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Eco-Reading: Selected Books for Children and Teens about Our Earth and the Environment

©2023, 2008 Cooperative Children's Book Center

Compiled by Merri Lindgren, and Megan Schliesman and Tessa Michaelson

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.

In My World: Loving the Earth

Fiction

Archer, Micha. Wonder Walkers. Illustrated by Micha Archer. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2021. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

Argueta, Jorge Tetl. Agua, Aguita / Water, Little Water. Illustrated by Felipe Ugalde Alcantara. Translated by Gabriela Baeza Ventura. Arte Publico/Pinata, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

Bogan, Carmen. Where's Rodney?. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Yosemite Conservancy, 2017. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Davies, Nicola. Hummingbird. Illustrated by Jane Ray. Candlewick, 2019. 29 pages. Ages 4-8

Flett, Julie. Wild Berries. Translated by Earl N Cook. Simply Read Books, 2013. 32 pages. Ages 3-6

Goade, Michaela. Berry Song. Illustrated by Michaela Goade. Little, Brown, 2022. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

Kyi, Tanya Lloyd. Our Green City. Illustrated by Colleen Larmour. Kids Can, 2022. 32 pages. Ages 2-5

Lebeuf, Darren. My Forest is Green. Illustrated by Ashley Barron. Kids Can, 2019. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Percival, Kari. How to Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside. Illustrated by Kari Percival. Penguin Random House/Rise x Penguin Workshop, 2022. 32 pages. Ages 1-4

Turk, Evan. You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks. Illustrated by Evan Turk. Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, 2019. 40 pages. Ages 4-9

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

Non-Fiction

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

Coy, John. My Mighty Journey: A Waterfall's Story. Illustrated by Gaylord Schanilec. Minnesota Historical Society, 2019. 40 pages. Ages 5-11

Judge, Lita. The Wisdom of Trees: How Trees Work Together to Form a Natural Kingdom. Illustrated by Lita Judge. Roaring Brook, 2021. 47 pages. Ages 7-10

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

Paul, Miranda. Water Is Water: A Book about the Water Cycle. Illustrated by Jason Chin. Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook, 2015. Ages 4-8

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

Tuttle, Sarah Grace. Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife. Illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford. Eerdmans, 2018. 44 pages. Ages 3-8

What Happened Here? Environmental Challenges and Change

Fiction

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

Chin, Jason. Grand Canyon. Illustrated by Jason Chin. Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook, 2017. 42 pages. Ages 6-10

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

Little Badger, Darcie. A Snake Falls to Earth. Arthur A. Levine Books/Levine Querido, 2021. 372 pages. Age 12 and older

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

Shusterman, Neal and Jarrod Shusterman. Dry. Simon & Schuster, 2018. 390 pages. Age 13 and older

Young, Brian. Healer of the Water Monster. HarperCollins/Heartdrum, 2021. 362 pages. Ages 8-12

Non-Fiction

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

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

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

Fleischman, Paul. Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines. Candlewick, 2014. 203 pages. Age 13 and older

Hirsch, Rebecca E.. Where Have All the Birds Gone? Nature in Crisis. Lerner/Twenty-First Century, 2022. 119 pages. Age 11 and older

Newman, Patricia. A River's Gifts: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn. Illustrated by Natasha Donovan. Lerner/Millbrook, 2022. 50 pages. Ages 8-12

Nye, Naomi Shihab. Cast Away: Poems for Our Time. Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2020. 159 pages. Age 9 and older

Thomas, Isabel. Moth: An Evolution Story. Illustrated by Daniel Egneus. Bloomsbury, 2019. 48 pages. Ages 6-9

Walker, Sally M.. Champion: The Comeback Tale of the American Chestnut Tree. Henry Holt, 2018. 136 pages. Age 11 and older

Yezerski, Thomas F.. Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story. Illustrated by Thomas F. Yezerski. 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

Hillery, Tony. Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood. Illustrated by Jessie Hartland. Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, 2020. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

Joyner, Andrew. Stand Up! Speak Up! A Story Inspired by the Climate Change Revolution. Illustrated by Andrew Joyner. Random House/Schwartz & Wade, 2020. 32 pages. Ages 5-10

Lindstrom, Carole. We Are Water Protectors. Illustrated by Michaela Goade. Roaring Brook, 2020. 40 pages. Ages 6-10

Murray, Alison. The Little Green Hen. Illustrated by Alison Murray. Candlewick, 2019. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

Sylvester, Natalia. Running. Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. 328 pages. Age 12 and older

Tenasco, Sunshine. Nibi's Water Song. Illustrated by Chief Lady Bird. Lee & Low, 2021. 32 pages. Ages 4-8

Tsurumi, Andrea. Crab Cake. Illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. Ages 3-7

Non-Fiction

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

Castaldo, Nancy F.. Back from the Brink: Saving Animals from Extinction. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018. 168 pages. Ages 10-14

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

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

McDonnell, Patrick. Me … Jane. Illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. 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, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 7-10

Rhuday-Perkovich, Olugbemisola. Saving Earth: Climate Change and the Fight for Our Future. Illustrated by Tim Foley. Farrar Straus Giroux/Macmillan, 2022. 200 pages. Age 12 and older

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

Rosenstock, Barb. The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art. Illustrated by Claire A. Nivola. Candlewick, 2018. 32 pages. Ages 6-10

Schmalzer, Sigrid. Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Chinese Scientist Pu Zhelong's Work for Sustainable Farming. Illustrated by Melanie Linden Chan. Tilbury House, 2018. 40 pages. Ages 6-10

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Our Recommended Book Search includes subject access to CCBC-recommended titles based on subject headings created by our staff.