Books can be a powerful tool for understanding and developing an appreciation of our planet. Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 with these books.

“The Family Tree” by David McPhail, Henry Holt and Company, 2012, Ages 4 and up.

A tree has stood for generations, giving shade, beauty, and witness to the joys and sorrows of a family living close by. When progress threatens to cut down the tree, those who enjoy the tree, humans and animals alike, join together in protest. Lovely watercolor and ink illustrations help to create a feeling of love and protection for the tree.

“Seashore” by Hannah Wilson & Simon Mendez, Kingfisher, 2010, Ages 4 and up.

Children of all ages can begin to understand the allurement of the seashore in various climates and its inhabitants.   Factual information is presented through intriguing questions, labels, lists, and the use of flaps to hide and reveal both pictures and words. Realistic illustrations will create fascination with creatures such as starfish, flamingos, penguins, sea turtles.

“Polar Worlds” by Rosalyn Wade, Simon & Schuster, 2011, Ages 8 and up.

Stunning artwork and vivid descriptions take readers on an expedition into the North and South polar regions. Organized in chapters, this informational picture book reading aids such as diagrams, timelines, and a glossary to convey information geared to the interest and understanding of children.

“The Green Book” by Jill Patton Walsh, Square Fish, 1986, Ages 8 and up, 80 pages.

A small group of adults and children are hand-picked for a journey to a distant planet in order to escape the Disaster on the dying planet Earth. Pattie, along with her brother and sister, help to discover the perils, oddities, and surprising riches of Shine, their new home where nothing feels like home. The courage and determination of the children will inspire readers to consider how our lives would be different without the riches of planet Earth.

Understanding the Earth is an important step to appreciating the Earth. Books can help children and adults learn more about this planet we call home.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler