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26 Wonderful Picture Books To Encourage Children to Conserve Water

How do you teach your children about the importance of caring for and conserving water? Why is it really that important? Those of us living in countries like the United States take for granted the abundance of generally clean water. However, it’s more important than we might realize to start conversations with our children about caring for the water we have on our Earth.

Books are a great way to start these conversations, and I’ve compiled a list of over two dozen books you can explore with your children to help them understand why we need to take good care of and conserve our water. 

Pile of picture books all water conservation and our water cycle

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine reached out to ask about resources to help teach her young son about water conservation. Apparently, he was wasting a lot of water, which is totally understandable. Prioritizing water is a big, complex topic that is really hard for adults to comprehend, not to mention young kids. Specifically, she asked about book recommendations to help her talk to and teach her young son about the importance of our water.

So… you ask and I deliver! Over the last few weeks, I checked out so many books from the library about water that the employees at the circulation desk started to get a little concerned. I think they thought I was a tad bit crazy. However, I really wanted to vet all the books before I recommend them to you. There were a few that I didn’t much care for, so they aren’t included on the list below. Scan through the list and then check out a few to start the conversation with your kids about caring for and conserving our very important water supply.

26 Wonderful Picture Books To Encourage Children to Conserve Water

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.

Poetic Stories About Water and Rain

A Cool Drink of Water by Barbara Kerley

I love this book. From the National Geographic Society, this book is not illustrated but has gorgeous photographs (as to be expected from National Geographic). The book has few words but focuses on how people all over the world are drinking water in all sorts of ways. This book is great for children of all ages.

Ages4-8 | Pages 32

All The Water In the World by George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson

Another favorite of mine from the books we explored, this book includes abstract and colorful illustrations to accompany a story about how we use water and where it comes from. This book is great for kids of all ages.

Ages 4-8 | Pages 40

Water Dance by Thomas Locker

Told from the perspective of the rain, this story poetically highlights all the places we can find the rain. It lives everywhere and we experience it in many different ways. This book can be enjoyed by children of all ages.

Ages 4-7 | Pages 32

Water by Frank Ashe

This simple story is perfect for children of all ages and celebrates how water is all around us. Vibrant illustrations draw in readers as they see many reasons to appreciate water and why it’s so important to us.

Ages 4-7 | Pages 32

Fictional Stories About Water

Water! Water! Water! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

This is a cute story of Walter and his adventure creating a book all about the wonderful properties of water. It’s written in the format of a story but also includes some simple and fun experiments kids can try as they learn to understand the various properties of water. It was one of my favorites that I thought conveyed scientific information at the right level for children and in a more engaging way than some other books.

Ages 6-8 | Pages 40

The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks by Joanna Cole

Many of us are familiar with Ms. Frizzle and the crazy Magic School Bus stories. This story takes the class on a fun adventure through the life of water into the sky, down into our streams and rivers, and then through the municipal water processing system into their school faucets. I think this is such a fun book for kids and is great for children that are about preschool age and older.

Ages 4-8 | Pages 40

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 homes. This is great for children of all ages and includes bright, engaging illustrations as well.

Ages 4-7 | Pages 32

Water Is Water by Miranda Paul

This fun and quick story teaches children how water is part of everything: babies, apples, and so much more. It follows water through the seasons and is great for kids of all ages.

Ages 6-10 | Pages 40

A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton

A little boy wakes early every morning to go to the local well and gather water for his family. This is great to start discussions with our kids about where water comes from and how not everyone has access to running water in their homes. The book is not long so it’s suitable for children of all ages.

Ages 4-8 | Pages 32

Fictional Stories About Rain

Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse

I love this story! A little girl and her friend wait on a hot summer day for the rain to come. Finally, the rain comes and she and several kids from the neighborhood put on their swimsuits and dance in the rain. I also love that this everyday story includes a diverse cast of characters.

Ages 4-8 | Pages 32

Ethan The Raindrop by Sean Patrick Guidera

Ethan is a little raindrop comfortable living in the sky with his family. He becomes nervous when he learns he will be falling to the ground, but he enjoys the excitement of the journey through the water cycle. This is a fun story that brings to life the journey of rain droplets from the clouds back down to the Earth.

Ages 7-9 | Pages 26

The Little Raindrop by Joanna Gray

Such a fun story about one little raindrop traveling through the sky, it has great illustrations for little ones and a story we can all enjoy.

Ages 3-6 | Pages 32

Bringing The Rain To Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema

This African folktale story walks through a season of drought and how one woman used her bow and arrow to pierce the cloud and allow the rain to fall. Without rain, all the animals and plants suffered. Once the rain came, everything was thriving and happy again.

Ages 5-8 | Pages 33

The Water Hole by Graeme Base

This is a counting book as well as a story about how water is a universal need that brings us all together. The water hole is a meeting place that, over time, becomes empty with drought. Once it rains, however, the animals all return to the water hole and it is a colorful and diverse place.

