What better way to teach little ones about sustainable living than reading?! Children’s books about sustainable living show young readers the decisions we make really matter for our future. They will teach them the importance of protecting and caring for our earth. The future of our children is created by what they learn today. It is so important to bring awareness to sustainable living, reducing waste, and learning practices such as recycling and composting. Why not teach them in a fun way like reading the best books about environmentalism?
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“Just a Dream” by Chris Van Allsburg is a great book that will really stick with a child. This is a story about a little boy who time travels to the future. In the future, he sees a world of cut down trees, pollution filling the Grand Canyon making the beauty impossible to see, and endless traffic everywhere he looks. This book will show the reality of how much of an impact we have on this earth. It will show them early on why it is so important to do our part and take care of this world by living sustainably.
“The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss is a classic children’s book many read in school. This book tells a story of what happens when our natural resources are taken for granted and used up mindlessly. In the story the beloved trees all get cut down which causes sorrow for the creatures. This story brings light to environmental issues and why we need to take action. This book puts a very fun cartoon spin on education about sustainability that every child will love. The bright colors and cute wild animals will keep their attention through every page.
“Old Enough to Save the Planet” by Loll Kirby is a fun story of how 12 young children from around the world are taking action to fight global warming. Each child has a different story and way of making a difference in their culture. This book proves that no matter your age, you can start making a difference today. Within the story, it provides actions your child can take at home and in school to start making a difference.
“Charlie and Lola: We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers” by Lauren Child is a fan favorite for children ages 3-8 years old. This book has a quirky storyline and fun illustrations to keep a child’s attention throughout the book. The characters Charlie and Lola create projects on topics of recycling and planting trees to help better the earth around them. This book is an inspiration for children to begin their own recycling projects. It also teaches them what recycling is and ideas to get started. This character duo is well known with many children and will become a fan favorite.
“Why Should I Save Water” by Jen Green is part of the authors “Why Should I” series all about sustainable practices. This series teaches children how, why, and where to get started with making a positive impact on our planet earth. This book in particular is perfect for children ages 4-7 years old that are curious and want to learn. With vivid colors and illustrations the story in this book answers the title’s question. It also provides ways for the child and family to start saving water in their home.
“We are Water Protectors” by Carole Lindstrom is a heartfelt story about a courageous young girl who takes an environmental stand. She stands strong to protect the earth’s water from a black snake threatening to destroy earth by poisoning all water. It is inspired by the indigenous movement across North America. This book is an urgent rally cry to save our earth’s waters but in a way that it encourages children to make a difference.
“My Friend Earth” by Patricia MacLachlan is a poet story with vivid illustrations that will make any child want to explore the pages. It is a story about how much good our earth does for us and why we should protect it. This story not only educates but also inspires your child to do kind things in gratitude.
“The Last Bear” by Hannah Gold is a heartwarming story illustrated in black and white. It tells a tale about an endangered species of bears and why it is so important to protect them. The character in the story, April, inspires adventure, kindness, and making your own path. It is a book that will warm your child’s heart and show them kindness to animals.
“Thank You Earth: A Love Letter to our Planet” by April Pulley Sayre is a book that brings light to what we have and why we need to protect it. This story not only gives children powerful lessons on how to live sustainably but also teaches them basic nature vocabulary. With stunning illustrations showing off all the world’s beauty, this book will catch a child’s eye.
“What Does It Mean to Be Green” by Rana DiOrio teaches children ages 4-8 all about sustainable living and what it really is. With colorful illustrations and simple to read text, a child is sure to enjoy every page of this story. Not only does this book tell a story, but it also gives ideas on how to live more sustainably like only turning on lights when you need to use them.
Want to introduce your young environmentalists to a young eco role model? “Great and the Giants” tells the inspiring story of the Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Greta Thunberg. In this story, Greta is a little girl who lives in a beautiful forest threatened by Giants. This book uses allegory to introduce the topics of climate change and social injustice in an age-appropriate way.
Children of all ages will enjoy the inspiring true story of Isatou Ceesay. Isatou Ceesay is an African woman who started a recycling movement in her community to combat pollution from plastic bags. The main character collected plastic bags and recycled them into something new to help clean up the environment and also to provide income for African women in her town who were struggling.
“Little People, Big Dreams” have a series of books about inspiring people in history. Be sure to check out this book about the conservationist and broadcaster, David Attenborough. David is one of the most notorious environmentalist in the world and for many years has taught the importance of the natural world. We love the beautiful illustrations and simple story line that introduces young people to sustainability.
Looking for children’s literature on the topic of composting? Look no further! Compost Stew is a great read to introduce the topic of compost and preventing food waste. This is a fun read because you can put what you’ve learned in to practice with your children afterwards by starting your own compost pile at home. You might want to check out our Composting 101 Guide as well to help you get started!
These books are created in a fun format to teach children all about sustainable living. This list of children’s books ranges from recycling education to reducing your carbon footprint to why it’s important to save bears. These sustainability books are full of vibrant illustrations that draw a child’s attention to the story until the very last page. Not only are the stories educational but they are also inspirational. Education is power especially when it comes to protecting our future earth. Head over to your local library or independent bookstore to check out these books for your young readers! Reading these stories is a great way to introduce environmental activism and care of the planet to young kids.
For the older readers and adults, be sure to check out our list of Best Books for Zero Waste and Sustainable Living!