Reading aloud to a child is perhaps the single most important activity parents can do to help their child’s developing mind. The benefits of reading aloud to children also extends to seaking meaning from the messages present in the literature. Storybook content and illustrations provide a catalyst for discussing the green values expressed by the author and/or illustrator and espoused by your family. There are many wonderful children’s books that use the narrative form to express green values and ideas, especially conservation. The Great Kapok Tree is one such book.
The Great Kapok Treeby Lynne Cherry is set in a rain forest about to be logged. An ax man enters the jungle, then falls asleep and dreams about the extraordinary and diverse inhabitants of the jungle. Snakes, butterflies, jaguars, a child, etc. whisper into his ear the consequences of deforestation. The anteater says to the man,” Senhor, you are chopping down this tree with no thought for the future. And surely you know that what happens tomorrow depends upon what you do today. The big man tells you to chop down a beautiful tree. He does not think of his own children, who tomorrow must live in a world without trees.” When the man awakes, he can not cut down the tree. Lynne Cherry’s detailed illustrations reveal a reverence for nature and beauty.
To read more great, green children’s literature recommendations, please visit our post on Green Options: Green Family Values: Environmental Children’s Literature.