19 Books about Protecting Planet Earth

kids books about the environment

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If your kids are wondering what “climate change” means or what to do about trash in the park, reading a book to inspire them is a great step in becoming global citizens. These kids books about the environment books don’t just highlight problems: they offer actionable solutions that kids of any age can implement in their homes, schools, and communities and demonstrate that one person can have a huge impact on the planet. Read on to learn more.

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Be the Change: Rob Greenfield’s Call to Kids―Making a Difference in a Messed-Up World


Every day, we contribute to the pollution and problems in our world: now what? Rob Greenfield’s actionable book tells the story of his own commitment to saving the planet, and give tangible and realistic ways every person can work towards reducing their carbon footprint and changing our habits for good. Ages: 8+

Only One


While our world hosts billions of people, plants and animals, there is only one Earth for us to take care of. Young environmentalists will thoroughly enjoy this journey from Earth’s birth to the exploration of galaxies, continents and more. Deborah Hopkinson and Chuck Groenink do a wonderful job incorporating eye-catching illustrations with straight-forward facts that all readers can understand.

Your Planet Needs You


You may be one of billions of Earth’s inhabitants, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. Philip Bunting breaks down the history of waste––what it is, where it comes from and why we keep making so much of it. After a few whimsical stories comes the good stuff: how to save the earth. Creative illustrations and simple how-to’s make this book a must for everyone, not just young environmentalists. Ages: 5+

Once Upon a Forest


No words are needed for this sweet tale that follows a young marmot who witnesses a forest fire. Shared with gorgeous illustrations by Pam Fong, little readers will walk away with the message that we can all do our part to help save and restore the earth, no matter our size. Ages: 4-8

This is the Tree We Planted


A tree is more than just leaves and a trunk: it’s a home to wildlife that everyone can learn from. Kate McMullan weaves a story that not only shows how one small action can produce a big result, but will inspire kids to become nature lovers, too. Ages: 4-7

Wombat Underground: A Wildfire Survival Story


Beautifully illustrated by Charles Santoso, this story by Sarah Thomson follows animals in the Australian forest as they live peacefully only to encounter a dangerous wildfire. Told in a way that educates young children on climate change, this story co-mingles lessons on compassion, the environment, refugees and coming together under times of turmoil.

The Earth Book


This classic by Todd Parr takes on the topics of environmental protection and conservation in a book for very young readers. Printed on recycled materials and using nontoxic soy inks, this picture book has been in print since 2010 and is both an homage to our beautiful planet and a young Earth activist’s guide to understanding why caring about the environment is so important. Ages: 3-6

Alba and the Ocean Cleanup


In this gorgeously illustrated book by author-illustrator Lara Hawthorne, we meet Alba, a fish who loves to collect objects that fall down to the ocean floor. The beauty and diversity of color and life in the ocean are showcased and then contrasted with the ever-increasing presence of trash. Ocean plastics are taking over: but what can Alba (and you) do to help? Read an enchanting story followed by actionable ways to save the ocean’s vital ecosystems. Ages: 3-7

I Hear You, Forest


Forest bathing comes naturally to children and Kallie George’s new nature book for kids reminds us all how the sounds of nature can be restorative to our minds and bodies. The forest has a lot to say if you listen. From the creaks of the trees to the nibbles of the squirrels, the forest is forever revealing secrets to those willing to listen. Read this book and head out for a hike. Carmen Mok’s illustrations are both whimsical and realistic, making you wish you were napping on a forest floor right now. Ages: 3-7

Cuento de Luz

A New Harvest: A Tale about Perseverance and Community


A devastating tornado leaves Rodrigo and his family homeless but through his community and a strong connection with nature, Rodrigo finds a way to build a new life. He begins a farm, where he can grow food to not only feed his family but others like him. The book is printed on the publisher Cuento de Luz’s signature stone paper, and all of author Cristina Expósito Escalona’s income from royalties will be donated to the Homeless Garden Project. Illustrated Miguel Ángel Díez. Ages: 4-8

Crossings: Extraordinary Structures for Extraordinary Animals


Katie S. Duffield’s forthcoming collaboration with Illustrator Mike Orodán celebrates nature through the wildlife crossings that exist around the world. From a bridge over a Canadian interstate to monkeys on rope bridges to bears under an overpass, Crossings teaches kids what happens when the non-natural world and the creatures of nature collide, celebrating both the ingenuity of animals and encouraging conservation and awareness. Ages 3-8.

