skip to Main Content

Kids Book About Endangered Species – Don’t Let Them Disappear

Written by Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by Gianna Marino
(Philomel Books; $17.99, Ages 4-8)


book cover art from Don't Let Them Disappear


New York Times best-selling author Chelsea Clinton follows the success of her previous middle-grade and YA children’s books about the environment with Don’t Let Them Disappear: 12 Endangered Species Across the Globe. This 40 page nonfiction picture book shares the important message that “[e]very animal species is unique and important to life on Earth.” Kids learn more about popular animals (lions, elephants, tigers) while realizing they face extinction because of man-made problems such as habitat destruction, climate change, and poaching—a term that’s defined in a way kids can understand.


int artwork by Gianna Marino from Don't Let Them Disappear by Chelsea Clinton
Interior spread from Don’t Let Them Disappear: 12 Endangered Species Across the Globe written by Chelsea Clinton with illustrations by Gianna Marino, Philomel Books ©2019.


I like how Clinton weaves together facts including animal group names: towers of giraffes and embarrassments of giant pandas. Fun insights will engage kids; for example, when a sea otter finds a particularly useful rock for cracking open those tough clamshells, the otter will travel with their rock.


int spread by Gianna Marino from Don't Let Then Disappear by Chelsea Clinton
Interior spread from Don’t Let Them Disappear: 12 Endangered Species Across the Globe written by Chelsea Clinton with illustrations by Gianna Marino, Philomel Books ©2019.


The closing pages explain why animals are endangered and how we can help by celebrating them on their special days (i.e., July 14th is Shark Awareness Day), placing trash only in trash cans or recycling bins (recycling helps fight global warming), and planting trees to combat climate change. Don’t Let Them Disappear offers an avenue for reflection and family discussions about the effects our decisions have on animals with whom we share the planet. Clinton’s hopeful words encourage us to act; “We can work together to change the future.” 

Gianna Marino’s lively art brings out each animal’s beauty and personality. The twelve featured creatures are depicted in various family groupings, warming the reader’s heart. Don’t forget to check under the cover for a bonus illustration!



Click here for Clinton’s tour dates.

Read a guest post about Earth Day and endangered animals by Vivian Kirkfield here.

Share this:

Compost Stew Review for International Compost Awareness Week



Written by Mary McKenna Siddals

Illustrated by Ashley Wolff

(Tricycle Press/Random House BYR;
$15.99 Hardcover, $7.99 Paperback, Ages 3 and up)


Compost Stew book cover illustration


For International Compost Awareness Week I wanted to check out Mary McKenna Siddals’ popular picture book, Compost Stew, because it’s always recommended for Earth Day as well as when a well-crafted “green-themed” book is needed to share its important content. It turns out that while I hadn’t read it before, it felt so familiar because my daughter, around age five or six, used to make her own variation of compost stew although quite unintentionally! Who knew then that it would have helped our garden grow or that we were accidental environmentalists?


Interior artwork from Compost Stew
Interior spread from Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth written by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolff, Tricycle Press/Random House BYR ©2010/2014


Earth’s resources are not infinite so it’s important for children to learn early on to treat our planet with respect, and how. In Compost Stew readers will be treated to a recipe for outdoor fun from A to Z beginning with “apple cores” and “bananas, bruised” all the way through to “yellow pine shavings” and “Zinnia heads.” But the best part is reading about what other ingredients get added to the environmentally friend concoction. Adding to the appeal of this story are illustrator Ashley Wolff’s “collage illustrations using recycled and found materials.” Not only do they pair perfectly together with Siddals’ prose, but looking at the newspaper and other items Wolff has incorporated into the artwork may yield some surprises like the stew itself.



Interior artwork from Compost Stew
Interior spread from Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth written by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolff, Tricycle Press/Random House BYR ©2010/2014


Siddals’ story, though eight years old, feels as fresh and appropriate today as it would have when first published. And caring for our planet never goes out of style! Having reviewed several of Siddals’ other picture books (Bringing the Outside In and Shivery Shades of Halloween) I should have known there would be catchy, clever rhyme involved bringing a bonus to this already engaging and educational story.


Final int spread from Compost Stew
Interior spread from Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth written by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolff, Tricycle Press/Random House BYR ©2010/2014


A helpful “Chef’s Note” is included as back matter so that youngsters will know what truly constitutes compost and what does not.

Grass clippings
Hair snippping
and an Insect or two

Just add to the pot
and let it all rot
into Compost Stew.

For example, egg shells are okay but not meat or dairy. Siddals also smartly advises readers to check with authorities for local regulations. Keeping that in mind, it’s time to start looking around to see what might go into your very first compost stew. Happy cooking!

