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13 Picture Books About Composting & Soil Health

Looking for more resources about composting for kids? Check out this picture book list full of great picture books about composting for the little ones in your life!

Each time I make a book list, I spend many weeks (and even months sometimes) checking out a whole bunch of books from the library to read and review. I wonder if the librarians have noticed by now that I’m the patron checking out 20 books on the same topic at once on a regular basis? Either way, that’s what libraries are for, and we actively support our local library in return

With a house full of composting books as I prepared this post, my younger son picked up a few over the course of several days and read them on his own. One night, he came up to me and said “Mom, composting is much more interesting than I thought!” And then proceeded with a series of “Did You Know…” questions that were all spot on.

From the owner of a composting company, seeing my child embrace the art and science of composting is the best. 🙂 Books are such a great medium to expose kids to new ideas and concepts in ways that they can understand and relate to their lives.

13 Picture Books About Composting & Soil Health

I’ve shared below a handful of my favorite picture books about composting and how composting can impact our lives. Hopefully, you’ll find a few that connect with the children in your life, and they’ll be celebrating the magic of microorganism meals as much as my son.

Download a Printable Book List and Library List

We’ve created a printable PDF of this book list that you can have as a resource for later. It includes images of each of the book covers as well as a single page of titles and authors to take to the library if you prefer to check out books while you visit. To download the list, drop your email address in the sign-up form below. After confirming your email address, you’ll receive the printable booklist in just a few minutes.

A Note on Buying and Borrowing Books

I’ve included affiliate links to each of the books below. If you purchase through one of these links, Honestly Modern earns a very small commission that has no impact on your purchase price.

If you can find the books from your local library, from a friend, at an independent bookstore, or through a used book shop, those sources are ideal. Using the library is zero waste, saves money, and saves space in your home because you can read all the books without storing all the books on your bookshelves. If you’re not sure of the best way to use your local library, check out these tips to make the most of your local library. With a little exposure, your kids will learn to LOVE the library!

If you prefer to listen to audiobooks, I recommend using Libro.fm, my favorite audiobook app. I’ve tried several audiobook apps, and I love that Libro.fm supports independent bookstores and offers a great user experience.

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals

Written in the form of a poem, this book is 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 book also has really great, colorful pictures.

The Great Compost Heap by Renaee Smith

This book encourages children to reduce, reuse, and recycle by composting. It shows readers have they can use composting to create a cleaner environment and take better care of the Earth.

Green Machine: The Slightly Gross Truth about Turning Your Food Scraps into Green Energy by Rebecca Donnelly

Composting is cool! Celebrate the innovation and science that help turn food waste into green energy. This book shows readers how food scraps are composted, collected, and processed, transforming trash into biogas and electricity. It’s a green machine.

Way To Grow! Gardening Composting by Rebecca Pettiford

This is a really great non-fiction book for early readers and those just learning about composting. The book is part of a larger series that strives to teach kids about various aspects of gardening while also helping them learn how to use non-fiction books with headings, labels, “did you know” sections, and a table of contents.

The Good Garden: How One Family Went From Hunger To Having Enough by Katie Smith Milway 

One family living in a small village does not have enough food or money, so the father must leave to go find work. The family gets much of their food from a small piece of land next to their home.

At school, a new teacher arrives and teaches the older daughter about composting and other practices to increase the health of their soil and the output of their land. These new practices greatly increase the health and wealth of the garden, even giving them enough food to sell some extra items at the market.

The money from the extra food is enough that her father no longer has to leave for work and they get plenty of food from their own garden to feed their family. A small change in teaching the local villagers more sustainable farming methods transform the prosperity of their family. 

Compost! Growing Gardens From Your Garbage by Linda Glaser

This is a really simple book that follows two young children who walk the reader step-by-step through how they make and use their compost. They discuss all the different things from around their home (like different types of food scraps and yard waste) that they put into their compost. Then they ultimately show how they use the compost in their garden once it’s finished. This is a great introduction to composting that doesn’t dig into the science or complexities of composting.

The Simple Science of Dirt by Emily James

This is a really great beginner non-fiction book that introduces the basics of dirt. Kids (and adults) learn what dirt is, different parts of dirt, and why it’s so important in our lives. It has great photos to support the learning, and I learned plenty of things myself.

You Wouldn’t Want To Live Without Soil! by Ian Graham

Starting with the history of soil from four billion years ago, this illustrated book is a fun way to understand how our soil came to be, how we should take care of it, and the myriad ways it’s important to us today. Even though it’s a light introduction, it’s a great way to reinforce with our children why we need to take good care of our soil and what actions we can take today and in the future to protect this precious resource.

Composting: Nature’s Recyclers by Robin Michal Koontz

This simple book highlights many of the things that one can add to a compost bin. From dead leaves and food scraps to grass clippings and lunch leftovers, tons of small animals and organisms turn this pile of trash into wonderful vitamins for your garden.

Casey’s Compost by Bonnie Bright

Follow a young boy named Casey as he learns about composting, how it provides nutrition to plants, and how it keeps garbage out of landfills. Supportive adults in his life recognize his passion and help him to make composting a city-wide policy.

Save the Scraps by Bethany Stahl

This book tells the story of two children who learn how to compost with the help of their wiggly worm friend. With charming illustrations, adults will love reading this book with their kids as readers learn about the benefits of compost.

Compost: A Family Guide to Making Soil from Scraps by Ben Raskin

Teach your kids that composting is fun with this funky guide that takes you from the nitty-gritty of compost composition and care to Worms and Ladders, a fresh take on a traditional board game.

Find out the rules for setting up your very own Worm Lovers’ Society, learn all about the garden-to-plate cycle together, and get your family’s feet firmly set on the road to a planet-friendly lifestyle. The book includes information on both kitchen and garden composting. This is a bit more interactive than some of the other books which are non-fiction resources and stories.

What’s Sprouting In My Trash: A Book About Composting by Esther Porter

Filled with helpful photographs of the various steps involved in composting, this book offers kids an inside look at the basic science of composting. The book highlights why it’s important, how composting happens, the importance of the microorganisms that do the work, and how it helps our environment.

Do you know of any other books I missed on the list? Leave them in the comments so I can check them out!

Complete Guide To Compost At Home

For more information about how to compost at home, check out our Complete Guide To Compost At Home with loads of articles to answer all your questions about how to compost at home. We have resources, FAQs, interviews with everyday families who compost at home, and more!


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