Today is Earth Day! According to the Earth Day website, the Earth Day campaign is "designed to provide people with the opportunity to unite their voices in a call for a sustainable future." These environmentally-conscious children's books are all set in the Caribbean and can be used to help children and adults alike think about what they can do to help protect and preserve the environment.
1. The Promise of the Pawi by Janice Hernandez, illustrated by Leizelle Guinness
(Lonsdale Saatchi & Saatchi)
Published by the Guardian Wildlife Trust in collaboration with the Asa Wright Nature Centre (Trinidad), The Promise of the Pawi highlights the plight of Trinidad’s only endemic bird, the endangered Trinidad Piping Guan or Pawi. The Promise of the Pawi is aimed at children 4 to 11 and serves a dual purpose – to educate young readers and to raise funds to support the work of the Trust.
2. Beba and Little Sister Island/ Beba y la Isla Nena by Rafael Landrón, illustrated by Maria Antonia Ordonez
(Campanita Books, 2010)
Beba is a young manatee who works with her animal friends to end the bombing and destruction of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Based on actual events, Beba and Little Sister Island is a fable about how courage, solidarity, and respect for the land and the sea saved a little island for its inhabitants and for generations to come.
3. Bri and Luk: Friends In Times of Changing Climates: Climate Change Adaptation for Caribbean Youth by Nicole Garofano
(Future Centre Trust, 2010)
Bri and Luk: Friends In Times of Changing Climates is the first book in the Future Centre Trust's (Barbados) Climate Change Learning Series designed to help students and their teachers understand the effects of global climate change on Barbados and the region. Here the story of Luk the polar bear unfolds. Luk comes to the Caribbean with his friend Bri the hummingbird to learn from the local animals and children how climate change is beginning to affect them.
4. Jessica by Christine Leo, illlustrated by Kim Harley
(Tamarind Books, 1998)
Jessica is a beautiful mermaid who lives in the Caribbean sea. She surfs the Information Superhighway and the ocean waves with equal ease. She is a traveler, a fighter against pollution and a real friend of the animals of the ocean. With her friends - dolphins, sea horses and other sea creatures - she foils a group of sailors who dump poisonous cargo into the Caribbean sea.
5. The Reggae Band Rescues Mama Edda Leatherback by Jana Bent
(KQC Enterprises, 2011)
Mama Edda, the Leatherback Sea Turtle is struggling to get to land. She has to lay her eggs but she's in distress. Can the Reggae Band come up with a way to rescue Mama Edda? This CD storybook gives children hands-on advice for how they can help protect the environment, respecting their power to do something to make a positive change in the world. It teaches the importance of recycling, reducing and reusing waste, with tasks children can easily do.
6. The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle written and illustrated by Lynne Cherry
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004)
First a seed is jostled from a branch of a mangrove tree and floats far away to a lagoon in the Caribbean Sea. Then it takes root, sprouts leaves, and slowly begins to grow. Over many years, the mangrove will provide a home for numerous creatures of land and sea. This chronicle of the life of one mangrove tree details the abundant wildlife that depends upon its unique and wonderful ecosystem, one that is beneficial to so many, but one that also faces many dangers.
7. My Island and I : The Nature of the Caribbean by Alfonso Silva Lee, illustrated by Alexis Lago
My Island and I is a picturebook about the natural ecology of an island - from fallen trees becoming food for fungi and termites, to the thoughts of lizards and the interaction of fish. How did animals and plants first get to the islands? How do they live together? This enchanting introduction to island biodiversity allows children to visualize relationships between Caribbean creatures and the water and sky—and to see how we, too, are one with each island.
8. Undersea City: A Story of a Caribbean Coral Reef by Dana Meachen, illustrated by Katie Lee
From the beach of Saona Island off the coast of the Dominican Republic, a hermit crab explores the Caribbean coral reef and its creatures. The book and tape introduce the habitat of the coral reef and island beaches to young readers. In addition to the story, there is some background on Saona Island and the Taino people who live there.
9. Ibis Stew? Oh, No! by Joanne Gail Johnson, illustrated by Katie McConnachie
(Macmillan Caribbean, 2005)
This is the story of the evil pirate Captain Bad who sets sail on the Caribbean Sea to hunt down the Scarlet Ibis to make into a stew. However his plans are interrupted when he meets up with Omo and Pete who hatch a plan to try to make him change his ways. Written in the form of a story poem, Ibis Stew serves as a gentle reminder of the importance of conservation of our endangered birds.
10. Shelley written and illustrated by Katherine Orr
(Macmillan Caribbean, 1994)
Shelley tells the life story of the conch shell, Shelley, tracing her life cycle from her beginning as a drifting baby, no bigger than a pinhead, to the time when she produces her own offspring. Fascinating facts about the life of the conch and other marine animals with which it comes into contact show the importance of conserving this beautiful creature.
About the Author
Summer Edward is the Managing Editor here at Anansesem. Her stories, poems and art have been published in various journals and anthologies. Her home on the web is www.summeredward.com.