Early Elementary Books

Theme: Giving to Make a Difference

Biblioburro - (ISBN: 978-1416997788)

by Jeannette Winter

Luis Soriano, a real Colombian teacher, desperately wants to bring some of his books to the children in the high mountains. So with the help of two burros, he becomes a roving librarian. Fighting robbers along the way and dealing with challenging terrain, this hero starts story hours for children who have no books. Follow the impact of books on the children’s lives by reading their thought bubbles.

Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya - (ISBN: 978-1416935056)

by Donna Jo Napoli

Wangari, a Kenyan woman who won the Nobel Prize for her work, tries to solve the problems of African women by encouraging them to plant trees. Her real work benefitted Kenya but also served as an example to third world countries across the globe, showing that the best solution is often a natural, simple one. Compare Mama Miti to what you know about Johnny Appleseed.

Officer Buckle and Gloria - (ISBN: 978-0399226168)

by Peggy Rathmann

Officer Buckle’s safety lessons go unheeded in Napville until he brings along the police dog, Gloria. Gloria nimbly demonstrates Buckle’s formerly boring warnings about never standing on chairs, looking both ways at a street corner, and not drinking while driving. After the children enjoy Gloria’s antics, their safety records improve. What other safety tips could you add to Buckle’s “show”?

Thanks and Giving All Year Long - (ISBN: 1416915869)

by Marlo Thomas

This collection of stories by famous authors shares the theme of people, animals, and even monsters whose lives have a positive effect on those around them. Feeding hungry people, helping friends, and being someone to rely on are the motifs in this great collection of tales.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge - (ISBN: 978-0916291266)

by Mem Fox

What can one small boy with such a long name do? He loves the elderly residents who live next door, and he is especially fond of one of the oldest, Miss Nancy. Read about how he helps Miss Nancy retrieve some of her memories. When you with older members of your family, talk to them about past events you have enjoyed together.

Boxes for Katje - (ISBN: 978-0374309220)

by Candace Fleming

Crictor - (ISBN: 978-0064430449)

by Tomi Ungerer

Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote - (ISBN: 978-0312602369)

by Tanya Lee Stone

Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World - (ISBN: 978-0374321840)

by Allan Drummond

Listen to the Wind - (ISBN: 978-0803730588)

by Greg Mortenson

Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America - (ISBN: 978-0060011079)

by Kathi Appelt

Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace - (ISBN: 978-0316032926)

by James Proimos

Activities for this Theme

To help your children develop an appreciation for planting and gardening, try some free games and activities for Arbor Day!


See letters that children across the U.S. have written to First Lady Michelle Obama, and write one of your own. Preview the book Letters to the First Lady on the Children’s Digital Library site.


Plant flower seeds in paper cups or yogurt containers and deliver them to your older neighbors or relatives.