Monday, March 9, 2020

ReFoReMo Day 6: Editor Courtney Fahey Explores Environmental Issues


As inhabitants of this beautiful planet, we currently have a lot of fundamental issues facing our rapidly changing world. How do we educate young readers on such topics, environmental and ethical, in a way that presents the information as entertainment? Each of these picture books has an engaging voice, gorgeous illustrations, and presents these themes in a subtle, friendly manner. The pacing is strong, they have perfect readability for story times, and they each lead to the opportunity for a greater discussion. How do we treat living creatures? How do we value and protect our ecosystems? What is our responsibility to the planet we call home? These titles are the perfect tools to inspire further introspection and start the discussion of environmental issues.



Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit by Linda Marshall illustrated by Ilaria Urbinati

  

The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault




Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal


Whale in a Fishbowl by Troy Howell illustrated by Richard Jones











Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers





Courtney is donating her time to one lucky winner--she'll look at five of your story ideas and let you know which ones are viable! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 2, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.


Courtney Fahy is the Editorial Assistant at Little Bee Books and Yellow Jacket, where she acquires and edits board books, picture books, and middle grade novels. Prior to joining Little Bee Books, Courtney interned at Macmillan at Roaring Brook Press and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for Young Readers, as well as W.W. Norton. Originally from New Jersey, Courtney graduated from Pace University with a master’s in science in publishing. You can find Courtney on Twitter @courtneyfahy.


139 comments:

  1. Such a timely topic. Thanks for introducing these books.

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  2. I am looking forward to exploring the issues and answers to your questions in these books, especially "Saving the Countryside" and "Whale ing a Fishbowl" which are new to me. Thank you.

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  3. I loved Whale in a Fishbowl, both of Kate Messner's Over and Under books and Honeybee. Whale in a Fishbowl really prompts further discussion. I look forward to the others, and I'm happy to see more environmentally themed books being published. Thank you Courtney.

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  4. I love your question "How do we treat living creatures?" Every other question finally amounts to this. Thank you for suggesting these books. "Whale in a Fishbowl" really captured my heart. Thank you.

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  5. I love how you use the word "friendly" to describe these books. As a kindergarten teacher I want to introduce environmental topics to kids through read alouds without scaring them and these books are perfect for that. I especially love Over and Under the Pond, and The Honeybee has such a bouncy rhythm and great rereadability. 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World is older but also great, and even older but a favorite of mine for introducing environmental issues to kids in a matter of fact and engaging way is Common Ground by Molly Bang.

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    1. Thanks for these additional suggestions! (Also a kindergartent teacher).

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  6. I love writing this kind of book. Kate Messner's titles entertain and inform through lyrical words. Thanks for great examples of outstanding work on environmental topics.

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  7. Thank you for opening my eyes and mind to these titles.

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  8. What a great list! Looking forward to reading these!

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  9. Perfect tools, indeed! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Courtney, thank you for this list. Love this overarching topic and have a WIP that forces on the fun of exploring our natural world.

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  11. Thanks for sharing these titles. teaching our youngest generation about the "responsibility to our planet" is so important.

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  12. Over and Under the Pond has always been a favorite of mine. Thanks for introducing me to newer titles as well.

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  13. I can't wait to read Whale in a Fishbowl. I haven't heard of that one. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Thank you, Courtney, for sharing such important books.

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  15. Thanks for the post. Whale in a Fishbowl is such a beautiful book.

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  16. Thanks, Courtney,for your thoughtful choices on important ecology picture books for children. I haven't read Whale in a Fishbowl. It's intriguing.

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  17. These are all beautiful books. Thank you for the wonderful suggestions targeting such an important aspect of life.

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  18. Thank you Courtney. Whale in a Fishbowl was new to me so glad I found it.

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  19. Love the Honeybee and Over and Under the Pond. I'm waiting for the Beatrix Potter book to arrive at the library. Many years ago I read all the Beatrix Potter books to my daughter while we waited for her brother at school. She is now a college freshman studying biology. Coincidence? I think we can help teach our youngsters about nature and I read as many books at school to them as I can. Thanks for a great list!

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  20. I love that we are addressing young people in our fight to help the planet. Thank you writers for choosing to help in this way.

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  21. Thank you for posting these lovely mentor texts. I look forward to looking at them in depth.

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  22. Wonderful selection of books. I hadn't heard of The Whale in the Fishbowl. Thank you for that recommendation.

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  23. Thank you for reminding us about "Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit" - I'm going to order it from my indy today! Such important material celebrated in all of these texts.

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  24. Thank you, Courtney, for sharing your ideas on home to write on these topics to engage readers and promote discussion and change.

