Toddler conversations are becoming trickier by the day and we are floundering our way through them. So many harsh realities to help them understand and navigate. I have two more, beautiful books to share. Both have been convenient as conversation starters and led us from one interesting discussion to another. I can see us reading both of these for some time yet, extracting new meanings and conversations as we grow older.
Pass The Energy, Please! – Barbara Shaw McKinney
This is a wonderful, non-fiction book based on food chains and the flow of energy in our ecosystems. It shows us how creatures on our planet are connected to each other, finally dependent and recycled via plants and sunlight. The text rhymes, which is a great bonus to hold the littlies’ attention. What I loved about the book was that it referred not just to land based but marine based life too. It is a great adjunct to the conversation about life and death, for those of us who want to focus on the pragmatic side of it, without being gory or overly confronting. It is a neat and tidy in to the way ecosystems work, each creature food for another. The first time we read this book, my toddler was taken, specifically, with the scavengers that eat clean up carcasses (curiosity of the macabre in full play here, at the moment). It ends thoughtfully, with a short, rhyming blurb on the effect of disturbances to food chains. Keeper, this one.
Mia’s Story – Michael Foreman
This is not a book about the environment but rather, privilege and hope. It has some beautiful illustrations and references to the character’s connection with nature. Mia lives with her family in a village on the outskirts of a big city where people have to make a living out of scavenging the city’s dumps. One day, her father brings home a little puppy, who forms a tight bond with Mia. All is well until the puppy goes missing. The search for her puppy leads Mia on a small adventure into the mountains. It is a charming story and there are so many discussions to be had for different age groups – geography/terrain, air/pollution, waste, friendship, privilege, loss, hope. Adorable pencil drawings and narratives in the form of little handwritten notes. This is one that needs processing when reading to a child, for sure.