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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Knowledge-Packed Reads For Kids

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May 19, 2010

Book Roundup Wednesday: Knowledge-Packed Reads For Kids

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week we're recommending books that teach children about language, or culture, or math from an environmental perspective.

Alphabet Bird Collection (by Shelli Ogilvy, $17, Sasquatch Books, 2009): Beautifully illustrated, alphabetically listed bird species are described with an easy-to-remember rhyme, a short paragraph about the bird's habits and range, and a phonetic rendering of its song. The book contains a lot of information, but the clever, artistic presentation makes the learning process fun.

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships (by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, $16, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010): Vivid collage illustrations show how unlikely animal pairings, like a plover and a crocodile or a coyote and a badger, are examples of symbiosis in action. Children will be delighted to find out how these creatures help each other out. For dog owners, the book's last example is a nice reminder that humans benefit from cross-species partnerships too.

Hands of the Rain Forest: The Embera People of Panama (by Rachel Crandell, $17, Christy Ottaviano Books, 2009): Paired with clear descriptions of daily tasks, the journalistic photographs of the Embera, the indigenous people of Panama, make this fascinating book an ideal tool for teaching school-age children about traditional Central American culture. The author, a former schoolteacher who lived with the Embera for several months, guides readers though the activities of village life such as canoe-carving, basket-weaving, and spearfishing.

Count the Blue: A Multi Lingual Pacific Ocean Counting Book (by Barbara E. Berg, $13, Alohahonu, 2009): Teach your child to count in 17 languages with this colorful book, which focuses on the Pacific Ocean region. Each number is paired with an animal (except for the number four, which is inexplicably illustrated by four mermaids), so there's an opportunity to increase your child's knowledge of the natural world while improving his or her language and counting skills. 

--Della Watson

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