Green Theme! Books with an Environmental Message January 16, 2019 – Posted in: Book News

When the future of the planet is tied into decisions the younger generation make today, it’s crucial to have conversations about the environment with our children. But how do we talk about such complex issues, bound up with science and politics, in an engaging way? Books with a ‘green theme’ can provide a useful starting point! We have chosen some books here that may make young people think more deeply about climate change and environmental themes.

Picture Books

The Trouble with Dragons

The world is populated by some beastly dragons who care nothing for how much they pollute the oceans, chop down the trees, gobble up all the food and use everything up without stopping to think. Those dragons need to wake up to what they are doing to their world before it is too late … An energy-filled picture book that addresses concerns about the environment in the most child-centric and delightful way possible. Best for 3+

Hello Mr World

In this topical picture book, Michael Foreman brilliantly shows what climate change is doing to our world and inspires us all to make a difference. Mr World doesn’t feel well. He’s hot and sweaty and finding it hard to breathe. What will the doctors find when they examine their poor patient? 3+

Christopher Nibble

A witty and charming story which strikes a cautionary note about greed, the hero of which is a warm-hearted guinea pig called Christopher Nibble. Christopher Nibble loves munching dandelion leaves. And he’s not alone. All the guinea pigs in Dandeville eat dandelion leaves for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But no-one seems to do anything when the dandelions begin to dwindle. They just carry on munching. In fact the guinea pigs of Dandeville are heading for eco-disaster … 3+

The Lumberjack’s Beard

Every day, Jim Hickory the lumberjack heads into the forest with his trusty axe and chops down trees. Unfortunately, all sorts of creatures lose their homes in the process, so Jim gives them a home in his beard – until one day it all just gets too much. Time for Jim to come up with a better solution! 3+

George Saves the World by Lunchtime

George is determined to save the world by lunchtime, but he’s not quite sure how. Grandpa suggests they start by recycling the yoghurt pot from his breakfast, putting his banana peel in the compost pile, and hanging the washing to dry in the sun. A bike trip to the recycling bank, charity shop and local farmers’ market show how recycling and re-using materials, and using less petrol and local produce can really help save the world. George even gets a favourite toy fixed! 4+

Oi! Get Off Our Train

As a small boy drifts off to sleep he dreams that he is taking a journey around the world in his model train. He visits many different habitats where endangered animals beg a lift on the train to escape their impending extinction, brought about by the thoughtlessness and greed of those who misuse the environment. Initially unwilling to take more passengers, he relents as he hears each creature’s plight. Best for 4+

Pandora

Pandora lives alone in a world of broken things. She makes herself a handsome home from all that people had left behind, but no one ever comes to visit. Then one day something falls from the sky … a bird with a broken wing.  As Pandora nurses the bird back to health it begins to fly away each day, bringing a seed or small plant back with him. 4+

The Great Paper Caper

When life in the forest begins to change, when trees mysteriously lose their branches, when whole tree trunks start to disappear, when homes are lost, the only course of action for the forest dwellers is to begin a full scale investigation. Alibis must be proved, clues must be sought but even so, blame is never far from anyone’s thoughts. Who is the perpetrator of this heinous crime? Will justice be done? 4+

The Last Wolf

One day, Little Red puts on her hunting gear, packs her lunchbox and heads into the woods to catch a wolf. Red wanders deep into the shadowy woods until she finds a strange door where she meets the Last Wolf, the Last Lynx and the Last Bear. The animals tell Little Red all about the Good Old Days, when the animals roamed freely in the forest. But is there anything Red can do to help? 4+

The Lorax

The Lorax is a hilarious and timeless story with the trademark humour and silly rhymes of Dr. Seuss, that packs a punch with its ecological message without feeling heavy-handed or worthy. The Lorax is the original eco warrior as he tries to save the Truffula trees from the greedy once-ler’s axe, and the Dr. Seuss blend of zany pictures and unique rhyme, rhythm and repetition mean that all ages will learn from and love this wonderful book. 5+

