Youth Book Corner: Celebrating Earth Day

To celebrate Earth Day, our Outreach Coordinator Leena Desai recommends picture books and a novel that illustrate the beauty and the importance of our natural world.

What Matters
Written by Alison Hughes, illustrated by Holly Hatam

This small picture book delivers a big message about the importance of recycling. A small boy comes across an empty soda can on his stroll and instead of walking past it, he picks up the can and puts it in the recycle bin. The book shows how his tiny gesture contributes to making the environment cleaner. Through the use of bright illustrations and simple text, What Matters serves as a primer to introduce young minds to the concept of recycling and environmental stewardship. Grades Preschool to K

Peter and the Tree Children
Written by Peter Wohlleben, illustrated by Cale Atkinson

Peter Wohlleben is the author of the New York Times-bestseller The Hidden Life of Trees, which offered adults a fascinating insight into how trees communicate and interact with each other. Now, he imparts the same wisdom, but to a younger audience through this picture book filled with beautiful, bright illustrations and a heart-warming story. In this book, forester Peter meets a lonesome squirrel named Piet and decides to cheer him up by taking him on a jaunt in the forest to find the tree children. By going on a forest walk with Peter, children will learn, just as the squirrel does, about the beauty of the forest and the importance of trees. Grades K-3

Little Cloud: The Science of a Hurricane
Written by Johanna Wagsta­ffe, illustrated by Julie McLaughlin

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe follows her popular book Fault Lines about earthquakes with Little Cloud, which introduces young students to hurricanes. Cute illustrations are accompanied by scientific information written in simple language to show students how a little cumulus cloud gathers steam and turns into a powerful hurricane. The book also delves into the reason why hurricanes are named and what happens when they make their way into mountains, cities and other weather patterns.
Grades 1-3

A Forest in the City
Written by Andrea Curtis, illustrated by Pierre Pratt

A Forest in the City explores the unique problem trees face in a city due to the lack of green spaces and poor soil and light conditions, among other things. These issues are delved into through illustrations of familiar cityscapes that show trees struggling to find their place. A bird’s eye view helps the reader navigate the whole city and also go underground and inside a tree. Using historical examples and current information, the book makes a case for the importance of taking care of our urban forests and acknowledges the important work urban foresters do to sustain our environment.
Grades 3-7

How to Bee
Written by Bren MacDibble

In this middle-grade novel, bees have become extinct. Now, children aged ten are the bees, climbing fruit trees and pollinating the flowers by hand. Only the quickest and bravest kids get to be the bees and Peony, a plucky nine-year-old, definitely fits the job, except that she can’t be a bee because she is not yet ten. To make matters worse, her mother whisks her away from the farm she loves and takes her to the city to work for a family. The novel follows Peony’s journey, her courage to escape her situation and her determination to be a bee that serves to highlight the contribution bees make to the environment and the importance to protect them.
Grades 3-7


Leena Desai