Ages 7-12 | Pages 32

Biographical Stories About Change Makers Related To Water

The Water Princess by Susan Verde

Teach your little ones about others around the world who don’t have such easy access to water. This book shares the true story of one young African girl who walked with her mom to collect water for their family every day. She spent nearly the entire day trekking back and forth to the water. It discusses her frustration with the lack of accessible water and also her appreciation for the community of women and girls she develops around the water.

Ages 5-8 | Pages 40

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

After experiencing a severe drought that cost his family their entire harvest in one year, William, the main character, learned from his local library how to make a windmill. He used scraps and metal from around his community to build the windmill which ultimately powered the well to bring water to his village. Based on a true story and filled with great illustrations, this was a favorite in our house each time we checked it out from the library.

Ages 10-17 | Pages 304

Non-Fiction Books About The Water Cycle and Water On Our Planet

We Need Water by Charles Ghingna

Perfect for toddlers and younger children, this “My Little Planet” book highlights all the different ways we use water in our everyday life. It’s a simple book with straightforward and colorful illustrations. Although my boys are a bit older, this was a great book for them to try to read themselves.

Ages 2-4 | Pages 24

Follow The Water From Brook to Ocean by Arthur Dorros

This book is great for preschoolers and early elementary-aged children learning about how water cycles through our world. It’s not too complicated but gives a realistic view of how water travels through our world, where it gets polluted and why we need to keep it clean. It’s also nice that it has a diverse set of characters.

Ages 4-8 | Pages 32

You Wouldn’t Want To Live Without Clean Water by Roger Canavan

This book takes a more social look at water. Although it includes some of the scientific matters related to the water cycle, each page focuses on a particular question related to water. Some of the questions include:

  • How Long Could You Go Without Water?
  • Can Dirty Water Make You Sick?
  • How Far Could You Carry a Bucket of Water?
  • Would You Go To War Over Water?

You can tell just from these titles there are some heavy social issues related to water that are addressed at a very high level so children can begin to think about these. I really like that this book takes a much different approach to the matter of water and digs into why we really want to preserve our water (without scaring children).

Ages 8+ | Pages 40

A Drop In The Ocean: The Story of Water by Jacqui Bailey

This book doesn’t have a main character or plot, per se, but it does have more of a story feel relative to some of the other non-fiction books on this list. It discusses elementary-level scientific topics about water like molecules, water vapor, and the path of water through the water cycle. The book includes some appendices and experiments kids can try. This was one of my favorite non-fiction choices from the list and one my kids enjoyed as well.

Ages 8-12 | Pages 32

Water: Up, Down, and All Around by Natalie M. Rosinsky

Great illustrations accompany this story perfect for teaching budding scientists all about water and the cycle it travels through on the Earth.

Ages 5-10 | Pages 24

The Drop Goes Plop: A First Look at the Water Cycle by Sam Godwin

This is the best book I found to introduce younger children to the water cycle. It does a great job of keeping the water cycle, from vapor to clouds to rivers and then into our water system, simple enough not to overwhelm younger children. This is great for preschool-level readers through early elementary age children.

Ages 4-8 | Pages 32

Did a Dinosaur Drink This Water? by Robert E Wells

This story takes an elementary look at the science behind our water cycle. It discusses water in its three forms (solid, liquid, and gas) and how it cycles through the earth and atmosphere as rivers and oceans, clouds, and rain in different parts of the world. I think it’s a great introduction to water and how it is recycled over and over again. It might be a little advanced for preschoolers but is great for early elementary students and above.

Ages 4-8 | Pages 32

The Drop in My Drink by Meredith Hooper

This book discusses all the ways water is present in our lives and has been a part of the world for millions of years. The book is a bit long so I think it’s best for older preschool children and above. It might be a little heavy and long for toddlers and younger children.

Ages 8-12 | Pages 36

A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder by Walter Wick

The photographs of water in this book are really amazing, with lots of close-up images of water in its various forms and different contexts. The written content is fairly dense. While it doesn’t include language that is particularly scientific or technical, it is written for older children. The photos might be interesting to young children, but it’s probably not a book younger children would enjoy listening to.

Ages 4-8 | Pages 40

Every Last Drop: Bringing Home Clean Water by Michelle Mulder

This book discusses, in a way accessible to elementary and middle school-age children, a variety of different ways people have gotten water throughout history. it also touches on why it’s important and why we need to protect it and keep it clean. This feels like more of a reference book than a storybook, but is interesting enough for older children to learn more about this important resource.

Ages 9-12 | Pages 48

After reading each of these with my boys, we were sitting at the counter eating dinner. Each of the boys told me about a book they were writing, and my younger son decided to write his book all about saving water and ensuring we aren’t wasting any water. My heart melted a little bit, and I was pumped to see that these books really did have an impact on how they see water and our world.

If you have any other favorite picture books about water, be sure to share them and let me know. I’m always up for new recommendations!

Pile of picture books all water conservation and our water cycle

About The Author

Jen Panaro

Jen Panaro, founder and editor of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.

You can find more of her work at WasteWell, a company that provides composting resources and local curbside compost collection services, and Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.

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