4 Recycling Books that Inspire Generosity and Charity

4 Recycling Books that Inspire Generosity and Charity

Use these recycling books to start a discussion about recycling for charity. The picture books highlight appreciation, compassion and generosity.

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Recycling for Charity

Let’s talk about how we can use picture books about recycling to start a discussion about charity and generosity. For example, you can discuss the consequences of trash or how donating can mean so much to others. Recycling books also highlight the bigger picture of how children can help in their own way, and in the process develop a lifelong habit of recycling and charitable actions.

Letting go of belongings is a process and maybe a painful experience for some. Show students where unwanted items end up. Taking them through this process promotes a charitable outlook and unclutters your environment. 

This article doesn’t describe how to declutter, there are many great articles out there describing how you can start. You can find suggested resources throughout this post.

4 Recycling Books that Inspire Generosity and Charity

What Happens to Our Rubbish?

Start by discussing why we need to recycle rather than just throwing things away. Based on true events, Here Comes the Garbage Barge by Jonah Winter illustrates the effects of not recycling. A New York town disposes of 3,168 tons of rubbish on a barge. As the boat proceeds down the coast, every port refuses to accept the cargo. The garbage barge grows stinky, but after 162 days offshore the barge finally returns the smelly load back to New York. 

The book’s wonderful illustrations reveal the (smelly) effects of not recycling. You can develop your student’s understanding of recycling and what happens to our rubbish with these links.

Recycling Resources

Generosity and Giving

Generosity is more than the giving of gifts, it is about our attitude to others and how we act around them. Using book starts a dialogue on not expecting anything in return of charitable and generous acts. 

Think about whether you inspire your students with your own actions, especially if you want to build generosity into their lives. Help them look for little ways they can be generous. Don’t make it all about big gestures on special days. 

The red bicycle in the title belongs to Leo who has outgrown it. He recycles “Big Red’ for charity for a new lease of life. The organisation distributes old bicycles to families in need. Children ride them to school while adults use them to transport their goods to sell.

Big Red travels to Burkina Faso where Aliseta uses it to carry her goods to the local market. It then becomes an ambulance that can travel on the rough terrain to patients in need and becomes known as Le Grand Rouge. 
The small gesture of Leo donating his bike changed the lives of so many. Use the journey of the red bicycle to show how donating unwanted items to others makes a difference. Browse these links about how to inspire generosity in children.
The Red Bicycle by Jude Isabella is part of the CitizenKid book collection. These books inspire children to become active global citizens and perfect to inspire generosity and recycling.

Next Steps

You may find your students wants to take further action on environmental issues. The Tomorrow Book by Jackie French shows how a group of children work together to make positive changes to their environment. They engage in research to seek solutions before taking constructive action. Working together they make a positive difference to their surroundings. The book is printed on recycled paper to mirror the message of the story.

Environmental Resources

Finally… Don’t Take it too Far!

Most of us love a good clear out but don’t take it too far! Learn a lesson from Pete the badger in Tidy by Emily Gravett. He tidies and cleans the forest until it is perfectly neat. He snips off any flowers that don’t match, untangles the fox’s fur and brushes the beaks of all the birds.

As the autumn leaves fall, Pete puts them in hundreds of rubbish bags. But now the trees are too bare so he digs them up! The rain covers the forest floor in the mud. Pete calls in the diggers and covers the ground in concrete, but now he can’t find the door to his home. After a night outside he soon realises his mistake and sets out to rectify it.

Are you worried about the state of our planet? How do you help children understand the importance of their action and their environmental responsibility?
Do you have any favourite picture books to teach about environmental issues and their role? Let me know in the comments below. It would be great to have a selection of recommended books to choose from when I update this post.

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Further Reading

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