Books That Can Make a Difference

Think of a book that compelled you to make a difference. Some may say A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park urged them to act. This story is about a remarkable young man named Salva. He was one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” who escaped the Sudanese Civil War and lived in a refugee camp. Salva immigrated to the United States where he started Water for South Sudan. This nonprofit organization drills wells to provide water in remote regions. A Long Walk to Water brings attention to the lack of clean water in Africa. The message of hope and perseverance engages readers to take action. To learn more about the changes this story provoked, watch “Can a Children’s Book Change the World?”

There are many outstanding science books that inform readers about a problem and suggest ways to help. The National Science Teachers Association shares their favorite books every year. Below are some resources that may inspire your learners to make a difference.

Books That Support Change

The Monarchs Are Missing: A Butterfly Mystery by Rebecca E. Hirsch: Scientists are paying attention to monarch butterflies. Their numbers are dwindling. Weather, pesticides, deforestation, and the milkweed plant might be effecting the butterfly population. In The Monarchs Are Missing, Rebecca Hirsch explains each hypotheses. She describes how citizen scientists can help. Resources at the end prompt further reading.

The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner: Have you heard of the “waggle dance?” I hadn’t until I read The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner. It’s a dance that bees perform to tell other bees where to find a nectar source. The length of the dance and the angle of the bee’s body points to the location of the flower. This captivating book engages readers with interesting facts and creative illustrations. When readers learn about the declining bee population, they will want to help. Suggestions at the end of the book will get them started. Visit Library Lessons with Books for a lesson idea that meets the AASL Standards.

Moonlight Crab Count by Dr. Neeti Bathala and Jennifer Keats Curtis: Horseshoe crabs are important creatures. The crab’s eggs sustain migratory birds as they fly to warmer climates. We use their bright blue blood to test medicines. Because horseshoe crabs are essential, scientists need to keep track of their population. This is a big job, and they need the help of citizen scientists. Moonlight Crab Count gives readers a clear picture of how children can help. Learners will appreciate the engaging text and digital illustrations. More information about the horseshoe crab is at the end of the book. Best of all is a link to 26 pages of lessons that cover math, language arts, science, and social studies.

Follow the Moon Home by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson: There are steps you can take to make a difference in your community. Follow the Moon Home describes how to research and solve a problem. In the story, a young girl discovers dead baby sea turtles on the beach. She investigates what happened to the hatchlings. Solving the problem takes community engagement, and readers learn how she found help. Detailed lesson plans, worksheets, and assessments based on Follow the Moon Home are available in Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades . This book, written by me and my friend Rebecca Granatini, is part of the AASL Standards-Based Learning series.

Grants That Support Change

The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, inspired a second-grade boy to make a difference. With the help of his mother, he applied for a grant to create a giving tree for his community. He received the grant, and WFSB Channel 3 in Connecticut matched the funds. Read more about this grant by reading “Grants for Difference Makers” on the Knowledge Quest blog.

What book or grant inspires your learners to make a difference? Please share!


Author: Maureen Schlosser

Author: Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades and Social and Emotional Learning for Picture Book Readers published by ALA Editions
Skillshare Teacher:

Categories: Blog Topics, Collection Development, Community/Teacher Collaboration, STEM/STEAM, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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