• HHPL Staff

Earth Week With HHPL: The First Earth Day



The First Earth Day was 50 years ago on April 22nd, and has been celebrated on that day ever since. Earthrise, a Forest of Reading 2020 nominated book, tells this story. Students from the junior division at Maynooth Public School read this book with their teacher during their literacy period on March 13th. The author, James Gladstone, is a Canadian. The illustrator is Christy Lundy.

1968 was a year of unrest: many nations were at war. People marched for peace, fairness, and freedom. At the same time, the Apollo 8 crew was about to go farther into space than anyone had gone before—to the moon. As they surveyed the moon’s surface, astronauts aboard Apollo 8 looked up just when Earth was rising out of the darkness of space. They saw the whole planet—no countries, no borders. The photograph they took, Earthrise, had a profound effect when published widely back on Earth, galvanizing the environmental movement, changing the way people saw our single, fragile home planet, and sparking hope during a year of unrest. This important and timely picture book is publishing to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission, telling the story behind the photograph, both inside the spaceship and back on Earth. Text includes dialogue pulled from NASA’s Apollo 8 transcript, drawing readers into the iconic moment Earth was photographed from space. An author’s note at the end explains more about the photograph, the Apollo 8 mission, and how Earthrise went on to inspire Earth Day.

To the right, you can see the iconic photo that started Earth Day fifty years ago, taken from space by Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William-Anders during a live broadcast from lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, 1968. This photo caused people in our world to look at our planet and really see its beauty.

"The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth." (Jim Lovell, Apollo 8)


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