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Free Resources & Read Alouds to Celebrate Earth Day

Free Resources & Read Alouds to Celebrate Earth Day

From its beginnings in 1970, Earth Day has evolved into a day of global environmental awareness, celebrating the natural beauty of the planet and the innovative ways people have helped reduce, reuse, and recycle all over the world.

Free Earth Day Toolkit

Check out our FREE Classroom Resources from Edmentum with printable activities, lesson plans, fact sheets, and posters to help inform and engage your pre-K–6th grade students. Use these resources to start classroom discussion around what we can all do to make our world a cleaner, safer place.

In addition to this toolkit, a great read-aloud can help ground your lessons and translate the sentiments of Earth Day into relatable stories that are appropriate for your students. Outside of typical reads like The Lorax, consider checking out one of these five inspiring stories about people who made the Earth a better place by making a change in their own communities.


1. The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hopkins

Explore the true story of the woman who brought trees to the desert-like city of San Diego, California, American botanist, horticulturalist, and landscape architect Katherine Olivia Sessions. While her story takes place a few years before the first Earth Day ever did, the gardens and parks Kate Sessions helped build can still be found all over San Diego. Besides learning about the life of an inspiring woman who followed her dreams and used her talents to bring beauty to her community, your students will also learn about how sometimes “going green” means more than just recycling and conserving energy; it can also mean encouraging your community to embrace the beauty of nature.

2. One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul

One day in Njau, Gambia, a young woman named Isatou Ceesay discovers a plastic bag on the ground while she is picking fruit. At first, she loves the plastic bag, but as more and more plastic bags begin to blow around her home, she realizes that they are not as wonderful as she thought and that they are beginning to make an ugly mess in her community. So, she finds a creative solution not only to recycle the old plastic bags but also to help clean and empower her community.

3. Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World by Allan Drummond

Take a trip to the Danish island of Samsø—or as the people who live there call it, Energy Island—where everything is powered by renewable energy. On Energy Island, the people use wind to create power and are almost completely energy independent. This colorful picture book combines a narrative tale with science to tell the true story of how one ordinary community like many others around the world, decided to make a change and took action to make the world a better place.

4Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood

This book tells the story of the real-life Recycled Orchestra, an orchestra in Paraguay made up of children who play instruments made out of recycled trash. Ada Ríos, who lives in Cateura, a town built on a landfill, has always wanted to learn to play the violin but knows she cannot afford one. Then one day, an engineer named Favio Chávez begins teaching music to the children of Cateura and, with the help of the town gancheros (recyclers), builds instruments for the children from the trash around them. Together, the children work hard to practice their instruments and go on to become the Recycled Orchestra, earning fame from around the world.

5. Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson

Written by acclaimed activist Philippe Cousteau and renowned author Deborah Hopkins, Follow the Moon Home tells an empowering story of young activism, inspired by the efforts of the 1988 5th grade class of Ninety Six Elementary School, who petitioned to make the loggerhead sea turtle the state reptile of South Carolina. In the story, a young girl named Vivienne learns that the loggerhead sea turtles on the beach of her new home are dying because they instinctively follow the moon to the ocean and are confused by the lights coming from the beach houses along the shore, unable to find their way. She and her classmates come up with a plan to save the sea turtles and involve their whole community in the process.


Don’t forget that Earth Day is April 22! Celebrate in your classroom with our FREE Earth Day Classroom Resources from Edmentum!