Treat a young activist or eco-warrior to an inspiring new book about nature, the Earth or the climate crisis
Drip (Templar Books) by Maggie Li follows a raindrop on its journey through the water cycle, highlighting how nature is full of changes. For ages 2 to 5.
Seed (Templar Books) by Maggie Li tells the story of Pip, an apple seed who gets eaten by a bird, transforms into a sprout and finally grows into an apple tree. For ages 2 to 5.
As Finn and his dog, Skip, are cycling through the rainforests of Central America, they notice that many of the trees have disappeared, and they meet several hungry creatures. Forest (DK Children) by Brendan Kearney deals with a heavy subject in a kid-friendly way, using a light-hearted story and fun illustrations to deliver a serious message about the effects of deforestation on animals. For ages 3 to 5.
4. Maisy Goes on a Nature Walk
In Maisy Goes on a Nature Walk (Candlewick Press) by Lucy Cousins, Maisy and her friends encounter a whole array of wonderful plants and animals in the great outdoors, from lily pads and dragonflies to birds and deer. For ages 3 to 7.
5. A Good Place
Every time that Bee, Ladybug, Beetle and Dragonfly find what seems like the perfect place to live, they discover it’s not safe in some way. A Good Place (Candlewick Press) by Lucy Cousins demonstrates that natural ecosystems are healthy for everyone, even in an urban environment. For ages 3 to 7.
6. This Is the Tree We Planted
A class plants a tree and watches an entire ecosystem grow in it: a robin with eggs, a lizard stalking a spider, a hawk soaring overhead. This Is the Tree We Planted (Knopf Books for Young Readers) by Kate McMullan encourages children to explore the fascinating world of nature in their own backyards. For ages 4 to 7.
7. We Are Better Together
The author of The End of Nature—the first book to warn the public about climate change—has crafted a hopeful and inspiring picture book about how people working together can achieve amazing things. We Are Better Together (Henry Holt and Co.) focuses on the beauty of life on this fragile planet. For ages 4 to 8.
8. Firsts and Lasts
Firsts and Lasts: The Changing Seasons (Candlewick Press) by Leda Schubert celebrates seasonal transitions and rituals, emphasizing the magic in the first signs of spring, the last indications of winter and everything in between. For ages 4 to 8.
9. Once Upon a Forest
A marmot and her bird friend rake fallen branches, dig in the dirt and plant new seedlings, working to save a forest after the devastation of a fire. Once Upon a Forest (Random House Studio) by Pam Fong is a wordless tale about practising kindness and appreciating all of the living things on this planet. For ages 4 to 8.
10. Our Fort
On a warm spring day, three friends head to their secret fort near the woods. An unexpected storm reminds them how unpredictable and capricious nature can be. Our Fort (NYR Children’s Collection) by Marie Dorléans is ultimately a celebration of friendship, childhood freedoms and the power of nature. For ages 4 to 8.
11. Only One
A girl and her friends do one small thing to help the planet: They plant a tree. Only One (Anne Schwartz Books) by Deborah Hopkinson celebrates the unique beauty of everything in the universe, from the smallest bugs to the largest oceans to the entire Milky Way. For ages 4 to 8.
12. Curious Kids Nature Journal and Activity Book
Organized by ecosystem, Curious Kids Nature Journal and Activity Book: 100 Ways to Explore Pacific Northwest Beaches, Forests, and More (Sasquatch Books) by Fiona Cohen is filled with scientifically accurate illustrations along with prompts to get kids engaged with nature through writing, drawing and activities, such as counting birds and tracking insects. The book is a companion to the popular Curious Kids Nature Guide. For ages 5 to 9.
13. The Birders
An elderly man and a bored young boy are both trying to catch a glimpse of an elusive snowy owl. The Birders (Little Bigfoot) by Rob Albanese is a heartwarming graphic novel picture book about an unexpected intergenerational friendship. For ages 5 to 9.
