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Environmental Issues - Let's Learn!

Updated: May 22, 2020

Wonderful children's books about Environmental Issues and what we can do to help.

With the world stopping to think about ‘World Earth Day’ this week and children and adults alike becoming more and more aware that changes need to be made to how we’re living, you may have children asking questions, such as: Why do we need to save the planet? What is wrong with the planet? and What can we do? These can feel like impossible and intimidating questions to answer, where do you start? 

Children and young adults are being taught at school about the environment, pollution and recycling from a young age. This combined with young people, such as Greta Thunberg making real, honest and passionate speeches, it's not surprising that questions and queries will begin to pile up. We think that it is important that children grow up with an awareness and understanding of our planet's issues. However, it is important that we do not scare children, but teach. What are the problems and what are the solutions?

There are some amazing books for your ‘home library’ that teach your children about their world and how to care for it. 

Here are some great fictional stories and non-fiction books to teach your children about important environmental issues. 

Wild Tribe Heroes Series

Duffy’s Lucky Escape, Marli’s Tangled Tale, Nelson’s Dangerous Dive and

Buddy’s Rainforest Rescue by Ellie Jackson and Laura Callwood

Duffy the Sea Turtle, Marli the Puffin, Nelson the Whale and Buddy the Orangutan are all Wild Tribe Heroes. These fantastic tales and characters are all based on true stories. They have loveable characters that fall into trouble, that simply isn't their fault. Their troubled tales are caused by environmental problems that instantly provoke both children and adults to ask why, and what can we do? The great thing about this series of books is that it provides solutions and answers instantly. Whilst giving interesting facts about the animals that these characters are based on, they also recruit the reader to become a ‘Wild Tribe Hero’ as well! They explain how simply you can improve your environmental choices, how you can help the animals in the tales and help care for their natural habitats. 

Somebody Swallowed Stanley by Sarah Roberts

This is a tale all about a plastic bag named Stanley who keeps getting mistaken as a tasty jellyfish by many poor sea creatures in the sea. This fun and silly story, with rhyming words and rhythm, is a joy to read with an important environmental message ‘Plastic bags don’t belong in the sea!’.

A powerful first picture book about plastic pollution. 

Not For Me Please! I Choose To Act Green by Maria Godsey

This fictional story about a boy named

Luke follows him on his journey to protect what he loves, the environment! After noticing the damage caused to the environment and animals due to rubbish and waste, Luke decides to take action. He believes he can have a big impact on the world around him and invites his readers to join him!

The Magic and Mystery of Trees by Jen Green

This non-fiction text is suitable for a range of ages. It teaches the reader about the amazing natural science of trees and the illustrations are beautifully laid out showing the beauty in natural science. Children that have read this book have raved about how much they have learned about the importance of trees and the many reasons they are needed in our world. 

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

‘Once there was a tree … and she loved a little boy.’

The Giving Tree is a sweet and sad story about a tree giving all that can to a little boy. When reading it with children and asking them what they think the meaning of the story is, it is truly amazing to find what they have interpreted from the story. By making the tree a character children care about the outcome of the tree and are quick to say how they would do things differently. 

Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker

A truly beautiful picture book about climate change for young children. This is particularly inspiring because its main character is the Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg – the Swedish teenager who has led a global movement to raise awareness about the world’s climate crisis. Whilst this book has been written for children to explain the issues of their generation, the story’s underlying message is one of kindness. A meaningful tale to inspire little children and young people, demonstrating that if they want to, they can make a change. 

What a Waste: Rubbish, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet by Jess French

This non-fiction text teaches that every small change helps our planet. It includes facts about what we're doing to our environment, good and bad, from pollution and litter to renewable energy and plastic recycling. It does deliver hard and serious facts that explain where we're going wrong, however it importantly shows what we're doing right! Inspiring all to make a positive impact, showing how your waste can be turned into something useful. 

Books, both fictional and non-fiction are a great resource to learn from. In addition to helpful texts there are also some really fun and interesting ways to involve your child in caring for the environment from your home. Giving them a specific role or project will extend their understanding in a practical way. 

You could, for example:

  • Plant flowers or a tree in your garden.

  • Involve them safely in taking part in recycling household rubbish and identifying which items can be recycled.

  • Give their old clothes, books and toys to others instead of throwing them away.

  • Create an upcycling project, using items that cannot be recycled. 

Experiences are memorable and activities are fun. You could go on to take your child to a local woodland area or the park and see what wildlife can be spotted there. Your child’s natural enthusiasm and curiosity to learn about their environment will mean that in a few small steps they become more environmentally aware. 

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