Earth Day has been observed every year in April since 1970. That’s 50 years of celebrating the planet we all call home. It might feel difficult to celebrate Earth Day this year because of COVID-19, but here are two activities that everyone can do, inspired by two Indiana picture books.
Take a walk and look for native Indiana plants
“Wake Up, Woods,” published by Indiana’s Rubber Ducky Press in partnership with the Indiana Native Plant Society, is a beautiful picture book all about Indiana native plants. The book pairs lilting rhymes with informational text about 12 plants native to Indiana. The book is illustrated with delightfully accurate drawings of not only the plants, but also the creatures who live in and around the plants. On the cover a mouse, caterpillar and bee coexist among violets.
For this activity, all you need to do is step out of your home and take a little walk. You can do this on your own or with members of your household. Keep your eyes to the ground and look for violets, spring beauties or any other Indiana native plant. Violets are probably the easiest to identify because of their distinctive flowers and heart shaped leaves. The flowers can be violet in color, white or even yellow. Take a closer look and observe their petals. They have two top petals, two side petals and one bottom petal. Violets are relatively easy to find because they like to grow in a variety of soils and could even be found on the edges of parking lots. For more information about Indiana native plants, take a look at the Indiana Wildlife Federation’s lists and resources.
Write a thank you note to the earth
“Thank You, Earth,” written by Indiana author April Pulley Sayre, pairs glorious photographs with a simple sentiment: a thank you letter to the earth. As the pages turn, the reader experiences rich vocabulary while taking a visual tour of the world, including several images of Indiana like a redbud tree and a blooming bloodroot plant. The back matter at the end of the book describes several ways to write a letter of thanks to the earth, and where to send it.
For this activity, all you need is a piece of paper. Write a letter to your planet, thanking it for the air you breathe, the blue sky and the water you drink. If you have children in your household, get them involved, too. Instead of writing a letter, make a poster and hang it in a window so passers-by can enjoy the sentiment as well. Mail your letter to your local newspaper or radio station.
Indiana has many authors who have written picture books that celebrate the earth. Take a look at some of these authors for more information:
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
April Pulley Sayre
This blog post was submitted by Indiana Young Readers Center Librarian Suzanne Walker.