Celebrate Earth Day with these Children’s Books

If you are like me, you are enjoying the beautiful warm sunny days and abundance of flowers and blooms everywhere. What better month than April to celebrate Earth Day? These are books you can share with your kids to celebrate our planet this month or any time of year. 

To start off your Earth Day reading, try Black Beach: A Community, an Oil Spill, and the Origin of Earth Day by Shaunna and John Stith. This non-fiction picture books tells of an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in January 1969 that led to outrage over the ensuing ecological disaster and eventually to the celebration of the very first Earth Day in 1970. 

The Day the River Caught Fire: How the Cuyahoga River Exploded and Ignited the Earth Day Movement by Barry Wittenstein details the true story of another event in 1969. The Cuyahoga River in Ohio had caught fire many times due to the high levels of industrial pollution but when it happened again in June of 1969 the outcry was another catalyst in the creation of the EPA (and Clean Water and Clean Air Acts) and the first Earth Day in 1970. 

Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement by Stephanie Roth Sisson looks at another inspiration for the modern environmental movement. This picture book biography looks at a young Rachel Carson who loved the natural world around her. As she grew up and became a scientist. Her book Silent Spring is considered one of the landmark books of the 20th century. 

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is really the grandaddy of books that inspire kids to take care of our planets. The Lorax “speaks for the trees” and ends with the message that one tiny seed (or one small child) can make a difference in the world. 

Energy Island by Allan Drummond tells the true story of the Danish island of Samso that went from being oil dependent to producing more electricity than it needs using renewable energy technologies in only 10 years. 

One Earth by Eileen Spinelli is a lovely book that prompts kids to look around them to appreciate the world they live in them. Gentle rhyming text first counts up from one to ten naming some of the beautiful things in the world and then counts down from ten to one listing simple ways we can help care for the earth. The conclusion reminds us that we only have one earth to both appreciate and care for. 

The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth by Rachel Ignotofsky is a beautifully illustrated and incredibly detailed look at the world. Covering ecosystems, biodiversity, geology and told through intricate illustrations and maps, this one is best for older kids. If you have a science loving kid, this is the book for them. 

If you have younger kids, Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayre is a great book to introduce the topic of our planet. Simple text accompanies gorgeous photos as the author composes a letter thanking the earth for all that she sees around her. The end pages give more details and ways that kids can help care for the world that make this also a good choice for older kids.