14. The Tantrum That Saved the World
A polar bear whose ice cap is melting, a farmer whose land has gone dry and other climate refugees pour into Sophia’s house, and at first she doesn’t see what their tales of woe have to do with her. The Tantrum That Saved the World (North Atlantic Books) by Megan Herbert and Michael E. Mann is an environmental story about the power of community action to build a better world. For ages 5 to 9.
15. The Atlas of Migrating Plants and Animals
The Atlas of Migrating Plants and Animals (Princeton Architectural Press) by Matt Sewell and Megan Lee explores the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, wildebeests, humpback whales, dragonflies and other amazing creatures. This colourful atlas explains everything from changing seasons to the Earth’s magnetic field. For ages 5 to 10.
16. My Big Book of Outdoors
My Big Book of Outdoors (Candlewick Press) by Tim Hopgood explores the wonder of nature in all four seasons, from fresh fruit in summer to colourful leaves in autumn. It’s filled with fun facts, poetry and seasonal activities such as weaving a daisy chain, growing a sunflower and searching for animal prints in the snow. For ages 7 to 9.
17. It’s a Wonderful World
In It’s a Wonderful World: How to Protect the Planet and Change the Future (DK Children), Jess French inspires children to seek practical solutions to the climate crisis by living sustainably, finding their political voice and more. The conservationist, veterinarian and TV host also encourages readers to practise self-care and mindfulness. For ages 7 to 9.
18. Kids Fight Climate Change
The author of Kids Fight Plastic: How to Be a #2minutesuperhero has written a new book to inspire children to make small, carbon-saving changes in their lives. Eco-warrior Martin Dorey filled Kids Fight Climate Change: Act Now to Be a #2minutesuperhero (Candlewick Press) with 60 fun missions that weave in important stats and helpful resources about the climate crisis. For ages 7 to 10.
19. Be the Change
Activist and humanitarian Rob Greenfield is willing to go to extremes for what he believes in—such as spending 30 days wearing every piece of trash he created. (The average American generates 4.5 pounds of garbage each day.) His uplifting new book, Be the Change: Rob Greenfield’s Call to Kids—Making a Difference in a Messed-Up World (Greystone Books), written with Antonia Banyard, is filled with kid-friendly information on the climate crisis, solutions, zero-waste living and more. For ages 8 to 12.
20. The Outdoor Scientist
Budding geologists, astrophysicists and oceanographers will love learning about STEM topics, such as how birds navigate their migratory routes and the aerodynamics of skipping stones in The Outdoor Scientist: The Wonder of Observing the Natural World (Philomel Books). Written by renowned scientist, inventor and autism spokesperson Temple Grandin, the book includes suggestions for 40 fun outdoor activities that encourage kids to explore the world. For ages 8 to 12.
21. Inside In
Inside In: X-Rays of Nature’s Hidden World (Greystone Books) by Jan Paul Schutten is a visually stunning book that examines nature in an entirely new way: by using X-ray photographs to peer inside bees, seahorses, tree frogs and other creatures. Kids will be fascinated to see what lies underneath all the fur, scales and skin. For ages 8 to 12.
22. Your Planet Needs You!
Where does garbage come from? And where does it go? Your Planet Needs You! A Kids’ Guide to Reducing Waste and Recycling (Bloomsbury Children’s Books) by Philip Bunting is full of clear explanations, to inspire young activists to take care of the environment. For ages 9 and up.
23. Water, Water
After Rafe wakes up and sees that his bedroom is floating on the ocean, he and his dog must adapt to this bizarre, watery world. One day, a girl joins them. They speak different languages but face an uncertain future together. Metaphors abound in Water, Water (Tundra Books), Cary Fagan’s post-apocalyptic middle grade novel. For ages 10 and up.
Where are clothing factories located? How are the factory workers treated? What happens to clothing once we’re done wearing it? Middle-grade students will be shocked to discover the impact of fast fashion on both the environment and social justice in Fashionopolis (Young Readers Edition): The Secrets Behind the Clothes We Wear (Dial Books) by Dana Thomas, author of Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes. For ages 10 to 14.