top of page

Raising Eco-Warriors: Children’s Books for Inspiring Environmental Activism

Earth Day may only happen once a year, but helping children engage with topics of environmental activism, climate justice, and the natural world can take place all year long. 

We encourage you to share books with young people that inspire them to pursue lives of service - to value the interconnectedness of all living things, and to care for and act as stewards of planet Earth. 

We have curated a list of some of our favorite books that celebrate the beauty, complexity and importance of caring for the place we call home. Each and every one of these books can be used to facilitate conversations about the natural world, environmental activism, and climate justice, and are appropriate for a wide range of ages.

We have selected some of our favorite board books, picture books, middle grade and young adult books to share in greater detail below. 

You can read more about our favorite children’s books for inspiring environmental activism and make purchases on our Bookshop page.

Board Books 

Change Starts with Us by Sophie Beer (Author, Illustrator), Caterpillar Books (Publisher)

Change Starts with Us is one of four adorable books in the series, It’s Cool to be Kind. This sweet introduction about little things we can do to help our world is sure to captivate curious young minds. 

This Little Environmentalist: A Love the Earth Primer by Joan Holub (Author), Daniel Roode (Illustrator), Little Simon (Publisher)

Now even our youngest readers can learn about ten of the important people who love and care for our Earth, such as, Greta Thunberg, Rachel Carson and Aldo Leopold. 

Slow Fashion by Megan Anderson (Author), Carolyn Ang and Genna Campton (Illustrators), Bright Light (Publisher) 

Slow Fashion is part of the Let’s Change the World board book series. This uplifting series celebrates how we can make little changes everyday that address some very real problems we are faced with. This book celebrates thrifting, hand-me-down clothing, mending and making and taking a pause before accumulating “too much.” 

My First Book of Growing Food by duopress labs (Author), Asa Gilland (Illustrator), duopress (Publisher) 

This is another fabulous book in a series that helps babies and toddlers connect to the natural world. Little ones will enjoy learning about how some plants and vegetables grow. All of the books are also recyclable and printed with the highest quality, safe materials. 

Baby Loves Green Energy! by Ruth Spiro (Author), Irene Chan (Illustrator), Charlesbridge (Publisher)

Science lovers - this ones for you! Baby Loves Green Energy is a great introduction to topics like climate change and how to help our planet, and still simple enough (and accurate!) for babies and toddlers to understand. 

Picture Books 

How to Bird by Rasha Hamid (Author), Free Spirit Publishing (Publisher)

This is the quintessential book about birding. It features photographs of real kids birding in New York City, and is proof that you can be a birder anywhere you may live! New research shows that seeing and hearing birds makes us happier, and helps us to get outside, and be more present in nature. The benefits of birding are huge for kids and their grown ups, alike. Don’t miss this one!

Who Am I? by Julie Buchholtz (Author), Aliya Ghare (Illustrator), Sleeping Bear Press (Publisher) 

This gorgeous book is written from an Indigenous perspective and is a conversation between mother and child. It focuses on the interconnectedness of all living things, and reminds us all how important it is to care for Mother Earth. 

Solar Bear by Beth Ferry (Author), Brenden Wenzel (Illustrator), HarperCollins (Publisher)

Solar Bear is a call to action. It encourages children to consider a world without endangered species, like pangolins, rhinos, sea turtles, and more, and consider how we can make thoughtful and compassionate decisions to protect them. 

Thank a Farmer by Maria Gianferrari (Author), Monica Mikai (Illustrator), Norton Young Readers (Publisher) 

This gorgeous story reminds us of the importance of agriculture in our day to day lives. Thank a Farmer traces our food and clothing back to the people and places who harvested and made them for us. 

Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior by Carole Lindstrome (Author), Bridget George (Illustrator), Roaring Brook Press (Publisher) 

Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior tells the story of real-life Indigenous water protectors, Autumn Peltier and her grandmother, Josephine Mandamim. This companion story to the well-known and beloved story, We Are Water Protectors, shows how Indigenous women have long been stewards of the world’s most precious resources. 

Middle Grade 

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers by Celia C. Perez (Author), Kokila (Publisher) 

Strange Birds is about four very different young girls, who unite to put an end to an endangered-species-unfriendly tradition carried out by a local scouts group. It's both entertaining and instructional - and we know any rebellious youngster will love these characters! 

Thirst by Varsha Bajaj (Author), Nancy Paulsen Books (Publisher)

Thirst follows Minni, a young girl living in Mumbai, where water is limited. Minni learns that some people have more access to water, and she’s faced with the incredible challenge of deciding how far to push when it comes to advocating for water for all and potentially putting herself in danger. 

Saving Sunshine by Saadia Faruqi (Author), Shazleen Khan (Illustrator), First Second (Publisher) 

So many kids will relate to this graphic novel’s main premise - bickering with a sibling and being forced to spend a ton of time together, in this case, while on vacation in Florida. When the two discover an ailing turtle, this brother/sister pair have to put their differences aside to work together. 

All the Feelings Under the Sun: How to Deal with Climate Change by Leslie Davenport (Author), Jessica Smith (Illustrator), Magination Press (Publisher) 

All the Feelings Under the Sun is an important book that helps kids understand the complexities of nature and the environment, how it’s being threatened and ways to cope and make eco-wise decisions in their lives. It also showcases many of the young people around the world who are making a difference. 

Breaking the Mold: Changing the Face of Climate Science by Dana Alison Levy (Author), Holiday House (Publisher) 

Breaking the Mold is part of the MG series called, Books for a Better Earth, that are designed to inspire kids to be active participants in caring for the Earth. This installment highlights sixteen people and organizations that are working to protect our planet and make science more equitable. 

Young Adult 

Don’t Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan (Author), Bloomsbury (Publisher)

This novel in prose is a love story as much as its a tale of climate activism. A young teen's world is turned upside down by a hurricane, so she pledges to do everything in her power to fight climate change and preserve the place she loves and calls home. When she finds love with someone who sees the world very differently than her, though, she’s faced with new challenges about what it means to stand up for what she believes in.  

How to Change Everything by Rebecca Stefoff (Author), Naomi Klein (Author), Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Publisher) 

This guide helps teens understand and battle climate change. It is full of information about inspiring young people who are leading the way when it comes to the climate change movement. How to Change Everything also includes practical tips on what we can do about it. 

Taking on the Plastics Crisis by Hannah Testa (Author), Ashley Lukashevesky (Illustrator), Penguin Workshop (Publisher)

The Pocket Change Collective is a series of small books full of big ideas - all written by leading activists and artists. In this book, Hannah Testa shares her own inspiring story of how she’s working to limit the use of single-use plastics and help businesses add more sustainable practices to ultimately save the ocean. We recommend this entire series for teens! 

Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Author), Monique Gray Smith (Author), Nicole Neidhart (Illustrator), Zest Books (Publisher) 

This young adult adaptation by Monique Gray Smith demonstrates how all plants and living things provide us with gifts and lessons. Drawing on Kimmerer’s experiences as an Indigenous botanist, this book is full of scientific knowledge, Indigenous wisdom and lessons about plant life for the next generation. 

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Katherine K. Wilkinson, and One World (Publisher)

All We Can Save features dozens of essays by diverse women who are doing incredible work in the climate crisis movement, and provides practical advice on how we can rapidly reshape our society to provide a better future for all.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page