This year’s Earth Day theme is “Invest in Our Planet.” While there are countless actions to consider in the fight against the climate crisis, arguably one of the best planetary investments we can make is prioritizing climate and environmental literacy. It’s never too early for children to start learning how to respect and protect the planet we all call home.

When explaining climate change to young children, many experts suggest being honest but reassuring. Explain that the actions of humans are causing some big problems for the planet, but emphasize that there are lots of things we can all do to help find the solution. It’s important to help children develop an age-appropriate awareness of climate change, and build upon it as they grow.

A great way to foster an early love and appreciation for our planet is through telling stories and reading about its many resources. The books we share with young children help shape and inform their growing knowledge of the Earth’s environment and the challenges it faces.

Below, CLiF’s Earth Day roundup of some of the best books for young readers, including several from our presenters:


From environmentalist and bestselling author Bill McKibben comes a hopeful, inspiring picture book celebrating the power of human cooperation and the beauty of life on Earth, beautifully illustrated by artist Stevie Lewis.

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Millie Marotta comes this gorgeous celebration of the animal kingdom. A Wild Child’s Guide to Endangered Animals highlights the plight of 43 endangered species from around the world, including rare and well-known animals living in freshwater, oceans, forests, mountains, tundras, deserts, grasslands, and wetlands.

 

 

By Patricia MacLachlan, the Newbery Award–winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall, My Friend Earth is a valentine to our wonderful planet.

 

 

 

From Deborah Underwood, the New York Times best-selling author behind The Quiet Book comes a mindful contemplation on the many ways nature affects our everyday lives, even when we’re stuck inside. A 2021 Caldecott Honor Book.

 

 

Oliver Jeffers, arguably the most influential creator of picture books today, offers a rare personal look inside his own hopes and wishes for his child–and in doing so gifts children and parents everywhere with a gently sweet and humorous missive about our world and those who call it home.

 

 

From acclaimed children’s book biographer and CLiF presenter Sandra Neil Wallace comes the inspiring and little-known story of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the remarkable journalist who saved the Florida Everglades from development and ruin.

 

 

Based on the New York Times best-selling adult memoir, author and CLiF presenter Sy Montgomery‘s beautiful, friendly guide is for readers young and old who wish to be better creatures in the world. 

 

 

In Barefoot Books Water, author and CLiF presenter Christy Mihaly explores different water forms, the water cycle, the importance of water to life, salt and fresh water, water power, and water use and conservation. Fold-out page wings add further information; fold-up tabs reveal activities, experiments, and actions to preserve and protect water.

 

 

Get charged up about energy! With more than 20 fun activities and experiments that will have children ages 8 to 12 enthusiastically engaged with making and using renewable energy, author and CLiF presenter Michael J. Caduto takes a hands-on approach to fighting climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CLiF has served over 350,000 children since 1998.

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