NOMA’s Learning and Engagement team is excited to present monthly suggested reading lists for all ages, in partnership with Octavia Books. Direct links for ordering books are found in the listings below. This month’s selection focuses on Earth Day!
Plastic Soup: An Atlas of Ocean Pollution by Michiel Roscam Abbing
Island Press, 2019, ISBN: 9781642830088
Plastics have transformed every aspect of our lives. Yet the very properties that make them attractive—they are cheap to make, light, and durable—spell disaster when trash makes its way into the environment. Plastic Soup: An Atlas of Ocean Pollution is a beautifully-illustrated survey of the plastics clogging our seas, their impacts on wildlife and people around the world, and inspirational initiatives designed to tackle the problem.
The Nation of Plants by Stefano Mancuso, Translated by Gregory Conti
Other Press, 2021, ISBN: 9781635420999
In The Nation of Plants, the most important, widespread, and powerful nation on Earth finally gets to speak. Like attentive parents, plants, after making it possible for us to live, have come to our aid once again, giving us their rules: the first Universal Declaration of Rights of Living Beings written by the plants. A short charter based on the general principles that regulate the common life of plants, it establishes norms applicable to all living beings. Compared to our constitutions, which place humans at the center of the entire juridical reality, in conformity with an anthropocentricism that reduces to things all that is not human, plants offer us a revolution.
For Young Adults
We Are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change by Tim Flannery, and adapted by Sally M. Walker
Candlewick, 2010, ISBN: 9780763646561
First published for an adult readership, The Weather Makers got kudos for its solid science and powerful message. This accessible edition speaks directly to young adults, offering a clear look at the history of climate change, how matters will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a cataclysmic future. Featured are twenty-five practical tips for living a greener lifestyle—at home, in school, in the community, and ultimately, on Earth.
The Big Melt by Ned Tillman
South Branch Press, 2018, ISBN: 9781732484108
A series of climate catastrophes descends on Sleepy Valley, and Marley and Brianne must struggle to save their town and the world as they know it. Through their struggles, they find their voices and purposes for living. The Big Melt challenges us all to confront what is rapidly becoming the greatest threat of the 21st century. This work of contemporary fantasy fiction will inspire you to care, more than ever, about what could happen in your town in the not-too-distant future.
For Ages 9 – 12
Cast Away: Poems of Our Time by Naomi Shihab Nye
Greenwillow Books, 2021, ISBN: 9780062907707
Acclaimed poet and Young People’s Poet Laureate Naomi Shihab Nye shines a spotlight on the things we cast away, from plastic water bottles to those less fortunate, in this collection of more than eighty original and never-before-published poems. A deeply moving, sometimes funny, and always provocative poetry collection for all ages.
Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers by Celia C. Pérez
Puffin Books, 2020, ISBN: 9780425290453
When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up. Ofelia Castillo (a budding journalist), Aster Douglas (a bookish foodie), and Cat Garcia (a rule-abiding birdwatcher) meet the kid behind the invite, Lane DiSanti, and it isn’t love at first sight. But they soon bond over a shared mission to get the Floras, their local Scouts, to ditch an outdated tradition. In their quest for justice, independence, and an unforgettable summer, the girls form their own troop and find something they didn’t know they needed: sisterhood.
Zonia’s Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal
Candlewick, 2021, ISBN: 9781536208450
Suggested ages: 4 – 8
Zonia’s home is the Amazon rain forest, where it is always green and full of life. Every morning, the rain forest calls to Zonia, and every morning, she answers. She visits the sloth family, greets the giant anteater, and runs with the speedy jaguar. But one morning, the rain forest calls to her in a troubled voice. How will Zonia answer?
Acclaimed author-illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal explores the wonders of the rain forest with Zonia, an Asháninka girl, in her joyful outdoor adventures. The engaging text emphasizes Zonia’s empowering bond with her home, while the illustrations—created on paper made from banana bark—burst with luxuriant greens and delicate details. Illuminating back matter includes a translation of the story in Asháninka, information on the Asháninka community, and resources on the Amazon rain forest and its wildlife.
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, Illustrated by Michaela Goade
Roaring Book Press, 2020, ISBN: 9781250203557
Suggested Ages: 3 – 6
Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption—a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.
Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base
Harry N. Abrams, 2006, ISBN: 0810954737
Suggested Ages: 1 – 8
When Uno arrives in the forest one beautiful day, there are many fascinating and extraordinary animals there to greet him and one entirely unexceptional Snortlepig. Uno loves the forest so much, he decides to live there. But, in time, a little village grows up around his house. Then a town, then a city . . . and soon Uno realizes that the animals and plants have begun to disappear.
Uno’s Garden is a moving and timely tale about how we all unknowingly affect the environment around us, just by being there and how we can always learn from our mistakes and find ways of doing things better. It’s an illuminating blend of storybook, puzzle book, and math book.
We appreciate any questions or feedback about NOMA’s suggested reading lists. Please feel welcome to contact us at email@example.com.
Education and outreach initiatives at NOMA are supported in part by the Zemurray Foundation; the Lois and Lloyd Hawkins Jr. Foundation; The Helis Foundation; The Gayle and Tom Benson Foundation; The City of New Orleans; IBERIABANK; The Wagner Foundation; Janice Parmelee and Bill Hammack; the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative, funded by the Walton Family Foundation and the Ford Foundation; Sara and David Kelso; Patrick F. Taylor Foundation; Dr. Scott S. Cowen; The RosaMary Foundation; The Azby Fund; the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency; The Collins C. Diboll Private Foundation; Burkenroad Foundation; Marian Dreux Van Horn Education Endowment; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Ruby K. Worner Trust through the PNC Charitable Trusts Grant Review Committee; The Harry T. Howard III Foundation; New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.; Harvey and Marie Orth; The Bruce J. Heim Foundation; and Mrs. Bennett A. Molter, Jr. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.