Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet

“Thank you for beginnings, / for endings, / for lifetimes. Thank you for being / our home”

Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet is a celebratory poem combined with photographs that illuminate the wonder and beauty of planet Earth. The opening lines— “Dear Earth” (set against a bird’s eye picture of coastline) and “Thank you for water / and things that float” (set against an image of a sea otter reclining on dark blue waves contrasted with a white ibis walking along the surf, seafoam splashing its legs)—set the narrative formula for the entire book. Short phrases are paired with a series of photographs, from sweeping mountain vistas to close-up shots of caterpillars, flower petals, and cactus spines. The book concludes with a resource page including a list of environmental organizations, and ideas for further engagement and action. Across seasons and temperate ecosystems, Thank You, Earth is a genuine love letter to our awesome planet. It promises to be a classroom favorite of preschool and elementary students alike.

Combining photographs and poetry, this picturebook encourages readers to delight in both wilderness and nearby nature. The climate emergency is not mentioned directly, but the book helps in climate literacy education by highlighting the complexity, preciousness, and beauty of the world in its natural balance. Winner of the 2019 Green Prize for Sustainable Literature, the book celebrates both the sublime and the mundane, inviting readers to embrace all of the ways that nature engages with our senses, including “all the shapes that repeat”, “plant parts /we can eat”, “sounds /and storms” and “even fishy whale breath”. With familiar images of leaves, flowers, fruits and vegetables, and backyard wildlife (think ladybugs, squirrels, and crows), preschoolers will be prompted to remember and share their stories of everyday encounters with pollinators and backyard wilderness. For elementary students, the book introduces concepts from botany, ecology, and geography, including ideas about colors and patterns (see fractal flourishing), food chains (see land care, bioregions, trophic cascade), and life cycles (see sustainability, biodiversity, Gaia). For older readers, the images may trigger a range of climate emotions, including awe, wonder, connection, belonging, and solastalgia. This book would be a useful addition to science, humanities, and arts-based curricula on biodiversity, nature, and wild places. Embedded in Thank You, Earth is a message of gratitude for both living and nonliving nature, and a subtle call to protect the biosphere that sustains us all.

©2023 ClimateLit (Neela Nandyal

Publisher: Greenwillow Books, 2018

Pages: 40

ISBN: 978-0062697349

Audience: Little People (4-7), Sprouts (0-3)

Format: Poetry and Short Stories

Topics: Biodiversity, Bioregions, Climate Emotions, Climate Literacy, Earth Care, Earth System, Food Chains, Fractal Flourishing, Gaia, Hope, Land Care, Nature, Nearby Nature, Poetry, Pollinators, Solastalgia, Sustainability, Trophic Cascade, Wilderness, Wonder