Environmental Books for Youth

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling
Author: Alison Inches

Ages: 4-6
Summary: Learn about recycling from a new perspective!  Peek into this diary of a plastic bottle as it goes on a journey from the refinery plant, to the manufacturing line, to the store shelf, to a garbage can, and finally to a recycling plant where it emerges into it's new life...as a fleece jacket!

The Adventures of an Aluminum Can: A Story About Recycling
Author: Alison Inches
Summary: Peek into this diary of an aluminum can as it goes on a journey from inside a bauxite rock, to the manufacturing line, to the store shelf, to a display on a bookshelf, to a garbage can, and finally to a recycling plant where it emerges into its new life…as a baseball bat!

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Author: William Kamkwamba
Ages: 6 and up
Summary: The engineering and technology in the book’s story makes it a great STEM resource and an inspirational human story.

Citizen Scientists
Author: Loree Griffin Burns
Ages: 8 and up
Summary: Great stories about young investigators and place-based science; inspirational.

D is For Desert
Author: Barbara Gowan
Ages: 7 and up
Summary: Dual-level book, with rhyming couplets to read aloud. Many possibilities to link to social studies.

Dirt: The Scoop on Soil (Amazing Science)
Author: Natalie M. Rosinsky
Ages: 5-10
Summary: Discusses the nature, uses, and importance of soil and the many forms of life that it supports.

The Dumpster Diver
Author: Janet S. Wong with illustrations by David Roberts
Ages: 4-8
Summary: A neighbor teaches children the ability to see the potential in garbage items.

Earth Day - Hooray!
Author: Stuart J. Murphy
Ages: 6-10
Summary: Earth Day is on the way, and Ryan, Luke, and Carly have a plan. If they manage to collect and recycle 5,000 aluminum cans, they can make enough money to buy some beautiful flowers for nearby Gilroy Park.

The Earth and I
Author: Frank Asch
Ages: 4-8
Summary: A boy discusses the way he and the Earth benefit from one another.

The EARTH Book
Author: Todd Parr
Grades:  Kindergarten – 4th grade
Summary: The narrator states, "I take care of the Earth because I know I can do little things every day to make a BIG difference." Parr then offers a practical catalog of simple activities easily managed by even quite young children, followed by clear explanations of how those simple things can have a large impact on the health of our planet.

The Everything Kids Environment Book
Author: Sheri Amsel
Ages: 9-12
Summary: Teaches children various ways to take good care of planet Earth.

Fancy Nancy: Everyday is Earth Day
Author: Jane O’Conner
Ages: 4-8
Summary: Being green is important to Nancy—so important that she wants her family to take care of the Earth morning, noon, and night!

The Gardener
Author: Sarah Stewart with illustrations by David Small
Ages: 4-8
Summary: A girl writes home to a farm to explain how she brightened her uncle’s bakery with dirt and seeds.

Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play and Enjoy Your Garden (Hands-On Family)
Author: Renata Fossen Brown
Ages: 5-12
Summary: A refreshing source of ideas to help your children learn to grow their own patch of earth, Gardening Lab for Kids encourages children to get outside and enjoy nature. This fun and creative book features 52 plant-related activities set into weekly lessons, beginning with learning to read maps to find your heat zone, moving through seeds, soil, composting, and then creating garden art and appreciating your natural surroundings.

Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect Our Planet
Author: Harriet Rohmer
Ages: 9-14
This inspiring book presents the true stories of 12 people from across North America who have done great things for the environment. Heroes include a teenage girl who figured out how to remove an industrial pollutant from the Ohio River, a Mexican superstar wrestler who works to protect turtles and whales, and a teenage boy from Rhode Island who helped his community and his state develop effective e-waste recycling programs.

Author: Carl Hiaasen
Ages: 10 and up
A young man (Lerman) moves from Montana to Florida with his family, where he's compelled to engage in a fight to protect a population of endangered owls.

How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate
Authors: Lynne Cherry and Gary Braasch
Ages: 9-12
Summary: Gives children an inside look into the causes and consequences of global warming.

