all who live on it, Wangari Maathai worked to plant millions of trees to make the land healthy again.

To watch how seeds grow, you’ll need a small sealable plastic bag, some dry beans, tape, and a damp paper towel. Soak the beans in water overnight to get them ready to grow. The next day, dampen a paper towel, fold it, and place it in the bag. Add a few beans and seal the bag. Then tape it to a window that gets plenty of light. In three days to a week, the seed should split and begin to sprout. Every day the seed will grow and change. Soon there will be leaf buds and it will be time to plant it in the ground or in a flowerpot! Encourage your child to draw and journal changes in the plant and share with friends.

Build a Wonder Box with Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall taught others how to enjoy nature while also making sure the homes of animals aren’t suffering, saying “A naturalist looks for the wonder of nature.”

To create your child’s Wonder Box, find a box to hold small treasures, and decorate or label it with your child. Then, take a walk around your neighborhood, guiding your child to collect five special things; a feather, rock, piece of bark, flower petal, seed, etc. For objects that are too big or fragile to collect (a spiderweb, sunset, mountain peak), draw pictures or snap photos to put in the box. Continue to add to your child’s Wonder Box with each new nature adventure!

Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Patricia Metola

The second title I want to share is a beautiful picture book that celebrates unlikely friendships, and introduces young readers to the fact that trees can communicate with one another. Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl and Patricia Metola follows a young girl named Britta and her two favorite trees, Apple and Magnolia. I won’t spoil the story on this one, so I’ll just say Britta notices Magnolia’s branches drooping one day so she comes up with a creative way for Apple to help Magnolia make it through the winter.

The publisher, Flyaway Books, has kindly provided a free discussion and activity guide on their website with more information about tree communication. Flyaway Books and Laura Gehl have also provided this entertaining storytime for young readers to enjoy for Earth Day.

You can learn more about Laura Gehl and her other work by visiting her website lauragehl.com.

One Little Lot: The 1-2-3s of an Urban Garden by Diane C. Mullen, Illustrated by Oriol Vidal

Last but certainly not least is One Little Lot: The 1-2-3s of an Urban Garden by Diane C. Mullen and Oriol Vidal. This sweet counting book chronicles the transformation of an empty lot in an urban neighborhood as it becomes a beautiful community garden. Loosely based on the author’s experiences with her neighbors and their community garden in Minneapolis, One Little Lot celebrates community and the way we can come together and care for nature, even in a bustling city.

The backmatter contains an Author’s Note with information about honeybees and the ways they help plants grow, breed, and produce food. You can also visit Charlesbridge’s website at charlesbridge.com for a free activity kit including a discussion guide and four unique activities.

What activities are you taking part in for your Earth Day celebrations? Be sure to share in the comments below!

As for me and mine, we will be attending a local plant sale to support Teacher Appreciation Day at a school in our neighborhood. My little one got a cute gardening set as an Easter present last weekend, and we will be putting it to good use in the backyard of our new home.

However you choose to spend Earth Day, I hope you have a good one!

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Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth

I’m so excited to share a “retelling” of a classic Hindu folktale with you all today! Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes is now available in board book format, providing a fresh take on the story of how Ganesha came to write the epic poem of Hindu literature, the Mahabharata, for the very youngest readers.

Tile: Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth
Created By: Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Published: August 17, 2021
Format: Board Book

Though it might be called a retelling, Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth takes elements of this classic legend, and creates an entirely unique, modern story. In this tale, we follow Ganesha, who can’t resist a sweet treat, as he stumbles upon a new kind of laddoo (a traditional Indian dessert). While he enthusiastically eats the laddoo, he has a bit of an accident and breaks off his tusk. Ganesha tries everything to repair his tusk, but doesn’t find a solution to his problem until he meets an old man who helps him find a unique use for the tusk after all.

With off-beat humor and wonderful illustrations, this board book is sure to delight young readers. Whether your family practices Hinduism or you’re just looking to introduce young readers to cultures other than your own, I would absolutely recommend Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth. Complete with a wonderful Author’s Note including common pronunciations and more information about the original folktale, this lovely book would be a wonderful addition to both home and school libraries.

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth will be available in board book format next week (August 17, 2021), but you can preorder your copy today at Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

I want to thank Chronicle Books for sharing a review copy of this delightful book with me!

About The Creators:

Sanjay Patel is a supervising animator, storyboard artist, and short film director for Pixar Animation Studios, where he has worked on many features including A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and Cars 2. Sanjay is also the creator of Ramayana: Divine Loophole, The Big Poster Book of Hindu Deities, and The Little Book of Hindu Deities. He lives in Oakland, California. Learn more about Sanjay at Gheehappy.com.

Emily Haynes is an editor by day, specializing in entertainment, animation, and humor titles, and a writer and dreamer by night. This is her first children’s book. She lives in Oakland, California.

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Brilliant Baby Does Math

As many of you know, I am the mother of a one-year-old, which means I read LOTS of board books these days.

I’m always on the lookout for board books that provide a bit of educational content to encourage my little one to have a lifelong love of learning.

Brilliant Baby Does Math by Laura Gehl and Jean Claude is just what I was looking for!

Part of a new series from Little Bee Books, Brilliant Baby Does Math highlights all the everyday applications of math in an age-appropriate manner. Without being too overwhelming, it lets young readers know that numbers are all around us and are used in toys, games, shopping, and many other every day activities. The rhyming text is also a nice way to keep little ones engaged.

I personally love the adorable illustrations by Jean Claude. Just look at all these precious babies doing math!

If you’re looking to expand your collection of educational board books, I would highly recommend this one.

Brilliant Baby Does Math is available now wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon.(Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Laura Gehl is the author of nearly two dozen children’s books. She currently lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four children. For more about information Laura and her work, please visit her website at lauragehl.com.

Jean Claude is a self-trained illustrator from the UK who currently lives in Lisbon, Portugal with his partner and child. To learn more about his work, please visit www.advocate-art.com.

Thank you to Little Bee Books for providing me with a review copy of Brilliant Baby Does Math. I can’t wait to share this delightful board book with my little one.

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