Earth Day is coming up on April 22, 2022! Here are some book suggestions to bring awareness and action through reading and discussing for young readers.
A Mountain of a Problem
By Ashlyn Anstee
96 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593205358 | Viking BFYR
Violet the bear has awoken early from her hibernation, but she doesn’t know why. She’s called on Shelby & Watts to solve the case before her son, Theodore, is roused from his hibernation, too. With Shelby’s deductive skills and Watts’s scientific know-how, they’ll leave no stone unturned or question unanswered. In this follow-up to Tide Pool Troubles, our two environmental detectives uncover the larger issue underlying Violet’s early start to spring: climate change. With accessible language and tips for what readers can do in the face of environmental change, this is a gentle introduction to one of today’s most pressing issues.
Big Ideas for Little Environmentalists
By Maureen McQuerry
Illustrated by Robin Rosenthal
80 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Books Boxset
ISBN 9780593529270 | Putnam BFYR
This box set features four board books on prominent environmentalists and their missions to care for and protect the earth: Ecosystems with Rachel Carson, Restoration with Wangari Maathai, Conservation with Jane Goodall, and Preservation with Aldo Leopold. Bold, relatable scenes show how each turned their childhood interests in nature and wildlife into huge movements that continue today, and kids will see how they can help protect the environment, too.
Constellation of the Deep
By Benjamin Flouw
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735268968 | Tundra Books
Fox loves nature, and enjoys discovering strange and fascinating plants. He especially loves the seaside, and often walks the salty coastal trails with his cousin Wolf. One day, Seagull tells the two about an especially interesting underwater plant called the constellation of the deep. According to Seagull, it grows on the bottom of the ocean, but no one knows exactly where, and it glows in the dark. Before long, Fox has donned his diving equipment, including a wet suit, a snorkel, a diving mask, fins and more, and sets off on an underwater quest to find this incredible plant. Along the way, Fox observes many different kinds of ocean life, like crabs, starfish, algae, and an amazing array of corals. He also comes across some underwater friends who try to help guide him to the elusive plant. But Fox despairs when he loses his camera – even if he finds the constellation of the deep, how will he capture this amazing discovery?
Flowers Are Pretty . . . Weird!
By Rosemary Mosco
Illustrated by Jacob Souva
36 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265943 | Tundra Books
Flowers are beautiful. They have bright colors, soft petals and sweet nectar. Yum! But that’s not the whole truth. Flowers can be WEIRD . . . and one bee is here to let everyone know! Talking directly to the reader, a bee reveals how flowers are so much stranger than what we think. Did you know that there are some flowers that only bloom in the nighttime? Some flowers are spooky, and look like ghosts, or bats, or a monster’s mouth. And while most flowers smell good, there are some that smell like dead meat, or even horse poop! This hilarious and refreshing book with silly and sweet illustrations explores the science of flowers and shows that these plants are not always stereotypically pretty and harmless as we often think they are – they are fascinating, disgusting, complicated and amazing.
Hidden Habitats: Water
By Lily Murray
Illustrated by Lara Hawthorne
18 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536219944 | Big Picture Press
The smallest areas of the natural world can contain a diverse web of life. Peer into a tide pool, explore the roots of a mangrove tree, take a swim through a water hole, climb to a leaf pool in the rain forest, dive down to the dark ocean floor, visit a peat bog, plunge deep into an underwater cave, and snorkel near a coral reef. What creatures will you discover? In this richly illustrated lift-the-flap book, young nature enthusiasts can get up close and personal to the wonders found in eight very different aquatic ecosystems.
Ice! Poems About Polar Life
By Douglas Florian
48 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823441013 | Holiday House
Whimsical, colorful art and humorous poems introduce more than a dozen polar animals, and touch on the unique characteristics of the polar regions. Funny and educational, the book ends with an inspiring call to action about climate change, reminding us of our responsibility to take care of our planet. Ice! Poems About Polar Life explores key scientific concepts such as animal adaptation, biomes, global warming, and interdependence in poems filled with rhyme, rhythm, figurative language – and a huge dose of humor! Artist and author Douglas Florian is well-known for combining poetry, art, and science in books that have wit, imagination, and an aesthetic sensibility.
In the Clouds
By Elly MacKay
44 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266964 | Tundra Books
A bored and curious little girl wishes for a bit of sunshine on a cloudy day. But a friendly bird soon whisks her off for an adventure in the sky, where she can contemplate questions both scientific and philosophical in nature: how do clouds float? Or carry the rain? Where do they go when they disappear? Are there clouds on other planets? Do they have memories? Have they ever seen a girl like her? This dreamy picture book from the inimitable Elly MacKay features her trademark stunning, light-infused spreads that beautifully capture the wondrousness of clouds and the power of nature to inspire and stimulate imaginations.
It’s Earth Day, Tiny!
By Cari Meister
Illustrated by Rich Davis
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593097465 | Penguin Workshop
It’s Earth Day, and Tiny and Elliott are on their way to the park, picking up litter and throwing it in the trash. At the park, a friend asks for help transporting trees to plant. But when they discover there aren’t any shovels for digging, they’re not sure what to do! Can Tiny find a way to save the day and help the planet?
