Inspire Wellness during National Library Week
National Library Week is April 7-13; to celebrate, I took a field trip to my local library to find wellness-themed books that encourage curiosity in nature, promote healthy eating habits, and foster social-emotional health. In this post, I explore the benefits of partnering with your local library and highlight a few resources to help you find the perfect book to inspire wellness, including 6 of my favorite books to consider checking out.
As the Alliance for a Healthier Generation empowers schools and community-based organizations to create healthier environments, we know that change takes time. If you’re looking to play a role in community health, I encourage you to pick a couple of action steps to champion. Books are an impactful way to market healthy eating and physical activity. Literacy can strengthen steps you’re already taking to inspire wellness. For example, if you’re growing an indoor garden or introducing healthier snacks, intentional nature and food-focused books can create even more rich learning experiences.
If your budget is tight, a partnership with your local library can help you access needed books and resources. In the District of Columbia, where I live, it only takes a few minutes to get a library card and there is even a special (and free) Educator Card which allows educators, childcare facilities, and homeschooling parents to check out up to 100 books for up to nine weeks.
Is your local library on your school wellness council? If not, consider inviting a representative from your library to your next meeting; they might even be able to donate space for your group to meet. With summer just around the corner, libraries are also natural partners for summer meal and summer learning.
Finding the Right Books
Walking into your library without a plan can be overwhelming. Before I took a trip to my library, I reached out to my friends at the National Farm to School Network for their advice on books that promote interest in fruits and vegetables, nature, and the outdoors. I used the online catalogue to see which books my library had available and reserved them for pick-up.
4 Wellness & Nature Booklists to Explore:
- Growing Minds: Farm to School; this list highlights gardening, cooking, farms, and food themes.
- Ready Set Grow; this list is perfect for younger children with themes of family meals, multicultural gardening, and farmers markets.
- Readers to Eaters; this list has great reads on gardening and cooking.
- DC Healthy Schools Booklist; this is an extensive list featuring titles that highlight nutrition, the environment and physical activity.
Books to Add to Your List:
Looking for inspiration? Start here with a few of my favorite reads. Remember to choose books that are developmentally appropriate for your children or students. Engage older youth by inviting them to pick out their favorite books to share with younger kids or siblings.
- Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals and Ashley Wolff
Why I like it: It’s a short book that teaches children about food waste and what can and cannot be included when starting a compost project.
- Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss
Why I like it: This fun adventure of a worm provides a strong message of how small animals play a big part in the health of our environment.
- How Are You Peeling? by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers
Why I like it: Filled with colorful images, this book encourages children to share how they are feeling using fun photographs of fruit sculptures.
- How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan and Loretta Krupinski
Why I like it: This book teaches children observation skills and explains what plants rely on to grow.
- The Fruits We Eat by Gail Gibbons
Why I like it: Perfect for accompanying nutrition enrichment and snack or meal time, this book teaches children about the different parts of a plant and what different fruit trees look like. The last page includes fun fruit facts, which is great for rainy-day enrichment.
- The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
Why I like it: This book tells a wonderful story of patience, acceptance and sharing while exploring multicultural gardening.
How will you inspire wellness during National Library Week? Share your ideas and tag #NationalLibraryWeek and @healthiergen on social media.