Have you ever imagined what the world with no trees or clean oceans would look like? Where would we go to get away from the city? How would we would survive without the materials we need to make shelter and medicine?

This may seem like an absurd idea. But it’s actually more realistic than you think. Forests are depleting rapidly as we clear away trees to make more room for farms. And ocean pollution is just as bad. One study found that 18 billion pounds of plastic trash winds up in our oceans each year.1 If things don’t change, the world as we know it will cease to exist.

That’s why it’s so important to teach young people about environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. Children that are taught to appreciate the environment and nature will carry those ideals into adulthood. One day, they will make up the majority of the population, so it’s important that we start teaching environmental awareness when they’re young.

books about nature

Books about nature make this possible. That’s why we’ve dedicated this series of articles to highlighting award-winning books about nature.

Last month, we discussed the children’s book winner of the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award, Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean. This month, we will be taking a look at a book that received an honorable mention for the same reward, called Back from the Brink: Saving Animals from Extinction by Nancy F. Castaldo.

saving animals from extinction

About the Book “Back from the Brink: Saving Animals from Extinction”

Back from the Brink: Saving Animals from Extinction is a collection of stories that tell the tale of how different animal species were saved from extinction. The book goes into great detail to describe the species, their habitats, and the story behind their fall and rise in population. It’s an excellent ready for children ages ten to twelve years old.

The book begins with an explanation of the Endangered Species Act and why it’s important. Though this is a complicated piece of legislation, it’s an important one. Castaldo does an excellent job in explaining the act in easy to understand terms.

Every chapter thereafter is dedicated to a specific endangered species. The author uses a first-person narration to start and end each chapter and describes how she visits the habitat of each species and what her experience was from being able to see the animals in person. Then, she tells the story of how researchers and conservationists worked to save the animals. In this manner, a personal touch is given to important historical events, drawing the reader to make a deep emotional connection to each story and species.

nature literature

Why It’s Important

It’s important to teach children about the importance of protecting endangered species because animals are a vital part of the ecosystem. Animals are food sources for other animals, help control plant and animal populations, and keep the ecosystem in check. A balanced ecosystem is important for our survival because it gives us clean air to breathe, food to survive, and clean water to drink.2

Check Back for More Books About Nature

Next month, we’ll continue discussing more award-winning books about nature and why they’re important. Check back next month to see what exciting book we’ll be talking about next!

1. “TRASH TALK: WHY IS PLASTIC MARINE DEBRIS SO COMMON?” Ocean Today. https://oceantoday.noaa.gov/trashtalk_plastics/welcome.html

2. See also Thompson, Donna. “ECOLOGICAL BALANCE AND ITS IMPORTANCE”. 9 May 2015. http://scvswap.com/2015/05/09/ecological-balance-and-its-importance/