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel


Behind-the-scenes with illustrator Ashley Wolff on the making of Compost Stew:

Illustrator Ashley Wolff on the creation of Compost Stew:

Click Here for Author’s Website
Click Here for Illustrator’s Website
Compost Stew Facebook page
Bringing the Outside In (Random House)
Shivery Shades of Halloween (Random House)
Compost Stew (Tricycle/Random House)
Millions of Snowflakes (Clarion/Scholastic)
Tell Me a Season (Clarion)

Share this:

Earth Verse by Sally M. Walker For Earth Day and National Poetry Month

Written by Sally M. Walker
Illustrated by William Grill
(Candlewick Press; $17.99, Ages 7-9)


A Junior Library Guild Selection


Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up book cover


At the intersection of Earth Day and National Poetry Month is Earth Verse: Haiku From the Ground Up written by Sally M. Walker with illustrations by William Grill. Let these 32 pages of unique 17 syllable poems fill you with awe and respect for planet Earth. From her place in the solar system to her “molten magma stew,” from her “fossil family” to her “sky shenanigans,” Earth is at once a marvel and our home.


“a flat stone, skipping,
casts circles across the lake,
lassoing the fish.”


Earth Verse celebrates the planet in all its majesty and mayhem. In other words, not only are the oceans and rivers written about, so are storms and tsunamis. We read about fog, volcanoes, glaciers and icebergs. We travel underground to see stalactites and stalagmites because there’s so much more below the surface, both in the verse and on our planet. Grill’s colored pencil artwork conveys just enough of a reference point while leaving lots to our imaginations. Nine pages of STEAM-themed back matter round out the book and make this picture book appropriate and desirable for both Earth Day and National Poetry Month though it can truly be enjoyed year round, just like our precious planet.

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel


Share this:

Every Day is Earth Day


If you are a regular reader you may have noticed that Debbie Glade is hopelessly addicted to reading science books for kids. Today she reviews a special book that is a must-have for any curious child’s library (ages 9 and up). You can buy it in time for Earth Day – April 22, 2013.

I’ve often wondered what scientists of earlier years would think about the environmental challenges we face in the world today. After reading Friends of the Earth: A History of American Environmentalism with 21 Activities ($16.95, Chicago Review Press, Ages 9 and up) I learned that even scientists of long ago encountered many of the same earthly challenges we face today.

The book begins with environmental observations dating back to the very first Americans – Indians or Native Americans – who spoke about protecting forests and taking care to protect natural resources to leave the earth unharmed. I learned that Ben Franklin willed money to be used after his death (1789) to build a pipeline for fresh water for Philadelphia because polluted drinking water was the cause of great illness at the time. Did you know that the Sierra Club was founded in 1892 by John Muir and Robert Underwood?  Learned that, too! And thanks to Teddy Roosevelt, many national parks were established in our country to protect our wildlife and natural resources. The very first Earth Day was established in 1970, the same year the Clean Air Act was passed. This era marks the beginning of what is referred to as “modern environmentalism.”

Author Pat McCarthy introduces readers to 11 key people who made great contributions to the environmental movement, starting with James Audubon, whose love of painting birds helped to educate the world. His Birds of America was published in four volumes in the 1820s and 30s, featuring 497 different species of birds. The cost of printing these volumes was astronomical as each of the illustrations was engraved on copper plates. Most of the funds were raised through subscriptions. The National Audubon Society was established in 1905. Among the many other early environmentalists covered in the book are Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), who was inspired by the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and who would become one of his closest friends, and Cordelia Stanwood (1865-1958), a botanist, bird lover, photographer, teacher and prolific writer.

My favorite environmentalist in the book is Marjory Stoneman Douglas whose respect for the Florida Everglades led to her penning the famous 1947 book, Everglades: River of Grass. Before her book was published, it was commonly believed that the Everglades was a meandering, worthless swamp that should be drained. Of course we now know that there is no other place on earth like the Everglades, and there is great treasure in the abundance of endemic plants and animal species found there. (Miami is my home and I will forever be amazed by the wildlife of the Everglades.) What I admire even more about Douglas than her dedication to the environment is that before 1920, she helped pass laws in Miami to make it mandatory that poor black families had toilets and bathtubs in their homes, and she also set up a fund to provide milk to babies whose families could not afford to by it.

DSC_0216© Debbie Glade

A photo I took in Everglades National Park on a hike in February, 2013

In addition to the featured environmentalists in the book, there are many side stories about other influential and fascinating people as well as 21 fantastic activities for kids to try.  From building a compost pile and journaling like Thoreau to making an organic bird feeder and turning salt water into drinking water (by use of the sun), young readers will delight in trying these activities. The last chapter of the book is entitled, “Where Do We Go From Here?” Author McCarthy touches upon the most pressing environmental issues of our time – global warming, deforestation and pollution. There are also many valuable resources in the back of the book.

