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Selected Books for Children and Teens
about Our Earth and the Environment

Compiled by Tessa Michaelson and Megan Schliesman
© 2020; 2013; 2008 Cooperative Children's Book Center; updated annually

This bibliography highlights books for children and teens that enhance appreciation for nature and the earth, increase understanding of environmental challenges, and inspire action for change.

Most of the books have been chosen from various editions of CCBC Choices, the annual best-of-the-year list of the Cooperative Children's Book Center. The books have been divided into three categories:

In My World: Loving the Earth: Books that foster deeper appreciation for the natural world, including several that imagine a brighter environmental landscape for the future.

What Happened Here? Environmental Challenges and Change: Books that highlight past or current threats to the environment, including several science fiction and fantasy titles in which the future has paid a heavy price for transgressions of the past.

Taking Action: Planet Pioneers: Books that showcase activists and others who have worked for specific or sweeping environmental change.

Each of the three categories is divided into fiction (fictional stories--both picture books and novels) and non-fiction (books of information and poetry).

Click on underlined book titles to see the CCBC review of the book, and/or the cover image.
Complete list of CCBC bibliographies

In My World: Loving the Earth--Fiction

    Argueta, Jorge Tetl. Agua, agüita = Water, Little Water. Translated by Gabriela Baeza Ventura from the Spanish. Illustrated by Felipe Ugalde Alcántara. Piñata Books / Arte Público Press, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

    Flett, Julie. Wild Berries. Translated by Earl N. Cook (Cree words). Simple Read, 2013. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

    Sidman, Joyce. Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature. Illustrated by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin, 2011. 32 pages. Ages 3-9

    Valério, Geraldo. My Book of Birds. Groundwood / House of Anansi Press, 2016. 60 pages. Age 6 and older

    Yuly, Toni. Thank You, Bees. Candlewick Press, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 2-5

In My World: Loving the Earth--Non-Fiction

    Cate, Annette LeBlanc. Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard. Candlewick Press, 2013. 51 pages. Ages 7-10

    Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table. Illustrated by Eric-Shabazz Larkin. Afterword by Will Allen. Readers to Eaters, 2013. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 14

    Nivola, Claire A.. Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 6–9

    Paul, Miranda. Water Is Water: A Book about the Water Cycle. Illustrated by Jason Chin. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2015. 40 pages. Ages 4-9

    Sidman, Joyce. Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors. Illustrated by Beckie Prange. Houghton Mifflin / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 9-13

What Happened Here? Environmental Challenges and Change--Fiction

    Bacigalupi, Paolo. Ship Breaker. Little, Brown and Company, 2010. 326 pages. Ages 13 and older

    Chin, Jason. Grand Canyon. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2017. 42 pages. Ages 6-10

    Hartnett, Sonya. Stripes of the Sidestep Wolf. Candlewick, 2005. 208 pages. Ages 14 and older

    Pennypacker, Sara. Pax. Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, 2016. 288 pages. Ages 8-11

    Rhodes, Jewell Parker. Bayou Magic. Little, Brown, 2015. 239 pages. Ages 8–11

    Sayre, April Pulley. Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out!. Illustrated by Annie Patterson. Charlesbridge, 2010. 32 pages. Ages 4-9

What Happened Here? Environmental Challenges and Change--Non-Fiction

    Brown, Don. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 96 pages. Age 11 and older

    Burns, Loree Griffin. The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe (Scientists in the Field) . Photographed by Ellen Harasimowicz. Houghton Mifflin / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. 66 pages. Ages 10 - 15

    Fleischman, Paul. Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines. Candlewick Press, 2014. 208 pages. Age 13 and older

    Jenkins, Martin. Can We Save the Tiger?. Illustrated by Vicky White. Candlewick Press, 2011. 50 pages. Age 8 and older

    Robert, Burleigh. Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue. Illustrated by Wendell Minor. Charlesbridge, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 5–9

    Roth, Susan L. and Cindy Trumbore . Parrots Over Puerto Rico. Illustrated by Susan L. Roth. Lee & Low, 2013. 40 pages. Ages 7-11

    Yezerski, Thomas F.. Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011. 32 pages. Ages 7-10

Taking Action: Planet Pioneers--Fiction

    Forrester, Anna. Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story. Illustrated by Susan Detwiler. Arbordale, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 4-9

    Sutton, Sally. Demolition. Illustrated by Brian Lovelock. Candlewick Press, 2012. 24 pages. Ages 2–5

    Wong, Janet S.. The Dumpster Diver. Illustrated by David Roberts. Candlewick Press, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

Taking Action: Planet Pioneers--Non-Fiction

    Burns, Loree Griffin. Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard. Photographed by Ellen Harasimowicz. Henry Holt, 2012. 80 pages. Ages 6–10

    Davies, Nicola. Gaia Warriors. Candlewick Press, 2011. 192 pages. Age 11 and older

    Lewin, Ted and Betsy Lewin . Puffling Patrol. Lee & Low, 2012. 48 pages. Ages 4–9

    McDonnell, Patrick. Me … Jane. Little, Brown, 2011. 40 pages. Ages 5-8

    Paul, Miranda. One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia. Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. Millbrook Press, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 7–10

    Robertson, Joanne. The Water Walker. Second Story Press, 2017. 36 pages. Ages 6-10

This list may be reproduced and distributed by educational and/or nonprofit organizations so long as credit is given to the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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