The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton is a wonderful picture book about curiosity and exploration. Erin Pike lives with her mom and dog in a big fishing town. Erin yearns to go out to see but it’s just too dangerous, especially the legend of Black Rock. Erin is a brave girl and all the warnings and cautionary tales do not diminish her desire to venture out to sea.
Erin devises the perfect plan to stowaway on her mom’s boat. Things don’t go exactly as she planned and Erin ends up in a very dangerous situation. Just then Black Rock wakes up and lends a helping hand. It is then that Erin realizes that Black Rock is not dangerous, it was in fact a very misunderstood creature. People fear Black Rock because they don’t understand it. In reality, Black Rock provides shelter for many different sea creatures.
Erin returns home to help reveal the truth about Black Rock, but the grown ups are so lost in their own misconceptions, they don’t take the time to listen to her. They are intent on viewing the creature as an enemy. Will Erin be able to change the way they see Black Rock?
The Secret of Black Rock is the perfect picture book for teaching kids to stand up for what they believe in and to advocate for others. It takes a girl with curiosity and courage to see something or someone for what it really is, rather than for what everyone else has told her it is. The diverse family structure portrayed is an added bonus along with the subtle yet impactful environmental message.
Click here to purchase a copy of The Secret of Black Rock (affiliate link).
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest and open review.
Free Rain written by Daniel Wentzel and illustrated by Jose Lucio invites a conversation about the treatment of farm animals and what free range actually means.
The story starts out with 6 chickens, each a different color from which its name is derived, living in cages. Rumors begin to circulate and somehow the cages disappear and the chickens are allowed to roam free. Each chicken responds differently to this change, from excitement to fear and anxiety. It forces the reader to ask, is it natural for a chicken to be pent up in a cage?
Free Rain follows the journey as each chicken musters the courage to venture outside of the cages that once held them prisoner. They learn to enjoy their freedom and time spent outside.
Free Rain is an impactful story with a powerful message. I love that Daniel Wentzel and Jose Lucio want to engage kids in a dialogue about the treatment of animals and where food comes from, whether that’s the chickens themselves or their eggs.
Click here to purchase a copy of Free Rain (affiliate link).
I received a complimentary copy of Free Rain in exchange for my honest review.
Green Green: A Community Gardening Story by Marie Lamba and Baldev Lamba is a wonderful picture book for promoting environmental awareness for young readers ages 2-6. Written in simple, poetic form and accompanied by vibrant, dynamic illustrations, Green Green follows the transformation of the land and the way a group of community members work together to restore some elements of nature.
The story starts with a group of kids playing in an expansive field, filled with beautiful flowers and butterflies.
Gradually, the natural landscape evolves into a cityscape and the green and brown are replaced by browns and grays of digging and construction. The green in each scene is reduced to a small potted plant here and there or a solitary tree.
The members of the community see the potential for creating a community garden on a small plot of land. They work hard to remove litter and garbage to restore a small piece of nature among the hustle and bustle of the busy city.
Green Green is the perfect picture book for exposing young children to the concept of environmentalism and showing them some simple ways that they can feel empowered to make a difference. The illustrations by Sonia Sanchez are breathtakingly beautiful, subtle yet powerful. They bring the simple yet impactful text to life and give readers a lot to talk about.
Click here to purchase a copy of Green Green A Community Gardening Story (affiliate link).
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Bloom is a lovely picture book about a mother and daughter who plant tulip bulbs together one day. They take turns digging holes and planting the bulbs one by one while laughing along the way. Deborah Diesen, author of the Pout-Pout Fish series, captures the tactile experience of planting, from handling the dirt to carefully examining the bulbs. Each character wonders silently how bulbs could possibly bloom into something big and tall.
Time passes. Celebrations. A big trip. So much happens that the mother and daughter both almost forget that they’d planted the bulbs. Mary Lundquist’s illustrations are beautiful and capture not only the emotional setting but the passing of time perfectly.
But, day by day they grow. As does the relationship and love between mother and daughter. Bloom is a wonderful ode to the special connection between mom and child. The love blossoms as do the tulips at the end of the story, slow yet strong. Bloom celebrates spending time together and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Click here to purchase a copy of Bloom (affiliate link).
*I received a complimentary copy of Bloom in exchange for my honest review.
Wildlife: A Map Coloring Book by Natalie Hughes is the perfect gift for budding artists who love to learn about animals and different places in the world. Each map is jam-packed with different creatures that live in that particular part of the world as well as interesting facts about each. It would be fun to have kids compare and contrast the creatures they see across the pages and to draw bigger generalizations.
