Whether you’ve been taking part in environmental protests, #FridaysForFuture or seen the reaction of world leaders on the news, it’s hard to ignore the impact that green protests have had in recent weeks. This green revolution has also made its mark on children’s publishing, with readers giving books on the climate crisis, global warming and the natural world the green light, and the number sold more than doubling over the past 12 months according to an article in The Guardian (Aug 2019)! With ecology and the environment currently at the forefront of the children’s book scene, we’ve selected our five favourite books for eco-conscious, climate-curious kids! (Just to get them started of course…)
Somebody Swallowed Stanley, Sarah Roberts:
What’s it about?: Here’s a case of mistaken identity for you: Stanley is a little different from your average jellyfish. Unlike them, he’s got two handles and instead of a glow, orange stripes. Turns out this little guy’s not a jellyfish at all- he’s a plastic bag! And he’s in trouble! Nipped, nibbled and gnawed at by everyone from hungry whales, seagulls and turtles, it seems that everybody has a taste for a stripey snack and getting gobbled up by curious creatures is business as usual! But poor Stanley could unwittingly do the animals more harm than good. Who will save Stanley? Will this plucky plastic bag ever get his second chance at life? Written by eco expert and animal behaviourist, Sarah Roberts and wonderfully complimented by Hannah Peck’s kooky and bright illustrative style, this brilliant book is a fantastic tool for introducing children to ecosystems, waste and our effect on the natural world. Somebody Swallowed Stanley makes conservationism digestible for even the youngest of readers!
Age range: 3-8
The Lorax, Dr Seuss
What’s it about?: Touted as the original eco warrior, this Truffula tree-hugger is desperate to stop the greedy, grabbing Once-ler’s from cutting down all the beautiful trees for their useless Thneeds! Dr Seuss’ warning against human greed and enduring ecological message of environmental responsibility are more relevant than ever in our modern world, proving that The Lorax really is and was a book ahead of it’s time. Starkly and wonderfully illustrated with Seuss’ trademark illustrations, The Lorax is sure to spark conversations between children and parents and is an easy and accessible way of talking about the environment with even very young children.
Age range: 3-7
What A Waste!, Jess French
What’s it about?: Ever wondered just how much of the world’s energy is renewable? Which is better, taking a shower or running a bath? How long does it take a straw to break down in landfill? All these burning questions are finally answered in Jess French’s fabulously fact-filled book for kids! Covering everything from water waste, single use plastics, eco homes and sustainable swapping, this brilliant non-fiction guide is full of canny tricks and hard-hitting factoids about our impact on the environment and what we can do to ensure our environment stays healthy for animals, plants and people alike!
Age range: 5-8
The Last Wild, Piers Torday
What’s it about?: It’s life, but not quite as we know it. Twelve year old Kester’s world is hard, savage. All animals are extinct, wiped out by the fearful ‘red eye’ virus. There are no crops. Food is scarce. The world is under quarantine. Snatched from his family and kept under lock and key at Spectrum Hall Academy for Challenging Children, Kester lives under the beady, watchful eyes of his wardens. There they try and make him do the only thing he can’t do: speak. Unable to communicate, Kester is more trapped and alone than ever. That is until a pigeon speaks to him and Kester discovers a gift he never knew he had: he can talk to animals. Can Kester use his powers to help the animals find a cure for ‘red eye’? Can he save The Last Wild from the Cullers? The first in the trilogy, this dark, post-apocalyptic book for KS2 children has clear ecological undertones and is not to be missed.
Age range: 8-11
Earth Heroes, Lily Dyu
What’s it about?: Sometimes it’s easy to feel dwarfed by the sheer scale of the problems facing the natural world today. From deforestation to dangerous chemicals being pumped into our atmosphere, from pollution to plastic waste in our oceans, it’s natural to feel scared and to ask whether one person can really make the difference. Lily Dyu has gone nineteen better with this book, with no less than twenty inspiring stories of hope from some of the most pioneering people on the planet! From Mohammed Reswan and Stella McCartney, to David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, whether they’re building floating schools, striking for climate change or turning waste into wealth, this book is a testament to the power of the individual and carries a powerful message: You can be the difference.
Age range: 8-11