Written by Courtney Kuhl, Day Camp Coordinator for A Rocha Manitoba
In a time when the words we often use to describe our climate and environmental situation include “crisis,” or “overwhelmed,” I see the hope of tomorrow in children. Kids have a natural sense of wonder and a willingness to learn that allows them to grasp the idea of creation care with excitement rather than fear. As grown-ups, introducing creation care to children can feel like a daunting task, but I believe that it doesn’t have to be!
I have always loved children’s picture books. They hold the potential to describe nuanced and complex concepts through the use of simple language, lovable characters, and stunning illustrations. Jesus did say to “become like little children,” which is reason enough for me to feel confident recommending these resources as educational tools for people of all ages. These stories can make even the most challenging realities approachable to young and old alike.
Here are 5 children’s stories that introduce creation care, and are sure to instill a sense of hope for our future:
1. Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers
Oliver Jeffers takes readers on a visually beautiful journey across Earth to learn about the land, the creatures, and the work we have to do to figure it all out. We are reassured that although the planet is huge and filled with so many things that are hard to understand, our questions can receive answers. With simple and important statements like “There is enough for everyone,” and “You are never alone on Earth,” Here We Are is sure to provide hope to whoever reads it.
2. Touch the Earth by Julian Lennon
This book is a great introduction to the importance of one of the most vital aspects of creation: clean water. Readers will go on an interactive and empowering journey flying the “White Feather Flier” over deserts and mountains, and even through the sea, while learning about the ways we can protect the planet’s water supply, and how one small action can “Touch the Earth” in a powerful way.
3. Old Turtle by Douglas Wood
This is easily one of the most impactful books I’ve read this year. Douglas Wood describes a world where animals and rocks and trees can speak to and understand one another. But idyllic as this may sound, the beings of the world are arguing because everyone sees God in different ways. The breeze sees God as a wind that is never still. The star sees God as a far away glimmer. The fish see God as a swimmer in the depths of the ocean. No one can agree. But Old Turtle hears this commotion and speaks up, teaching all of creation who God really is. When people join the Earth, creation needs to share Old Turtle’s message of hope in an attempt to save the beauty around them and help them to see God in one another. If, like me, you love this story, follow it up with Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, a touching story about the love of God for all of us.
4. Life by Cynthia Rylant
Another story that is beautiful and poignant in its simplicity! Cynthia Rylant gives readers a glimpse through the eyes of animals who are excited to share what they love about life. It does not seem accidental to me that all of the animals name parts of the Earth when posed this question. They love the world around them for exactly what it is! Yet, the reality that “life is not always easy” is confronted head on. The final pages of this book are powerful and reveal to the reader that even when we feel like there is nothing more we can do, all we need is to look to creation for hope.
5. The Fog by Kyo Maclear
The Fog follows a tiny yellow warbler named Warble who is a people-watcher on the island of Icy Land. He loves making notes of the wildly varied species that he sees touring the island, including the “Solitary Knitter,” and the “Dapper Bespectacled Booklover.” When a thick fog rolls over the island Warble takes notice. The people stop visiting and sometimes it becomes hard to remember what life was really like before the fog. But the arrival of a young girl changes everything, because she too can see the fog! Together, Warble and the girl learn that there are plenty of people who can see what they do and who are willing to work together to restore the island to its clear beauty. This is an adorable and cheerful look at how even simple awareness can shift our reality.
Still looking for great ways to introduce your child to creation care? Consider signing your young learner up for one of A Rocha’s day camps! Each day will be filled with hands-on activities, faith builders, stories and music that will help us understand our world and it’s creator.
Spots are filling up, so register here today!