Summer is just about here! We've put together a NEW list of environmental books we think are great for kids - from toddler to teen.
The Hike by Alison Farrell
Age: 2-5 years
Summary via Amazon: The Hike is a plucky and sweet adventure story about three intrepid young female explorers who set out to conquer the outdoors in their local forest.
This spirited picture book is filled with lyrical language that captures the majesty of the natural world, coupled with a fun narrative.
• Features a glossary and scientific backmatter
• Includes a sketchbook by one of the characters that highlights discoveries the girls make along the trail
• Abundant labels throughout for learning about various plants and animals
The Hike celebrates how fun and rewarding it is to explore nature in your own backyard!
We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, Illustrated by Michaela Goade Age: 2-8 years Summery via Amazon: Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption―a bold and lyrical picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade. Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all . . . When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth And poison her people’s water, one young water protector
Takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.
The Octopus and the Butterfly by Martyn Lee Brown, Ramona Pepegna Bianchini, Illustrated by Michele Fanuzzi
Age: 3+ years
Summary vs Amazon: Join an endearing young octopus on an epic adventure that begins unexpectedly when she encounters litter pollution in her tranquil coral reef. After finding herself thrust into another world that is far different from her own, she also meets the remarkable beings that inhabit it and whose own stories inspire her to embark on a vital mission to send a message…
This Little Environmentalist by Joan Holub, Illustrated by Daniel Roode
Age: 3-5 years
Summary via Amazon: Learn all about big leaders who love and protect the Earth in this engaging and inspiring board book perfect for environmentalists-in-training!
Now even the youngest readers can learn all about important people who help protect and take care of our Earth! Highlighting ten memorable environmentalists who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this discovery primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.
The Pout Pout Fish Cleans Up the Ocean by Deborah Diesen, Illustrated by Dan Hanna
Age: 3-6 years
Summary via Amazon: Mr. Fish and his friends have noticed something strange in their ocean―a big, big MESS! How did it get there? What can they do about it? The closer they look, the more they see where the mess came from . . . and they'll have to work together to get rid of it. This jacketed hardcover in the New York Times–bestselling Pout-Pout Fish series from Deborah Diesen and illustrator Dan Hanna, The Pout-Pout Fish Cleans Up the Ocean, will teach little guppies how to take responsibility for their actions and for the environment.
The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter by Shabazz Larkin
Age: 3-7 years
Summary via Amazon: "Sometimes bees can be a bit rude. They fly in your face and prance on your food." And yet… without bees, we might not have strawberries for shortcakes or avocados for tacos!
Shabazz Larkin’s The Thing About Bees is a Norman Rockwell-inspired Sunday in the park, a love poem from a father to his two sons, and a tribute to the bees that pollinate the foods we love to eat. Children are introduced to different kinds of bees, “how not to get stung,” and how the things we fear are often things we don’t fully understand.
Treemendous: Dairy of a Not Yet Mighty Oak by Bridget Heos, Illustrated by Mike Ciccotello
Age: 3-7 years
Summary via Amazon: This adorable picture book illustrates the life of a tiny acorn growing up to be a tall oak tree. A wonderful introduction to nonfiction for curious, nature-loving kids!
Hello, world! This little acorn is so excited to grow!
Told in the diary entries of an acorn, this picture book follows a young acorn and its long life as an oak tree, from being buried by a squirrel to towering over other trees. The text communicates the basic science simply and with humor, and the illustrations up the fun factor! Parents will love the sweet story and charming illustrations, and teachers and librarians will love the extra resources at the back.
Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme by Melissa Stewart, Illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Age: 3-8 years
Summary via Amazon: Travel to a tropical rainforest where fourteen species of monkeys live in harmony in this playful, fact-filled book from award-winning author Melissa Stewart and Caldecott honoree Steve Jenkins.
In Manú National Park in Peru, an amazing fourteen different species of monkeys live together. That’s more than in any other rainforest in the world! How can they coexist so well? Find out in this lyrical, rhyming picture book that explores each monkey’s habits, diet, and home, illustrating how this delicate ecosystem and its creatures live together in harmony. From howler monkeys to spider monkeys to night monkeys, young readers will love getting to know these incredible primates and seeing the amazing ways they share their forest.
The Last Straw: Kids vs. Plastics by Susan Hood, Illustrated by Christiane Engel Age: 4-8 years Summary via Amazon: With The Last Straw: Kids vs. Plastics, readers will be fascinated as they learn about the growing plastic problem and meet just a few of the young activists who are standing up and speaking out for change.
·You’ll hear about the “Be Straw Free” campaign, started by nine-year-old Milo Cress.
·You’ll discover how scientists are using jellyfish snot and munching, crunching caterpillars to break down plastic pollution faster.
·You’ll meet Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López, the eight-year-old girl turning old plastic bottles into solar heaters.
And there are many more incredible kids here, not much older than our readers, who will inspire us all to change the way we think about plastic!
