Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day: Books You Might Like to Read Now

Earth Day is April 22 of every year. April 22, 2020 will mark 50 years of Earth Day. The first Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis — oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.

The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event.

For more on Earth Day, see the Earth Day 2020 website.

I remember the first Earth Day. I was thirteen, and I immediately became deeply worried about our world. 

It's fifty years later, and I'm still deeply worried. Now I am focused on doing things. Today I'd like to share with you some of my favorite books about nature that you might like to read.


H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
No-Impact Man by Colin Beavan


Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Wilderness Essays by John Muir
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
My First Summer in the Sierras by John Muir
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Karankaway Country by Roy Bedichek
The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich
The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson



Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori
Trees by Verlie Hutchens
Can You Hear the Trees Talking? by Peter Wohlleben
The Forest in the Trees by Connie McLennan


The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
Bird Count by Susan Edwards Richmond
My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valerio


Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey
Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds by Joy Adamson


Redwoods by Jason Chin
Life-Sized Zoo by Teruyuki Komiya
An Egg is Quiet by Diana Hutts Aston
Butterflies and Moths by Nic Bishop
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Being Frog by April Pulley Sayre
Bubble Homes and Fish Farts by Fiona Bayrock
Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles by Philippe Cousteau
About Penguins by Catherine Sill
My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valerio
Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai
Beehive by Jorey Hurley
Bird Count by Susan Edwards Richmond
The Moose of Ewenki by Gerelchimeg Blackcrane
The Forest in the Trees by Connie McLennan
Where Else in the Wild? by David M. Schwartz
Dolphin Baby! by Nicola Davies


The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai
Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature by Micah Mortali
Creating Sanctuary by Jessi Bloom


The Overstory by Richard Powers
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Walkabout by James Vance Marshall
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling


The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams
Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction by Mary Ellen Hannibal
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs by Tristan Gooley
Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez

Have you read any of these?
What have I left out?
What do you recommend to me?

Top Ten Tuesday was created by 
The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


  1. What a nice list. Happy belated Earth Day!

    My TTT.

  2. Hard to believe it's 50 years. Beautiful Earth Day selections Deb. (My oldest granddaughter was born on Earth Day.)

  3. I've been reading blogs since they began--this must be one of the best themed book posts ever! Well done!I've read and loved so many on your list! Here are two that you might like https://hopewellslibraryoflife.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/spring-time-is-bird-time/

  4. I've only read a few of those but I'm making note of a lot of the others.

  5. Nice list! I'll have to check some of these out. Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

  6. I share your concern about our world and I'm finding the images from a world locked down super interesting! Rivers clearing, smog lifting and animals romping around where they haven't been seen in years... I wonder what will happen when our lockdowns lift?

  7. I don't know if this fits in any of your categories, but I loved The Soul of an Octopus. You can find my review on my blog here.

  8. That's a good list for times like right now.

  9. Thanks for sharing all your Earth Day reads with us. I really enjoyed listening to Where the Crawdads Sing.

  10. It's sad to me that we seem to be not farther along in caring for the environment. Still, we must always hope. Thanks for sharing these- lots to look at. I find myself getting more into birds too as I get older, so I'm going to especially look at some of the birding books.

  11. Thank you. What an exhaustive list to refer back to! I remember the first Earth Day. We haven't made much progress, it seems.

  12. Wow! What a wonderfully comprehensive list. I have such fond memories of Jean Craighead George's work; I DEVOURED everything of hers the library had growing up. "Extinct" looks like a fun one to page through (well, fun mixed with sad).

    Rec-wise, R.D. Lawrence and Roger Caras are nature/wildlife writers I really like, and I'm a big fan of Harriet Weaver's "Frosty: A Raccoon to Remember" as well.

  13. I believe that the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, my town, was the "inspiration" for the first Earth Day. It is so sad that we can't have it in person this year.

  14. Happy Earth Day, Deb! I don't think I was really aware of it per se until 1990. My friend's older brother was organizing events in St. Louis and we all had buttons saying, "Who Says You Can't Change the World?" We were exchange students in Denmark and spent the day planting trees at our school. Such optimistic times compared to now. That's about when I got a copy of 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Save the Earth.

    I read a lot of those books during college and my early 20s. Edward Abby, Annie Dillard, Farley Mowat. Aldo Leopold, John Muir, Barry Lopez, William Least Heat Moon and Peter Matthiessen all had a big impact on me. More recently I've love The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, Lab Girl, and H is for Hawk. I also like The Mushroom Fan Club.

    Great list; thanks for sharing!

  15. I may be weird, but I LOVED Barkskins and I am very grateful for your convincing me to read Lab Girl. That book has stuck with me.
    Believe it or not I have "Tinker" on my TBR shelf--2 copies as a matter of fact. Tell me a bit about it to whet my appetite.

    1. Tinker is a memoir of a woman alone in nature. The feelings of isolation would probably feel true to what we are experiencing now.


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