12 Must-Read Environmental Books for Kids & Teens

Let’s talk about reading! STOP! Don’t click away. I promise this is worth your time. I know, I know a lot of you aren’t into reading. Why read when you can play video games and watch tv, right? That’s how my son feels sometimes. And I’ll be honest with you, it took me a long time to appreciate reading. When I was a kid, I HATED reading. Hate is a strong word, I know, but I really did hate it. I wasn’t interested in the books I was assigned and I just didn’t know what books would be worth reading. As I tell our son, “If you don’t like reading it means you haven’t found the right book for you. It’s still out there!” It wasn’t until I was a grown up, with a little one of my own, that I realized how amazing reading really is. It can take to you all new worlds without having to leave your home or library. It can empower you to take action on issues that matter most to you. And it can simply make you laugh when you’re having a tough day. So, keep at it, keep trying and you will find that book or topic that pulls you in. If you’re interested in our environment and climate change, I have a great list of books for you to try out. There is an ever-increasing amount of new climate books for kids these days so don’t just stop at the end of my list. Head to your local library or book store and see what’s new in the climate genre and see what sparks your interests. I have organized this list from youngest readers to older readers.


The Great Big Green Book by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith This book is a really great introduction into the main ideas of our environment, climate change, and how humans are damaging the earth. Quite a few pages are dedicated to how you can make a difference. The end of the book provides a list of useful words that can help you understand better. Topics Covered: Earth, oceans, trees, air pollution, climate change, endangered animals, calls to action, solutions, Age Recommendation: 5-6 years old

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss This classic is always a great way to introduce younger children to the importance of trees and caring for our planet. Plus, when you're done reading it you can watch the movie to bring the book to life! Topics Covered: Natural world, trees, compassion Age Recommendation: 5-9 years old

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul An inspiring true story about one woman’s quest to change her community’s dire situation with single-use plastic bags. This book highlights the dangers of plastics and litter. Topics Covered: Plastics, litter, leadership, action Age Recommendation: 5-9 years old

Kids Who Are Saving the Planet (Ready to Read – Level Three) by Laurie Calkhoven This book is wonderful because it tells the story of six kids (most who you’ve probably never heard of) who have and are making an impact on our planet. Each story introduces you to important keywords and what they mean. After becoming inspired by these young planet-savers they give you a list of actions you can do to start making a difference. Plus, if you want to test your knowledge, turn to the last page and you’ll find a short quiz to see how much you’ve learned. Topics Covered: Bees, entrepreneurship, climate change, deforestation, political action, endangered animals, clean water, activism Age Recommendation: 6-8 years old

Earth Heroes: Twenty Inspiring Stories of People Saving Our World by Lily Dyu Sometimes the best way to learn is by following the extraordinary examples of others. This book is filled with stories (20 to be exact) of real people who have made real contributions to the fight to save our planet. Topics Covered: Climate change, sustainable fashion, climate solutions, activism, entrepreneurship Age Recommendation: 7-9 years old

101 Ways You Can Help Save the Planet Before You’re 12! by Joanne O’Sullivan If you’re ready to dive into taking action, this is a great place to start. I love the range of ideas that are suggested. From packing a litter-less lunch to planting trees to composting, there is something in here for all ages and levels of involvement. Topics Covered: Too many to list! Age Recommendation: 6-12 years old

Humans and Earth’s Atmosphere: What’s in the Air? by Ava Sawyer Just one in a series of environmental books, What’s in the Air? discusses our atmosphere and the effects we are having on it. It goes in more depth than some other books about the atmosphere itself and why understanding the atmosphere is important in the fight against climate change. There’s a great timeline at the end of the book to show positive changes throughout history. Topics Covered: Atmosphere, industrial revolution, fossil fuels, transportation, actions to help Age Recommendation: 8-10 years old

What is Climate Change? by Gail Herman The What Was?/Who Was? Series is a really great series of books that teach kids in depth about people, events, and important topics. This one is all about the causes and science behind climate change. It discusses the social, political, and scientific impacts of a warming planet. Topics Covered: Climate change Age Recommendation: 8-12 years old

How to Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other by Naomi Klein We loved this book. It was a personal favorite of my son and I. This is a truly empowering book that will not only educate you on the problems we are facing (and how we got to this point) but gets you motivated to stand up and make a difference. Topics Covered: Climate change, activism, climate equity Age Recommendation: 10 years old and up

An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming by Al Gore This youth adapted book is based on the award-winning documentary and book by the same name. This adaptation provides a look at our changing planet, the evidence around climate change, how it affects our health, and what our society can do to turn things around. Topics Covered: Climate change, extreme weather, health, climate science Age Recommendation: 10-15 years old

We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement That Restores the Planet by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez If you’re looking for a slightly different perspective on climate change and what we can do about it, check out this book. It’s written by an indigenous teen who helped start the Earth Guardians movement. We love that he is completely relatable to teens and shows how much one person can do to influence others. Along with information about climate change, our affects on the planet, and what we can do to make change, he also features interviews from some pretty famous people. Topics Covered: Climate change, movements, activism, fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, indigenous peoples Age Recommendation: 14-17 years old

Bringing Back Our Oceans by Carol Hand This in-depth book is, you guessed it, all about our oceans. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone who is writing about the state of our oceans or for anyone who simply wants to know more about it. The book is divided into eight chapters and concludes with a great visual representation of cause and effects on the ocean. Like many other books it also includes a glossary of important terms. Topics Covered: Sea turtles, conservation, fisheries, bycatch, reefs, pollution, climate change, the future of ocean research and conservation Age Recommendation: 13-17 years old #books #reading #childrensbooks #readingrecommendation #bookclub #climatechange #inspire #familyfun #environment #litter #plasticpollution #activism #kids #teens #teenager #fridaysforfuture