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Environmental Education: An Appealing Pathway to Project-Based Guided Investigations (January 2023): Pre-K through Grade 2

By Stephen T. Schroth and Janese Daniels

Pre-K through Grade 2

The selection of works for children in this age group focuses more on the themes, concepts, and topics addressed in each book rather than a text’s reading level, since these children are pre-readers and will often have books read to them. For learners of these tender years, an excellent place to start is Jason Chin’s novels Redwoods, in which a boy is transported to the redwood forest after finding a book about redwood trees, and Grand Canyon, which explains how millions of years of erosion have created a cavity in the earth two hundred seventy-seven miles long, eighteen miles wide, and more than a mile deep. Bao Phi’s A Different Pond, in which a father-son fishing trip at a pond outside Minneapolis draws comparisons to a pond in Vietnam where the father once fished, is also particularly poignant for highlighting an individual’s relationship to the environment. So, too, is Matthew Cordell’s Wolf in the Snow, in which a girl lost in a snowstorm encounters a wolf pup. Each of these books presents gentle pictures that assist in introducing the key vocabulary and rudimentary problems of environmental education. Books looking at slightly more complex themes include Susan Verde’s The Water Princess, in which a young girl dreams of bringing clean drinking water to her African village; Miranda Paul’s One Plastic Bag, about an African woman’s quest to recycle the plastic bags polluting her community; and Laurie Lawlor’s Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World, a biography of the famed environmentalist (referenced earlier in this essay) depicting Carson’s struggle to complete her final book.

Works Cited