Empower children to care for our planet on Earth Day — and every day!
It’s never too early (or too late) to teach kids to appreciate and care for our outdoor environments. Our top ten picks for Earth Day reads can lead to simple conversations about respecting wildlife and keeping our world clean. Plus, they offer early science lessons by teaching about plant and animal life cycles, weather, habitats and more! Learning about sustainability and about how different cultures view and value our planet can plant the seed for a lifetime of stewardship. Enjoy digging into our list!
1. Barefoot Books Water
Written by Christy Mihaly and illustrated by Mariona Cabassa
Immerse yourself in fascinating facts about water! This comprehensive yet accessible exploration of water will help young readers understand many aspects of one of our planet's most precious resources – and how they can protect it. A friendly water droplet character guides children through topics ranging from melting and freezing to the ways in which water literally shapes the Earth. Tales by storytellers from around the world are sprinkled through the book, highlighting the variety of ways in which global cultures value water. The engaging format includes gatefolds and booklets with hands-on activity ideas for learning about and protecting water. For ages 8-12.
2. Planet Power
Written by Stacy Clark and illustrated by Annalisa Beghelli
Explore six renewable energy technologies that are used around the world! Accessible verse and lush illustrations introduce children to important information about how we can harness the planet's natural resources including wind, water and sun. Inset boxes define new words like “turbine”, while extensive endnotes further explain the science behind each power source and the benefits of clean energy. For ages 6-11.
3. STEM Slide and See Series
Crack! Written by Beatriz Giménez de Ory and illustrated by Paloma Valdivia
Poop! Written by Beatriz Giménez de Ory and illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
Tweet! Written by María José Ferrada and illustrated by Magdalena Pérez
Introduce budding scientists to fun STEM topics — eggs, feathers and poop! The three interactive board books in the Slide-and-See series feature riddles about the different eggs, feathers and poop of the animal kingdom, and images that transform as you turn the page to reveal the answer. Each book includes fact-packed educational endnotes. For ages 3-6.
4. The More We Get Together
Written by Celeste Cortright, illustrated by Betania Zacarias and sung by Audra Mariel and Kena Anae
Empower kids to create a greener world, starting in their own neighborhoods! Set to the familiar tune of “The More We Get Together,” this vibrant singalong features a diverse group of children who work together to make their urban neighborhood cleaner, friendlier, and safer for everyone. Sing along as the community bicycles and recycles together, volunteers at an assisted living home, participates in a letter-writing campaign and finally gathers around a potluck meal. End matter includes an age-appropriate introduction to conservation, recycling, community gardens and more, as well as actionable ways for children to get involved in their own neighborhoods. For ages 3-7.
5. Kids’ Garden
Written by Whitney Cohen and illustrated by Roberta Arenson
Dig in, explore the garden and have fun indoors and out! Fifty easy-to-follow activity cards in 5 engaging categories invite children to learn not just the basics of gardening, but also new ways of looking at nature. Creative games, nature-themed crafts and unique experiments are enhanced by colorful collage artwork on each double-sided card. Kid-friendly explanations of the history and science behind each activity make this product a valuable multi-layered educational resource. Includes an 8-page booklet that contains information on gardening tools, year-round plant care and garden safety. For ages 6-10.
6. I Like the Weather Series
Written by Sarah Nelson and illustrated by Rachel Oldfield
Lyrical, rhyming text and playful, hand-painted illustrations invite young readers to share in the rhythm of the rushing rain, the warmth of the shining sun, the mystery of the whistling wind and the beauty of swirling snow. Each of the 4 books in the series includes educational STEM endmatter about its respective weather element and how it helps humans and the planet. For ages 3-7.
7. The Beeman
Written by Laurie Krebs and illustrated by Valeria Cis
Find out where honey comes from as Grandpa the Beeman teaches the basics of beekeeping to his young grandson. This rhyming story includes 7 pages of educational endnotes full of essential facts about bees, beekeeping, honey, and the vital part that bees play in the natural world. For ages 4-10.
8. Home for a Penguin, Home for a Whale
Written by Brenda Williams and illustrated by Annalisa Beghelli
Dive under the sea to explore the ocean homes of 23 marine animals! With a sea snail hidden on each page and eight pages of fact-packed educational notes that include information about clean energy and marine conservation, Home for a Penguin, Home for a Whale will delight both preschoolers and emerging readers alike. For ages 3-8.
9. Listen, Listen
Written by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by Alison Jay
Introduce young readers to the sights and sounds of the year - from summer's sizzling sun to winter's crackling snow. Featuring breathtaking illustrations by internationally renowned illustrator, Alison Jay, this book will open your child's eyes and ears to the world around them! For ages 1-4.
10. The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales
Retold by Dawn Casey and illustrated by Anne Wilson
Packed with 7 hands-on activities, this gorgeous anthology of traditional tales from around the world promotes a sustainable lifestyle and keeps kids busy! Follow the Sun Mother, a brave Comanche girl and a thoughtful Welsh couple, and you'll see how the culture-crossing, centuries-old practice of green living is perhaps more relevant today than ever before. It's the perfect intercultural anthology for the young naturalist or backseat traveler! For ages 5-11.
Can’t pick just one Earth Day read? Try the Planet Protector Pack!
Inspire and educate the next generation of Planet Protectors, while contributing to an important cause! Created in partnership with Julian Lennon’s White Feather Foundation, the Planet Protector Pack includes:
- Critically acclaimed books about renewable energy and natural resources
- Global, sustainability-focused activity deck (50 activities) and sticker book (400+ reusable stickers!)
- A tree growing kit for planting your own tree
- A print of one of Julian Lennon’s fine art photographs, along with a note from him
- A sturdy tote made from recycled plastic bottles
- A charitable donation of $10 to the White Feather Foundation
- Access to an online toolkit with extra resources and activities
- Available in the US and Canada.