Each of us have had some special event or person in our lives that taught us to appreciate animals and the natural world. In some cases, there may have been a special childhood book we turned to time and time again. We’ve recently taken the time to read a number of children’s books about rhinos that teach the kinds of lessons we’d like our own children and grandchildren to learn. We hope you’ll enjoy this list of book suggestions for that special youngster in your life who is just learning to read or is getting back into the habit of reading as school starts again this fall ..(Who knows what it could lead to?) Please take a look at our list (yes, we know some of them are pretty silly), and also send us the titles of your favorite rhino books (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’ll add them to our list.
For all of us at IRF, one of the great joys of traveling to the many countries where we work is encountering children. Regardless of their country’s political, social or economic environment, kids all over the world dance and skip, laugh, run, giggle and wave at complete strangers with no provocation. They never hesitate to crowd around for a photo or just for a chance to visit. A child may live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, or their family may live on less than 2 dollars a day, but all kids have the potential to change our world.
In this era of instant communication, reading during childhood may still be one of the most important activities that lead to developing an active imagination, creativity and mastering problem-solving skills needed in later life. Lisa Zunshine from the University of Kentucky has been writing about the relationship between reading, emotional intelligence, and the brain for several years. She suggests that reading about characters in a book teaches us how real people’s minds work. Through understanding fictional characters, we can better understand our friends, colleagues, and even ourselves. Reading can encourage empathy and lead to the understanding that different people look at the world differently. What better skills could future conservationists learn?
Susie Ellis, PhD