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  25. Books that incorporate nature always have a soothing element. Thank you for sharing this excellent list.

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  26. Thank you for these lovely books to read and to consider the themes in our own nature writing.

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  27. Thank you for suggesting these books.

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  28. These titles have been added to the Non-Fiction doc here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/reforemo/non-fiction-informational-fiction-narrative-non-fiction-mentor-texts/2005150833062594/

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  29. I love this list of books as a friendly, accessible way to introduce big ideas. Thank you!

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  30. Lovely post and such special books. Thanks!

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  31. Thank for introducing these books and the concept of presenting these themes in a subtle, friendly manner. I especially loved "Whale in a Fishbowl".

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  32. Very timely list! I also really liked "Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet" for its explanation of the ozone layer and climate change.

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  33. These are excellent mentor texts - exactly the kinds of books I want to write. Thank you!

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  34. The environment is a very important issue for me. Thanks for recommending these books. I look forward to reading them.

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  35. Over and Under is one of my favorite books

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  36. Sharing both the large and small of our environment is a joy. Thanks for the book list.

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  37. Great suggestions! I love the "Over and Under" series.

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  38. Thanks for sharing! Habit loss is a thread that runs through my writing. I love Whale in a Fishbowl and all of Kate Messner's picture books.

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  39. Thank you for sharing books that explore environmental issues. I love Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers. I look forward to reading these mentor texts.

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  40. My favourite read today is about my favourite author Beatrix Potter. I have the collection of little books and a sizeable representative collection of the Beswick figurines. My only travel longing is to visit the Lake District of England and to see where she lived her happiest moments. Ahead of her time she did much to preserve the beauty of this area. I’d love to visit her home in London where she penned her stories as gifts to children. I’d love to see where she and her brother in their attic nursery had a menagerie of pet mice, rabbits, cats, etc. An eccentric she would fit right into my family tree.

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    1. Years ago I read Linda Lear's book Beatrix Potter A Life in Nature & became enthralled with her life and work. Also At Home with Beatrix Potter - The Creator of Peter Rabbit by Susan Denyer which has many wonderful pictures and illustrations. I too want to visit the Lake District and her home there. She was an amazing person.

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    2. My DREAM vacation, TOO!!! We children's authors sure do think alike!!! HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!!

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  41. I am grateful that authors are creating books to heighten awareness of the environment we depend on. Planting that seed at a young age in a fun format creates observational capacity. Kiddos will ruminate on those ideas and new solutions will emerge! Thank you for these positive, hopeful examples.

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  42. Thank you, what a great list. One of my favourite books is 'Dear Greenpeace' and I used it with all ages in the Primary School to start discussions.

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  43. Great way to introduce our kids to important environmental topics

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  44. Thank you for highlighting a couple that I hadn't read before!

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  45. Thank you so much for this post! In my library classes with my Elementary students during the month of April, I focus on poetic structures but try to intertwine that with something related to nature/our Earth because of Earth day. I'm excited to reflect on these beautiful books with that lens.

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  46. Beautiful, thought-provoking list! Thank you, Courtney!

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  47. Thanks for sharing these, Courtney! These titles are so necessary, now more than ever. Each one was beautiful it its own way, but my favorite was, Here We Are. I love how straightforward Jeffers storytelling is, but also how he subtly weaves in the lessons of not only care for the earth, but ourselves and each other. Just lovely.

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  48. These are all wonderful books with gentle but powerful messages. Thanks for sharing these!

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  49. Such beautiful books to share with young readers!

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  50. Thanks for this list, Courtney! I enjoy writing about the natural world, so it was a pleasure to get to know these titles. I especially loved the illustrations in Saving the Countryside.

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  51. Love this list, and as some others have stated, the first book reminded me how much I want to go to Beatrice Potter's Lake District home some day and see the settings for her rich life with her animal friends. Thank you.

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  52. Thanks for highlighting these beautiful books that focus on environmental issues and definitely lead to further discussion.

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  53. Thank you, Courtney, for this list of books that address environmental and ethical issues in such diverse and unique ways. Whale in a Fishbowl had me at the title alone.

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  54. The texts that you picked look interesting and the illustrations are lovely. I can't wait to read them.

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  55. These were great about environmental issues. I loved The HoneyBee and Whale In A FishBowl!

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  56. Thank you for sharing such lovely books that highlight important environmental issues!

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  57. Kate Messner's books Over and Under the Pond and Over and Under the Snow have been part of my library for a few years. I will definitely add Saving the Countryside.

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  58. Courtney, thanks for introducing us to these books about our environment. I'm looking forward to reading each one with our own world in mind.

