We stumbled across a book this week that helped us talk to our twins about the Gulf Oil Spill. We weren’t sure how much they knew about the disaster, but after 6 weeks of headline news, we figured they probably knew something about it. We didn’t intend to have this conversation when we did, but if you’re looking for a way to open the conversation or even just feel them out at a little, this book is a great way to get started.
Our 5 year old son picked out One Less Fish written by Kim Michelle Toft and Allan Sheather in 1998 from the library last week. Knowing nothing about it, Alicia read it to him and his sister in the car this weekend and their reactions were amazing:
“Half my life I’m going to be a soccer player and half my life I’m going to go around the world saving animals, I might even save some at my own home.”
“Dad, guess why I’m asking you a lot about life. It’s because I need to know a lot to save the world when I grow up.”
And our 5 year old daughter, when asked what we should do to save the world, responded with:
“Don’t cut down trees and don’t throw trash and plastic bags in the sea.”
What more can an EcoDad ask for from his kids. The story is written in the familiar pattern of their were 10 little fish and something happened, now there are 9. Our children typically enjoy books written in this style. The story in this book is centered around the Great Barrier Reef and the things that man is doing to cause harm to corral reefs around the world. The authors even use a variety of real tropical fish to illustrate the story. I was particularly amused when Alicia commented, “so that is what that fish is called” referring to “Moorish Idols”. In addition to the basic story, the book also provides a very clear, but understandable for kids, explanation of the harm certain actions are causing and what is being done to fix it.
One of the actions that they talk about is drilling for oil and the possibility of oil leaks. When we read that one to the children, we asked them if they had heard about the oil spill going on right now. It turned out that they had, and that they had a lot of questions about it. One of the nice things about using the book to frame the discussion is that we didn’t just leave the conversation hanging somewhere, but went on to read the entire book and talk about all the different actions that the book describes.
We highly recommend this book for parents who are trying to teach their young children about protecting our planet and particularly as a way to open the conversation about the oil spill occurring today.