Earth Day Resources for 2020

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

It is a strange time and hard to believe Earth Day is next week. With all the stay at home orders around the world we are hearing about amazing things happening to our Earth like the Venice canals being clear (although not necessarily because the water is cleaner see here) and the skies above cities being clearer including in New Delhi, India, people are seeing the rare blue skies. The air in Los Angeles, California is even said to be clear. (Source) As scary as Covid-19 is it seems the Earth is enjoying a break from the craziness our society has been causing. But we know this break will end and we can choose to go back to the craziness or do something to help our Earth and keep our planet going for generations to come. Today I am going to share three books about people, places and ways to do just that. The first two are picture books. We will start with Solar Story: How One Community Lives Alongside the World's Biggest Solar Plant by Allan Drummond.

This story takes us to Morocco. We meet a young schoolgirl as she walks in the desert heat to school. Her class is going on a field trip to the Noor solar power plant. Her village is beside this solar power plant. The story tells us about how the solar power plant is doing things for the community as well as the world. The illustrations are beautiful water color pictures that share a bit about the culture and environment of the area. The story also shares a lot about life in this small village. Her father's transportation is a mule. They have five sheep and can only grow a few things like almonds, palms and crops to feed the animals because of the extreme heat and lack of water most of the year. 

Mixed into the pages are three orange columns that share facts about Morocco, the Noor Solar Power Plant and sustainability. These give factual details about each of these and explain them at a level for the reader. The suggested ages are 4 to 8. 
I asked Steven to read the book to see what he thought. After all he works for our power company as an electrical engineer and has for over 30 years. He found it interesting as he had not heard of the Noor Solar Power Plant yet. He thought it was well written and informative even to someone who knows so much about power already. 
One of the things I love about this book is how the assignment for the kids was to talk about sustainability and how the new solar power plant adds sustainability to the community. There are people being trained to use new skills to build the plant that can then start their own businesses and others who are being trained at a college (paid for by the power plant) nearby to have new skills that will be useful to the village. There is the fact that the village homes do not have electricity so they may and the school may even get access to the internet. The jobs to build the power plant as well as to maintain it give people more work. I love how the book looks at it all. It also talks about how solar power is sustainable compared to the fossil fuels that so many wars are fought over.

 In the back of the book is the Author's Note which includes photographs of the author's visit to a village school in Ghassate, Morocco, that he based the story off of. He also shares his own impressions of the solar power plant. He also includes a bibliography. To learn more about Morocco be sure to visit these posts. For a review of another Earth Day book by Allan Drummond visit here

Our next book brings us to the United States and a look at our indigenous people. It is We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade. This is a story about fighting the oil pipeline. The story starts with a young Native American telling us how her grandmother told her about water being our first medicine. The book starts with why water is important even from when we are in the womb and how it is important for life. Then it talks about the black snake that her people must fight to save the water. The black snake is the oil pipeline that is planned to bring oil from Canada to the Midwestern states of the United States. The Native Americans have been protesting it for years. This book is a call to action for more to join the cause. It explains the reasons why they fight and is poetically explaining how they are standing as one.

The illustrations are beautiful. The details are there but also faded out in parts of the pictures to see what is important. The colors are bright and bring the pictures alive. As someone who loves to study and read about Native American cultures I see so many in the pictures as well as the words. 

I love how the people have different skin tones throughout the book as the various tribes are gathering. The words are few and simple but the story is there and this book will open discussions with older children. It is recommended for ages 3 to 6 which the words are appropriate for however I think it could easily be used with older kids to start a class discussion about the oil pipelines and share the Native American view. By the way, Macmillan has some amazing on-line resources to go with many books including an activity kit to go with this book that includes discussion material, projects and a pledge to help the fight.

At the end of this book are notes, glossary and further reading. In the notes both the author and illustrator explain their own Native cultures believes about water and who protects it. 
I loved reading this story and learning more about the fight. Decisions are still be made about the pipeline. We see it in the news all the time. Where do you stand on the subject?  For more of my Native American posts click here

Our final book for today is Plastic Sucks! by Dougie Poynter. This book is written for 8 to 12 year-olds. It has a graphic novel look to it without being a full graphic novel. It is about all the plastic our world is using and how it is polluting and hurting our ocean and thus our world. It starts with information about our Earth and why water is important. It also shares how plastic is hurting everything on earth. One way is by blocking the sunlight from getting to the phythoplankton. It shares facts like 50 percent of the Earth's oxygen is created by phythoplankton. Wow! 

In this book Dougie introduces himself and why and how he got into this campaign to save the planet from plastic. He interviews several experts and shares about people who are working to on this campaign in different ways. There is so much information packed into it in a very humorous and fun method. He also shares things that kids and their families can do to help cut down on the single use plastics. He also shares a history of plastic and why it got so out of hand. He shares ways we can all help spread the word and fight to save our Earth. It amazes me how many people he interviews to share about their roles in fighting the plastic issue. 

So here are three books to check out for this Earth Day. I will be sharing some more next week (focused on gardening). Be sure to check out some of our past Earth Day posts as well. Together we can do our part and help our planet!