Spring is in the air, and the natural world is waking up from winter. With Earth Day just around the corner, this is the perfect time to share a book about nature with your child. Celebrate the return of the flowers and warm weather while teaching your child about the importance of taking care of the marvelous planet we call home.
Here are 11 inspiring Earth Day books for kids of all ages, chosen by Julia Pflager, interim reading programs coordinator at DC Public Library
“Greta and the Giants” by Zoe Tucker, illustrated by Zoe Persico
In this allegorical story about Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager leading a global movement to raise awareness about the world’s climate crisis, giants are destroying the forest to build cities. To save the animals who call the forest home, Greta must come up with a plan.
“Thank You, Earth” by April Pulley Sayre
A love letter to the Earth, this book of stunning photos and poetic text introduces concepts of science, nature and language arts while exploring the beauty and complexity of the world around us through images of animals, oceans, mountains and more.
“Lola Plants a Garden” by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
Book-loving Lola is inspired by a collection of garden poems that she reads with her mommy to grow her own. While Lola waits for her garden to grow, her mother helps her create a flower book as an activity. The acrylic illustrations show Lola’s garden in all its stages.
“The Tree Lady” by H. Joseph Hopkins, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
An inspiring biography about Kate Session, the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science. After moving to San Diego, she single-handedly started the movement to turn the dry, desert town into the lush, leafy city it is today.
“Dragons and Marshmallows” (Zoey and Sassafras Series) by Asia Citro, illustrated by Marion Lindsay
Zoey, a resourceful, budding scientist, learns that her mother has been secretly rehabilitating magical animals from the forest nearby. While her mom is away, a sick baby dragon shows up needing help, so Zoey uses research, past experience and the scientific method to learn how to care for it
“Springtime Blossoms” (Bradford Street Buddies) by Jerdine Nolen, illustrated by Michelle Henninger
Best friends Jada, Jamal, Carlita and Josh are all searching for signs of spring. But the most surprising sign of spring awaits them at school the next day—a surprise that blossoms into a colorful plan to beautify the schoolyard just in time for Earth Day.
“10 Things You Can Do to Reduce Reuse and Recycle” by Elizabeth Weitzman
Young readers discover how they can do their part to help the environment by recycling bottles and cans or bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. “Make a Difference” is a super fun science series focused on how ordinary kids can have a positive impact on the world around them.
Another way to have a positive impact on the world around you is to simply be kind. Here are 12 children’s book on kindness.
“Survivor Girl” by Erin Teagan
When a wildfire strikes on the set of her dad’s reality show, “Survivor Guy,” the cast and crew is rescued—but Ali and two other kids get left behind. In this funny, action-packed middle grade novel that incorporates STEM themes, Ali will need to muster the self-confidence to help get the three of them to safety.
“Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas” by Jim Ottaviani, illustrated by Maris Wicks
This nonfiction graphic novel explores the field of primatology and the groundbreaking work of three of the most successful women primatologists of the 20th century.
“Chomp” by Carl Hiaasen
Wahoo Cray’s dad is a professional animal wrangler on a reality TV show. When its boneheaded star gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm—and then the search parties get lost, too—Wahoo must use his knowledge of animals and science to navigates the Everglades with a new friend.
“The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim” by E.K. Johnston
Set in a present-day parallel universe where industrialization has created a problem with dragons (they love fossil fuels), a 16-year-old boy who is hopeless at algebra and last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers must suddenly save the town of Trondheim.
This article originally appeared in the April 2020 issue of our sister publication Washington FAMILY.