The Promise

On a mean street in a mean city, a thief tries to snatch an old woman’s bag. But she finds she can’t have it without promising something in return – to “plant them all”. When it turns out the bag is full of acorns, the young thief embarks on a journey that changes her own life and the lives of others for generations to come. 5+

Grandpa Christmas

Every Christmas Mia and her family read a letter which her Grandpa wrote to her – a heartfelt wish for a better world for Mia to live in. He remembers fondly the times they spent in his garden finding frogs and worms and planting seeds. But Grandpa worries that all the things they love so much are in danger …
His letter is a hopeful plea to Mia (and to all of us) to continue to care for and protect our precious world. Michael Morpurgo frames his powerful message about protecting the environment in this beautiful personal story about a grandpa’s wish for his granddaughter to live in a better world. 5+

Stories for Older Readers

Stories for a Fragile Planet

Through care and kindness towards its creatures, human beings find their rightful place in the world and can live in peace and harmony. This message has echoed through stories from ancient times to the present day. The myths, traditional tales, and real-life stories in this beautifully illustrated book speak to the heart and mind of everyone who is concerned about our fragile planet. 7+

The Animals of Farthing Wood

Farthing Wood is being bulldozed, and there’s a drought. Fox, Badger, Toad, Tawny Owl, Mole and the other animals must band together and set off to a far-away nature reserve. Their journey is full of adventure and fraught with disasters, and the animals must work together to survive. 8+

This Morning I Met a Whale

At sunrise, young Michael spots a whale on the shores of the Thames and thinks he must be dreaming. But the creature is real and it has a message for him – one that only an open-minded child can deliver to the rest of the world. The whale warns that the earth’s days are numbered and that humans must put right the damage they are doing. Within hours, the city and the wider world have learned of London’s remarkable visitor, and all eyes are on the whale’s struggle against the receding tide. Michael must now join his new friend in a race against time to reach the ocean, and hold fast to his promise in the race to save the world itself. 8+

The White Giraffe

After Martine’s parents die in a fire, she has to leave London to go and stay with her grandmother on a game reserve in South Africa. Upon her arrival, she learns about a mysterious white giraffe that is rumoured to live on the reserve, and a strange legend surrounding it. Soon Martine discovers that the giraffe is real – and she has to fight to save the animal from poachers. 9+

The Wilderness War

A summer spent in the place Noah and his friends call the Wilderness, is a summer spent making dens, sleeping under the stars, and toasting marshmallows over an open fire. It’s freedom. Until one day their Wilderness is sold and set for development and their dens torn down to make way for houses. For Noah and his friends this means war and they’ll do anything to stop the Wilderness being destroyed. 9+

White Dolphin

When they first meet, Kara and Felix can’t stand each other. But on discovering an injured dolphin calf on the beach they know they must work together to save it. Now friends, they set out to find the truth behind the disappearance of Kara’s mother, and to protect the nearby reef. But powerful people don’t want them to succeed. And with the odds stacked against them, how can Kara and Felix make their voices heard? 9+

Hoot

This funny, action-packed story is a wonderful read (plus, it features a bunch of alligators hidden in portable toilets, which is always a bonus). Roy moves to a new town and makes friends with a boy called Mullet Fingers. Together, the two try to save a colony of burrowing owls whose habitat is being threatened by the opening of a new pancake restaurant franchise. 10+

The Last Wild

Kester Jaynes lives at Spectrum Hall, home to problematic and unwanted children. Meanwhile in the outside world, a strange plague has wiped out many of the world’s animals – and government agents have been killing every animal they can find. In the wake of the massacre, the world’s ecosystems have collapsed, and it is suddenly up to Kester, and a group of animals who’ve also escaped, to save them all from the plague and the murderous humans. 10+

When the Mountains Roared

When Ruby’s dad uproots her from Australia to set up a hotel in the mountains of India, Ruby is devastated. Ever since her mum died, Ruby has been afraid. Of cars. Of the dark. Of going to sleep and never waking up. But then the last remaining leopards of the mountain are threatened and everything changes. Ruby vows to do all she can to protect them – if she can only overcome her fears … A vivid adventure set in the mountains of India, about a girl who is determined to protect the wild leopards of the mountain from poachers. 10+

