Using Bilingual Books to Encourage Environmental Awareness

Since April marks the beginning of Spring, Earth Day, and Environmental Education Week, it’s the perfect time to engage children in environmental awareness through books and, in particular, using bilingual books. Using books and fun activities to teach kids about the environment can be an effective tool by allowing them to develop empathy and care for the environment in a heartening way.

Get Reading!

Whether a non-fiction book or a multicultural tale, bilingual books provide an opportunity to teach about the beauty and fragility of our environment. Here are some wonderful books (available in many languages) to incorporate environmental awareness into storytime with your child: 

  1. Habitat Series: Coral Reefs, Deserts, and Tropical Rainforests

This three-book series explores some of the earth’s most diverse biomes: Coral Reefs, Deserts, and Tropical Rainforests. Each book features vibrant illustrations and incredible facts while discovering the plants and animals that call these places home. These books even come with detailed lesson plans to support educators and homeschooling families.

  1. Errol’s Garden

This book is a heart-warming and inclusive tale about how one boy’s garden unites a diverse community. This story is a fantastic way to start a conversation about conservation.

  1. The Biscuit Moon

Featuring Buffalo, Lion, and the delicious biscuit that never was, this mighty story is about scarcity, greed, and the futility of fighting. This engaging tale explores the ideas of climate change, the impact of drought on wildlife, and the sharing of precious resources.

  1. Listen, Listen

This beautifully illustrated story explores the different seasons and the amazing sights and sounds of nature.

  1. The Three Little Howlers

This lively retelling of The Three Little Pigs is set in the rainforest of South America. The book incorporates native flora and fun facts about Howler Monkeys and Jaguars.

  1. The Three Little Sun Bears

Also based on The Three Little Pigs, this book is set in a tropical rainforest in Asia. This book also features native flora and includes bonus information on Sun Bears and Siberian tigers.

Image from Coral Reefs

Get Crafty!

Why not keep the learning going with these fun activities using items found around the house or a classroom:

Create a Soundscape

Encourage your child to think creatively about how to recreate the sounds heard in rainforests using household items, their bodies, and voices. They may wish to use rice in a jar to imitate the sound of rain in the forest, stomp about to imitate thunder, use paper to imitate bird’s wings flying in the sky, whistle to imitate bird’s chirping, howl to imitate the sound of howler monkeys, etc. They can also recreate the sound of machinery chopping down trees and transporting them out of the forests.

Build an Ocean Diorama

Using a shoebox, have your child paint the inside blue or cut out pictures to mimic the ocean. Next, kids can create coral reefs, plants, and underwater sea creatures using clay, paper, or photographs. This activity has so much room for kids to use their imagination!

“The Earth is what we all have in common.”

– Wendell Berry
 Image from Biscuit Moon
Using Bilingual Books to Encourage Environmental Awareness | Multicultural Kid Blogs

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Anneke Forzani founded Language Lizard ( to provide educators, librarians, and parents with resources that develop literacy skills among English Language Learners, build inclusive classrooms, and celebrate cultural diversity. Language Lizard offers bilingual books in over 50 languages, multilingual audio resources, multicultural posters, and free lesson plans to support multicultural classrooms. The company also runs a blog ( for parents and teachers working with language learners and culturally diverse students. Anneke is the author of Building Bridges with Bilingual Books and Multicultural Resources (a manual to support culturally responsive teaching) and With Flying Colors: Color Idioms (a multicultural idiom book).

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