Friends of the Earth is the highest quality educational book, one that just may inspire a young person to put his or her environmental concerns into action and pursue a quest to help save our precious planet. Not only is it the perfect resource for celebrating Earth Day, but it is ideal for any day, because we should all be Friends of The Earth and make every day Earth Day.

Share this:

Three Books that Teach Children About Saving the Earth

These three reviews by Debbie Glade are dedicated to our planet.


How the Weather Works: A Hands on Guide to Our Changing Climate (Templar/Candlewick, $17.99, ages 7-11) is written by Christiane Dorion and illustrated by Beverley Young.

Put a pop-up book in front of me, and watch me revert gleefully back to my childhood. This one is a very sturdy, beautiful, unique, interactive science book with flaps to lift, wheels to turn and tabs to pull. It explains what causes our weather to change and how weather is predicted, and there is way cool page about hurricanes, (which I am all too familiar with, living in Miami.) There is even an awesome pop up that explains how we are adding greenhouse gasses to the environment. I love that fact that this book is fun to use but is about an important and serious topic. You’ll love it because it answers all those weather questions kids ask (and even some you’ve often wondered about). It really is quite sophisticated, so older kids will get the most out of it. This one is a keeper!

E is for Environment: Stories to Help Children Care for Their World – at Home, at School, and at Play ($18.99, Atria/Simon & Schuster, ages 5 and up) by Ian James Corlett

This is an innovative idea for a book. It includes 26 short stories that focus on the environment. Then questions are posed to make the reader think about solutions to the environmental situations presented in the stories. For example, one story is about a girl named Lucy, who loves to draw and writes many notes, stories and poems and uses a large volume of paper, crayons and pencils. The reader is asked what Lucy can do to waste less paper and make better use of her other materials. I like the way this book makes children think about how they can change their every day habits to reduce waste and keep the earth cleaner.

climt_cover2How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Environment: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming (Paperback $11.95; Hardcover $18.95, Ages 9-13, Dawn Publications) by Lynne Cherry and Gary Braasch

Young curious minds get more than just an introduction to the science of climates and global warming when they read this sophisticated 66-page book. It’s packed with detailed facts and wonderful photographs to teach readers everything from changing animal habitats, rising seawater and temperature changes, to what they can do on their own help change their own “Climate Footprints.” There’s also a list of resources, a list of scientists mentioned in the book and a detailed index. I love that this book encourages students to think like scientists, and perhaps even inspires them to become scientists in the future. It sure got me thinking about saving planet earth.

Share this:

Mo Smells Green, A Scentsational Journey


Aromas aplenty as Mo goes a roamin’!!

If you’re not already familiar with the marvelous Mo series of books about a dog who smells colors through his nose, MO SMELLS GREEN is the perfect place to start.

This Earth Day, celebrate all the wonderful shades and scents of green that surround us and then actually smell them at the end of the book. A clever and creative collaboration with Aura Cacia 100% pure essential oils aromatherapy, allows the publisher to introduce this delightful smelling concept to children. Kids will also enjoy the easy to turn cut-out pages as well as the alluring scent of the outdoors getting closer and closer as they approach the story’s end.

body_fixp16_r212Written by Margaret Hyde with illustrations by Amanda Giacomini, Mo Smells Green puts the fun Press 2 Smelly experience at kids’ fingertips while sharing the “immense beauty of our planet” via an adorable story about a dog’s day out exploring nature.

Parents and children alike will appreciate the opportunity a read through of this book provides as it opens the door for body_fixp16_r218discussion of our planet and the precious gift of life it gives us all. Mo’s “scentsational journey” is really just a starting point (or companion) for your own family’s fruitful forays in the forests and woods, parks and meadows where we live.

Here are the scents that you will experience when reading Mo Smells Green:

body_fixp16_r219Grass: A combination of lemongrass, sweet basil along with a hint of bergamot essential oil.

Lime: Fresh and juicy, this uplifting scent is derived from cold-pressed lime peels.

The aroma of peppermint and spearmint combine to make invigorating and cooling aromatherapy benefits.

Life: The essence of all-things Earth, a woodsy, earthy aroma that combines frankincense, Atlas and Texas cedarwoods.

mosmellsblue_coverMo Cares! A portion of the proceeds from Mo Smells Green will go to to Best Friends Animal Society and support their initiatives to work with humane groups across the country. And through Friends of Mo events Mo’s Nose is dedicated to teaching kids to connect philanthropy and fun.

Look out for more Mo fun when Mo Smells Blue comes out this summer.