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  59. Thank you, Courtney, for these titles which explore environmental issues. A timely post!

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  60. "Whale in a Fishbowl" reminded me a lot of my own dog, looking out the window & yearning to romp in the muddy back yard (needless to say, not all dreams come true, LOL!) All of these stories were beautifully written & truly invite discussion about the characters, and our world today. We shouldn't be worried or scared to read such books to littles; they understand more than we give them credit for & again, these tales are great conversation starters.

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  61. These books are wonderful - the pacing, voice, and illustration of each book absolutely contributes to its readability. I look forward to reading Whale in a Fishbowl with my daughter and hearing the questions it brings up for her inquisitive little mind! Thank you!

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  62. These sound like really great books! Thanks for telling us about them.

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  63. Environmental issues are fascinating to me as a former Environmental Engineer. I'm going to see if my library has the books you highlighted today.

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  64. Thank you for these book recommendations. I especially loved WHALE IN A FISHBOWL.

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  65. These are great titles. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  66. Thank you for your ideas! These all sound like excellent books...I have only read one but plan to get the rest from our library.

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  67. I love the way all of these books are exciting to read with kids and tell such important stories. My niece and I especially liked whale in a fish bowl. We went through it a second time just to see the dogs journey too!

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    1. Lexi, I hadn't even paid attention to the dog; thanks for pointing it out. I love when there are little sidekicks in the story.

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  68. Thank you very much for this helpful post. I love Here We Are.

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  69. Great post, Courtney! We need more books about the environment.

    I loved Saving the Countryside and can’t wait for it to arrive… another book for my growing collection.

    I already have Kate Messner’s books, Over and Under the Pond and Over and Under the Snow as well as Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. I can’t wait for her Over and Under the Rainforest to come out. I’m sure it will be joining Whale in a Fishbowl as well as Greta and the Giants: Inspired by Greta Thunberg's Stand to Save the World written by Zoë Tucker in my bookcase shortly

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  70. I really enjoyed reading these books and discussing them with my children. Important topics told with such beauty and weight.

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  71. We need picture books that explore environmental issues! Thank you for this selection, I know I will come back to them as examples for my own writing and they were fun to read now. I especially liked 'Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit'.

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  72. This may be my favorite Reforemo day yet!I am personally EXTREMELY passionate about animal welfare and respecting the creatures and the world we live in. It is not ours- we share it with many many other living things, and I am adamant about teaching our young to respect that. These books were wonderful examples of that. I cannot believe I did not know about WHALE IN A FISHBOWL. This story is right up my alley. What a spectacular tale to tell!

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  73. I appreciated this list of mentor texts very much. Each deals with the very important and timely topic of respecting and protecting our planet (and all that live here) in a different but compelling manner. I especially loved the Beatrix Potter book. These texts will be wonderful springboards for discussion with our young.

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  74. These suggestions were a great variety of environmental texts.
    -Ashley Congdon

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  75. Courtney: THANK YOU for INSPIRING us to find ways we can bring awareness of SUCH IMPORTANT issues in our own writing! I am ESPECAILLY EXCITED to read Saving the Countryside! I am Beatrix Potter's #1 FAN, but didn't see this book until now--SO THRILLED!!! And Whale in a Fishbowl--the cover alone has CAPTURED my HEART! THANK YOU!!!

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  76. Education and entertainment- inspiring books! Thanks for the great list- some new titles I was happy to discover.

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  77. Gosh what a great post! Going to get these for my class, and hoping the school doesn’t close!!!

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  78. Thank you, Courtney, for featuring outstanding kid lit that focuses on the importance of being kind to our earth and our environment.

    Suzy Leopold

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  79. Such an important topic with a great list of books. Hanging on to a couple to study more deeply. We need more like this. Thank you, Courtney.

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  80. My passion is empowering young readers to meet environmental challenges.Thanks for adding to my TBR list and for emphasizing the qualities I need to focus upon when I write them.

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  81. Environmental issues are near and dear to my heart, and I love sharing these types of books with children. Thank you for sharing your list of favorites.

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  82. This is a perfect time to focus on environmental issues. Thank you.

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  83. Thank you, Courtney for today's story list. Kate Messner's Over and Under story, I feel, is an opportunity to discuss opposites as well as water ecosystems. What can be seen (over) is also affected by that which cannot be seen (under) as in the case of a pond.

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  84. A great selection of books - thank you! I was especially intrigued by the Beatrix Potter one which I hadn't heard of before.

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  85. Thanks for introducing these books!

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  86. These look lovely. Can't wait to read them. Thank you!

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  87. Thanks, Courtney, for sharing these titles - just in time for Earth Day reading!

