Reading stories to our children opens doors to magical worlds, lets imagination take control, and stimulates their brains. Finding a story, they love also helps with language development, memory, and creativity. Educating young people on the environment can start from as soon as the bedtime stories do.

There are thousands of children’s books out there where key focus and narrative is centred around the environment and what we can do to help. We’ve picked some of our favourites that we’re sure all kids will love.

  1. The EARTH Book – Todd Parr

Todd Parr uses playful language and positive messaging to teach young children about the importance of recycling, reusing, littering, and saving energy. This is a good introduction to environmental stories and shows children how we can all work together to help the Earth. The book itself is printed using non-toxic inks, and recycled materials.

  1. One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia – Miranda Paul

A true story about how Isatou Ceesay started a movement. The story highlights the problem of plastic-bag disposal, and how one woman made a difference by finding new ways to use them, and through this helped her community. A useful tale to teach the negative impact of throwaway culture, but a hopeful story about ways to overcome this.

  1. The World That We Want – Kim Michelle Toft

This detailed, beautifully illustrated picture book depicts nine habitats and the wildlife and vegetation that are unique to each. It subtly shows the relationship between each habitat and how they are all interconnected. It’s a vividly illustrated cautionary tale that shows us how we can play our role in protecting each habitat and how our actions can impact them.

  1. 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World – Melanie Walsh

A simple guide for small kids where they can learn to help conserve energy, and our world. The messaging is clear, while the illustrations are bold and colourful. A useful book to open up a larger discussion with our children about ways to be kinder to the planet.

  1. A Forest – Marc Martin

A watercolour illustrated book, Martin tells the story of a forest that overtime was destroyed by people and used for factories and city buildings. The effects of deforestation are highlighted but the story of how one tree survives and manages to create a new forest is the key learning of the book. This is a conservation guide with a powerful message.

  1. The Tomorrow Book – Jackie French

A story of a little prince who transforms the world when his parents leave him in charge of their kingdom. This is a hopeful tale about ways to overcome the environmental problems facing the world. Through brilliant storytelling and illustrations, the book rightfully places ownership of the world in children and reinforces the belief that they can and will make a difference.

  1. How to Help a Hedgehog and Protect a Polar Bear – Jess French

Children learn about how to save endangered animals and the habitats they live in. Told through easy to understand language, fun stories, and artwork. A good book to start introducing environmental topics and raising awareness.

  1. Big Earth, Little Me – Thom Wiley

A lift-the-flap, collage illustration book. This is for very young learners. It’s a list of small actions everyone can do, like turning off lights and recycling. A one-line per page book that won’t overwhelm, but still carries the environmental awareness message.

  1. A World Without Fish – Mark Kurlansky

A book for older learners (nine years upwards), Kurlansky tells the story of how the Earth needs fish to successfully exist. The story blends facts, light language, and short one page comics to give readers an in-depth understanding of sustainable fishing, over-fishing, and what a world without fish would be like. An educational read that can help inspire us all to be more careful with the choices we make.

  1. Slow Down, World – Tai Snaith

A picture book for adults and kids alike with the simple message of slowing down and appreciating the world around them. Described as a journey towards peace and mindfulness, this book captures the beauty of the everyday moments in life. Illustrated using paper, ceramics, and watercolour. It is a gentle reminder to stop and embrace what we have, rather than always thinking about the next move.