Dear Earth…from Your Friends in Room 5

HarperCollins/Harper. Dec. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062915320.
Gr 1-4–Small changes add up to big results, as Dealey’s classroom full of kids—white, Black, brown, pink, one with glasses, another with metal crutches—become monthly pen pals with Earth. The planet magically answers: “Room 5,/Your letter arrived on the wind./A whisper of hope in the night./I’m thankful for helpers who care for their planet./Here’s one way: please turn off the lights./Using less electricity saves energy. Stargazers will thank you too!/Your friend, Earth.” The next letter tells Earth of the class plan for reusable bottles. Earth replies with the tale of a sea creature that mistakes plastic for dinner. Climate change is a topic soon enough, for the children’s resolve is quickening as Earth decides to call them “Earth Heroes.” By December the children have learned about gardening, cleaning up the beaches, conserving water, and more. Crisp illustrations provide literal and fanciful versions of events, while back matter offers further suggestions. The upbeat tone on both sides of the correspondence will keep kids turning pages, anxious to see the next payoff in this crescendo of good will and great stewardship. The steps are small, the goals are global, and any class or story hour can launch their own year of being Earth Heroes.
VERDICT With an emphasis on good will, this is a primer for a family or a club, and would also be the basis for a dramatic presentation on Earth Day.

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