I Can Save the Earth!: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Author: Alison Inches
Ages: 4-6
Summary: Meet Max the Little Monster. He is a cute, furry green monster who is an environmental nightmare. Among other things, he leaves on all the lights, keeps his computer plugged in, blasts the TV, hoards his old toys and uses so much toilet paper it clogs the toilet until finally, his excessive ways cause a power outage. With no TV to watch, computer to play on, video games to play with, Max finds there is a whole big world outside that he can make a difference in the environment.

Just Grace Goes Green
Author: Charise Mericle Harper
Ages: 6-9
This fourth lively chapter book in the Just Grace series follows Grace and her third-grade class through a curricular unit on “going green.” Practical environmental tips are well integrated into the realistic, everyday drama at home and at school.

Kid's First Gardening
Author: Jenny Hendy
Ages: 5-12
Summary: Fantastic gardening ideas, from growing fruit and vegetables and fun with flowers, to wildlife gardening and craft projects.

Leopard and Silkie
Author: Brenda Petterson
Ages: 4 and up
Summary: Sweet and simple version of an important story; relates being a citizen scientist to real ecological issues.

Life in the Ocean
Author: Claire A. Nivola
Ages: 4 and up
Summary: Sylvia Earle sets an example for great ocean science; the book also contains many examples such as journaling.

Little Green Books
Author:  Varies by Book
Ages: Varies by Book
Summary: A series of books which teach children to be eco-friendly.

Michael Recycle
Author: Ellie Bethel
Ages: 6 and up
Summary: Just in time for Earth Day on April 22, Michael Recycle tells the adventures of a young superhero whose power allows him to teach people about recycling. After cleaning up a town, the people declare: "To Michael Recycle! The green-caped crusader, our super-green hero, the planet's new savior!"

Mother Earth and Her Children: A Quilted Fairy Tale
Author: Sibylle Von Olfers
Grades: Pre-School – 2nd
Summary: This vibrant new translation, in turn inspired by the quilt, explores the changing of the seasons and delicately touches upon the circle of life.

Nature's Patchwork Quilt
Author: Mary Mich’e
Ages: 5 and up
Summary: The illustrations make this book on habitats stand out; great text for integrating language arts because of treatment of key words.

The Old Tree: An Environmental Fable
Author: Ruth Brown
Grades : Pre-School - 2nd
Summary: Cross-species cooperation helps to save a leafy home in an endearing, pastoral tale that features a final pop-up surprise.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat
Author: Michael Pollan
Ages: 10 and up
This expertly edited young readers’ edition of Pollan’s 2006 best-selling adult title accessibly expands on the original’s look at American food sources and features all-new visuals, including diagrams, sidebars, and personal photos.

One Well: The Story of Water on Earth (Citizenkid)
Author: Rochelle Strauss
Ages: 8-12
Summary: How we treat the water in the well will affect every species on the planet, now and for years to come. One Well shows how every one of us has the power to conserve and protect our global well. One Well is part of CitizenKid: A collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.

The Plant Hunters
Author: Anita Silvey
Ages: 5 and up
Summary: This collection of botanist biographies expands the range of career resources.

Polar Bear, Why Is Your World Melting?
Author: Robert E. Wells
Grades: 1-4
Summary: In the Arctic, the summer ice is melting, making it hard for polar bears to survive. Why is the world getting warmer? The heat of the sun is trapped by the "greenhouse" gases that surround Earth—carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor.

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed The World
Author: Laurie Lawor
Ages: 5 and up
Summary: What an inspiration for young girls who might become scientists. Beyond outstanding, 50 years after Rachel Carson’s landmark book. Illustrations, text, epilogue, and source notes add to the quality.

Recycling Things to Make and Do
Author: Emily Bone
Ages: 4-8
Summary: This is a collection of twenty earth and pocket-friendly projects including cardboard tube people, plastic bag beads and paper gift-bags, made from recycled materials found at home. It contains tips on safely recycling materials including how to strip a plastic wire, paint over patterned cardboard and cut a cardboard tube.

