Celebrate Earth Day with These Children’s Books

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd! Here are five Earth Day activities to celebrate the holiday and great books to accompany each activity. For many more Earth Day activities, see the Delightful Children’s Books Earth Day Pinterest board!

1. TAKE A HIKE

The Listening Walk by Paul Showers. A father and daughter go on a “listening walk” around their neighborhood. They walk without saying a word and pay attention to the sounds of lawnmowers zooming, ducks quacking, wind rustling through leaves and more. Ages 3+

Giving Thanks by Jonathan London and Gregory Manchess. As a young boy and father take a walk through the countryside, the father teaches the son to offer thanks to the frogs, fox, trees, and other beautiful things they see. Ages 3+


Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Birds by Jim Arnosky. An enthusiastic and quirky little man invites children along on a hike and introduces them to common birds. Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Birds is an engaging introduction to identifying birds. Author Jim Arnosky has written several other Crinkleroot nature guides, including guides to butterflies and trees. Ages 3+

2. REDUCE / REUSE / RECYCLE

The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers A humorous story about forest animals who investigate who is cutting down their trees. This story touches on wasting paper, the need to replant trees, and reusing/recycling paper. Ages 3+


Charlie and Lola, We are Extremely Very Good Recyclers by Lauren Child. An introduction to recycling incorporated into a story about an entertaining brother sister duo, Charlie and Lola. The premise that Charlie, Lola, and classmates win a tree to plant by collecting recyclable materials makes this story exciting to my kids and is a project schools could replicate. For an informative non-fiction book about garbage and recycling that my kids find fascinating, see Where Does the Garbage Go? by Paul Showers. Ages 4+

Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow: A Compost Story by Linda Glaser and Shelley Rotner. A clear introduction to composting with nice photos of children gardening and composting. Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow could be read along with Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals and Ashley Wolff, an upbeat rhyming book that lists everything that can be composted. Ages 3+

3. CONSERVE ENERGY

The Earth Book by Todd Parr. An introduction to simple, but important, steps kids can take to protect the earth — use both sides of paper, turn off water while brushing teeth, take the bus or ride a bike, turn off lights, etc. The Earth Book features Todd Parr’s upbeat, colorful illustrations. This book is not just about conserving energy, although all of the suggestions do conserve energy. If you are looking for one book to read for Earth Day, The Earth Book is a good choice. It would also be perfect paired with any other book on this Earth Day booklist. Ages 2+

Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green by Eileen Spinelli and Anne Kennedy. One morning teacher Miss Fox shows up to school on a bicycle and inspires the kids in her class to “go green.” Miss Fox tells the kids that going green means: 1. using less stuff – recycling, 2. using less energy, and 3. using less water. The kids start thinking about how their choices (e.g. whether to turn up the heat or put on a sweater) impact the planet. Ages 3+

Winston of Churchill: One Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming by Jean Okimoto and Jeremiah Trammell. A humorous story about one polar bear’s efforts to fight global warming, perfectly pitched towards kids. Each year tourists flock to Churchill, Manitoba, to see polar bears. In Winston of Churchill, a polar bear named Churchill calls a polar bear meeting to explain why the ice caps are melting and to convince the polar bears to encourage tourists to take steps to save their arctic home. Ages 4+

4. CREATE BACKYARD (or schoolyard) WILDLIFE HABITAT

Riki’s Birdhouse by Monica Wellington. A young boy builds a bird house, puts out yarn for birds to build nests with, feeds birds, and keeps a bird journal. Monica Wellington’s colorful illustrations are always a hit with my kids. For another introduction to feeding and identifying backyard birds, see Birds in Your Backyard by Barbara Herkert. Ages 4+

A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart and Higgins Bond. A message about the importance of protecting butterfly habitat. Highlights include nice illustrations of a variety of butterfly habitats as well as sidenotes for older kids that describe ten butterfly species. A Place for Butterflies concludes by encouraging kids to plant butterfly gardens. Ages 3+

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. A fantastic story about a young boy who discovers a small patch of wildflowers growing along an abandoned railroad track. When the boy tends the wildflowers, the wildflowers spread and fill the city with green. City dwellers could pair this book with Flower Garden by Eve Bunting and Kathryn Hewitt, a story about a young girl who surprises her mother by planting a window box. Ages 3+

5. PLANT A VEGETABLE GARDEN (or fruit tree)

The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons. A delightful portrait of a boy named Arnold thoroughly enjoying his apple tree throughout the year. Arnold watches bees collect apple blossom nectar, builds a treehouse, makes apple cider, and much, much more. The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree will surely get kids excited about planting their own apple tree. Ages 3+

Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert. A simple, straightforward description of the steps involved in growing vegetables and harvesting them to make vegetable soup. Ages 2+


How Groundhog’s Garden Grew by Lynne Cherry. An entertaining story that is full of information about how to plant a vegetable garden. Ages 4+


You may also be interested in:

Pinterest: Earth Day

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8 Responses to Celebrate Earth Day with These Children’s Books

  1. Mindy says:

    “The Curious Garden” is delightful – great selection.
    “Hey Little Ant” is a great book about kindness and compassion that I have been sharing with kids for years.

  2. Linda says:

    Lots of great ideas! But my all-time favorite is still The Lorax.

  3. Miss Nirvana says:

    We loved How Groundhog’s Garden Grew! That was a fun book with beautiful illustrations. We also loved Imganinary Garden by Andrew Larson and The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle.

    You can see the activities we did to Imaginary Garden here: http://nirvanahomeschooling.blogspot.com/2011/03/book-imaginary-garden.html

    And the activity for Tiny Seed here: http://nirvanahomeschooling.blogspot.com/2011/03/book-tiny-seed-by-eric-carle.html

  4. Cindy Miller says:

    Two of my favorites:
    Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
    and
    Two Old Potatoes and Me by … Coy

    • Amy says:

      I love Diary of a Worm too! That would be a wonderful, funny book to read along with Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow and Compost Stew for a family or class starting a composting pile or teaching kids about how to compost.

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