Being a teacher-librarian and a mom with a great love of the environment, I am consistently searching for eco-books that will stretch children’s critical thinking and reflective skills. Environmental books for kids are great conversation starters for eco-issues and activism!
These are ten of my favourite reads to foster children’s innate love of nature and living things. Pick them up from your local book store, order them today (affiliate link), or make a trip to the library.
1. Hot Air, Sandrine Dumas Roy
Tell your child this book is about farting cows and you may just be able to hook your silly little one into some environmental activism. Based on a scientific journal article, Hot Air mimics real life politics as the animals organize a climate conference to discuss the delicate (and serious) issue of gas. You’ll find plenty of opportunity to stretch your family’s problem solving skills by discussing solutions to climate change. Ages 6-12
2. Hug Time, Patrick McDonnell
This board book starts by posing the question, ” Hug the whole world, will that make it better? “. Isn’t that a nice idea? Hug Time is a simple story of a kitten who wants to hug the world and goes on a journey to spread love. The kitten reaches out to animals, many of which are not typically known to children, and embraces them all. The story also ends by calling for a hug, so it’s a nice way to get an extra snuggle in! Ages 2-5
3. If You Find a Rock, Peggy Christian
Accompanied by stunning photographs, If You Find a Rock poetically highlights children’s adventures outdoors and natural curiosity and imagination by sharing all the ways in which they connect to a rock. The magic moment of the story is found near the end when the author describes the best rock, which is a memory rock. Finding a memory rock just may become a new family tradition. Ages 5-10
4. Big City Bees, Maggie de Vries
Set in the big city environment with community garden plots and hotel rooftop beehives, this story captures the important work bees do to pollinate our plants and make them grow. Big City Bees shows the reader that even in urban centres we can create green spaces that are welcoming to bees. Perhaps this tale is the first step to bee activism? Ages 6-9
5. Winston of Churchill, Jean Davies Okimoto
Winston is a polar bear who mobilizes his community to fight against the melting ice by telling the visiting tourists to Churchill, Manitoba that global warming must be stopped. But first, Winston learns a lesson in leading with one’s own actions. This book is great for the children who wonder if their actions make a difference. Ages 6-10
6. North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration, Nick Dowson
A beautifully illustrated non-fiction picture book, North captures why different species are drawn to the freedom of the Arctic by highlighting the annual trek animals undertake. There is just enough information in this text to satisfy a young reader or spark the curiosity of older animal-loving children. Ages 4-10
7. Our Earth: How Kids are Saving the Planet, Janet Wilson
Older children will be empowered by over 15 mini-biographies about young environmental activists who didn’t let their age stop them from taking action for the planet. Green parents may also be reenergized in their drive to raise eco-conscientious kids. Ages 7-11
8. Yucky Worms, Vivian French
Whether your child can’t stand worms or can’t keep their hands off of worms, this book will help them develop a healthy respect for the work that worms do. Questions like, “Which end is their face?” will get answered using cute, illustrated diagrams. Ages 4-8
9. 100 Facts Saving the Earth, Miles Kelly
The most loved books in my library are ones that are nonfiction and full of short snippets of information with great photos! Kids can’t stay away from them! This text is easy to read and provides enough information to peak the curiosity of all children. It may even stir up some environmental activism. Ages 7-9
10. Flight of the Honey Bee, Raymond Huber
A nonfiction story that follows the life of Scout, a honeybee in search of nectar and pollen.Your child will learn facts about bees including how they navigate and avoid predators. This text will teach your child about the importance of bees and may create a much-needed defender of the bee population. Ages 3-6
Do you have any environmental books for kids to recommend? Plus, 8 activities to help your child appreciate nature.