Author: Jason Chin
Ages: 4-8
Straightforward nonfiction text combines with fantastical illustrations that highlight the awe-inspiring facts as well as the importance of preserving redwood forests.

Rickie the Raccoon Learns About Recycling
Author: Giovanna Lagana with illustrations by Angela Carter
Ages: 4-8
Summary: A cat teaches Rickie the importance of recycling.

Seed to Plant
Author: Kristin Baird Rattini
Ages: 4-6
Summary: Kids see plants, flowers, and trees around them every day. In this lively and educational reader, they'll learn how those plants grow. Kids will take this magical journey from seed pollination to plant growth, learning about what plants need to thrive and grow with the same careful text, brilliant photographs, and the fun approach National Geographic Readers are known for.

Seymour Simon's Extreme Earth Records
Author: Seymour Simon
Ages: 6 and up
Summary: This book looks at very interesting environments; accurate and beautiful illustrations for both Earth and environmental curricula.

The Three R's: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
Author: Nuria Roca
Ages: 3-6
Summary: Attractive color illustrations and easy-to-follow text combine to present factual information that younger boys and girls will readily absorb and understand. The Three R's: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle is one in a series of four entertaining What Do You Know About? books, for very young children. It describes the ways in which kids and their families can avoid waste and be environmentally conscious

The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever
Author: H. Joseph Hopkins
Ages: 5-10
Summary: Part fascinating biography, part inspirational story about the true story of green-thumbed pioneer and activist Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens. This moving picture book is about following your dreams, using your talents, and staying strong in the face of adversity is sure to resonate with readers young and old.

Tell Me, Tree: All About Trees for Kids
Author: Gail Gibbons
Ages: 4-8
Summary: Featuring a special section on how children can make a tree identification book of their own, this title is a bright and colorful introduction to trees, leaves, and their inner workings in nature. Full color.

A Warmer World
Author: Caroline Arnold
Ages: 8 and up
Summary: Beautiful book with two levels: story line and facts about an important current issue and its effect on animals.

We are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change
Author: Sally Walker and Tim Flannery
Ages: 14 and up
Summary: This youth edition of Flannery’s adult title, The Weather Makers (2005), presents in plainspoken language the realities of climate change and the devastating consequences if humans don’t alter their behavior to protect the earth’s atmosphere.

What if There Were No Bees?: A Book about the Grassland Ecosystem
Author:  Suzanne Buckingham Slade
Ages: 4-8
Summary: Grassland ecosystems can be found on nearly every continent. Countless animals and plants live in them. So what difference could the loss of one animal species make? Follow the chain reaction, and discover how important honey bees are.

Where Does the Garbage Go?

Author: Paul Showers
Ages: 4-8
Summary: Follow that garbage truck! ...to the landfill to see how trash keeps piling up...to the incinerator to see how trash can be turned into energy ... to the recycling center to see how a soda bottle can be turned into a flowerpot. Filled with graphs, charts, and diagrams, Where Does the Garbage Go? explains how we deal with the problem of too much trash and provides ideas for easy ways to be a part of the solution.

Who Will Plant a Tree?
Author: Jerry Pallotta
Ages: 3-8
Summary: A squirrel buries an acorn. A dolphin pushes a coconut into an ocean current. A camel chewing a date spits out the seed. What do they all have in common? Each one, in its own way, has helped to plant a tree. In myriad ways and diverse environments, Mother Nature is given a hand in dispersing seeds that eventually grow into trees.

Why Should I Recycle?
Author: Jen Green
Ages: 4-8
Summary: A teacher takes children to a recycling plant to teach them the importance of recycling.

Why Should I Save Energy?
Author: Jen Green
Ages: 4-8
Summary: Children take electricity and other energy sources for granted, until one day their community has a power blackout. They come to realize that in lighting homes and keeping houses warm, we are using up natural resources that can't be easily replaced. If we fail to save energy, a time may come when our homes will always be cold and dark.

Why Should I Save Water?
Author: Jen Green
Ages: 4-7
Summary: Children learn that clean water is one of our most precious natural resources. In this book, boys and girls are told about dozens of ways in which they and their families can avoid wasting water.