I’ll go ahead and admit that this post will purposefully allow several of my worlds to collide. I’m a Barefoot Books Ambassador as a side gig, but my background and current work is in international agricultural development. So when Barefoot announced that we are partnering with Trees.org this month to plant trees as part of their Forest Gardens Program in East Africa, I was thrilled!
Here’s the deal: for EVERY book or item you purchase through me this month, ONE tree will be planted! Buy five books and you will have planted five trees. Host a party that reaches $300 in sales and we’ll plant an extra 100 trees!!
Tree planting is something a lot of people can easily be on board with. The reality is that trees are not just pretty but also absolutely crucial to our well-being, especially in parts of the world where deforestation and poverty have left families in desperate situations. Yes, trees are awesome for climbing. But they also provide food, shade, firewood, animal fodder. They improve soil fertility so crops grow better. Tree products provide much-needed income for families. Our life in so many ways depends on them.
As you and your kiddos contemplate how to make an impact in the world this month – especially as we’re gearing up to celebrate Earth Day – here are three simple suggestions:
1. Plant Your Own Tree
Pick any tree you like, but I would be remiss not to tell you about one of my favorites: the Moringa tree. This is a tree of the tropics, but you can purchase seeds from ECHO and grow your own indoors or over the summer. (Full disclosure, I work for ECHO. I can’t speak highly enough of them – and if you are ever in Southwest Florida your family MUST take a tour of ECHO’s Global Farm!) Moringa grows crazy fast, so you can plant it and watch it grow several feet tall within a few months. The leaves have more vitamin C than oranges, more vitamin D than milk, more potassium than bananas, and the list goes on. The seeds can even be used to help purify water. Trees give life, and Moringa is the perfect example of one for you and your kids to enjoy growing together!
2. Read Stories about Earth Care
You guessed it – I’m going to suggest some books. Stories inspire and provoke questions. Stories give our kids (and us!) heroes to model. So here are some of my favs around the theme of TREES:
(1) You have your tree seeds…ready to plant? The Kids’ Garden deck of cards offers 40 fun gardening and earth care activities for your kiddos! The cards are laminated (i.e. they’ll survive the dirt) and a perfect introduction to some creative and basic activities…like making bird feeders out of recycled containers, or making little planting cups out of newspaper (pictured here). So much fun to be had!
(2) The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales is an oh so beautiful glimpse into the ways in which seven cultures around the world care for the earth. One of my favorites is a story about the tree huggers from India (pictured here) who saved a forest from being cut down and consumed. Each story includes an earth-care activity! This is a perfect anthology for reading aloud as a family, and works best for ages 5 and up.
(3) The Barefoot Book of Earth Poems is, likewise, technically a book for kids, but so gorgeous I love reading it for my own pleasure too. It features poems and illustrations from around the world. I am constantly amazed by how much kids retain and absorb – it absolutely is never to early to introduce your children to original poetry. I kinda feel like every family needs a copy of this one.
(4) I’m a huge fan of Barefoot’s sing-along books, because they entertain kids from ages 0-6, include CDs, and offer vibrant illustrations of children from around the world. Whole World is based on the old spiritual, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”, and introduces you to the diverse ecosystems of the world. Lots of footnotes provide even more info on caring well for the earth.
(5) For early independent readers looking for chapter books, The Tortoise’s Gift is a lively folk story from Zambia. There is a drought, and the animals are hungry. There is only one tree that can bear the fruit they need. Will the animals be able to remember the name of the tree and ask her for food they need to eat? This story also touches on themes of humility, patience, and perseverance….and you’ll be introduced to pretty much the coolest tree ever.
You can also check out Barefoot’s full line of “planet protector” books here. And remember that we’ll plant a tree for every book or product you buy!
3. Host a Barefoot Books Party
When you host a party this month that reaches $300 or more in sales, we’ll plant an EXTRA 100 trees for ya! As you can see above, our books have a strong emphasis on protecting the planet and caring for others. You’ll also be glad to hear our paper is legally and sustainably sourced, and we use only vegetable based inks. When you host a Barefoot Party you also earn lots of FREE BOOKS! Facebook parties are easy – I set up the event, you invite your friends, and together we learn about cultivating care for our beautiful earth. You can find more info here and/or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to find out more.