Books for Earth Day
Earth Day is a great time to talk to kids about climate change and the impact their own actions can have, for better or worse. I did a round up for Earth Day books for kids a few years back, but there are so many more great children’s books for Earth Day that have come out since then! Here are some of our favorites, which do a wonderful job of explaining climate change and helping kids think of practical ways they can get involved. Be sure to also try some Earth Day crafts for kids after you read or extend the learning with an Earth Day handwriting printable!
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Books for Earth Day
Here are some of our favorite new children’s books for Earth Day!
In a time when most news about the environment is dreadful, it is remarkable to find one that is not only hopeful but frankly exciting. Food for the Future explores 12 projects from different parts of the globe that are putting into practice innovative, sustainable ways of growing food. From circular gardens in Senegal to honey farms in Yemen and rooftop gardens in the US, this new picture book demonstrates the creative ways that indigenous knowledge and modern technology are being harnessed in service of the planet. I love that the book can be enjoyed on multiple levels. The main body of the book, with its upbeat, rhyming text, is perfect for younger readers, while older children will enjoy taking a deeper dive with the more detailed information provided at the back, including a map and more information about sustainability practices. The joyous illustrations from Robert Sae-Heng are the perfect accompaniment for this fascinating non-fiction read.
Based on a true story, Ducks Overboard! is a wonderful book to introduce kids to the problem of plastics in our oceans. Young readers follow the journey of one of the 28,000 plastic ducks that spilled into the Pacific Ocean in 1992, as it discovers the wonderful diverse life in the ocean – and the pollution that threatens them, including the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. An up close view of the effects of pollution on marine life. I love that it ends on a hopeful note, as the ducky witnesses a beach cleanup, where he is scooped up and gifted to a young boy! Includes information about ocean current and plastic pollution, plus how to help!
Dear Earth is a love letter from a young girl to our beautiful planet. Accompanied by beautiful illustrations, the book takes the reader on a journey around the world, from the rain forest to the arctic, reveling in plants and animals populating each landscape. She ends her letter but noting that the earth is also fragile and suffers from damage inflicted by humans. Perhaps, she suggests to her grandfather, more people would help if they realized just how special the Earth is. The book includes quick facts about climate change, as well as ways that young people can get involved and make a difference.
Listen to the Earth helps children understand the impact of overuse and waste of the Earth’s resources and how much we can help by being more responsible. It demonstrates the many ways that the Earth provides for us but how we are squandering those resources. It is a hopeful book, showing practical steps we can take as individuals and communities to turn the tide and take care of the planet that takes care of us. My favorite sequence of illustrations is the journey of a logger, who is at first shown to us as an example of someone wasting a resource by overcutting the forest beyond what is needed. Later in the book, a young girl shows the logger the importance of replanting the forests, and at the very end of the book, we see the logger himself doing the planting. Includes information about Earth Overshoot Day, and exactly how many days we can move that date through each of the actions described in the book.
Changing World is a wonderful, very visual explanation for kids about what exactly climate change is, from how it happens to what a half degree rise in temperature actually means. I love that it takes correlates a lot of data and makes it accessible to kids through colorful, impactful graphics. It also helps kids think through the consequences of their actions, like the real cost of their favorite fast foods. A great first book for kids to read about climate change.
When third grader Riley finds a beautiful seashell in her attic, she never imagines that it will transport her, along with her sister and best friend, to the site of an environmental mystery! The magic seashell has chosen them to help solve the mystery of baby sea otters, whose mothers are abandoning them outside an aquarium. Can they follow the clues to save the otters? The Case of the Abandoned Sea Otters is a fabulous chapter book mystery that puts young people center stage in helping solve real-world environmental problems. It is the first in what will be a series of Magic Seashell Mysteries, and its likeable characters and engaging storylines are guaranteed to pique readers interest in the environmental issues happening in their own communities. Written by an environmental educator, this book comes complete with discussion questions and an extensive glossary.
The Extincts is an action-packed graphic novel series featuring a team of extinct animals on a mission to save the world. Low on funds, they decide to open a zoo and gift shop, yet an incident with a fire-starter teen sends the mammoth Lug off to do something he feels would make more of a difference – fighting wildfires in California. When it turns out the fires are being set by a mysterious arsonist – who seems to be targeting Lug – the team comes to help. The humor and action will definitely hold the attention of older readers, who will also find the environmental message both urgent and compelling. I also love that the book features actual locations (like the La Brea Tar Pits) that readers can visit. Includes information at the back about extinct animals, wildfires, and smoke jumpers, plus instructions on how to make your own telescope!