Inside: These Earth Day books for kids include picture books, nonfiction, and even board books. You’ll find meaningful choices for teaching and celebrating with children ages 3-12.
April 22nd is coming up soon, and it’s time to think about what you’ll do for Earth Day! Whether you’re planning a special “green” activity or an upcycled Earth Day craft, you’ll also want some meaningful books. This list can help you pull everything together into a fantastic lesson.
The Best Earth Day Books for Kids
I’ve combed through all the kids’ Earth Day books that I could find and picked out my very favorites for you. I even found some fantastic brand new ones! Then I also added in some related titles that would also fit in well with the spirit of the day.
Within each category, I also tried to list them roughly in order by age of the intended audience. The titles for the very youngest children are first.
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Board Books for Earth Day
Preschoolers and even some older toddlers will love to get their hands on these fun board books. It’s never too soon to start learning about Earth Day!
I Love the Earth by Todd Parr is perfect for helping little ones understand why we need to take care of the planet. Each page spread features a relatable reason, such as “I love the trees and I want the owls to have a place to live” and “I love the fish and I want the oceans to stay blue.”
This is a shorter adaptation of Parr’s much loved The Earth Book. (note that as of this writing there is a mixup of cover photos over on Amazon.)
Everything Grows is based on the classic song by Raffi and freshly illustrated by Nina Mata. While not an Earth Day book per se, it’s a sweet new choice for instilling a love of everything that grows and a sense of responsibility to care for all living things.
I love that the illustrations feature a diverse range of characters and that the end pages include the sheet music for the song.
ABC Earth-Friendly Me by Christiane Engel is rhyming alphabet book with a boldly illustrated earth-friendly idea for every letter of the alphabet. Yes, she’s even thought of Q (quality) and Z (zero waste)!
Find Out About: Saving Our Planet by Mandy Archer is a sturdy lift-the-flap book full of information. The diverse characters each share a different environmental issue and ways that young children can help.
I really like the refrain at the end of each page spread: after each character takes action, the narrator says “Good, Job [Name]! I think that will make it easy for parents and teachers to jump from the story to their own kids’ real lives.
Earth Day Picture Books
There’s nothing like a picture book for drawing in a group of kids. I think each of these picture books would make an excellent Earth Day read aloud.
The Earth And I by Frank Asch features a boy who plays symbiotically with a personified Earth. This short book would be a nice choice for a circle time read aloud – I think there are lots of places that invite conversation. As you can see from the cover, it’s also beautifully illustrated.
One Earth by Eileen Spinelli (illustrated by Rogério Coelho) is also short and sweet. It counts up the Earth’s gifts, and then counts down naming things we can do to help protect the Earth.
Earth Day, Birthday! by Maureen Wright (illustrated by Violet Kim) is a fun, relatable way to teach children all the ways they can celebrate Earth Day. The premise is really cute – Monkey wants to celebrate his birthday, but all the other animals insist that it’s Earth Day, not his birthday.
The Mess That We Made by Michelle Lord (illustrated by Julia Blattman) uses inviting rhyme and a cumulative story structure to show how a bay is polluted, and how people are cleaning it up. I think it’s a little long for many preschoolers, but perfect for kindergarten and up.
The Earth Gives More by Sue Fliess (illustrated by Christiane Engel) fosters an appreciation for everything the Earth provides and ends with a plea to take care of the Earth.
It also follows how nature changes through the year, and so would also be a great book to use when you’re teaching about the seasons.
Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel (illustrated by Alexandra Colombo) is a fanciful story that could motivate children to help with recycling. The rhyming text and bold illustrations make it a fun read-aloud too.
If you like this one, there are several more Michael Recycle books.
On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole is about a little girl who fences off green space in her yard, with delightful results. By the end her yard is a beautiful meadow with trees and birds, and her neighbors are starting to do the same with their own yards.
Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson (illustrated by Meilo So) – A girl and her class run a “lights out for loggerheads” campaign to help baby sea turtles crawl to the moonlit sea rather than the wrong way towards brightly lit houses.
I think elementary aged kids will find this book empowering! Follow it up with a nonfiction book such as Harlem Grown or One Plastic Bag, both listed below under Nonfiction.
Zonia’s Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal is a new book about an Indigenous girl who lives in – and loves – the Amazon rainforest. When she sees clearcutting, she responds with symbols from her heritage.
There is a lengthy and interesting background page at the end to help grown up or older kid readers understand the symbolism and meanings. I think you could do a lot with this title in the classroom.
Nonfiction for Preschool and Kindergarten
Even the littlest learners can dig into nonfiction if it’s presented simply enough. I love these titles for helping children learn to appreciate and take care of the environment.
Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre is simple enough for your littlest learners, yet the stunning photographs will also draw in older children.
Earth Day Every Day by Lisa Bullard (illustrated by Xin Zheng) is a (sort of) nonfiction picture book that will captivate and motivate younger kids. The main character explains some environmental problems and shows examples of kids addressing them.
Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood tells the true story of how the author and a group of children and neighbors turned a vacant lot into a thriving urban farm.
Nonfiction for Elementary and Up
Elementary aged children are ready for nonfiction with more depth and detail. These are my favorite, most meaningful titles to share with that age group.
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia – This inspiring true story is one of my very favorite Earth Day books for kids. It tells how one woman in Gambia turns the problem of plastic bag litter into a business opportunity that helps heal the environment.
Teachers, this book would also be a great mentor text for teaching problem and solution.
The Story of Climate Change: A First Book About How We Can Help Save Our Planet by Catherine Barr and Steve Williams (illustrated by Amy Husband and Mike Love) – this gorgeous book is both informative and engaging. It clearly narrates the history and issues surrounding climate change.
Our World Out of Balance: Understanding Climate Change and What We Can Do by Andrea Minoglio (illustrated by Laura Fanelli) is the most advanced book on this list – but so good I had to include it! It covers a wide range of issues in depth with full color interesting illustrations throughout.
Earth Day with Favorite Characters
These books about Earth Day all feature favorite characters. You can lean on them to help teach children what April 22 is all about – and what they can do throughout the year too.
Biscuit’s Earth Day Celebration by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (illustrated by Pat Schories) follows the familiar, well-loved puppy as he learns about Earth Day. He follows his girl to school and ‘helps’ with all the special activities there.
In It’s Earth Day! by Mercy Mayer, Little Critter learns about about climate change and tries out a silly invention.
Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! by Diane deGroat follows Gilbert as he tries to think of an Earth Day project, and listens to his classmates present their projects.
Fancy Nancy: Every Day Is Earth Day by Jane O’Connor (illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser) – Nancy goes a little overboard trying to be “green”.
Curious George Discovers Recycling by H.A. Rey – George visits a recycling center. When he gets home he’s a little overzealous with gathering recyclables!
I wanted to give you a special section just for Earth Day alphabet books. You can sneak in a little letter sound practice with these!
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals (illustrated by Ashley Wolff) – Try reading this classic Earth Day book and starting a compost bin with your kids this year!
ABC Earth Friendly Me listed under board books above is also a fun alphabet book choice. (Click here to jump back up to that section)
Personalized Emergent Readers
Finally, I have to add my own little printable Earth Day Books.
This resource lets you type in your students’ names once and then magically prints them on every page of the story for you.
(If you prefer, or if you live in the EU, you can also buy these here in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.)
I hope you found fresh new books to read for Earth Day this year. Let me know which ones are your favorites.