It's becoming clearer and clearer that we need to educate our kids about sustainability. As the climate talks in Copenhagen continue, I've been thinking a lot about how to teach my kids the importance of caring for our earth.

Global warming and carbon loads are a bit over their tiny heads as yet. To help them understand it, we need to start small and close to home.

I do this in practice by gardening with them in the warm months, canning and preserving at the harvest and cooking with them all year long. We also bike together as a family. I talk a lot about our choices to consume as little as possible, and how that helps the earth.

It's winter now, though. The bikes are put away for the season. The garden has been put to bed till spring. All the girls want to do is curl up on my lap for a good book. It's the perfect time to read about sustainability and nature!

Non-fiction kids books that relate to sustainability are

Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots, by Sharon Lovejoy is the best kids' gardening book ever! Sunflower houses, pizza gardens, and so much more!

Pretend Soup, by Molly Katzen is a delightful vegetarian kids' cookbook with pictorial recipes. We made hide-n-seek muffins from it today for a class potluck and my daughter could not stop showing them off to her teachers.

The Handbook of Nature Study, by Anne Bosford Comstock isn't for kids to read, but it's a fantastic guide for parents helping their kids learn about the natural world in a gentle, intimate way.

Fiction books we love

The Beeman, by Laurie Krebs is a story told from a kids' POV, about her grandfather the Beeman and his activities as a beekeeper. Very simple, clear and educational, it teaches kids about bees and about natural cycles.

The Year At Maple Hill Farm, by Alice and Martin Provenson is a book I grew up with. It's the simplest possible look at the life a farm and what the animals and plants do as the seasons turn.

Pumpkin Circle, by George Levinson has delightful photographs that match simple text in this book about the life cycle of a pumpkin. The book follow a group of kids growing pumpkins from seed to jack o'lantern.

What are some of your favorite children's books about our natural world? How else do you teach your kids about nature and the importance of preserving it?