The best picture books to help make Earth Day every day

The Books I Picked & Why

What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting Our Planet

By Jess French

What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting Our Planet

Why this book?

What a Waste is the perfect nonfiction pairing for Dear Earth, packed with in-depth information, not only on everyday habits that hurt our environment, but super important (and simple) actions Earth Heroes, young and old, can take to change these habits. I can just see the kids in Room 5 using this book as a reference each month for their eco-friendly projects.


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We Are Water Protectors

By Carole Lindstrom, Michaela Goade

We Are Water Protectors

Why this book?

This excerpt from We Are Water Protectors says it all: 

“We fight for those who cannot fight for themselves…

We are all related…

We are stewards of the earth…”

This beautiful book not only inspires readers to speak up for our world; it reminds us we are all connected. I can see teachers everywhere sharing it to remind students why their stewardship is so important.


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Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

By Andrea Beaty, David Roberts

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

Why this book?

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez shows what an incredible difference “just a kid” can make, even when those in “power” don’t take her seriously. Not only would the kids in Room 5 support Sofia’s fabulous solution to the dangerous “Mount Trashmore” landfill, but I’m also certain they would learn a lot about the process of getting their own eco-conscious suggestions heard by the local government.


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Ocean Soup: A Recipe for You, Me, and a Cleaner Sea

By Meeg Pincus, Lucy Semple

Ocean Soup: A Recipe for You, Me, and a Cleaner Sea

Why this book?

Ocean Soup sneaks up on you—in a good way! The wonderful rhymes draw readers into what seems like a fun story (and it is) but suddenly, the trash that lies beneath the ocean’s surface is revealed, and we learn what a messy soup we humans have made. I love that readers not only learn about environmentalism and conservation, but are also empowered with simple actions they can adopt to help keep our oceans clean.


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The Old Man and the Penguin: A True Story of True Friendship

By Julie Abery, Pierre Pratt

The Old Man and the Penguin: A True Story of True Friendship

Why this book?

The Old Man and the Penguin is based on a TRUE story of how a Brazilian man, João Pereira de Souza, rescued and cared for a Magellanic penguin caught in an oil spill. It’s 1-part rhymed picture book + 1-part fascinating nonfiction + 2-parts sweet story of friendship that shows the importance of environmental awareness and stewardship. I can see kids reading it over and over, like I have. I bet it would start wonderful discussions about how human activities often threaten Earth’s wildlife—and how we might change that. 


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