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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Kids and Nature

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November 18, 2009

Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Kids and Nature

Book.tree Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Since the last time we recommended nature books for kids, a new crop of books has found its way to us, so here's another roundup of children's books about adventures in nature.

The Looking Book (by P.K.. Hallinan, $17, Ideals Children’s Books, Oct. 2009): Kenny's and Mikey’s mom is tired of watching her kids watching cartoons all day so she gives them “lookers” and tells them to go outside. The special glasses help Kenny and Mikey see all the wonderful things in their backyard. They explore the sights and smells of nature and discover that going outside is way more fun than staying inside. The beautifully illustrated book and thoughtful story reminds children how important it is to discover nature and reminds parents to be creative when encouraging their kids to go outside.

I Know the River Loves Me (by Maya Christina Gonzalez, $17, Children’s Book Press, Sept. 2009): Fine artist and author Maya Christina Gonzalez shares her love of rivers, describing her favorite river and explaining why it loves her. This is a simple story that any young child can appreciate, and the illustrations are colorful and imaginative. The book can be read in English and Spanish.

Miracle in Sumatra: The Story of Gutsy Gus (by Jeanne McNaney, $17, Ovation Books, Oct. 2009): A young orangutan named Gus can’t find his parents. A forest angel helps Gus by turning his new human friend, Maya, into an orangutan. The two characters search for Gus’s parents and develop a plan to save the orangutans captured by money-hungry hunters. The book is full of morals and children will learn a lot about the importance of wildlife preservation. The illustrations are well-done and capture the Sumatran forest's beauty. A percentage of profits from the book’s sales go to conservation organizations.

Camping with the President (by Ginger Wadsworth, $17, Calkins Creek, Sept. 2009): Parents and young naturalists will enjoy reading this story about Theodore Roosevelt’s Yosemite camping trip with John Muir. This historical-fiction picture book may prove a bit complex for younger ages, but it's very accessible for older children, serving as a great starting point for teaching children about conservation, national parks, and political activism.

Mo Smells the Holidays: A Scentsational Journey (by Margaret Hyde, $18, Mo’s Nose, Aug. 2009): This is the perfect book for kids who love dogs. It’s a simple story about a dog named Mo sniffing his way through the holidays, and comes with scratch-and-sniff stickers that kids can add to the pages. Though not directly about children and nature, the book provides a reminder that kids should keep their noses ready for the many smells that nature has to offer. At the end of the book, the author provides tips for parents about introducing children to greener habits and volunteering for people in need. A percentage of the book’s profits go toward charities benefiting children and animals.

--Julie Littman

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