The most recommended environmental fiction

Who picked these books? Meet our 454 experts.

454 authors created a book list connected to environmental fiction, and here are their favorite environmental fiction books.
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Book cover of Waiting for a Warbler

Lisa Doseff Author Of Grandma Lisa's Humming, Buzzing, Chirping Garden

From my list on gardening to make a difference in the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always enjoyed both gardening and children. As a former Virginia Master Gardener and Homeschool mom, and a current Lancaster National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward, I now find myself encouraging others to look at gardening in a new light – not only as a way to decorate their yards, but also as a means to provide habitat for our diminishing wildlife population. I try to show how you can have both beauty and function at the same time and how much fun it is to engage children in this essential activity. I love books that show what a difference one person – even a young child – can make in the world.

Lisa's book list on gardening to make a difference in the world

Lisa Doseff Why did Lisa love this book?

Owen’s garden is like my own! Both our yards are graced with big, old, native trees and we’ve planted additional species of native trees, shrubs, and flowers in the hopes of attracting our avian friends. Like Owen, my hope is that these plants will provide for the birds we love to watch, as well as draw the insects that make healthy meals for them. While I’ve never seen a cerulean blue warbler, I love watching other various birds that visit our garden, especially the great horned owls!

By Sneed B. Collard III, Thomas Brooks (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Waiting for a Warbler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

In early April, as Owen and his sister search the hickories, oaks, and dogwoods for returning birds, a huge group of birds leaves the misty mountain slopes of the Yucatan peninsula for the 600-mile flight across the Gulf of Mexico to their summer nesting grounds. One of them is a Cerulean warbler. He will lose more than half his body weight even if the journey goes well. Aloft over the vast ocean, the birds encourage each other with squeaky chirps that say, "We are still alive. We can do this."

Owen's family watches televised reports of a great storm over…


Book cover of North Woods

Caren Simpson McVicker Author Of Henderson House

From my list on believing in magic again.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a debut novelist at the age of fifty-seven, I’ve spent most of my life as a reader, not an author. My love of reading began with The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and flourished when I discovered the genre of fantasy with The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin. Is it any wonder I giggle with delight when I stumble upon a book that makes me believe in magic again? When an author weaves the supernatural into their story in a natural way, my expectations shift, and my heart opens to the power of the unknown to teach me something new and take me somewhere extraordinary.

Caren's book list on believing in magic again

Caren Simpson McVicker Why did Caren love this book?

I am often drawn to books that have a strong sense of place. I hit the jackpot with this book since the novel's main character and unifying force is a parcel of land in Massachusetts.

I smiled a great deal while reading this novel because it was such a fun literary ride. The construction of the narrative, a series of stories spanning generations, allowed me to play along with Mason as he expertly shifted from one era to the next, layering the magic of nature, destiny, and the never-ending cycle of life to create a masterpiece of storytelling.

By Daniel Mason,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked North Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sweeping novel about a single house in the woods of New England, told through the lives of those who inhabit it across the centuries—“a time-spanning, genre-blurring work of storytelling magic” (The Washington Post) from the Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Piano Tuner and The Winter Soldier.

“With the expansiveness and immersive feeling of two-time Booker Prize nominee David Mitchell’s fiction (Cloud Atlas), the wicked creepiness of Edgar Allan Poe, and Mason’s bone-deep knowledge of and appreciation for the natural world that’s on par with that of Thoreau, North Woods fires on all cylinders.”—San Francisco Chronicle

New York…


Book cover of Betsy Buglove Saves the Bees

Alice Hemming Author Of The Leaf Thief

From my list on great fun and happen to be educational.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write books for children of all ages but I began with picture books, and they will always have a special place in my heart. I like all different types of picture books. Sometimes we read for pure entertainment, and sometimes to find out about the world, but the books on this list hit the sweet spot between the two. They are all books that will inspire further conversation and might even lead to related projects at school or home.

Alice's book list on great fun and happen to be educational

Alice Hemming Why did Alice love this book?

A must for all bug lovers (as well as those who need convincing)! This is a sweet book with a traditional feel to the illustrations, and the only rhyming book on my list. I love it because it captures a child’s perspective on the world so beautifully. It has great messages about enjoying the outside world and making a difference no matter how small you are. There are fun fact pages too about various minibeasts!

By Catherine Jacob, Lucy Fleming (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Betsy Buglove Saves the Bees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Meet Betsy Buglove in this magical picture book - a girl who
LOVES bugs more than anything else in the world!
In a big, bustling town lived a girl who loved bugs,

from earthworms to ladybirds, woodlice and slugs.

While spiders or ants might make some scream in fright

to her, creepy crawlies were such a delight!