Wildlife is the perfect way to engage kids in learning about different species and places in the world. This book invites many great conversations about protecting the environment and the consequences of human actions on the well-being of Earth’s creatures.
Click here to purchase a copy of Wildlife: A Map Coloring Book (affiliate link).
Grand Canyon by Jason Chin is a phenomenal non-fiction picture book packed with the history and science behind the formation of one of the seven wonders of the world. More than just a large whole in the ground, the Grand Canyon is home to many different types of plants and animals. In fact the conditions vary so much from level to level of the canyon that each layer sustains a different type of plant and animal life entirely! How cool is that?
Jason Chin tells “the story” of the Grand Canyon as a father and daughter pair embark on a camping trip. Diagrams are great text features in helping the reader better understand complicated scientific concepts including erosion.
This book includes flashbacks in time so the reader can better understand how the Grand Canyon was formed by the movement of different bodies of water over time. For example, this illustration accompanies the description of what the Grand Canyon would have looked like 1.2 billion years ago when the only things living on Earth’s surface were tiny microbes. This mud would eventually transform into a layer of rock that became part of the canyon.
Grand Canyon is packed with many different lenses through which the reader can learn about this amazing natural phenomenon. Jason Chin leaves us with a breathtaking four-page spread of the Grand Canyon that adds to the awe and wonder he inspires throughout the book.
Click here to purchase a copy of Grand Canyon (affiliate link).
*I received a complimentary copy of Grand Canyon in exchange for my honest review.
Allan Drummond’s Pedal Power is a non-fiction picture book that tells the story of how Amsterdam became the cycling capital of the world. This is a wonderful example of cause and effect or problem and solution text structure which is clear for readers from the onset.
When I travelled to Amsterdam while studying abroad in Spain many many years ago, I was taken aback by how prominent cycling was in this gorgeous European city. Pedal Power captures the energy of bikes buzzing down the wide streets.
Back in the 1970s Amsterdam’s streets were dominated by vehicles. Many beautiful buildings were being torn down to make room for wider streets and tunnels to accommodate all the traffic. The streets became too dangerous for cyclists. Young moms decided to take a stand. Led by Maartje Rutten, the dialogue about making the streets safe for everyone was ignited. People began congregating and protesting in conventional and more creative ways.
Overtime, they saw the impact of their protesting and change started to happen. Pedal Power encourages readers to not settle for the status quo but to take a chance and speak up for what you believe in. In this case, Maartje Rutten and a group of young mothers and children came together to make a change that impact not only their community but set an example for many big cities across the world.
Click here to purchase a copy of Pedal Power (affiliate link).
*I received a complimentary copy of Pedal Power in exchange for my honest review.
I love books that teach kids about the Earth, nature and its creatures. Hopefully exposing them to fiction and non-fiction books that teach us about the Earth from a young age will create a generation driven to saving what we have so effortlessly destroyed over time.
Ella Bailey’s books One Day on Our Blue Planet… in the Savannah and One Day on Our Blue Planet… in the Antarctic are a perfect celebration of animals in their habitats.
In One Day on Our Blue Planet… in the Savannah young readers spend a day with a playful young cub learning and exploring life in the desert. From spending time with its family to finding trouble around every corner, this picture book is a celebration of life in an African desert. The illustrations are highly detailed and captivating, inviting the youngest of readers to engage in a conversation about what they see. One Day on Our Blue Planet… in the Savannah is the perfect book for budding animal and nature enthusiasts.
One Day on Our Blue Planet… in the Antarctic learn all about an Adelie penguin chick as she prepares to leave home and sets out to sea. The reader tags along as the penguin swims, finds food to eat and avoids danger. This is another stunning celebration of a rich habitat. The illustrations are filled with blues and whites and movement that captures the energy of life in the Antarctic.
Stay tuned for some additional picture books to help us celebrate Earth Day, which falls on April 22, 2017.
Click here to purchase a copy of One Day on Our Blue Planet… in the Savannah and One Day on Our Blue Planet… in the Antarctic.
Safe & Sound is an amazing picture book about many different baby animals who are protected by their parents. Some are big, like elephants and rhino calves, while others are small, like chipmunks and chicks.
Jean Roussen’s text is simple and rhymes to engage the reader across the pages of the book. Loris Lora’s beautiful illustrations are vibrant and sweet, depicting the connection between the parent animals and their babies.
Safe & Sound is a wonderful picture book for kids ages 2-5. The illustrations closely support the text and will help young readers follow along. The content is scientifically factual and will engage young animal enthusiasts.
Safe & Sound is available for purchase in May 2017. Click here to pre-order a copy of Safe & Sound (affiliate link).
I received a complimentary copy of Safe & Sound in exchange for my honest review.