Are you looking for some beautiful picture books to share with your children all about protecting the precious water on our planet? Check out (and pin for later!) this list of eco-conscious picture books to help your children understand why it’s so important to protect the health of our waterways.
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We check out a lot of books from the library about environmental matters. I try to mix them in with lots of different types of books, but I always end up drawn to the ones that will teach my kids a thing or two about our environment and why it’s so important to protect it.
Here is a list of some of the best books we’ve read all about our oceans, rivers, streams and other water sources. Some of the books address the magic of the underwater world. Others dive headfirst into issues of plastic pollution and other environmental hazards poisoning our waterways today.
Check out a few of these from your local library or Better World Books to add to your collection of picture books at home!
13 Picture Books About Protecting Our Oceans, Rivers, Lakes, and Streams
Hey Water! by Antoinette Portis
Join a young girl as she explores her surroundings and sees that water is everywhere. But water doesn’t always look the same, it doesn’t always feel the same, and it shows up in lots of different shapes. This is a fun book about all the ways and forms in which water shows up in our lives.
Save The Ocean by Bethany Stahl
With beautiful and charming illustrations, as well as a lovable sea turtle named Agwe, I loved reading this to my boys. The book has a heartwarming lesson of recycling and conservation that is just right for kids.
The Secret Of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton
Too often, we don’t appreciate nature when we can’t understand it. Such is the case when a seemingly large rock formation routinely creates apparent danger for local fishermen. The town residents decide to destroy the rock, but a little girl saves the rock after discovering how much life it supports just below the surface of the water. The book encourages children to respect our environment and look beyond what something might initially appear to be. First impressions aren’t always true.
Song of the River by Joy Cowley & Kimberly Andrews
One little boy who lives in the forest near a stream longs to see the sea. One day, he follows the stream as it becomes a babbling brook, turns into a river and eventually flows out into the sea. His dream comes true as he takes in the breadth of the ocean and grows even more enamored with the water that starts as a tiny stream near his house. I absolutely loved this book and thought it had great illustrations.
Down, Down, Down: A Journey To The Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins
This non-fiction picture book takes the reader through the sea starting from the surface and gradually moving deeper into the ocean. With each page, the readers learn about the creatures that live in that part of the ocean and how they rely on each other. It’s a really interesting book, but maybe a little complicated for younger readers. This is best suited for elementary-aged students and older.
Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne
Supported by bright and colorful illustrations, readers learn the story of a world-famous sea explorer and oceanographer who fell in love with the sea at an early age. The story highlights some of the wonderful and important discoveries Cousteau shared with the world that he uncovered during his dives. In order to appreciate and take care of our oceans and water, it helps to understand the beauty of what’s beneath the surface, and I think this book shares about that in a way children will enjoy.
We Are Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, this book issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption.
Blue Planet: Life In Our Oceans and Rivers by Moira Butterfield
Water covers most of our planet and is imperative to our world. This book highlights the many different ecosystems that thrive in the water around the world and animals that live in each of them. It also discusses why water is important, how humans use water, and how we can protect the water to keep it clean and safe. My little guy loves this book as well as its sister book Green Planet: Life In Our Woods and Forests.
Saving Tally: An Adventure into the Great Pacific Plastic Patch by Serena Lane Ferrari
Tally and Ara are curious little friends who sometimes get into trouble. The most dangerous part of the ocean is about to shock Tally and Ara and make them realize that their underwater world isn’t always charming. Will they be able to escape the danger of plastic pollution in the ocean?
River by Elisha Cooper
Through flowing prose and stunning watercolor scenes, readers follow a traveler’s trek down the Hudson River as she and her canoe explore the wildlife, flora and fauna, and urban landscape at the river’s edge. Through perilous weather and river rushes, the canoe and her captain survive and maneuver their way down the river back home.
The Mess That We Made by Michelle Lord
This book explores the environmental impact of trash and plastic on the ocean and marine life, and it inspires kids to do their part to combat pollution. The first half of the book portrays the growing magnitude of the issue, and the second half rallies children and adults to make the necessary changes to save our oceans.
I Can Save The Ocean by Alison Inches
A little green monster heads to the beach and realizes how much trash is in the ocean. He decides to start cleaning up the beach and follows the trash back to its source to help readers understand how trash ends up in our ocean and how we can prevent it from getting there. It’s a cute story told in a way that is really accessible to younger children.
Ocean: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup
This colorful picture book with cutouts on each page shows readers so many wonderful and interesting creatures that live in the ocean. The book is written in rhymes and is simple enough for the young listeners while also holding the interest of older children.
Why Should I Save Water? by Jen Green
This is a great book for young children to hear the story about saving water through the eyes of a little boy and his neighborhood friend. His friend stops by and they talk about why they need to be careful about how much water they use and all the ways kids can save water in their own home. This is great for children of all ages and includes bright, engaging illustrations as well.
If you’re looking for more picture books about water, you might also like this list of wonderful picture books encouraging kids to save water.
What are your favorite books about the oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams that hydrate our ecosystem? Share them in the comments so we can all check out more awesome picture books about the wonderful world of water!