Share this:

A Little Seuss Goes A Long Way

kohlsHead over to your closest Kohl’s so you can stock up on books or give them as birthday presents. Either way, at $5 for a book or exclusive plush toy or both, you can’t lose.

lorax-book-and-plushNow through the end of April, for only $5, you can buy a copy of the best-selling and beloved Dr. Seuss books The Lorax, The Foot Book, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! and If I Ran the Circus. There are also adorable stuffed animal plush toys to accompany each book and, at such an incredible value, why not get a set or two?

At more than 1,000 Kohl’s stores nationwide (or online at, your purchase can make a positive difference in the lives of children which the Kohl’s Cares for Kids program helps support. The program contributes 100% of the net profit to benefit children’s health and education initiatives nationwide.

seussbookandanimalsAs we approach Earth Day, there’s also an important lesson about caring for our environment that children can learn from reading the The Lorax and at the same time, parents can take something away with the New York Times Bestseller The Green Book, by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen, also available for just $5! This book is bursting with info about how to be eco-friendly and gives you the big picture all the way down to the little picture for things you can do right in your home. There’s also great reference tools and anecdotes from celebs such as Jennifer Aniston, Ellen DeGeneres and Will Ferrell about what they do to make a difference to the environment.

Share this:

Earth Bug Action

jacket-earth-bugsIntroducing the Earth Bugs’ first book! Lu and the Earth Bug Crew Zap the Energy Spikes by Derek Sabori ($17.95; ages 5-10) is just the right vehicle to pave the way for meaningful discussion about energy, recycling and the environment with your children. In addition to its being a fun and educational story to share with kids, the illustrations by Steve Riley and Mark Adams are colorful, creative and so very au courant! So get your copy today and get ready for Lu, Rock, Fern, and Kordy to become your child’s newest BFFs.

page-3I met local author, Derek Sabori at a green event in Pasadena this summer and read the book that evening. I simply did not want to wait until Earth Day 2010 to recommend it to readers.

Boys and girls  (all over, especially Southern Californians, will get a kick from the skate and surf theme which dominates the book. More than that, though, they’ll enjoy the action and adventure as the Earth Bug crew are pitted against the nasty Energy Spikes whose very existence is a result of waste and “un-green” behavior worldwide. While kids will certainly find the battle scene and resourcefulness of Lu’s Earth Bug Crew thoroughly entertaining, parents will welcome that Earth Bug books are printed using soy-blended inks and printed on 10% post-consumer waste paper helping to reduce the “environmental footprint…in an eco-friendly manner.” Readers can learn more and purchase the book at A handy Eco-Glossary is included in the end pages. I’m an Earth Bug. Are you?


Share this:

Earth Day Contest Winner!

Announcing the Earth Day contest winner!

Congratulations go out to lucky Maria Angulo of Alhambra. She’s won the interactive EARTH DVD game, the EARTH padded activity book (both in conjunction with Disneynature’s new documentary film, EARTH)and the PLANET EARTH 3 Diplanet-earth-dvd-lo-ressc boxed DVD set.

earth_dvd-board-gamecropped1Thank you to everyone who entered. Please continue reading the blog to find out when and what my next contest for blog readers only will be!

Share this:

Save Our Planet And We All Win Contest

Amazing EARTH DAY Giveaway Starting Today!

To coincide with the opening today of the new film Earth from Disneynature, Good Reads With Ronna is offering an exciting contest. Read on to learn more about this spectacular film and the great prizes being offered here to one lucky winner!

Click here for your chance to win these educational and awe-inspiring prizes by May 6, 2009, and remember to include your mailing address:

earth_dvd-board-gamecropped• Earth Interactive DVD Board Game (Imagination International, $29.97, 2-6 players; ages 6 and up) features extraordinary footage from the Earth film. With the DVD board game, parents and children can explore the Earth and work together to answer a range of trivia questions based on the movie. All components of the DVD board game – except for the disc – are made from recycled material.

• Earth Deluxe Activity Padded Board Book: Animals of the Earth(Earth Film Publishing Line from Modern Publishing, $14.99; ages 2 and up), captures the incredible wonder, beauty and spirit of nature with its large, colorful wildlife pictures and fun facts.

planet-earth-dvd-lo-res• Planet Earth, The Complete Series (3 disc DVD set from BBC Video, $79.98) includes over 90 minutes of bonus, behind-the-scenes footage. From the creators of Blue Planet, and narrated by David Attenborough comes this epic series, called “A tour de force…A masterpiece,” by the New York Times.

My husband and son were, as the British say, gobsmacked (blown away, speechless) by the beauty of Earth. No film has ever captured the epic scope of the drama of an entire planet, and if it gets us thinking about how we, as inhabitants of this our only home, can be kinder and forward thinking, all the better. Now, with the help of some great products that showcase the amazing species featured in the film, families can extend their movie-going experience and education. This fun giveaway includes new products available at Wal-Mart, Target and Barnes & Noble.

Click Here for Contest Rules.

Share this:
Back To Top