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  88. I love that you've chosen books which allow for discussion. This will help young readers not only learn about the issue at hand, but take it even further by discussing the issue and maybe even coming up with some solutions!

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  89. Thank you for these selections. Whale in a Fishbowl just grabbed my heart and Beatrix Potter is my new Shero!

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  90. Beautiful book choices. Thank you Courtney!

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  91. Environmental books are so important. Thank you for this great list. I hadn't read the Beatrix Potter book.

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  92. I really loved some of these — thanks so much for assembling the list.

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  93. I love reading about environmental issues and am always impressed by the creative, sensitive way that these issues are presented to children in picture books. Thanks.

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  94. I love your selection, and these illustrations are so sweet. Thank you!

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  95. Loved the selection of books! Good reads! Thank you!

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  96. These are all great books that will foster future stewards of the earth. Thanks for shining a light on them!

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  97. What a beautiful selection of books. Thank you for sharing.

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  98. Thanks so much, Courtney! What a wonderful collection of books addressing so many important topics. Loved it!!

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  99. Thank you for sharing, Courtney. I really enjoyed "Saving the Countryside" and reading the author note to hear how Linda Elovitz Marshall was inspired to write this book.

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  100. I was only familiar with one of these titles. Thank you for the beautiful collection. I look forward to exploring each of them.

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  101. Perfect timing! I have been writing an environmental book. Great mentor texts!

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  102. In this stressful and busy world, nature has always been an escape and gently soothes and relaxes. I think it is so important to reach kids, especially those who may not have access to nature through these books. Thank you!

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  103. All beautiful examples! These are such important books. Oliver Jeffers and Kate Messner are 2 of my favorites.

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  104. Thank you for this inspiring post!

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  105. Love the books you chose! Thanks for this post.

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  106. Great collection of mentor texts!

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  107. Aww, "Whale in a fishbowl" and "Here we Are" are such lovely stories! So many ideas!!

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  108. yes i want to read each of these books and be active in the race to save our environment.thanks for inspiring us, Courtney.

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  109. Loved reading these mentor texts this week. They were fantastic. Fell in love with THE HONEYBEE!

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  110. Hopefully, I did not comment twice but I love Whale in a Fishbowl!

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  111. These lovely books are perfect beginnings to important conversations. Thanks for sharing these inspiring books.

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  112. What beautiful illustrations! I can’t wait to read them all. I love the idea of books as discussion starters, especially on such an important topic. Thanks!

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  113. Thanks for the ideas! I just put Saving the Countryside and Whale in a Fishbowl on hold.

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  114. Thank you so much for this post! This is so needed. I love Here We Are!

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  115. Looking forward to reading these. Books on these topics are so important right now; not preachy, but build empathy and a meaningful call to action!

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  116. Thanks. This is such an important subject. I love Kate Messner’s Over and Under the Pond and Over and Under the Snow as well as Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. Also Jane Yolen's On Bird Hill, On Duck Pond and On Gull Beach and some of David Harrison's as well.

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  117. This is a topic I love and write about. Thank you! Eager to read these.

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  118. So beautiful. I cannot wait to absorb and then share these titles!

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  119. These are beautiful and inspiring books. Also I just realized I had never read HERE WE ARE by Jeffers. Thanks you!

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  120. These are great mentor texts for a story I am writing. Thank you.

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  121. I can't wait to read all of these.

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  122. Thanks, Courtney, for this list-I only know one. I look forward to reading the others. Kids do love to connect with nature and discuss ways of doing the right thing. These are great beginnings for these discussions.

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  123. These titles are like an amazing springboard for exciting a whole new generation of environmental activists! Thank you for this beautiful group of mentor texts!

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  124. Such important books! Thanks so much for sharing. And I love that there's a bee one among them. Buzz :)

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  125. I love Whale in a Fishbowl. A truism for today's times. I am very much inspired by these texts - thanks for selecting them and pointing out the very great need for more!

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  126. I had already read Saving the Countryside (LOVED it!) and Over and Under the Pond. I'm glad I was able to check out your other recommendations before the library closed. Thank you!

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  127. Thank you for these varied mentor texts; it's so helpful to see this kind of message done well in different styles.

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  128. SAVING THE COUNTRYSIDE is lovely! I plan on buying copies for my daughter and my niece!

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  129. Beautiful book selection... I loved reading them out loud to myself (now that my small kid is a big kid/teen, ha)

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  130. Some of my favorite books! :-) I'd anything by Diane Hutts Aston, Yuval Zommer, Steve Jenkins, and Melissa Stewart as well.

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  131. These are all beautiful examples of environmental issues. Thank you Courtney for your picks, they were great!

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