Our pick of 10 green books to read to your kids this summer! These Earth-friendly stories will inspire budding environmentalists, teach little ones about sustainability and encourage them to be kind to Mother Nature. In 2015, Bangalore, India, was in the news for all the wrong reasons- environmentally speaking. Between infrastructure that didn’t keep up with the huge population, badly managed traffic, rampant construction and our terrible garbage management problem- we’ve experienced every aspect of the resultant global warming. We had the hottest summer in the last 80 years in 2016. We didn’t have our regular summer rain showers. Our green cover is down, our water table low and the air is filled with allergens. What took the cake, however, was the news of a lake catching fire. Yeah, you read it right! A lake caught fire! The pollutants in the lake created a white foam cover over the lake which was inflammable. This led to lots of discussions with my kids both at home and at school about the environment, the big issue of climate change and pollution, the importance of being earth friendly and green conscious.

The best way to serve this planet is not just to clean up our mess and become environment friendly- you need to teach the inheritors how best to be friends with the earth.  For this, I think that we need to catch them young and help them appreciate this wondrous planet with a story.  I had penned an article for Secondsguru in the Summer of 2015 [Read article here] with my 10 favourite books to start kids off on this topic. Below is the update list for Summer 2016. Mostly new books, few from the earlier list, but all in all I have selected fun books which tell little people engaging stories about mother Earth and how we can all help her remain sustainable.

1. 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World- Melanie Walsh

melanie walsh - 10 things I can do to save my world
Picture credit: Amazon

Perfect for kindergarten and first graders, this is an absolutely fabulous and well-conceived picture book to teach kids to develop a green conscience. It’s about 10 things that little kids can do to save the world. The writing is simple, it has colorful illustrations and what’s more- the book is made of recycled material. It’s perfect to teach kids small practical ways to contribute. Do you remember to turn off the tap while you brush your teeth? How about using both sides of the paper when writing and drawing? Or planting seeds and nurturing the new plants as they grow? It addresses not just the ‘what you can do’ but also the ‘why’.  Saving this planet always starts with tiny simple steps made by little people with great care.

Available for borrowing at the National Library Singapore.

2. The Lorax- Dr. Seuss

the lorax - Dr Seuss
Picture credit: Amazon

Dr. Seuss is one of my favourite authors. The wisdom in his books transcends ages. Way before all these environmental problems associated with development and pollution was talked about, this wise man who created the character of Lorax warns about the ill effects of mindless progress on the environment and the earth’s natural beauty. Dr. Seuss’s story and gorgeous illustrations introduce you to the land of Truffula trees and the effects of deforestation on this land. This book generated its own controversy because there was a section of the population that felt that the book denounced industrialization and progress. Nope, it just warned us way back in 1971 that taking care of the environment was equally important as progress. As the Lorax puts it, “UNLESS someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not.” 

Available for borrowing at the National Library Singapore.

3. Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green- Eileen Spinelli

Eileen spinelli Miss Fox's class goes green
Picture credit: Amazon

Another perfect one for little people in primary school, this book focuses on the concept of reduce, recycle and reuse. When Miss Fox shows up at school riding her bicycle, Mouse asks, “Do you have a flat tire?” “No,” Miss Fox tells her students. “I am going green!” Soon everyone in the class is working to keep the earth healthy. Mouse takes shorter showers (and does her singing after!); Bunny brings a cloth bag to the supermarket; and Possum turns the lights off when he goes out. And Miss Fox’s simple act has ripples even beyond her own students… the principal starts riding his bike, too, and soon the whole school is going. It’s a colorful and beautifully illustrated book with simple effective writing that shows how one person can make a change.

Available for borrowing at the National Library Singapore.

4. Compost StewMary McKenna Siddals

Mary McKenna Siddals - Compost Stew
Picture credit: Amazon

Here’s something that encouraged my city bred kids to create their own compost. A lovely rhyming text tells you all the things that you can add to creating your own compost. I found this book pretty engaging, fun and educational. Vibrant collage illustrations use recycled and found materials. There is a little note at the end with some extra information on composting. While this may not be an all-encompassing book on composting, it’s a fabulous one to start with, especially for young kids. We used the compost we created to start our own herb garden.

Available for borrowing at the National Library Singapore.

[Read the Secondsguru guide to Composting in your apartment].

