Earth Day Storytime - Garbage, Garbage, Garbage

Earth Day is observed every year on April 22.  However, as I tell my students, one day is not nearly sufficient to meaningfully address sustainable living and the needs of our environment.  So, in our library, April is Earth Month.  To get things started, my students and I read some amazing stories about trash.

What would you do if you had to live in a giant pile of garbage? Most of us prefer to have our trash trucked off to the landfill to be forgotten.  But, for Cap'n Duffy St. Pierre, the sailor who spent most of 1987 sailing up and down the Atlantic Ocean with a boatload of garbage, that wasn't an option.  This is the main conflict in Here Comes the Garbage Barge!, by amazing author Jonah Winter.
The story describes the true events of a tugboat, called the Break of Dawn, full of more than 3000 pounds of trash that set out from Long Island on a mission to unload the garbage in North Carolina.  Unfortunately for Cap'n Duffy, North Carolina didn't want the trash, and neither did any of the other places he tried to stop along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the U.S., Mexico, and Belize.  This book makes a great read-aloud, partly because it's jammed full of characters with hilariously imitable local accents.  Plus, this story is a perfect way to begin a discussion about how garbage is managed by communities and what individuals can do to reduce their contributions to landfills.
In addition to the interesting subject, and amazing storytelling, this book has fantastic illustrations by Chris Sickels from Red Nose Studio.  Each page is composed of clay characters, each handmade by Sickels, surrounded by real plastic toys and junk.
Students can see how the illustrations were made at this video narrated by Sickels. 

Next we read Antoinette Portis' Not a Box.
 This quick read illustrates how easily simple items, like a cardboard box, can be reused as something much more grand.  Read more about this great book and fun activities to go along with it.

Finally, since it's Poetry Month, I also shared Shel Silverstein's poem, "Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out" from Where the Sidewalk Ends.
 In this famous poem, Sara's stubbornness leaves her lonely and surrounded by smelly heaps of trash.  Students will wince and squirm in delighted disgust as you read the long list of decomposing foods that stink up Sara's space.

If you need more resources, like used media or reusable containers, for your Earth Day lessons and celebrations, check out Amazon's Earth Day Sale: Shop Amazon Earth Day - Green Solutions.

1 comment:

By Amy said...

Great ideas!! Thank you for sharing them. My students love Shel Silverstein AND it's poetry month, so bonus! : )