Teaching kids to take care of the environment starts with reading! Discover children’s books for Earth Day that can inspire your child.
I’ll be honest: I can’t always read news about the environment—at least the bad news. I don’t do this because I’m oblivious to the facts or I’m set on disregarding the planet.
Nope—I avoid bad news because it can depress me.
With every frightening hurricane or degree of heat, it’s easy to feel powerless in the face of these tragedies.
That’s why I like to focus on proactive news, especially the steps we can take to care for the environment. From sequestering carbon in the soil to the rise of farmers’ markets and Buy Nothing Groups, this kind of news inspires and reminds me that we can still do plenty.
Yes, we should support environmental groups and press representatives to focus on the environment. But it’s also empowering to remember that you and I can do a lot as well.
At the end of this article, I’ll share my tips on how families can help. For now, I want to highlight one of the best ways we can honor our planet: reading children’s books for Earth Day.
Children’s books for Earth Day
Reading these Earth Day books teaches our young environmentalists to be stewards of the planet, to appreciate what we have, and to be satisfied with enough. While we honor planet Earth and bring awareness to the environment on Earth Day, it’s important to sow these values not just once a year, but every day.
These children’s books for Earth Day show the beauty of the planet and inspire kids to protect wildlife and endangered animals. They learn about conserving Earth’s water and other natural resources. And that we have a responsibility and a desire to preserve what’s important to us.
I hope you and your kids enjoy these books as my kids have, and that they can inspire you to protect the planet:
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Rocket Says Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon
The Big Beach Cleanup by Charlotte Offsay
A Garden to Save the Birds by Wendy McClure
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul
The Great Compost Heap by Renaee Smith
My Friend Earth by Patricia MacLachlan
The Water Lady by Alice B. McGinty
Earth Hour by Nanette Heffernan
We Are the Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
Earth Day, Birthday! by Maureen Wright
Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals
Earth Day Every Day by Lisa Bullard
Where Does the Garbage Go? by Paul Showers
10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh
Earth Day—Hooray! by Stuart J. Murphy
The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole
Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel
Don’t Throw That Away! by Lara Bergen
The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins
Why Should I Recycle? by Jen Green
Kate, Who Tamed the Wind by Liz Garton Scanlon
Zonia’s Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
Heal the Earth by Julian Lennon
Greta Thunberg by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
A Kids Book About Climate Change by Zanagee Artis
Simple ways families can protect the earth
We’ve all heard about the three R’s: reuse, reduce, recycle. Here are a few ways we can do just that, plus two more important R’s: repair and refuse.
- Use hand-me-downs. These could be from friends and family or bought at consignment stores. Pass along your child’s outgrown clothes to your circle of friends, your local Buy Nothing Group, or a donation center.
- Pack utensils and use food containers. Does your child pack a daily lunch for school? Pack reusable utensils and snack bags instead of disposable ones, and buy a good container or Thermos for her main meal.
- Turn old art projects into new ones. Is your home packed with art projects? Turn them into new ones or use them for scrap paper.
- Use just enough water and electricity. Don’t fill up the kids’ tub—only use what you need. And turn off the lights in rooms when you’re not spending time there.
- Bike or walk to school. If you’re zoned for a local school, you more than likely live close enough to walk or bike to it. Don’t want to walk all the way, or feel short on time? Drive midway, park the car, and walk the rest of the way. Even once a week is helpful.
- Reduce consumption. Don’t buy so much, especially new items. Think about whether you can use something you already have, borrow from someone else, or make your own. If you do need to buy something, see if you can buy it secondhand.
- Leave a convenient bin in your kitchen for recycling. You can do the same in your bathroom.
- Recycle old baby gear. It’s tempting to toss old car seats or broken crib parts in the trash, but research local recycling centers that can take them off your hands.
- Teach your child to sort trash vs recyclables. Not everything goes in the trash—talk about what goes in the trash and the recycle bin so she can do this on her own.
- Fix items or toys that break. Don’t be too quick to toss a broken toy that could be fixed with a simple screw. I’m all about decluttering, but if your child truly loves the toy, think of how you can repair it first before tossing it away.
- Mend clothes. I’m not one to mend holes in socks, but I’ll sew a button back on or fix a zipper. Better yet, buy quality clothes (like these socks made from recycled water bottles) that last longer.
- Keep gifts simple. You don’t need to give your kids tons of toys (take a look at the downside of having too many). You can also choose to give the gift of experiences instead.
- Rotate toys. It’s natural for your child to grow bored of her current toys, but don’t assume you have to supply her with a new batch. Instead, rotate her current toys: put away a few she’s not playing with, leaving the rest for her to use. When she gets tired of those, bring out the stored toys and put away the ones she just grew tired of.
Get more tips:
- 7 Unique Ways to Care for the Environment as a Family
- Children’s Books About the Beach
- The Best Children’s Books about Gardening
- Why Earth Day Matters
- Children’s Books about Food
Free resource: Want even more book ideas? Join my newsletter and grab your copy of the Read Aloud Book List! You’ll get hundreds of favorite selections to read aloud with your kids. Get it below—at no cost to you:
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