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Paper or plastic?

Neither, thank you. It’s cloth for you because cloth bags are sustainable, recyclable, and reusable. Using cloth bags is just one more way for you to help save the planet, but there are so many more ways to be “green” – so why not take things to the next step by finding these great Earth Day books for the whole family?

Even the smallest child can understand the message inside “This is the Planet Where I Live” by K.L. Going & Debra Frasier (Peach Lane, $18.99). Here, a gentle rhyme about creatures, plants, and other natural things join colorful illustrations to help remind 3-to-6-year-olds that this is their planet, too. This is a pretty book your youngster will want read aloud again and again.

Seven-to-12-year-olds who want to pitch in this Earth Day will want to know what’s inside “Can I Recycle This?” by Jennie Romer, illustrated by Christie Young (Viking, $18.99). This book shows how recycling works, why we should recycle, and the “rules” for being a good recycler. It also explains why some things can’t be recycled and how a kid can make even more of a difference for the planet.

You can’t leave your teen reader out of this day: “Global” by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano (Sourcebooks for Young Readers, $14.99) is a graphic novel about a boy and his grandfather who are trying to make a living by fishing in a depleted area of the ocean; and a boy in the northern part of Canada who sees fewer polar bears on the melting ice. This books’ audience – 13-to-17-year-olds – already know why these dual stories are told but just in case, a nice chapter on global warming rounds out the tale.

For adults, wanting to preserve the planet may start with knowing what’s on it.

Slime is not just for kids. That’s the surprise in “Slime: A Natural History” by Susanne Wedlich (Melville House, $28.99); in fact, slime is necessary for life on Earth. In this book, you’ll learn why we need things that are slimy, what chemicals make slime, and why you shouldn’t be disgusted by it. This is a fun science book, and it won’t make you say, “Eeeeuwww.”

And finally, “Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones” by Hettie Judah (Penguin Books, $30.00) is not just for rock hounds or jewelry-wearers. This book on rocks and minerals is a lively story told with history, science, pop culture, and more than a few jaw-droppers; you’ll learn about stones you’re familiar with and rocks you’ve never even heard about. Seriously, this is a fascinating book. Don’t miss this little gem.

If these Earth Day books aren’t enough for you or your family, be sure to check in with your favorite librarian or bookseller. They’ll have books on global warming, ecology, Earth Day, and natural life on this planet, gardening, wildlife, and other Earth Sciences. Best of all, they’ll know exactly what you want to read, or give your kids to read. Just bring your own bag.

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