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Hope and action:
Climate books for kids

Words: Julia Gorodecky

Main illustration: Paola Saliby

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Once upon a time there was a planet called Earth that was put in peril by the human species. How to get this beautiful world back on track? There’s plenty of inspiration for a happy ending in these climate books for kids… and their parents.

The Odd Fish

Naomi and James Jones

3-6 years 

How do you convey a message as serious as plastic pollution in the ocean to younger kids? With a charming character called Little Fish, who goes on an oceanic ‘eco-adventure’. When she comes across a plastic bottle, she tries to reunite this ‘Odd Fish’ with its family. On this journey, they meet other marine life that need help, including a turtle with a stomach ache and an octopus with tangles in its tentacles. As the story progresses, readers get to spot the problematic plastic connection (and the crab on each spread). A fact section at the back has info about what action can be taken to help clean up our oceans.

kids books children's books climate the odd fish book cover

Something Happened to Our Planet: Kids Tackle the Climate Crisis

Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins & Bhagya Madanasinghe

4-8 years

Busting any belief that a small action can’t make a (big) difference, this storybook relates a girl’s efforts to help the planet by advocating for reusable plates at school, and thus serves up a down-to-earth explanation about climate change and how to bring about positive change. Instead of accepting the unfortunate trajectory that our planet is being taken down, our protagonist takes action, setting up the Earth Patrol club. It’s an empowering story for kids that describes both successes and setbacks and has a Reader’s Note section incorporating the impact of climate change and child-friendly definitions. The book is also written with adults/parents in mind, providing guidance for climate change conversations and ideas on actions to take together with their kids

kids books children's books climate something happened to our planet book cover

Lift-the-Flap Looking After Our Planet

Katie Daynes & Ilaria Faccioli

6-9 years

Thanks to the surprise element behind every fold, lift-the-flaps are always firm favorites when it comes to maintaining a kid’s interest while reading. This environmental version opens up a world of interactive info in the form of bite-sized nuggets that span from why conditions on Earth are just right for life, to the plants and animals that live here, to the problems our planet faces and what we can do to reach a clean, green future. The fun, brightly colored illustrations also help keep things upbeat. And the practical advice from Professor Mike Berners-Lee, author of There’s No Planet B and How Bad Are Bananas, on how everyone can make a difference is an absolute added bonus.

kids books children's books climate looking after our planet book cover

Copyright © Usborne Publishing Limited, 2020. Illustrations by Illaria Faccioli

How to Help a Hare and Protect a Polar Bear

Jess French & Angela Keoghan

7-10 years

Written in conjunction with the UK’s National Trust, this illustrated book takes kids on a journey through 12 habitats including gardens, woodlands, wetlands, jungles and mountains. As they make their way through the pages of the book, readers get to explore each ecosystem and discover the rare and endangered wildlife that live there. They learn about the threats these animals face and what can be done to help. Think: only eating fish on the Sustainable Fish List, having gaps in garden fences to enable hedgehogs to travel safely, planting flowers for bees and butterflies, taking part in surveys to record animals, and more.

kids books children's books climate how to help a hare and protect a polar bear book cover

Climate Action: The Future Is in Our Hands

Georgina Stevens and Katie Rewse

7-12 years

This offering from sustainability adviser Georgina Stevens is packed with well-presented and easy-to-digest facts, statistics and alternatives, so that it informs without overwhelming. Broken down into four sections – ‘Causes’, ‘Effects’, ‘Our Part’ and ‘Inspiration’ – each one gives background details on a wide range of areas, from rising sea levels and wildfires to mining and deforestation to the mind-boggling carbon footprint we humans have. And to stop readers feeling ever-so-slightly disheartened, each section highlights stories of young changemakers around the world who identified an issue and found ways to help resolve it. Proving that no one is too small to make a difference. In fact, any UK owner of this book will be helping in their ‘small’ way as a tree is planted for every copy sold there.

kids books children's books climate the future is in our hands climate action book cover

The Lost Words: A Spell Book

Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris

All ages

As we have explored in this list, the saying ‘good things come in small packages’ rings true when it comes to the younger generation helping solve the climate crisis. But it’s not so true with this book because, as far as this large-sized tome is concerned, the words ‘the bigger, the better’ fit the bill more. Yet the format is the perfect backdrop for the stunning, delicate illustrations that grace each page. And the artwork is the perfect accompaniment to the ‘spell-poems’ as each one is complemented with a striking triptych of watercolor paintings. Addressing the disappearance of everyday nature words and a ‘wild childhood’ from kids’ lives, The Lost Words celebrates the magic of the natural world in a superbly soft manner, much like an enchanting love letter to Mother Nature.

kids books children's books climate the future is in our hands climate action book cover

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