12 Children’s Books That Teach Environmental Responsibility

Environmentalism is a value that many of us want to see instilled in our children and grandchildren. After all, they will inhabit the earth long after we’re gone. Isn’t it important that we teach them well?

Luckily, there are lots of delightful children’s books out there, specifically written to increase our kids’ sense of global connection and responsibility to the planet and to each other. Common themes include empathy, inclusion and respect for all life. All good things.

Here We Are” by Oliver Jeffers

This thought-provoking picture book takes kids from Earth to space and back again, with a specific look at humanity and how we should all treat each other. Witty and tender, truly, it’s a masterpiece.

Seeds of Change” by Jen Cullterton Johnson

This book tells the empowering story of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman (and environmentalist) to win a Nobel Peace Price. It’s a beautiful story about the importance of respecting nature, with special focus on nurturing the land, plants and animals that surround us.

If Sharks Disappeared” by Lily Williams

This charmingly illustrated children’s book explores the consequences of a world without sharks, defending them as precious, not scary, and worth protecting. Plus, the back of the book features a glossary and more information about the precariousness of earth’s shark population and how we can help.

The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein

A classic for a reason, Shel Silverstein’s most famous picture  book has been stirring up controversy for more than 50 years. Is it about how we treat nature? Parenting? Something even deeper? Whatever the core message, this book will teach children not to take the world for granted.

The Water Princess” by Susan Verde

Inspired by the childhood of model and former Miss Africa Georgie Badiel, who grew up in Burkina Faso, this lovely book teaches kids about the importance of clean drinking water and the weight of not having it.

Mister Seahorse” by Eric Carle

When Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs, she does it on Mr. Seahorse’s belly! What follows is a tender tale of underwater fathers caring for their babies. It doesn’t get sweeter than this.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt” by Kate Messner

Up in the garden the world is full of green…leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables…but down in the dirt is an entirely different world of activity, from earthworms digging to skunks burrowing. Your child will never look at the garden the same way again!

Bee & Me” by Alison Jay

In a wordless story, told only through its incredible illustrations, Bee & Me tells the story of a friendship between a little girl and a bee who takes her on a journey to aid in conservation. Truly, it would be a sad world without bees.

Touch the Earth” by Julian Lennon with Bart Davis

A part of Julian Lennon’s White Feather Flier Adventure trilogy, this book takes readers on a journey in a special plane that allows them to distribute clean water to the thirsty, clean the oceans of pollution and, in general, make the world a better place. We all have a part to play!

The Lorax” by Dr. Suess

A favorite since it’s publication in 1971, The Lorax is a warning against mindless progress, speaking to the danger it poses to the earth’s natural beauty. Plus the images are colorful and engaging for any age.

Margarito’s Forest” by Andy Carter

Margarito’s Forest is a bilingual book in English and Spanish, with excerpts in K’iche’, based on Maria Guadalupe’s memories of her father. Through this book, the devastating impacts of climate change become personal, allowing the wisdom of the Maya people to truly shine.

Life” by Cynthia Rylant

Life is a beautiful thing, good and bad and everything in between. Through the eyes of the world’s animals (elephants, whales, monkeys), Cynthia Rylant offers an inspiring meditation on finding strength in the face of adversity.

Talking about environmental issues with kids can be tricky, but these charming, inspiring little books can help start the conversation in age-appropriate ways.


Marie W
Marie W3 months ago


Mia B
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Sophie A
Past Member 4 months ago

thank you

David C
David C4 months ago


Ruth S
Ruth S4 months ago


Ruth S
Ruth S4 months ago


hELEN hEARFIELD4 months ago


Frances G
Past Member 4 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago

Good to know.

Hannah A
Hannah A5 months ago

Thank you