Reading Nature Writing with Children: Nature’s Spokesman

Nature’s Spokesman is a charming collection of short essays, drawings and poems by M. Krishnan, the eminent naturalist and nature photographer. It is a lovely way to introduce young people to the natural world around them. The book covers an extensive range of birds, animals and landscapes, describing them in flawless, detailed prose. The sentences are stunning, sparing, beautifully worded, and perfectly accessible to readers of all ages.

Krishnan writes based on everyday observations of the environment. These include fleeting anecdotes about the seemingly mundane lives of pigeons and house geckos; brief sketches of mythological animals; discussions around climate change and deforestation; precious encounters with some of India’s most exotic wildlife; and stories of clashes between humans and the natural world. He depicts nature as a dynamic element of our own routine lives, rather than presenting the environment as a static system with elements that must be understood from a purely scientific point of view. The stories of Krishnan’s interactions with nature draw attention to the importance of empathy in learning about other life forms. His gentle humour and understated anthropomorphism convey his genuine affection for the world he describes. The essays encourage young readers to be emotionally engaged with nature.

The author dedicates essays to simple analyses of phenomena that we, in our daily lives, pay little attention to. Images of sleeping dogs, felled sidewalk trees, rain… these seem so ordinary to us. We rarely experience curiosity, feel the urge to open our eyes and stare at a fallen wild fruit or a crow perched on a compound wall. Krishnan, in his descriptive language, reveals the pleasures of minute observation, and teaches his readers to feel fascination even for the most “boring” aspects of nature. His brief pieces express wonder and sorrow and frustration, all provoked by the smallest, most incongruous comings and goings.

The credibility and actual information value of this collection is high. The author was, after all, a naturalist, and an expert in his field. However, he imparts his knowledge in beautiful, unintimidating prose and invites his readers to draw as much solace from mere observation as he did. Children will find facts in this book, but they will also discover an enthusiasm and a mild protective instinct for nature within themselves. This collection will manufacture many Nature’s Spokesmen.

Similar titles:

Of Birds and Birdsong, M Krishnan

My Family and Other Animals, Gerald Durrell

Three Singles to Adventure, Gerald Durrell

For younger readers:

A Boy and a Jaguar, Alan Rabinowitz

The Lorax, Dr Seuss

The Tree Lady, H. Joseph Hopkins

-Dakshayini Suresh for Ever After

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World Environment Day, 2014 Post: 20 Children’s Storybooks about Environment Conservation

Yesterday was the World Environment Day. There were events across the world to mark this occasion. However, we at Ever After Learning, believe that our environment conservation efforts must not be restricted to just one day; it must be an ongoing, continuous activity for every single day of the year.

One of the best ways to keep your environment conservation efforts going is by creating enough awareness about this issue especially among the future residents of this world – our children. And what better way to do this than using storybooks?

Tell your kids the story of earth, trees, rivers; tell them how pollution, soil erosion, deforestation is harming our environment; tell them about importance of adopting ‘green’ ways of living, recycling, lessening carbon footprints, conserving flora and fauna.

We have listed below 20 children’s storybooks based on environment conservation. Make them more aware about the need to conserve our environment. Do your bit to save the environment by reading stories on environment to children.

1. Earth and I by Frank Asch

A little boy is best friends with the Earth. He cares for it just as it cares for him. A very simple but  powerful book that beautifully explains the interdependence of man and nature for each other’s    survival.

EARTH AND I

2. Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel

The young boy, Michael Recycle is a superhero who teaches the people in his town how to recycle.

MICHAEL RECYCLE

3. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

This story cleverly tells how factories and giant manufacturing houses have exploited our gentle environment in the name of development and business.

tHE LORAX

 

4. Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals

This book is a delight. It teaches young children the ‘recipe’ to make a “Compost Stew”. In other words, it encourages children and adults to start a compost pit at their homes and explains what is fit for the compost pit and what isn’t.

THE COMPOST STEW

5. The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway

Based on a true story, this book traces the struggle of one farming family in Honduras as they transform their garden from barren to bountiful using sustainable methods of farming.

THE GOOD GARDEN

6. The Magic School Bus and Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole

Ms. Frizzle is at work again! This time telling kids everything about climate changes – from increased temperatures to raising sea levels.

THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS

7. Snowy White World To Save by Stephanie Lisa Tara

This award winning book is a great resource to introduce children to the need for habitat conservation and global warming, this is the story of a mother polar bear and her cubs as they struggle to find food in the depleting snow of the Arctic.

SNOWY WHITE WORLD

 

8. Stories for a Fragile Planet: Traditional Tales about Caring for the Earth by Kenneth Steven

A collection of ten stories from around passed on through traditions and cultures, each of which shows children why and how to take care of their world.

FRAGILE PLANET

9. An Environmental Guide From AtoZ by Tim Magner

This book introduces our environment in an all new way. The publisher’s words describe this book best – “Like the letters of the alphabet connect to build words and stories, the countless pieces and parts of nature weave, connect and link everything together. An Environmental Guide explores nature’s connections and brings awareness and a deeper understanding of how the world works.”

ENVT GUIDE

10. Ma Ganga and the Razai Box by Geeta Dharmarajan

River Ganga is flooded and she is flowing helter-skelter. When a little girl demands to know why, Ganga gets very angry and hides inside the girl’s Razai box and refuses to stop flowing until Lord Shiva stops her with his matted hair.

MA GANGA

11. Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter

This book introduces kids to the work of environmentalist and Noble Peace Prize winner, Wangari Mathai who was responsible for restoring Kenya’s forests to its natural glory after being subjected to mass deforestation.

WANGARIS TREES OF PEACE

12. The Tree by Dana Lyons

An ancient Douglas Fir has been testimony to the grand Pacific Rain Forest and her resident’s growth for 800 years. Now, as the bulldozers prepare to raze the forest, the grand old tree wonders what will happen to its inhabitants.

THE TREE

13. The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

A man falls asleep as he is cutting the great Kapok tree. While he is sleeping, the inhabitants of the forest – birds, animals, and insects whisper in his ears the consequences of cutting down such a rich natural resource.

And if you are looking for more Tree stories, you must read some great Indian publications like Thea’s Tree by Judith Clay, Best Friends by Nina Sabnanai, Let’s Plant Tress by Vinod Lal Heera Eshwar, Meera’s Friends, The Trees by Geethika Jain and Jaishree Mishra.

THE GREAT KAPOK TREE

14. City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan

The story a young Marca and her friend Miss Rosa who turn a vacant plot in their city block into a green patch, surprising and inspiring their neighborhood’s residents.

CITY GREEN

15. Let’s Catch the Rain by Vinod Lal Heera Eshwar

A very simple book that tells young readers why and how they can conserve rain water.  This book also comes with a free app.

Lets Catch the Rain_Tulika

16. Out of the Way, Out of the Way by Uma Krishnaswami

Can development and conservation co-exist? They sure can is the message of this book as it traces the growth of a sapling into a tree and dusty village path into a busy city street.

OUT OF THE WAY

17. Andamans Boy by Zai Whitaker

This year’s World Environment Day’s theme was  saving the island from the rising sea levels. With a mixture of adventure and environmental concern, The Andaman’s Boy is a just the perfect book for older kids to celebrate this year’s theme.

andamans boy

18. The Seed by Deepa Balsavar

A liitle girl finds a seed and puts in a pot. See the seed grow into a plant. This award winning book is just perfect to introduce young kids to plants life.

the seed

19. I can Save the Earth! One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle by Alison Inches

This is the story of Max, the Little Green Monster whose excessive of everything – from power to toilet paper leaves the environment hurt and results in a major power cut. With no TV or video games Max learns that there is a world outside of his home too and discovers how to reduce, reuse and recycle. Printed on recycled paper using soy ink, this book is part of a “Green Series”.

i CAN SAVE THE EARTH_GB

 

20Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base

When Uno makes his home in a small corner of the forest full of fascinating animals and plants, it soon turns into a town and then a city full of houses and people.

UNOS GARDEN

So, how many books in this list have you already read? Which one of these is your or your child’s favourite? Do you know other children’s books on environment? Do share it with us and we will add it to our offline book list.

 

About Ever After Learning:

160Ever After is a learning and development organization that uses stories to make education fun for the young and the old. We swear by the power of stories to communicate concepts, inspire individuals and impact lives.

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