Teaching kids about the importance of caring for the environment and finding ways to practice eco-friendly habits aren’t always straightforward. These picture books offer engaging stories to simplify ways that kids can make a difference and help them appreciate taking care of the environment.
As our boys get older, and especially now that we don’t live in a particularly urban area, I’ve been much more inclined to help our boys understand and appreciate the importance of taking care of the environment.
We’ve been teaching the boys about which items go into the recycling bin versus the trash can. We remind each other to turn out lights that we aren’t using. I encourage them to help me garden.
We make efforts and have conversations that hopefully have an impact on their respect for the world around them. But it’s not always easy to put into “kid speak” how we appreciate butterflies and flowers or why we can’t just throw our trash on the ground wherever we feel.
In honor of Earth Day (and just because it’s a good thing to do), we checked out a bunch of picture books from the library this week about recycling, the environment, being green, and planting trees. Here are a few of our favorites that your family might enjoy as well.
10 Fun Picture Books That Encourage Children To Care for the Earth
Busy Buzzers Bees in Your Backyard by Nancy Loewen ~ This pretty picture book helps children understand the importance of bees in our yards and gardens. In an engaging story with nice illustrations, the author also includes a fun fact about bees on each page. Even I learned a lot.
Earth Day, Birthday by Maureen Wright ~ This cute story celebrates Earth Day in the jungle when each animal shares an idea about how to be better stewards to our environment while a little monkey keeps telling everyone it’s his birthday (but no one believes him!). I’ll let you read to the book to find out if the monkey is telling the truth.
One Tree by Leslie Bockol ~ A story for young children about the seasons of one tree’s life over the course of the year. It has nice, simple illustrations and is even made with 98% recycled materials.
Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green by Eileen Spinelli ~ In this story, a school teacher shares with her students all the ways they can be more green. Then each child shares about the idea they tried with their family to make a small but meaningful impact on the environment. As the students practice being green, others join in the fun and the whole school community gets involved. I liked that it creatively offered lots of actionable ideas that kids can implement in their own homes.
What Does It Mean To Be Green? Eco-Pig Explain Living Green by Lisa S. French ~ The eco-friendly pig drops into a very clean and beautiful town. Not long after he arrives, he starts to see some of the neighbors doing things that aren’t so great for the environment. He helps teach the town why the practices are not so great and offers more eco-friendly alternatives. This book is part of a series of books starring Eco-Pig that includes titles like The Terrible Trash Trail: Eco-Pig Stops Pollution and Who Turned Up The Heat?: Eco-Pig Explains Global Warming.
A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart ~ This book teaches children all about butterflies: what they eat and where they live, why they are important to the environment, and how they transform from caterpillars into butterflies. I’ve been thinking about creating a little butterfly garden in our yard (partially for the boys but also for me), so this was a great place to start that adventure.
Curious George Plants a Tree by Margaret & H.A. Rey’s ~ In this story, Curious George learns and gets excited about all the ways he can help take good care of the planet and the environment. As usual, he gets into a little accidental mischief along the way, but he ends up planting several trees in a park with a community group to make for a happy ending. The book also includes 20 ways kids can help keep our planet a little greener and healthier.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown ~ This is a lovely story about a little boy who lives in a city of concrete and bricks, void of nature’s beauty. One day, on his adventures, he finds a few little plants struggling to survive near old, unused railroad tracks. He decides to start caring for the plants and begins to grow a garden. His garden flourishes and, ultimately, he shares the beauty of his curious garden with so many other dwellers in his city. This book is written well and has really great illustrations.
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals ~ Written in the form of a poem, this book is all about all the things that can go into a compost bin and how to care for it. I love that it helps kids (and me!) learn about the extensive list of items that can rot and turn into nourishing soil instead of continuing to fill our landfills. This books also has really great, colorful pictures.
Michael Recycle Meets Doug Litterbug by Ellie Bethel ~ Our little boys could definitely relate to this story that translates environmentalists and polluters into a super hero and little boy villain, respectively. The story isn’t mean at all and doesn’t encourage hatred or disdain for the little boy that litters. Instead, the super hero comes to show him how being a steward of his community and caring for the environment will help him make more friends and, ultimately, make him a ‘super hero’ as well. It’s a fun and cute story that definitely puts the concepts into a context kids can understand and appreciate.
Hopefully your family will love a few of these books as much as my boys did.