Picture books can be an excellent way of teaching young children about our world, how to look after it and use its resources wisely. I have selected three recent publications that would be perfect for use in Early Years settings and for Infant classrooms.
A Seed Grows by Antoinette Portis
Sunflowers have great appeal to young children, their cheerful appearance and speedy growth are ideal for demonstrating how the life cycle of plants occurs. A Seed Grows captures and conveys this appeal perfectly. In simple text and bold illustrations we follow the tiny seed from the moment it falls to the ground, grows steadily taller, depicted in a wonderful fold-out spread, and then finally drops its own seeds for the hungry birds to feed on and distribute.
This is an excellent example of narrative non-fiction for the early years and infant audience. The story alone teaches in an accessible manner for the youngest child and the comprehensive information provided at the end of the book adds added value for slightly older readers. There are facts, and helpful illustrations, suggested linked activities and a quiz to check on understanding. A great book for use in educational settings with teaching resources available on the publisher’s website. A Seed Grows was published in June by Scallywag Press. You may also be interested in Hey Water and A New Green Day by the same author.
Granny Pip Grows Fruit by Deborah Chancellor and Julia Groves
This is the final book in the series, Follow My Food, about where our food comes from and contains themes of sustainability conveyed in an easy to understand manner for our youngest readers. Granny Pip busy in her orchard encourages children to understand how fruit grows and how much work is involved in producing our food that appears in our shops. The little girl helping Granny learns about pruning, fertilising, watering and harvesting and although on a small scale in a garden this will enlighten readers. Clear illustrations and spare text ensure that this is accessible to young children and could be shared aloud too. In a similar approach to A Seed Grows there is a helpful information section at the end of the book highlighting the needs of the growing fruit and the importance of eating food that is grown closer to home. There are resources available on the publisher’s website linked to the book that would be helpful to teachers. Granny Pip Grows Fruit is published by Scallywag Press on 1st September.
Herman Needs a Home by Lucy Noguera illustrated by Emma Latham
Herman Needs a Home was inspired by a study of the effects of plastic pollution on hermit crabs and tells the story of a young hermit crab who, when he grows too big for his shell, goes in search of a new one that will feel just right. Accompanied by his sister, Hiro, Herman discovers that finding the perfect home proves difficult especially when he comes across a pile of rubbish discarded on the sand. With cheerful illustrations and appealing characters this is both an enjoyable story to share and an exploration of the challenges our marine wildlife face. Lucy Noguera is a former teacher and knows how to present information and thoughtful comment in an attractive manner to young readers. There are humorous moments and dramatic incidents at just the right level for the intended audience. The Did You Know? page at the end of the book provides key facts and also offers suggestions of how we can help to improve the situation. Herman Needs a Home was published by Brilliant Monster Books in June and would be great for Reception and Infant classes.