It’s Earth Day. What are you doing sitting in front of a computer? You should be out saving the planet!
Don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas. Back in October, Wendy Martin’s Parade of Planet Pampering Picks featured some great nonfiction titles for kids interested in the environment. If fiction is more your thing, check out these books about intrepid kids who save manatees, Key deer, and giant redwood trees as they go after poachers and polluters.
From IndieBound: Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. . . . When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival!”, Wahoo figures he’ll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show’s boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. . . They’ve only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. . . It’s anyone’s guess who will actually survive “Expedition Survival”
Jean Craighead George has published over a hundred books, most of which feature the environment and the natural world. Her novels include JULIE OF THE WOLVES, MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, and this one, WHO REALLY KILLED COCK ROBIN?
From IndieBound: Citizens of Saddleboro are proud to say that theirs is the cleanest town around. So they can’t ignore the mysterious death of their mascot, Cock Robin. Some people would like to blame the citizens themselves, but one boy-Tony Isidoro — suspects there’s more to the story.
Tony threads his way through a maze of clues: Among other things, the town park is overrun with trillions of ants; nights are quiet because there are no frogs singing; the nearby river contains a dangerous amount of an unknown chemical; and the town dump is emitting strange fumes. What does it all add UP to? It’s an eco mystery all right, and it’s up to Tony to figure out who really killed Cock Robin.
From IndieBound: Kenzie didn’t expect her first summer in the Florida Keys to be murder. Or cute guys, awesome boats, endangered species, and gun-toting thugs… When city girl Kenzie Ryan moves to a Florida wildlife refuge, she plunges straight into an eco-mystery. Kenzie trades New York streets for Keys pollution cleanup, and now, instead of hailing cabs, she’s tracking down a poacher of endangered Key deer. Her new home does have some benefits-mainly Angelo, an island native, who teams up with her to nab the culprit. But will they both survive when the killer turns from stalking deer to hunting humans? Island Sting includes notes on the endangered Florida Key Deer and the National Key Deer Refuge.
OPERATION REDWOOD by S. Terrell French
From IndieBound: Clandestine e-mail exchanges, secret trips, fake press releases, and a tree-house standoff are among the clever stunts and pranks the kid heroes pull in this exciting ecological adventure. “Sibley Carter is a moron and a world-class jerk,” reads Julian Carter-Li in an angry e-mail message meant for his greedy, high-powered uncle. The fateful message sets him on the course to stop an environmental crime! His uncle’s company plans to cut down some of the oldest California redwood trees, and it’s up to Julian and a ragtag group of friends to figure out a way to stop them. This thrilling, thoughtful debut novel shows the power of determined individuals, no matter what their age, to stand up to wrongdoing.
MANATEE BLUES by Laurie Halse Anderson
From IndieBound: Dr. Mac has brought Brenna, Maggie, and Zoe to Florida to visit her friend Gretchen, a marine biologist who runs a manatee rescue center that’s in desperate need of money. Brenna’s immediately drawn to the endangered, gentle giants, and wants to do whatever she can to help them–and the center. But is she causing trouble where she wants to help?
HANNAH WEST IN DEEP WATER by Linda Johns
From IndieBound: Hannah West may look like any other funky, artistic, street-smart Seattle twelve-year-old, but there’s more to her than meets the eye. In addition to being a detective, adopted, and having a sixth sense for bus schedules, Hannah’s also homeless, a fact that she and her single mom deal with by moving from one house-sitting job to the next. This time, they’re taking care of a houseboat on the tranquil waters of Lake Washington. Before long, someone starts making waves, and before you can blink an eye, Hannah West is on the case. Hannah’s not sure who is dumping chemicals in the water—or why—but one thing’s for sure: if Hannah doesn’t get to the bottom of things soon, they’ll all be in deep water!
JUDY MOODY SAVES THE WORLD by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
From IndieBound: It all started with the Crazy-Strip contest – and the dream that she, Judy Moody, might one day see her very own adhesive-bandage design covering the scraped knees of thousands. But when her “Heal the World” motif merits only an honorable mention, Judy Moody realizes it’s time to set her sights on something bigger. Class 3T is studying the environment, and Judy is amazed to learn about the destruction of the rain forest, the endangered species (not) in her own backyard, and her own family’s crummy recycling habits. Now she’s in a mood to whip the planet into shape – or her name isn’t Judy Monarch Moody!
THE CAPED 6TH GRADER: TOTALLY TOXIC by Zoe Quinn
From IndieBound: When Zoe Richards, 6th-grade superhero, gets the news that a local company is dumping toxic waste into the river, it’s time to direct those new superpowers into some toxic avenging. Can she stop the company from polluting her town, keep her superpowers secret, and still make it home in time for dinner? Stay tuned. . . .
Jacqueline Houtman is a freelance science writer and proponent of “sciency fiction” for kids. Her debut middle-grade novel, THE REINVENTION OF EDISON THOMAS, is full of it. (Full of science, that is.) Visit her at www.jhoutman.com.