One of the great things about picture books is their ability to help us see the world through someone else’s eyes. Whether it’s finding new uses for a little paper bag, bringing clean drinking water to those who need it, or helping baby sea turtles find their way home, I hope you’ll see the value, as I do, in challenging ourselves to help make the world we share a better place. Enjoy!
“One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey” author illustrated in ink by Henry Cole (Copyright 2020, Scholastic Press) is a beautiful story without words that was inspired by an experience from the author’s own life. The pictures tell the story of a small paper bag, made from a tree in the forest, finding “a well-used, well-recycled life” when it is shared and reused again and again by three generations of the same family. Beginning with a little boy’s first day of school, the bag becomes a cherished and loved container of countless objects and memories. Many years later, the family returns the little bag to the earth, holding a small tree that is being planted. Considering the amount of time, resources, and energy that are required to create things like paper lunch bags, and that they are often used only once, this book encourages us to be mindful of the waste we create when we discard things before their usefulness is gone. Henry Cole has a degree in forestry, taught elementary-school science for sixteen years, and is an award-winning author and illustrator. To find out more about his work, please visit henrycole.net.
“The Water Princess” written by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Copyright 2016, by G.P. Putnam’s Sons imprint of Penguin Random House) was inspired by the childhood experiences of Georgie Badiel, high-fashion model and founder of the Georgie Badiel Foundation. In the story, Princess Gie Gie dreams of bringing a source of clean drinking water to her beloved African village. Each day, Gie Gie and her mother join many other women and girls in walking a great distance from their homes to a well, where they gather the day’s water and carry it back home to their families. The illustrations in watercolor, using gouache and digital inks with hand-lettering by Mr. Reynolds, present the challenges of a life without water in a way that helps bring awareness to this ongoing problem. To learn more about those who are working to help solve the water crisis in Africa and around the world, please visit www.ryanswell.ca and georgiebadielfoundation.org.
“Follow the Moon Home” written by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated in watercolor, colored ink, and colored pencils by Meilo So (Copyright 2016, Chronicle Books) is the story of a little girl named Vivienne, who discovers that sometimes we all need some help finding our way. Having just moved to a new school, Vivienne takes part in a class problem-solving project where she and her classmates are joined by the community in trying to help save loggerhead sea turtle babies during the nesting season. The title of the book refers to the way that newly hatched baby loggerhead turtles instinctively go toward the strongest light they see. When that light is the moon, they follow it out to the ocean where they belong. One of the co-authors of this book is the grandson of famous explorer, Jacques Cousteau, who challenged him “to go out and explore the world.” Philippe and his sister, Alexandra, founded an organization, EarthEcho International, as a resource for kids who are interested in protecting the environment. For more information, please visit www.earthecho.org.
If you have a favorite picture book that has inspired you to live mindfully, I’d love to hear about it.
Happy Reading 😊