Today I read the book, I’m Trying to Love Garbage by Bethany Barton to my class of first graders. We’ve read other books in the series, including I’m Trying to Love Spiders and I’m Trying to Love Math. My students LOVE these books. Somehow the author manages to hit the perfect balance of funny, gross, and information.
I’m trying to infuse a steady dose of “let’s take care of our earth” throughout the school year, striking a balance of the urgent need to pay attention to the environment with a sense of joy and possibility– that little things DO matter.
This book does a nice job of teaching about nature’s clean up crew–the scavengers, detritivores, and decomposers who break down organic matter and contrasts that with human trash that can take centuries to break down (if at all). They learned about landfills–and were appalled that we, as human, are making huge stacks of trash that will take a long time to break down.
Luckily, at our school we have students engage in trash reduction every day. They compost remains of fruits and vegetables, recycle their paper trays and other recyclable packaging, and limit trash to those things that do not fit into the other categories. We also live in a place that has banned single use plastics, making reuse ordinary.
After reading, they wrote to their parents asking how their families reduce trash–and already, many students were aware of many efforts going on at home. I know that composting and recycling is not enough to change the climate trajectory, but I know that the more we and future generations know and do, the better our chances are to improve the situation.
I love a great book. Especially one that gets kids (and adults) thinking and acting in ways that have a positive impact on the world. What wonderful book have you read to kids lately?