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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: For the Children

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January 06, 2010

Book Roundup Wednesday: For the Children

Books about environmentalismEvery Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week, in honor of the nascent new year, we're recommending books for and about little ones.

Our World of Water (by Beatrice Hollyer, $17, Henry Holt and Co., 2009): A fascinating account of worldly water use. The colorful photo essays make for an informative, lighthearted, revealing story of the lives of five children from five different parts of the world, and how their lives differ relative to diverse water experiences. It's a good read for adults trying to teach kids water ethics, and an ideal resource from which kids can learn how others their age interact with water.

An Environmental Guide from A to Z (by Tim Magner, $20, Green Sugar Press, 2009): An all-in-one children’s activity guide to basic environmental awareness. The pages flip through the alphabet, revealing new concepts, full-page illustrations, and questions meant to stimulate application of the new term to everyday life. It builds a puzzle in your mind as the terms begin to link together, and reads more like a game you can’t walk away from.

Three Dogs, Two Mules, and a Reindeer (by Marjorie Cochrane, $12, Mountain Press Publishing, 2010): With historic photographs and illustrated events, children will travel by foot, by mule, by page through the early Alaskan Frontier, learning about the groundbreaking, true journeys of Alaskan explorers and the animals who joined them. The 60-page quick read harmonizes pets with environmental history to please both parent and child. 

Family Hiking in the Smokies (by Hal Hubbs, Charles Maynard, and David Morris, $15, University of Tennessee Press, 2009): No colorful photos, but a child’s imagination will have no problem hiking through trails, past waterfalls, and over streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The authors are precise in their measurements of mountaintops and trail lengths and paint a lifelike picture in readers’ minds. It’s long and, at times, too slow for children reading solo, so read it with your child.

The Green Hour (by Todd Christopher, $18, Trumpeter Books, 2010): This one is for adults, about kids, and is founded on the premise that each child needs at least an hour a day to interact with nature. The author contends that the dwindling amount of time spent outdoors is a major factor in children’s health problems, including obesity. Christopher uncovers and shoots down all scenarios potentially standing in the way of outdoor activity: Cold weather? Don’t know much about the outdoors? Kids addicted to video games? No problem, no excuse. You'll also get safety tips and tools to reclaim free time that will make a green hour a day an attainable goal.

--Nicholas Mukhar

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