Kids Fight Climate Change: Act Now to Be a #2minutesuperhero
By Martin Dorey
Illustrated by Tim Wesson
128 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536223491 | Candlewick
Our planet is in trouble! But with the help of this book, every kid can be a superhero making a difference. Sixty engaging missions guide readers through making carbon-saving changes in all aspects of their lives, from gardening to gadgets – even a DIY water-saving device for their toilet tank! Aided by lively illustrations, the author weaves crucial climate statistics and helpful resources with stories of positive change already happening, such as the resurgence of the Eurasian beaver due to conservation efforts. Along the way, readers meet other superheroes, both animal and human, who are changing the world too. With advice about speaking up and inspiring others to join in, veteran environmentalist Martin Dorey infuses optimism and encouragement into this essential guide to saving Earth, two minutes at a time.
My Big Book of Outdoors
By Tim Hopgood
128 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215335 | Candlewick Studio
From vibrant springtime flowers to sweet fruits on summer trees, from the falling of autumn leaves to snowdrops in winter, this ode to the four seasons introduces young readers to the world of nature outside their door. During the chilly months, they can discover why birds fly south in winter, search for animal footprints in the snow, or learn to make the perfect paper snowflake. As the sun grows stronger, they’re invited to weave a daisy chain, find a feather, or try their hand at growing a sunflower. Full of activities, poetry, fun facts to explore, and amazing things to see and do outside, this brightly illustrated book makes a delightful gift for all seasons.
One Million Trees: A True Story
By Kristen Balouch
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823448609 | Margaret Ferguson Books
When Kristen Balouch was 10 years old, her parents made a surprising announcement: their whole family was going on a trip to plant trees! Kristen, her sisters, and her mom and dad – and their pet, Wonder Dog! – flew from their California home to a logging site in British Columbia. There, they joined a crew working to replant the trees that had been cut down. In One Million Trees, Kristen reflects on the forty days they spent living in a tent, covered in mud and bug bites, working hard every day to plant a new forest. Young readers will learn a little French, practice some math skills, and learn all about how to plant a tree the right way!
Once Upon a Forest
By Pam Fong
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593380147 | Random House Studio
After a fire leaves the forest smoldering, a determined marmot and her resourceful bird friend set off on a rescue mission in this beautifully illustrated, wordless story. They clear away fallen branches and scorched bushes. They rake and dig and plant new seedlings in the earth. With determination and ingenuity, as the seasons pass, they care for the little trees by making sure they have enough water, protect their branches from the wind and snow, and keep away hungry creatures, until the trees can thrive on their own. With a little time, care, and hope we all can help the earth.
By Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by Chuck Groenink
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399557033 | Anne Schwartz Books
Join one girl as she leads her friends to a tree-planting ceremony. Along the way, she explains in simple language the value of the universe and Planet Earth. Readers will see the Big Bang, the Milky Way, all the planets in the solar system, as well as Earth’s atmosphere, and the life within it: its oceans, trees, bugs, and seven billion human beings. Finally, the girl and her friends plant a tree – doing one small thing to help their one special planet. Both informative and inspiring, here is a beautifully written and gorgeously illustrated science picture book about our universe that will encourage young readers and listeners to protect and preserve the environment.
Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch
By Heidi Tyline King
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101996294 | Putnam BFYR
MaVynee loved going to the beach. But in the days of Jim Crow, she couldn’t just go to any beach – most of the beaches in Jacksonville were for whites only. Knowing something must be done, her grandfather bought a beach that African American families could enjoy without being reminded they were second class citizens; he called it American Beach. Artists like Zora Neale Hurston and Ray Charles vacationed on its sunny shores. It’s here that MaVynee was first inspired to sing, propelling her to later become a widely acclaimed opera singer who routinely performed on an international stage. But her first love would always be American Beach. After the Civil Rights Act desegregated public places, there was no longer a need for a place like American Beach and it slowly fell into disrepair. MaVynee remembered the importance of American Beach to her family and so many others, so determined to preserve this integral piece of American history, she began her second act as an activist and conservationist, ultimately saving the place that had always felt most like home.
The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest
By Heather Lang
Illustrated by Jana Christy
48 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781684371778 | Calkins Creek
Meg Lowman was always fascinated by the natural world above her head – the colors, the branches, and, most of all, the leaves and mysterious organisms living there. Meg set out to climb up and investigate the rain forest tree canopies – and to be the first scientist to do so. But she encountered challenge after challenge. Male teachers would not let her into their classrooms, the high canopy was difficult to get to, and worst of all, people were logging and clearing the forests. Meg never gave up or gave in. She studied, invented, and persevered, not only creating a future for herself as a scientist, but making sure that the rainforests had a future as well. Working closely with Meg Lowman, author Heather Lang and artist Jana Christy beautifully capture Meg’s world in the treetops.
The Octopus Escapes
By Maile Meloy
Illustrated by Felicita Sala
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984812698 | Putnam BFYR
The octopus is happy in his undersea cave until one day, a diver captures him and takes him to live in an aquarium. The humans give him food and tests that look like toys. But every day is the same, and the octopus soon tires of captive life. And so, under the cover of darkness, he makes his daring escape . . . . Maile Meloy and Felicita Sala bring us a story full of excitement and heart, about the thrill of hard-won freedom and the pull of home.
