“To describe the world more fully is to change it.
To let the world go undescribed is, in some way, not to know it, at one’s peril.”
~ Elif Batuman ~
I know. It’s August 12th. The tardiness of this post is due entirely to Tropical Storm Isaias and the havoc it wrecked on the power grid here in western Connecticut. Thank you for your patience, and thank you, as always, to Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for creating and curating this celebration of picture books. Please be sure to visit Mandy’s blog, Enjoy and Embrace Learning to read all the lists contributed to this labor of love. It is teachers like them, and others in this community, who will keep the gift of stories alive for years to come.
Like many of you, I have watched the events of the past several months in shock. There are days when I can’t bear to listen to the news, afraid of whatever fresh horror has unfolded overnight. There are other days when I read voraciously, looking for answers, solutions, actions I can take that will make a difference. But honestly, most days I feel quite helpless.
But deep in my heart I know the best action I can take is to educate my students. There have been so many important #BLM lists shared already this summer about picture books, chapter books, YA books and more, I knew I couldn’t add to or improve any of those. So I decided to take a different approach. One aspect of our current crisis is the environment. There are researchers who believe one reason the novel coronavirus made the leap from animals to humans is because of habitat loss. There have also been numerous reports about how environmental disasters disproportionately affect BIPOC communities.
In her book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, Jenny Odell states that “Simple awareness is the seed of responsibility.” Caring begins with attention. People don’t, indeed can’t, care about something they have no knowledge of. So I decided to build my list around the environment, because, ultimately, the fate of Black lives, Latinx lives, Indiginous lives, all lives, are inextricably intertwined with the fate of our planet.
Because of Covid, I experienced most of these books online, through read-alouds graciously permitted by publishers this spring. I look forward to soon being able to hold these books in my hands and share the beauty of these “descriptions of the world” with my students.
Ocean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean’s Biggest Secret, written by Jess Keating, illustrated by Katie Hickey (Tundra Books, 2020)
If You Come to Earth, written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Chronicle Books, Sept. 15, 2020)
We Are Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade (Macmillin Publishers, 2020)
Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera, by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann (Neal Porter Books, 2020)
Most of the Better Natural Things in the World, by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Angel Chang (Chronicle Books, 2019)
Green on Green, written by Dianne White, illustrated by Felicita Sala (Beach Lane Books, 2020)
A New Green Day, written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis (Neal Porter Books, 2020)
Outside In, by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Cindy Derby (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2020)
My Friend Earth, by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Francesca Sanna (Chronicle Books, 2020)
Over and Under the Rainforest, by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal (Chronicle Books, 2020)
My previous #PB 10 for 10 posts:
2019: Follow Your Heart
2018: Creative Imaginations
2017: Celebrating Nature
2016: Feeding Our Imaginations
2015: Poetry Picture Books
2014: Friendship Favorites
2013: Jane Yolen Picture Books
2012: Wordless Picture Books
2 thoughts on “#PB10for10: Picture Books and Environmental Awareness”
Thanks Catherine, I was familiar with “Outside In” and appreciate hearing about these additional environment-focused picture books!
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I love Honeybee & Outside In plus all of Kate Messner’s books. And I’ve noticed many have shared Water Protectors on other lists, too! And thanks for all of these, Catherine, have noted those new to me. A few things happened positively this week, like the admin trying to strike down some of the bird protections. Thank goodness for companies like Audubon & The Nature Conservancy & some judges! Thanks for the great list!
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