The Sound of Whales

Three children are spending their summer on a wild Scottish island. Fraser is desperate for adventure; Hayley is fed up she’s even there; while Dunny spends his days staring out to sea. He hasn’t said a word in years. But everything changes with the discovery of two bodies on the beach: a whale and a man. Fraser and Hayley see a mystery-adventure to be solved, but Dunny is inconsolable. And in the end, it will take someone who listens to the sea to put it right. 11+

The Secret Deep

When Aster wakes alone on a tropical island, she has no idea what has happened, why she is there, or where to find her younger sister, Poppy. Meanwhile Sam, who once met the sisters on a plane, makes links between the mystery of their disappearance and suspicious happenings in his own life. In a stunning dual narrative, the truth unravels with devastating effect – and the answer lies in the secret underwater world surrounding the desert island, populated by the beautiful and the impossible … 12+

Breathe

When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from? 12+

Non-Fiction

Ten Things I Can Do to Help My World

A beautifully simple book for small children where transforming pages reveal ten things that everyone can do to help conserve their world. Many of them, such as turning off the television properly, walking to school and turning off lights when leaving a room, are about conserving energy. Others, such as feeding the birds in winter and growing plants from seed, will encourage an understanding of nature and conservation. 3+

The Great Big Green Book

From a simple introduction to our home in Space, the authors explain what we need for life on Earth, and show the importance of the rainforests and the oceans; they stress the need to look after our planet and show how some of the things we take for granted are running out. The action plans include saving water, saving energy, recycling, repairing, growing seasonal food and much more. 4+

The Big Green Book

How much of the planet does it takes to make your stuff? How much water does it take to grow the cotton for your t-shirt? Why do we need to find greener types of energy? What does it matter if the rainforests are being cut down? Pull the tabs, lift the flaps and open up the amazing pops and discover the answers to these questions and more. Find out what YOU can do to help our planet stay green! 4+

See Inside Recycling and Rubbish

Offering information on rubbish and recycling, this flap book includes double page spreads on where rubbish comes from, how glass, metal, plastics and paper can be remade into new things and what happens to everything that isn’t recycled. 5+

Planet Patrol: A Book about Global Warming

Join Planet Patrol – a group of friends from around the world who have got together to help fight the effects of global warming! 5+

The Bee Book

The Bee Book is perfect to teach children all about our fuzzy little friends, how much they matter, why they are declining, and what we can do to help. Children will be fascinated by beautiful pictures and buzz-worthy facts covering types of bee, bee hives, colonies, pollination, making honey and more. 5+

The Coral Kingdom

From brightly coloured corals to shimmering shoals of fish, the diversity of life on a coral reef is celebrated in this visually stunning picture book with a strong ecological message about the need to protect this most precious of environments. 6+

How to Help a Hedgehog and Protect a Polar Bear

From beetles and butterflies, to puffins and polar bears, animals and habitats all over the world need our protection. In this beautifully illustrated book, children (and adults!) can learn about thirteen different habitats – gardens, hedgerows, heathlands, woodlands, highlands, wetlands, the coastline, freshwater, oceans, savannahs, jungles and mountains – and simple everyday ways to protect them. 6+

Saving Species

From the endangered animals we all know and love, like tigers, polar bears, orangutans and rhinos, to the less familiar pangolin, kakapo and vaquita, see these amazing creatures up close in their natural habitats. Visit jungles, mountains, rivers and coral reefs and learn about the threats to these species’ survival, as well as the remarkable conservation efforts that are being undertaken to save them. 7+

Little Book for Big Changes

This innovative activity book encourages young people to become responsible global citizens, develop understanding, empathy and a sense of responsibility, empowering them to protect the environment and to make the world fairer. Includes tips on how to recycle and reduce plastic waste. 8+

This Book is Not Rubbish: 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Rubbish and Save the World!

Covering issues like plastics, pollution, global warming and endangered animals, this is a one-stop guide to becoming an eco-warrior, not an eco-worrier. Discover how to ditch the plastic, reduce your rubbish and start making everyday steps that will make all the difference. 9+