Celebrate Earth Day every day with books that will engage littles ones and plant the seeds of early literacy and a love for the natural world.

• “Penguin Flies Home” by Lita Judge (Atheneum, ages 4-8): This sweet story encourages little penguins (and little readers) not to give up on their dreams and to support their friends as they pursue theirs.

• “Little Larry Goes to School: The True Story of a Timid Chimpanzee Who Learned to Reach New Heights” by Gerry Ellis with Mary Rand Hess (National Geographic Kids, ages 4-8): This is the true story of Little Larry, an orphaned chimpanzee at a primate sanctuary in Cameroon. Larry had to conquer his fears to learn to climb just like his friends.  

• “Brother, Sister, Me and You” by Mary Quattlebaum (National Geographic Kids, ages 2-5): This book will grow with your child, from the simple, rhyming text to the pages of animal facts. It even includes an afterword for parents by early child development expert Dr. Tovah P. Klein with tips for nurturing sibling harmony. 

• “First Big Book of Science” by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfield (National Geographic Kids, ages 4-8): This terrifically detailed book is part of the bestselling "First Big Book: series by National Geographic Kids. Spark early interest in all things STEM with the basics of the scientific method, life science, earth and space, physical science, great inventions and more – all in a bright, vivid format that includes activities, games and simple experiments.

• "First Board Book: Animals on the Go" and "First Board Book: Space" by Ruth A. Musgraves (National Geographic Kids, birth-3): This new board book series is an absolute delight. The photography is vibrant and engaging and is the perfect match to the simple text. The books include age-appropriate questions, facts and activities for parents to share with pre-readers, and they are perfect for families who are following the Read and Discuss Stories recommendation of the Palmetto Basics for kindergarten readiness.

• “The Nocturnals: The Chestnut Challenge” by Tracey Hecht, Illustrated by Josie Yee (Fabled Films Press, grades 2-3): This short chapter book for independent readers is part of The Nocturnals series, telling the tales of a group of nocturnal animal friends. The message here is all about fair play and good sportsmanship, but young readers can learn about nocturnal animals, too. An accompanying website,, includes videos, educational resources and activities, activity kits and more.


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