While these and most are pretty harmless, many reinforce consumerism, gender stereotypes and wastefulness, most times not with overt themes, but in the actions of the central characters.
But don't worry, you don't have to give up on reading to your kids. Great alternatives do exist. You just have to work to find them. Here are a few I've unearthed (ha ha, no pun intended) that would be nice options for your summer reading lists:
Green Sugar Press "Books to engage, entertain and enlighten children with the wonders of nature."
- An Environmental Guide from A to Z (ages 8-13)
- Earl the Earthworm Digs for His Life (ages 5-9)
- N is for Nature: An Environmental Alphabet Book (ages 2-6)
Want the most comprehensive list anywhere I could find? Here's the site in all its ugly glory.
But, wait. Before you buy another new book from a big bookseller, consider a new model--Better World Books. Their motto: "Buy used books to fund literacy worldwide." When I checked, the stats at the top of the page were staggering, and growing before my eyes:
- Funds raised for global literacy: $6,427,439.60
- Books saved from landfills: 24,688,398