islandparent Things To Do Reading A Little Love Goes a Long Way (To Save Our World)

A Little Love Goes a Long Way (To Save Our World)

Recently I came across an essay I wrote in high school. It was basically the written version of a self-portrait, just oozing with the self-confidence of a 17-year-old who thinks she knows everything. In the middle of my wide-eyed fantasies, one thing I practically promised my reader was that someday I would live on the ocean.

And here I am.

I love it. I love being able to walk along the beaches and seeing the waves and the mountains beyond them. We have such a beautiful home. It’s so important to me that I take care of it, learn more about it and teach my children to do the same.

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Which is why I was excited to pick up The Seal Garden with photos by Ian McAllister and words by Nicholas Read (Orca Book Publishers, 2018). This story brings you to one of the Seal Gardens in the Great Bear Sea, where seals, sea lions and otters play and stay safe from predators like Orcas. Each page is filled with stunning photos of the marine mammals napping in blankets of kelp, sunning themselves on rocks and swimming through the beautiful, blue water. For ages 5 to 9.

Another book I’ve been reading lately is Urgent Message from a Hot Planet: Navigating the Climate Crisis by Ann Eriksson and illustrated by Belle Wuthrich (Orca Book Publishers, 2022). This educational book teaches children and teens about why the earth is warming up (and how we know it is). In addition to easy-to-digest facts, the book is filled with poems written by teens and ideas on how young people can get involved and make a difference. For ages 12 and up.

If your kids are a bit younger but are still interested in learning about how they can take care of the environment, they can always read Fresh Air, Clean Water: Our Right to a Healthy Environment by Megan Clendenan and illustrated by Julie McLaughlin (Orca Book Publishers, 2022). This non-fiction text talks about the benefits nature has for us, like the “happy bacteria” in soil that actually makes us happier. It also includes understandable explanations of different environmentally-based court cases and some ideas on how kids can help, like composing a song or talking to their friends. For ages 10 to 14.

While the previous books are all wonderful, I know that not every child will be interested in reading non-fiction. So, if your child is interested in environmental issues, but they prefer fictional tales, they might want to check out Bear in the Family by Eric Walters and illustrated by Olga Barinova (Orca Book Publishers, 2022). This story takes place after a forest fire forced Jasmin and her family to flee. Now that they’re back home they find a bear cub stuck in a well. Jasmin and her brother Hunter decide to care for it until people from the bear-rescue sanctuary can come and get it. For ages 7 to 10.

The final story for this month is Sky’s Search for Eco-happiness written by Julie Neustadter and Sandi Schwartz and illustrated by Emily Hercock (Independent, 2022). This beautifully illustrated tale follows Sky as she discovers how being outside can brighten up her day (even if you don’t want to dig in the soil to find the “happy bacteria”). For ages 3 to 7.

And there you have it: five books to help you find ways to enjoy and save our lovely home. Maybe you can take a page from Sky’s book and look for eco-happiness as you lie down on the grass with a nice glass of lemonade and read the books outside.

Christina Van Starkenberg
Christina Van Starkenberg
Christina Van Starkenburg lives in Victoria with her husband, children, and cat. She is the author of One Tiny Turtle: A Story You Can Colour and many articles. To read more of her work and learn about her upcoming books, check out her website at