Earth Day: Informational Picturebooks

In April 2020, the PEPELT team has again selected picturebooks to celebrate  Earth Day (2019 resources). Our picturebook choices for 2020 are informational picturebooks with an enviromental theme. High quality informational picturebooks combine words and pictures to create an aesthetic literary experience. They present and impart knowledge, facts and ideas about the world in a truthful and reliable manner which inspire children to think, question, feel, connect and wonder rather than simply accept an explanation. Do check the blog post that Gail wrote in preparation for our Earth Day theme for  ELT FootprintUsing picturebooks to inspire children to become environmental advocates.

Peritextual features
Planet Awesome!
Front cover: Presents planet earth as a character. Can ask children if earth is male or female.
Back cover: Introductory blurb in first person. 
Title page: Introduces author and illustrator as co-authors with Planet Earth 
NB : Fun fact page at the end of the picturebook

Teacher education
Migration:  Incredible Animal Journeys
Choosing a picturebook linked to the Dutch primary curriculum
Learning to give children a choice when working with a picturebook
Moving from working in groups working as a class


We Planted a Tree:
Environmental:  understanding how trees benefit the earth and people around the world; finding out about the Green Belt Movement in Kenya and environmental activists.
Nature:  recognising changing seasons and the changes in a tree; recognising different types of trees. 
Visual:  recognising how colour is used to depict different settings around the world; recognising geometrical shapes.

Notes from the classroom
Compost Stew
Reuse/Reduce/Recycle: learning to recycle plants – making compost.
Creating a Compost Alphabet mini-book.
Building awareness of rhyme, rhythm and repetition – writing a compost stew song.

Additional Suggestions

Throughout April, the PEPELT Team reviewed four informational picturebooks. We have indicated if the picturebook is suitable for Younger Primary Learners [YPL], Older Primary Learners [OPL] or All Primary Learners [APL]. Our videos can be found here: Playlist Earth Day 2020

Sandie [APL]

Gail [APL]

Tatia [OPL]

Anneta [APL]

If you are looking for more suggestions, have a look at this comprehensive list by ‘Books for Topics’. It is a great list of picturebooks to help celebrate our planet Earth, and it includes some of our favourite picturebook creators … Oliver Jeffers, Emily Gravett, Mini Grey, Jeanne Baker, Jeannette Winter, Shaun Tan, Sandra Dieckmann, Michael Forman, Melanie Walsh. Also check our Earth Day 2019 picturebook recommendations.

We would like to share two more teaching resources which are not picturebooks but a short film and a game. Although not picturebooks, we think these two resources might support your picturebook choices and offer an interesting way to open or close your primary English lesson.

Resource 1

Message from Antarctica by picturebook author and illustrator Chris Haughton. Chris created this film for Earth Day 2019. He collaborated with scientists from the British Antarctic Survey to help communicate their work. You can read more about this project on his blog. This film is quite advanced from an English language point of view but keywords and the animated illustrations support comprehension.

Resource 2

Google produced a lovely interactive Earth Day 2020 Doodle. It was made in collaboration with The Honeybee Conservancy, New York. It is a game and you (children) need to guide a bee to pollinate flowers. While playing you (children) will learn many fun “facts about bees and our planet that they help to sustain.”

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