The Tide Pool Waits
By Candace Fleming
Illustrated by Amy Hevron
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823449156 | Neal Porter Books
Twice a day when the tide goes out, an astonishing world is revealed in the tide pools that form along the Pacific Coast. Some of the creatures that live here look like stone. Others look like plants. Some move so slowly it’s hard to tell if they’re moving at all, while others are so fast you’re not sure you really saw them. The biggest animals in the pool are smaller than your hand, while the smallest can’t be seen at all without a microscope. During low tide, all these creatures – big, small, fast, slow – are exposed to air and the sun’s drying heat. And so they have developed ways to survive the wait until the ocean’s return.
This Is the Tree We Planted
By Kate McMullan
Illustrated by Alison Friend
32 Pages | Ages 4-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525579472 | Knopf BFYR
A class plants a tree in the playground, and together, they watch it grow. There is no shortage of action to observe in its branches: a robin protecting her eggs from a squirrel and her kits, a lizard stalking a spider, and a hawk swirling around overhead. Within this tree is an entire ecosystem, all created by the class who planted it. Beloved children’s book creator Kate McMullan has crafted a story that will encourage kids to cultivate a love of nature as they observe the world living inside their backyards.
For older readers:
Beetles for Breakfast: And Other Weird and Wonderful Ways to Save the Planet
By Madeleine Finlay
Illustrated by Jisu Choi
80 Pages | Ages 7-11 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781912497508 | Flying Eye Books
Following a day in the life of an average child, we see how some of these futuristic inventions could fit into everyday life: from brushing your teeth with biodegradable algae, to eating beetle burgers for lunch and coming home to do your homework with a pen containing ink made from exhaust fumes. With a mixture of abstract, infographic-style artwork and topical, funny and expertly-researched facts, children will love seeing familiar scenes with a futuristic twist, teaching them all about the cool, exciting and sometimes quite strange inventions that could be commonplace in the not-so-distant future.
Girls Who Green the World: Thirty-Four Rebel Women Out to Save Our Planet
By Diana Kapp
Illustrated by Ana Jarén
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593428054 | Delacorte Press
An inspired collection of profiles, featuring environmental changemakers, social entrepreneurs, visionaries and activists. Journalist Diana Kapp has crisscrossed this country writing for and about empowered girls, girls who expect to be leaders, founders and inventors. This book takes it a step further. It says to girls: while you’re striving to be CEOs and world leaders, consider solving the biggest challenge of our lifetime, too – because you can do both at the same time, and here are 34 women doing just that.
How to Change Everything
The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other
By Naomi Klein and Rebecca Stefoff
336 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735270084 | Puffin Canada
Temperatures are rising all over the world, leading to wildfires, droughts, animal extinctions, and ferocious storms – climate change is real. But how did we get to this state, and what can we do next? What if we could work to protect the planet, while also taking action to make life fairer and more equal for the people who live on it? We can – if we’re willing to change everything. In her first book written for young readers, internationally acclaimed, bestselling author and social activist Naomi Klein, with Rebecca Steffof, lays out the facts and challenges of climate change and the movement for climate justice. Using examples of change and protest from around the world, including profiles of young activists from a wide range of backgrounds, Klein shows that young people are not just part of the climate change movement, they are leading the way. How to Change Everything will provide readers with clear information about how our planet is changing, but also, more importantly, with inspiration, ideas, and tools for action. Because young people can help build a better future. Young people can help decide what happens next. Young people can help change everything.
By Jonathan Case
256 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780823451395 | Margaret Ferguson Books
10-year-old Elvie and her caretaker, Flora, a biologist, are the only two humans who can survive during daylight because Flora made an incredible discovery – a way to make an antidote to sun sickness using the scales from monarch butterfly wings. Unfortunately, it can only be made in small quantities and has a short shelf life. Free to travel during the day, Elvie and Flora follow monarchs as they migrate across the former Western United States, constantly making new medicine for themselves while trying to find a way to make a vaccine they can share with everyone. Will they discover a way to go from a treatment to a cure and preserve what remains of humanity, or will their efforts be thwarted by disaster and the very people they are trying to save?
Project Start Up: Eat Bugs #1
By Laura D’Asaro, Rose Wang, and Heather Alexander
Illustrated by Vanessa Flores
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593096178 | Penguin Workshop
Hallie and Jaye are two very different sixth graders who both attend Brookdale Middle School. When they get paired as partners for their business class pitch competition, it’s not exactly a perfect match. Jaye doesn’t want to be seen with the kid who was called “Bug Girl” after eating a fried cricket during a trip to the zoo! But they’re stuck with each other, and together try to come up with creative ways to sell bugs as food. As the competition heats up, can Hallie and Jaye make the judges say “Bug appétit!” or will they only hear crickets? Based on the true story of a sustainable protein start-up company, this relatable illustrated novel is a heartwarming reimagining for any middle-grade reader interested in STEM, entrepreneurship, or fitting in and finding friends.