Endangered Animals and How You Can Help


In this exquisite book by Sam Hutchinson, children are taken on a journey through seven different habitats to learn about the animal kingdom’s struggles in that habitat. Children explore more than seventy different animal species that are endangered or threatened due to climate change and pollution as well as species that are thriving thanks to conservation efforts. The format is unique—illustrator Sarah Dennis uses her collage style to create seek-and-find and monochrome images, inviting children to explore further. The book also contains lots of tips about how we can help the species. Ages: 6-9

A Kids Book About Climate Change


The “A Kids Book About” series takes on challenging topics (racism, death, being transgender) and breaks them down into easy-to-read kids’ books that help both kids and their grown-ups have frank, honest conversations together. In A Kids Book About Climate Change, youth activists Zanagee Artis and Olivia Greenspan take the overwhelming topic of climate change and explain it in understandable terms offering facts about the current state of our planet, how we got here, and how to fight for our future. Ages: 4-8

Luna & Me: The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest


Author-illustrator Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw brings the story of Julia Butterfly Hill’s famous protest to life in this exploration of what it means to be an activist. Julia Butterfly Hill lived in a redwood tree for over two years to protect it from being cut down. The tree became affectionately known as Luna. Julia refused to come down from the tree until the lumber company who wanted to cut it down agreed not to. An inspiring reminder for kids of what just one person can do to make a difference. Ages: 5-9

The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Global Reefs


If you like the kind of book that makes you want to literally dive into its pages, this is the book for you. With dreamy illustrations by Matthew Forsythe, the powerful story of Ken Nedimyer’s quest to rescue the world’s coral reefs. This book written by Kate Messner reminds kids everywhere that “it starts with one.” Not only will you be enchanted by the layout of the book, but you’ll also be inspired by Ken. Includes a coral-reef glossary and ways kids can help. Ages: 6-9

Walking for Water: How One Boy Stood Up for Gender Equality


In this inspiring story, artfully told by Susan Hughes with beautiful, graphic-novel style illustrations by Nicole Miles, we meet young Victor and his twin sister, Linesi, two Malawi kids who love going to school. But when they turn eight, Victor learns that because Linesi is a girl, she is no longer allowed to attend school. Instead, she walks to the river to water each day. Soon, Victor begins to understand what gender equality means and comes up with a plan to change things. This is not just a story about gender equality, though. It is about unequal access to education. It is also about access to clean water, and how there are people in the world who do not have this. Your kids will not only learn how one person can make a difference, but they will also understand the importance of a global mindset. Includes a glossary of Chichewa words. Ages: 7-10

This Class Can Save the Planet


An excellent gift to any class, this book shows kids the huge impact they can have on the environment and immediate, actionable steps they can take to protect it. It’s full of great ideas that teachers can implement in their classroom (making paint from dry markers) or kids can do at home. It’s a positive way to approach climate change, with solutions that are completely doable, helping parents and kids talk about something that can feel daunting and scary for kids. Buy one for your kid’s class today. Ages: 4-10+

How to Make a Better World: For Every Kid Who Wants to Make a Difference


his guide by Keilly Swift comes with a foreword by Jamie Margolin, a Columbian American climate activist, which sets the tone for the upbeat and inspiring book. While the author does not shy away from the grim reality, she offers tons of solutions, ideas, and advice for becoming an advocate for climate justice. Going beyond the lists of “what you can do to save the planet,” this book takes on the subtitles of what it really takes to help the Earth every day. She even discusses how to handle tricky situations when people aren’t always nice or empathetic to your cause. All in all, a smart book and welcome addition to the Earth activist library. Ages: 7-9

You Can Change the World


Author Lucy Bell has a message for kids of the world: you can make a difference! This illustrated book is packed with colorful images designed to present solutions to children in a way they relate. From reuse (mending clothes, compost), recycling, and reducing (avoid single-use plastics and make conscious consumer choices), this is the practical guide for any family to make significant changes in their household starting today. Ages: 8-12

—Amber Guetebier & Karly Wood

All photos: Courtesy of Publishers



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