9 Books That Teach Kids To Care About The Environment

Natalie Rayworth
Jun 06, 2024 By Natalie Rayworth
Originally Published on Apr 20, 2020
girl reading

Children want to learn, and books can teach so many valuable lessons to our kids from tolerance to friendship that they carry with them throughout their lives.

But, with the rapid decline of our environment, and the increase in global warming, it is vitally important that we teach our children about the climate, recycling and how to be more green in general.

This list of books that will teach kids to care and be more compassionate about the environment all encourage change in simple and moving ways that will influence your children for years to come.

Books for Under 5s

Hey! Get Off Our Train by John Burningham

Whilst in the throes of his dreams, a little boy is driving his very own train. At each stop, a slew of animals try to board his train, desperate to join his journey.

He's reluctant to let them. But, every animal has their own reasons as to why they need to get on his train, and eventually he lets them.

This is a whimsical picture book that will tug at your heartstrings as an adult. This story will teach your children about the importance of looking after our animals, and the reasons why they're endangered in a way that is accessible and touching.

The Digger and the Flower by Joseph Kuefler

Every day the diggers go to work, they make bridges and roads and buildings, they sort and sift and dig through the environment leaving nothing in their wake.

But, one day, Digger notices a single blue flower within all of the construction, and it's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen. He cares for the flower, protecting it, singing to it but all of his work is in vain when the flower gets cut down anyway.

But Digger's kindness continues, and he salvages the seeds planting them on a hill far away from the destruction happening in the city.

This is a lovely story showing how just one small act of kindness to the environment can completely change things for the better, and highlights that when you walk through life without a care for the planet, you can end up destroying so much beauty with one simple thoughtless action.

Kate, Who Tamed the Wind by Liz Garton Scanlon

At the top of a steep hill, a wild wind blows, destroying the home of the old man who lives there. Kate, a smart little girl who lives at the bottom of the hill, hears his cries of despair and comes up with a plan to help him.

She fills her wheelbarrow to the brim with saplings and starts her journey up the hill to protect the man's house from the winds that howl, and bring a little green to his life along the way.

Kate, Who Tamed the Wind is a great book about a little girl who knows the value of trees and the benefits that they have on the environment. A lyrical read that will teach your children how important it is to care, and the impact that trees have in our everyday lives.

Books for Primary School Children

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

Animals no longer exist. And sometimes, 12-year-old Kester feels like he barely exists either.

So when a flock of talking pigeons and one cockroach with military training turn up and tell him they need his help, he thinks he's finally lost his head. But, nope. The last creatures on the planet need his help, and he's the only one who can save them.

The Last Wild is a book about a boy who has no voice, no family and no hope left. But he's given the huge task of saving all animals from extinction, and it's through this task that he finally feels he has somewhere to belong.

It is a whimsical story about learning how to care for our planet, and the environmental impact that humans have on both animals and nature.

And at the same time, it is so much more. Your children will adore this story, and they might end up asking you to adopt a wolf cub.

The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann

When the bulldozers turn up ready to destroy their home, a group of forest animals band together and make a pact to help one another get to safety. But after almost getting caught in a fire, and having to cross a dangerous river - will their promise hold?

The Animals of Farthing Wood is a beloved story about teamwork, survival and friendship. It is both heart-wrenching and heartwarming and will definitely teach your children the importance of caring for the environment, and how vital it is to make conscious decisions to keep our forests, animals, and earth safe.

This is one of the best books your kids can read, and you'll be sure to find that it sticks with them for a very long time.

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people's water, a young water protector takes a stand to protect Earth's most sacred resource.

Through thrilling and captivating illustrations, We Are Water Protectors, acts as a rallying cry to keep the Earth's water safe from corruption and pollution. This picture book is about the resilience child who is urgently trying to save the most important resource in our world.

It is a fierce and mystical book and one that people of any age will love reading.

The environmental impact of oil is increasingly detrimental, and this book teaches that in a way that children will understand. Your kids won't come out of this book unaffected.

Books for Teenagers

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Snowman is seemingly the only human left standing in a world full of a new genetically-engineered breed of humans - ones who barely feel anything at all.

Oryx and Crake is a dystopian fiction novel set in the near-distant future and is a book that is completely and utterly concerned with the damage that humans and corporations are having on the environment. This book shows the catastrophic environmental effects that could - and will - happen over time.

Something about this book feels close to home, and it will definitely inspire your teenagers to find more ways to be green, and look into the best ways that they can care for the world they live in.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

When Roy moves to Florida, he finds his world flipped upside down. Away from his home and in the clutches of a bully, he feels a wholly out of place.

But then he spots the running boy. And the running boy changes everything about his new home. With alligators, poisonous snakes with intriguing sparkling tails, burrowing owls and one eco-avenger, Roy will find himself on a great new adventure where he learns to adapt to his new environment and makes some new best friends along the way.

This book is a mystery/thriller set in Florida about a group of children trying to safe a nest of burrowing owls that is perfect for children of around 14-16.

Hoot is one of those books that will stay with you for a while, and no matter your age you'll be able to understand the message about environmental matters that the book is trying to get across.

Exodus by Julie Bergtana

Mara's home is drowning, and the world is losing its land to the ocean as the ice caps melt. But, one night, Mara gets a visit from Fox, a mysterious boy who tells her stories about cities in the sky that rise from the sea.

Hoping that the world Fox talks about is more than just a dream, Mara sets sail to find a better life for herself and her friends.

This dystopian novel discusses what will happen once global warming destroys all the ice caps, and how our environment and way of life will suffer.

This might be the best and most thrilling of all the books on this list and your older children/teenagers are bound to be finding more ways to make our world a better and more green place to live.

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Written by Natalie Rayworth

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Creative Writing and Film

Natalie Rayworth picture

Natalie RayworthBachelor of Arts specializing in Creative Writing and Film

Born and raised in London, this writer and editor has a deep passion for creative expression. With a Bachelor's in Creative Writing and Film, Natalie has experience crafting both factual and imaginative pieces. When not writing or editing, she can often be found immersed in a good book or exploring the city's many secondhand bookstores. A lover of music and art, Natalie brings a creative flair to her work, inspired by her lifelong fascination with the Natural History Museum and her childhood days spent pretending to be Peter Pan in the Diana Memorial Playground.

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