The best books for teens who care about the environment

Who am I?

I am the author of more than eighty books on science for young readers. My books for teens include The Monarchs Are Missing: A Butterfly Mystery, Climate Migrants: On the Move in a Warming World, and Where Have All the Bees Gone? My books have won many honors, including a Green Prize for Sustainable Literature, a John Burroughs Association Riverby Award for nature writing, and a place on Booklist's Top 10 Books on the Environment & Sustainability for Youth for 2020. I hold a PhD in cellular & molecular biology, and my background as a professional biologist informs my writing.


I wrote...

Where Have All the Bees Gone?: Pollinators in Crisis

By Rebecca E. Hirsch,

Book cover of Where Have All the Bees Gone?: Pollinators in Crisis

What is my book about?

Apples, blueberries, peppers, cucumbers, coffee, and vanilla. Do you like to eat and drink? Then you might want to thank a bee. Bees pollinate 75 percent of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States. Around the world, bees pollinate $24 billion worth of crops each year. Without bees, humans would face a drastically reduced diet. But numbers of bees are falling, and some bee species are teetering on the brink of extinction. What's behind the decline?

This book teaches you about the many bee species on Earth -- their nests, their colonies, their life cycles, and their vital connection to flowering plants. You'll learn how diseases, pesticides, climate change, and loss of habitat are all threatening bee populations. Most importantly, you'll discover what you can do to help.

The books I picked & why

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No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference

By Greta Thunberg,

Book cover of No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference

Why this book?

This slim book gathers the writings and speeches of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who made history in 2018 when she went on strike from school to protest climate change. Her actions sparked a global movement of students, who also went on strike for our planet. Thunberg's book reminds you how powerful your own voice can be and is the perfect size for tucking into your pocket on the way to your next climate strike.


Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines

By Paul Fleischman,

Book cover of Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines

Why this book?

Fleischmann's tone is upbeat as he explains how to get above environmental issues and see the bigger political and financial forces at work. He explains different environmental problems, from climate change to the hole in the ozone layer, but also delves into the patterns and principles operating behind the scenes. This book teaches you how to evaluate media, weigh sources, understand an interest group's hidden agenda, and make informed decisions as you engage in the fight to save our planet.


The Omnivore's Dilemma

By Michael Pollan,

Book cover of The Omnivore's Dilemma

Why this book?

In this book, Pollan plays food detective, investigating how four different meals come together: fast food from McDonald's; "big organic" fare from Whole Foods Market; a home-grown meal from a small, sustainable farm; and a dinner that he hunts and gathers himself. This engaging book helps you piece together the fascinating (and sometimes alarming) origin of what's on your plate and empowers you to take charge of your food choices.


The Race to Save the Lord God Bird

By Phillip Hoose,

Book cover of The Race to Save the Lord God Bird

Why this book?

Hoose tells the fascinating history of the ivory-billed woodpecker, a magnificent creature of the swamps and forests of the southeastern US. The book sweeps through two hundred years of history as the bird is hunted, harassed, and its habitat destroyed. By the twentieth century, the birds are so scarce that ornithologists launch the first of many searches, heading into the swamps to find evidence of the bird. To this day, the mystery remains maddeningly unsolved: does the ivory-billed woodpecker still exist or is has it been driven to extinction? A haunting story and one that might make you cry.


A Life in the Wild: George Schaller's Struggle to Save the Last Great Beasts

By Pamela S. Turner,

Book cover of A Life in the Wild: George Schaller's Struggle to Save the Last Great Beasts

Why this book?

Turner chronicles the life of George Schaller, a pioneering field biologist who has dedicated his life to saving the world's great wild beasts. You'll travel the world with Schaller as he observes and tries to save some of the world's most endangered animals: mountain gorillas in Central Africa, lions in the Serengeti, snow leopards in the Himalayas, and more. This adventure-packed biography is illustrated with Schaller's own photographs and carries a powerful message about the importance of conservation.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in global warming, environmentalism, and environmental policy?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about global warming, environmentalism, and environmental policy.

Global Warming Explore 53 books about global warming
Environmentalism Explore 93 books about environmentalism
Environmental Policy Explore 11 books about environmental policy

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Climate Change as Social Drama: Global Warming in the Public Sphere, Oil, Water, and Climate: An Introduction, and High Tide On Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis if you like this list.