5. The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge- Joanna Cole

Joanna Cole Bruce Degen - The Magic Schoolbus and the climate challenge
Picture credit: Amazon

One of the best-selling science series of all time, the Magic School Bus series, tackles the complex issue of climate change in a way that small kids can understand. It’s wonderfully creative and has fantastic illustrations. Ms. Frizzle and her class take an adventure to learn about energy, climate control, and the greenhouse effect since the students are preparing for a play about the Earth and the things that affect its environment and climate. So they take a field trip on their magical school bus and travel to places like the arctic, various cities, sites of renewable energy, and even into the earth’s atmosphere. What I really liked about this book was that kids are taught that though they are kids, there are a lot of things that they can do to protect our environment.

Available for borrowing at the National Library Singapore.

6. The Mushroom Center Disaster- N. M. Bodecker

Bodecker The Mushroom Center disaster
Picture credit: Amazon

Another gem from the 70s, this little book tells the story of little earth animals who come together when disaster strikes their little mushroom community. “To you, perhaps, the remains of a picnic dropped somewhere in the woods doesn’t mean much. But a mess is a mess, and to the people in Mushroom Center, this mess was a disaster.” Focusing on the issues of littering and recycling/reusing, the black and white illustrations are fabulous. An absolutely lovely read for the ages 3 and up.

Available for borrowing at the National Library Singapore.

7. The Earth Book- Todd Parr

the earth book - todd parr
Picture credit: Amazon

The earth book is perfect for little kids. What I loved about this book is the message he sends with the book itself- it is printed entirely with recycled materials and nontoxic soy inks. With lovely simple illustrations that look like something kids might have done themselves, it is filled with little ways that one can contribute to protecting this planet and how one little action can have a huge effect. “I take care of the earth because I know I can do little things every day to make a BIG difference.” In the end, this is truly the simple truth.

Available for borrowing at the National Library Singapore.

8. One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia- Miranda Paul

Miranda Paul - One Plastic Bag
Picture credit: Amazon

This book is an absolute must-read. A fabulously illustrated book tells the true story about Isatou Ceesay and her band of recycling women who tackled Gambia’s plastic bag waste problem. “One plastic bag becomes two. Then ten. Then a hundred.” The plastic bags thrown away tend to accumulate on the road side with water pooled in them causing an increase in mosquitoes and water borne diseases. Burning them caused air pollution and the non-biodegradable nature of the plastic bags ensures that burying them was not a solution. Isatou decided that something needed to change and how she and the women of Njau, Gambia found a solution to their plastic bad problem forms the rest of the story. Beautiful writing, colorful illustrations, textures, and collages, this book is absolutely brilliant.  There are resources at the end of the book -the author’s note, a timeline, glossary, and a list of books about other people who have brought about positive changes. This book hit home because in Bangalore we face a huge garbage disposal problem and tiny steps in separating the wet and dry wastes have made a huge difference.

9. Not your typical book about the environment: Elin Kelsey

Elin Kelsey - Not your typical book about the environment
Picture credit: Amazon

I found this an incredibly refreshing and educational book. In a world filled with heightened environmental awareness, this book tends to ally kid’s eco anxieties. It speaks about why everything is not all doom and gloom and how we can do so much right from where we are now. Educative and with a comic like illustration this book grabs your attention from the very beginning. Bees can help world peace, seaweed and algae make up a lot of what’s in our ice cream, and buses can be powered by poop are some of Kelsey’s examples. With simple illustrations to explain sustainable living, I absolutely loved this book.

Available for borrowing at the National Library Singapore.

10. The Everything Kids Environment Book- Sheri Amsel

Sheri Amsel - the everything kids envoronment book
Picture credit: Amazon

This book looks at the impact our everyday actions has on the world around us. What choices we make have a long term bearing on our planet. So what can we do to create positive environment? This book is filled with information and activities that can be done on a daily basis and gives us a better understanding of our environment.

I hope you enjoy the list compiled. Small tip: when talking to kids about the importance of saving this planet, do remind them that it is the only known planet in the universe to have chocolate.

Note: Most titles are available at the National Library. For the rest, head to Amazon!

– Maya Jain
Maya is an obsessive reader, wistful blogger, doting mother and a spirited entrepreneur. She lives in Bangalore, India. You can read her musings on her blog My Awesome Everyday.

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1 Comments
  • I’m delighted to discover COMPOST STEW included in this great green roundup, and thank you so much, Maya, for shining such a generous spotlight on my book!

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