City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
Age: 4-8 years
Summary via Amazon: Right in the middle of Marcy’s city block is a vacant lot, littered and forlorn. Sometimes just looking at it makes Marcy feel sad. Then one spring, Marcy has a wonderful idea: Instead of a useless lot, why not a green and growing space for everyone to enjoy?
With her warm, hopeful text and inviting illustrations, DyAnne Disalvo-Ryan shows how a whole neighborhood blossoms when people join together and get involved.
Climate Action: What Happened and What We Can Do by Seymour Simon
Age: 6-10 years
Summary via Amazon: Meet the young activists who are using their voices and minds to fight climate change.
Did you know that the past five years have been the hottest ever recorded? Or that over seven million people participated in the global Climate Strike? We’re facing a very real problem, but there’s hope.
Everyone is affected by climate change. Reading Climate Action: What Happened and What We Can Do is the perfect introduction not only to the dramatic effects of climate change, but to the solutions. Learn how our behavior and actions have led us to this point, hear from kids around the world dealing with extreme storms, wildfires, and sea level rise, and discover what scientists, youth activists, and ordinary citizens are doing to protect their communities.
Divided into eight sections for easy browsing and with over fifty photographs, captions, charts, and graphs, this nonfiction book is an excellent choice to share in the classroom and for homeschooling for kids ages 6 and up.
Earth’s Incredible Oceans by Jess French, Illustrated Claire McElfatrick
Age: 7-9 years
Summary via Amazon: Enter the world of oceans and discover all the interesting animals that live in them!
Swim with jellyfish, wonder at the busy life of a seagrass meadow, and fence with narwhals in this lovingly illustrated children’s book. Take kids on a fascinating underwater journey, showing them just how amazing oceans are, what plants and animals live in them, and how we can help them
Inside the pages of this kids ocean book, you’ll discover:
• Interesting information about oceans that supports and goes beyond the curriculum
• Fun and unusual facts to convey the amazing world of ocean life
• Detailed illustrations and photographs of fish, shellfish, mammals such as dolphins, waves, and more
Explore a world hidden below the waves
Let's go on an underwater adventure! From glowing jellyfish to deep-sea dwellers, children will discover the incredible secret world of life under the sea. This ocean book is filled with a combination of gorgeous photographs and colorful illustrations that will delight and inspire kids - teaching them the importance of the ocean and how to help take care of it themselves.
Little ones will be intrigued by sea life like sharks, narwhals, sea birds, ocean reptiles, and so much more. They will learn interesting facts, and explanations about how the ocean functions, like how underwater plants and species rely on each other, and how ocean animals have fun and look after their young. This beautiful book is the perfect gift for young animal and conservation enthusiasts.
DKfindout! Garbage by DK
Age: 7-11 years
Summary via Amazon: Find out how to live more sustainably, manage waste better, and create an eco-home!
Garbage tells us a lot about how humans have lived in the past, how we’re living now, and the impact our waste disposal has on the environment. To create a more sustainable future, it’s important that little eco-warriors know about the different types of waste and how to create less garbage!
DKfindout! Garbage is a fun, trivia, and activity-filled book that teaches young children between 5 and 9 years old about the problems the planet is experiencing with waste. Published to engaged young activists keen to make a difference, this waste management book:
• Covers topics such as “Electronic waste”, “Food we waste the most”, and “Recycling ideas for kids” with a clear visual approach
• Includes a glossary to help explain new or tricky terms
• Contains flaps at the beginning and end that provide extra core references and a quiz to draw children into the content of the book
• Features dynamic, highly visual presented topics including a spread about art made from garbage
• Checked by specialist consultants and an educational expert to make sure the information is trustworthy and age-appropriate
Teach children how important it is to throw out your trash and recycle
Thought-provoking and timely, DKfindout! Garbage educates and challenges young readers to ask questions about how garbage is created, disposed of, the biggest contributors to excess waste such as fast fashion, plastic, and electronics - and how they can counter the effects of these culprits.
An important yet colorful sustainability book for kids, this title teaches children how to produce less waste and how to manage waste better! They’ll learn about recycling, upcycling (even creating art from garbage!), how to stop wasting food, and why plastic is a problem.
City of Water by Andrea Curtis, Illustrated by Katy Dockrill
Age: 8 – 12 years
Summary via Amazon: The second book in the ThinkCities series explores water as a precious, finite resource, tracing its journey from source, through the city, and back again.
Living in cities where water flows effortlessly from our taps and fountains, it’s easy to take it for granted. City of Water, the second book in the ThinkCities series, shines a light on the water system that is vital for our health and well-being. The narrative traces the journey of water from the forests, mountains, lakes, rivers and wetlands that form the watershed, through pipes and treatment facilities, into our taps, fire hydrants and toilets, then out through storm and sewer systems toward wastewater treatment plants and back into the watershed.
