Kids reading books about climate change
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The next generation

The Power of Green Storytelling: Eco-Books for Kids to Inspire Change

Katie Overmonds
March 26, 2024

In our household, we started reading to the kids early. And I mean *really* early. As in, they couldn’t even hold their head up yet and we were reading them nursery rhymes and The Gruffalo on repeat.

Why so darn early, you may ask? Partly because I’ve heard that reading at a young age helps their development and language acquisition later in life (yadda yadda yadda) but also partly because I don’t really know what else to do with a baby?!

Don’t get me wrong. I love cuddling a baby as much as the next person but there are a lot of hours in the day to fill and one can only snuggle so much. Reading it is! (I’d have them helping out with the laundry and dishes, too, but that may need to wait until they figure out they have hands.)

Our youngest son, James (4 months) already enjoys a good storytime in the morning. Or at least, I do!

But with all this reading happening, I started to wonder whether there were books out there that would not only be entertaining and help them develop their reading and language skills but also make them think about the world around them and how our actions may affect it. I wanted to find kids' books about climate change or the environment (issues that will surely be relevant to their lives later on) that talked about the issues in a way that weren’t preachy or boring. And I found some!

In this post, I’ve got a selection of eco-friendly books that not only entertain but also educate and inspire kids of all ages to become stewards of our planet. Here are some of the internet’s favorites:

Best Kids Books About Climate Change and the Environment

"The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss (Ages 4-8): Would a blog about environment-related books be complete without a mention of the Lorax? It’s a timeless classic that introduces children to the importance of environmental conservation through the whimsical tale of the Lorax and the Once-ler. Bonus points, there’s a movie too!

"Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth" by Oliver Jeffers (Ages 3-7): A beautifully illustrated book that celebrates the wonders of our planet and encourages young readers to cherish and protect it.

"The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rainforest" by Lynne Cherry (Ages 4-8): Join a young boy as he encounters the inhabitants of the Amazon rainforest and learns about the interconnectedness of all living things.

"Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa" by Jeanette Winter (Ages 5-8): This inspiring true story follows Wangari Maathai, the founder of the Green Belt Movement, as she works to empower communities and reforest Kenya.

"The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps" by Jeanette Winter (Ages 4-8): Discover the remarkable life of primatologist Jane Goodall and her mission to protect chimpanzees and their habitats.

"Greta and the Giants: Inspired by Greta Thunberg's Stand to Save the World" by Zoë Tucker (Ages 4-8): Join Greta as she rallies her friends to stand up against the giants who are destroying their forest home.

"One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia" by Miranda Paul (Ages 5-9): Follow Isatou Ceesay's journey as she transforms plastic bags into beautiful crafts, inspiring environmental change in her community.

"The Tantrum That Saved the World" by Megan Herbert (Ages 4-8): When Emma's frustration with climate change boils over into a tantrum, she discovers her power to make a difference in the world.

"Our House Is on Fire: Greta Thunberg's Call to Save the Planet" by Jeanette Winter (Ages 4-8): A powerful biography of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, whose determination to address climate change has sparked a global movement.

"The Sea Book" by Charlotte Milner (Ages 5-9): Dive into the depths of the ocean and learn about its fascinating inhabitants, as well as the importance of protecting marine ecosystems.

"The Water Princess" by Susan Verde (Ages 5-8): Based on the childhood experiences of model Georgie Badiel, this book tells the story of a young girl's journey to fetch water and her dream of bringing clean water to her village.

"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (Ages 8-12): Follow William's incredible true story of ingenuity and perseverance as he builds a windmill to bring electricity to his village in Malawi.

"The Last Straw: Kids vs. Plastics" by Susan Hood (Ages 8-12): When Maya and her friends discover the harmful effects of plastic pollution on marine life, they take action to eliminate single-use plastics in their community.

"Planet Earth is Blue" by Nicole Panteleakos (Ages 10 and up): Set in the 1980s, this moving novel follows a nonverbal autistic girl named Nova as she awaits the launch of the space shuttle Challenger and dreams of a future where she and her sister can be together.

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These books are just the beginning of the journey toward raising environmentally conscious kids who will grow up to be passionate advocates for our planet (whom the world so badly needs!).

So, let's keep turning the pages, sparking conversations (when the kids are old enough to talk, of course), and nurturing a love for Mother Earth in the hearts of the next generation.

Editor’s note: If you make a purchase through our affiliate partner links, we may receive a commission. This does not impact the recommendations we make.

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