13 Books about Protecting Planet Earth

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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 books stand out because they 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.

photo: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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

Buy it now, $10

photo: Big Picture Press

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

Get your copy today, $14

photo: Cuento de Luz

A New Harvest: A Tale about Perseverance and Community

Printed on the publisher's signature environmentally-conscious paper (made from stones!) this is the story of a devastating tornado and a little boy who makes a difference in his community with his connection to the Earth. A tornado leaves Rodrigo and his family homeless but through a commitment to the Earth and his community,  he begins a farm, where he can grow food to not only feed his family but others like his. All of the author’s income from royalties will be donated to the Homeless Garden Project. Illustrated Miguel Ángel Díez. Ages: 4-8

Preorder today, $17

photo: ‎ Princeton Architectural Press

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

Get yours here, $9

photo: A Kids Book About

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

Order your copy now, $20

photo: Beach Lane Books

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.

Order your copy today, $15

photo: Greystone Kids

I Hear You, Forest

Forest bathing comes naturally to children and Kallie George’s new book 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

Buy it now, $18

photo: Henry Holt and Co.

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

Buy it here,  $17

photo: Chronicle Books

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

Available at amazon.com, $13

photo: Kids Can Press

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

Get your copy today, $16

photo: Be a Good Human Co.

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+

Get your copy here, $12.99

photo: ‏DK Children

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

This 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

Buy it now, $17

photo: Andrews McMeel Publishing

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

Buy it now, $12

—Amber Guetebier

featured image: Allison Sutcliffe

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