Along the way we discover that some of the earliest cities with water systems date back to the Indus Valley in 2500 BC; that in 1920 only 1 percent of the US population had indoor plumbing; that if groundwater is used up too quickly, the land canactually sink; and more. The text is sprinkled with fun and surprising facts — some water fountains in Paris offer sparkling water, and scientists are working to extract microscopic particles of precious metals found in sewage.
Readers are encouraged to think about water as a finite resource, and to take action to prevent our cities and watersheds from becoming more polluted. More than 2 billion people in the world are without access to safe, fresh water at home. As the world’s population grows, along with pollution and climate change, access to clean water is becoming an urgent issue.
Includes practical steps that kids can take to help conserve water.
The Beekeepers: How Humans Changed the World of Bumble Bees by Dana L. Church
Age: 8-12 years
Summary via Amazon: Dive deep into the world of this everyday insect -- and the science behind its uncertain future.
Bumble bees are as familiar to most of us as the flowers these fuzzy insects feed upon. But did you know that the bees in your garden could be escapees from a local greenhouse, or descended from stowaways on a Viking ship?
Bumble bees are a vital part of our lives and Earth's ecosystems, so much so that we've commercialized their breeding and shipped them across states, countries, and ecosystems for our benefit. However, all of that human interference has consequences. Bumble bees are pushing out native species and altering ecosystems worldwide. Pesticide use has led to the spread of disease in local colonies. And some species may be disappearing entirely.
The Beekeepers is an expertly researched overview of bumble bees -- from hive hierarchies to how their brains work -- and the passionate humans and scientists who are fighting for their survival. With a thoughtful and accessible voice, researcher Dana Church introduces readers to the fascinating world of bumble bees, how and why some are thriving while others are floundering, and how both experts and regular citizens are working to ensure their future. Equal parts endearing, frustrating, and hopeful, this scientific narrative is essential for readers looking to understand and make an impact on our changing world.
Be Plastic Clever by Amy & Ella Meek
Age: 9-11 years
Summary via GoodReads: Learn about the dangers of single-use plastics and pick up tips on what you can do to help through teenage activists Amy and Ella.
Join teenage activists Amy and Ella Meek on their mission to rid the world of single-use plastics in this practical book, perfect for budding eco-warriors.
This environmental book will teach young activists about the dangers of plastic pollution and climate change, but also to help them find their voice. Amy and Ella want their book to help young readers shout about the issues they are passionate about and inspire them to become young activists in their own right.
Filled with facts about the dangers of plastics, as well as tips on what you can do to help, it's the ultimate practical guide to ridding the world of single-use plastics from two young activists.
How to Be a Global Citizen: Be Informed. Get Involved. by DK Age: 10-17 years Summary via Amazon: Be the change in your community! This illustrated guide takes you through challenges the world is facing and how you and your kids can help overcome them. Aspiring activists and young community leaders need information and tools to be responsible citizens and changemakers in their communities. This activism book is packed with content that will both educate and challenge young children aged 11+ years to make a difference.
How to be a Global Citizen covers topics such as politics and voting, how to be responsible with online communication, preventing unfair discrimination, and protecting our environment. You'll find:
- Creative illustrations and clear text simplify challenging topics
- Advice for parents and teachers on explaining tricky social and environmental issues to children
- Steps to contribute to society at an individual level
- Features on inspirational young role models leading the charge on different causes around the world
Inspire youth with tales of their peers
Young people are leading movements around the world, influencing their communities, and illuminating issues that have plagued our societies for far too long. Each chapter of How to be a Global Citizen provides information and ideas on how children can have important conversations amongst friends, family, and the wider community to affect change.
Children are inspired by the stories of young leaders such as LGBTQ+ rights activist, Jazz Jennings, and environmentalist, Greta Thunberg. And each of their stories serves to be an example of what it means to be a responsible citizen, how to make the world a better place, and how to care for our societies and environment.
Saving Animals: A Future Activist’s Guide by Catherine Kelaher Age: 12-17 years Summary via Amazon: You're never too young to change the world
Do you want to help animals but are not sure how? Or maybe you are already helping animals and want to do more. Whether you're seven years old or seventeen, Saving Animals: A Future Activist's Guide - a lively, interactive, hands-on guide to animal and environmental activism for young people of all ages - will show you how.
This timely book covers all aspects of animal protection - from pets to farm animals to wildlife - as well as how to make the world a better place for animals through vegan outreach, animal advocacy, and volunteerism. Whatever your personality, skillset, or age, you'll find something in this book to inspire you.
In addition to information on why animal protection is vital for all living beings as well as our planet, this book is filled with the interviews and stories of more than two dozen young activists, ranging in age from seven to twenty-two, all of whom are doing amazing things to help create a kinder world. You'll learn how fun and easy it is to be vegan, discover what kinds of outreach will best fit your style, and find hope for a better future.
Check out our first must-read environmental book list here.