Reading Material With an Environmental Focus

When my generation was growing up, reading material barely had a pre-designed focus on environmental awareness. We were happy with Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and copious amounts of 'Tell me Why' and 'Tell me How'. We grew up with a pretty decent view of the environment and a healthy respect for Nature which mostly stemmed from playing outside.

These were before the days of XBox, PSP and global warming. We learned about the world outside by playing in the dirt, bringing home stray animals, keeping tadpoles in a jar and Captain Planet. We did not have Nature Deficit Disorder.

These days kids need to be taught about the environment for two reasons: 1) They don't really spend too much time outdoors and 2) The world in which they will become adults will be vastly different from ours. Environmentalism for kids these days goes beyond switching off lights and saving water, it will perhaps be the key to survival. In order to mold today's generation of children into eco-conscious adults, there needs to be education and the right reading material.

This is what children's author Ian James Corlett is aiming to do with his new book. His instructional book E is for Environment follows up on his previous work, E is for Ethics. His latest book has 26 stories with eco-friendly messages, accompanied by illustrations, discussion questions, and conservation tips.

The book is designed for children from second grade and up. It is divided into bite-sized individual lessons, each with its own environmental message. It is presented by Lucy and Elliot two siblings telling the story along with their parents.

There are several books out there that empower children to learn more about the environment, animals and Nature. My favourite when I was growing up was 'Heidi' by Joanna Spyri; while it is not exactly a book about environmentalism, it highlights the intimate connection between people and the natural world. I also loved 'Shadow the Sheep Dog' by Enid Blyton which talks about Man's dependence on animals.

Some of the other books with environmental themes for children and teenagers include:

1) The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (Ages 2-7)

2) Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme - Marianne Berkes (Ages 2-7)

3) Where the Forest meets the Sea – Jeannie Baker (Ages 3-8)

4) The Heart of the Tiger – Glenda Millard (Ages 4-8)

5) Uno's Garden - Graeme Base (Ages 4-8)

6) The Great Kapok Tree - Lynne Cherry (Ages 4-8)

7) Dear Children of the Earth - Schim Schimmel (Ages 4-12)

8) Follow the Line Around the World - Laura Ljungkvist (Ages 5 -10)

9) Wonderful Nature, Wonderful You - Karen Ireland (Age 6 upwards)

10) Black Beauty - Anna Sewell (Age 8 upwards)

11) The Highest Tide - Jim Lynch (Age 12 upwards)

12) The Call of the Wild - Jack London (Age 14 upwards)

13) Anthill - E.O. Wilson (Age 14 upwards)

14) The Monkey Wrench Gang - Edward Abbey (Age 15 upwards)

15) Ishmael - Daniel Quinn (Age 17 upwards)

I'm sure that there are many other books that I have missed and this is by no means a comprehensive list. If you would like to add any to the list please include them in the comment section as I would love to know!

Photo Credit: Cover of 'E is for Environment' from