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

Compiled by Tessa Michaelson and Megan Schliesman
© 2013; 2008 Cooperative Childrens' 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

    Ehlert, Lois. In My World. Harcourt, 2002. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 8

    Erdrich, Louise. The Birchbark House. Hyperion, 1999. 235 pages. Ages 8 - 12

    Ernst, Lisa Campbell. Round Like a Ball!. Blue Apple, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Fleming, Denise. underGROUND. Beach Lane Books / Simon & Schuster, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

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

    Fogliano, Julie. and then it's spring. Illustrated by Erin E. Stead. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2012. 32 pages. Ages 3-7

    Henkes, Kevin. Birds. Illustrated by Laura Dronzek. Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 3 - 7

    Mora, Pat. Water Rolls, Water Rises = El agua rueda, el agua sube. Translated by Adriana Domínguez and Pat Mora. Illustrated by Meilo So. Children’s Book Press / Lee & Low, 2014. 32 pages. Ages 5-8

    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

    Ruddra, Anshumani. Dorje’s Stripes. Illustrated by Gwangjo and Jung-a Park. U.S. edition: Kane Miller, 2011. 32 pages. Ages 6-9

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

    Stein, David Ezra. Leaves. Putnam, 2007. 32 pages. Ages 2-5

    Suzuki, David and Sarah Ellis . Salmon Forest. Illustrated by Sheena Lott. Greystone Books / Douglas & McIntyre, 2003. 40 pages. Ages 5-9

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

    Voake, Steve. Insect Detective. Illustrated by Charlotte Voake. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2010. 28 pages. Ages 4 - 9


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

    Arnosky, Jim. Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-Watching, and Shore Walking with Jim Arnosky. HarperCollins, 2002. 96 pages. Ages 8 - 12

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

    Haas, Robert B.. I Dreamed of Flying Like a Bird: My Adventures Photographing Wild Animals from a Helicopter. National Geographic, 2010. 64 pages. Ages 9 and older

    Hooper, Meredith. The Drop in My Drink. Illustrated by Chris Coady. U.S. edition: Viking, 1998. 32 pages. Ages 6 - 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

    Rosen, Michael J. . The Cuckoo's Haiku and Other Birding Poems. Illustrated by Stan Fellows. Candlewick Press, 2009. 64 pages. Ages 8-14

    Schwartz, David M. and Yael Schy . Where In the Wild: Camouflaged Creatures Concealed ... and Revealed. Photographed by Dwight Khun. Tricycle Press, 2007. 22 pages. Ages 7-12

    Sidman, Joyce . Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems. Illustrated by Becky Prange. Houghton Mifflin, 2005. 32 pages. Ages 5-9

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

    Wright-Frierson, Virginia. An Island Scrapbook: Dawn to Dusk on a Barrier Island. Simon & Schuster, 1998. 32 pages. Ages 7 - 11


What Happened Here? Environmental Challenges and Change--Fiction

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

    Burningham, John . Hey! Get Off Our Train. Crown, U.S. Edition, 1990. 48 pages. Ages 3-7

    Gerstein, Mordicai. The Old Country. Roaring Brook Press, 2005. 130 pages. Ages 10-14

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

    Joseph, Lynn. The Color of My Words. Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins, 2000. 138 pages. Ages 10 - 14

    Peet, Mal. Keeper. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2005. 225 pages. Ages 12-16

    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

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

    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

    Bang, Molly. Common Ground: The Water, Earth and Air We Share. Blue Sky/Scholastic, 1997. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 8

    Blackford, Cheryl. Hungry Coyote. Illustrated by Laurie Caple. Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2015. 32 pages. Ages 5–8

    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

    Burns, Loree Griffin. Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion (Scientists in the Field). Houghton MIfflin, 2007. 56 pages. Ages 8-12

    David, Laurie and Cambria Gordon . The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming. Orchard / Scholastic, 2007. 112 pages. Ages 9-12

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

    Gore, Al. An Inconvenient Truth: the Crisis of Global Warming. Viking / Rodale, 2007. 191 pages. Ages 11-16

    Hoose, Phillip . The Race to Save the Lord God Bird. Melanie Kroupa Books / Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2004. 196 pages. Ages 12 and older

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

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

    Stewart, Melissa. A Place for Birds. Illustrated by Higgins Bond. Peachtree, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 6 - 9

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


Taking Action: Planet Pioneers--Fiction

    DeFelice, Cynthia. Lostman's River. Macmillan, 1994. 160 pages. Ages 10-13

    George, Jean Craighead. Frightful's Mountain. Dutton, 1999. 258 pages. Ages 9 - 13

    Hiaasen, Carl. Flush. Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. 263 pages. Ages 11-14

    Hiaasen, Carl. Hoot. Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. 292 pages. Ages 11 - 15

    McDonald, Megan. Judy Moody Saves the World. Illustrated by Peter Reynolds. Candlewick Press, 2002. 144 pages. Ages 6 - 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

    Bang, Molly. Nobody Particular: One Woman's Fight to Save the Bays. Henry Holt, 2001. 46 pages. Ages 9 - 14

    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

    Javna, John and Sophie Javna, Jesse Javna . 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. Hyperion, 2008. 128 pages. Age 13 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

    Nivola, Claire A.. Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai. Frances Foster Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 8-12

    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

    Schulman, Janet. Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City. Illustrated by Meilo So. Alfred A. Knopf, 2008. 32 pages. Ages 5-10

    Turner, Pamela S.. The Frog Scientist. Photographed by Andy Comins. Houghton Mifflin / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. 58 pages. Ages 10-15

    Turner, Pamela S.. A Life in the Wild: George Schaller’s Struggle to Save the Last Great Beasts. Melanie Kroupa Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. 103 pages. Age 10 and older

    Yaccarino, Dan. The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. 32 pages. Ages 5 - 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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