If there's anything to know about Betsy Buglove, it's
that, when she's around, no bug ever has to worry
about getting in trouble. Betsy's not afraid of sticky
goo, tangled webs, or even muddy
boots, no!

On her sixth birthday she receives a…


Terracolina: A Place to Belong

By Carla Kessler, Richard Kessler (illustrator),

Book cover of Terracolina: A Place to Belong

Carla Kessler Author Of Terracolina: A Place to Belong

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, one of my favorite places was in the top branches of a tree. From up there I could watch the world pass by, remaining invisible. I could make up stories about the world below and no one would challenge me. The second best place for me was inside the story of a book, the kind that took you to magical places where children always found a way to win the day. I knew when I “grew up” I would write one of those empowering books. I became a middle school teacher and have since read many wonderful books for this age. Enjoy my list of favorites.  

Carla's book list on where kids who believe in nature make a difference

What is my book about?

Where do you turn when the only adult who gets you, your grandpa, is gone, and the world seems to be in self-destruct mode?

On his 12th birthday, Thomas runs away to the forest he used to visit with Grandpa. It is dying. Will saving it from a deadly parasite bring him closer to Grandpa or make his world safer? Before he can find out, he is enticed into a magical world under an attack of a different kind.

Welcomed by a garden of talking plants, mind-reading creatures, tree-climbing, nature-loving beings, Thomas conquers the stinging, prickly hedge that guards the portal to this alternate world. At last, a place where he fits in. A place that needs him. But what about his and Grandpa’s forest?

“…a magical book...” John Perkins, New York Times best-selling author

Book cover of Sea of Rust

T.S. Beier Author Of What Branches Grow

From my list on quests through a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve clocked so many hours on Fallout 3 and New Vegas (and, less so, on Fallout 4) that it’s disgusting, but my real love of wastelands began with T.S. Eliot. His poem (The Waste Land), with its evocative imagery, fascinated me in university. While not about a literal wasteland, it inspired me to seek out stories of that vein. I even have a tattoo with a line from it! What Branches Grow was the focus of my grad certificate in creative writing and has won two awards. I am a book reviewer, writer at PostApocalypticMedia.com, and the author of the Burnt Ship space opera trilogy. 

T.S.'s book list on quests through a post-apocalyptic wasteland

T.S. Beier Why did T.S. love this book?

I love this novel. I read it well after my own came out, but the strong, badass, stoic female main character reminded me a lot of Delia from What Branches Grow (despite Brittle being a robot). The often dark and gritty scenes interspersed with moments of emotion and laugh-out-loud absurd humour turned a story that could have been depressing into one that was a helluva lot of fun. The raiders in this novel also fit the trope in the same homage to Mad Max/Fallout that mine do in What Branches Grow, albeit in a way I didn’t expect. The novel is also a quest through the wasteland with a ragtag group that culminates in a final battle, which is a similar trajectory to my novel (and a plotfline in this genre I very much enjoy).

By Robert C. Cargill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sea of Rust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2018
One of Financial Times' Best Books of 2017

'SEA OF RUST is a 40-megaton cruise missile of a novel - it'll blow you away and lay waste to your heart . . . visceral, relentless, breathtaking' Joe Hill, Sunday Times bestselling author

************

An action-packed post-apocalyptic thriller from the screenwriter of Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE

HUMANKIND IS EXTINCT.

Wiped out in a global uprising by the very machines made to serve them. Now the world is controlled by OWIs - vast mainframes that have assimilated the minds of millions of robots.

But not…


Book cover of Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

Kit Rosewater Author Of The Derby Daredevils

From my list on middle grade with radical and epic friend groups.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I had a lot of experience having a close group of friends… and a lot of experience looking into other groups from the outside. I waded from circle to circle, trying on friendships like some people try on hats. The books I’m recommending represent the best of fictional friend groups—the groups that topped any clique I saw in real life. Reading these books made me feel like an in-kid in the best possible way. Many of the characters remain the absolute coolest people I know, and serve as inspiration for the friend group dynamics I get to explore in my own stories. 

Kit's book list on middle grade with radical and epic friend groups

Kit Rosewater Why did Kit love this book?

I’ve often whined about epic friend groups being featured in tons of films and not enough in books—but Strange Birds is the delightful exception that gets every detail of the cinematic friend group perfectly right. There’s mysterious invitations hidden in a library, scary treks through the woods, artistic activism in the face of wrong, and a wickedly cool group initiation featuring some mighty powerful crystals. If nothing else, the group’s shenanigans will make you want to go out and spend all your money on hoards of plastic flamingos. (Just trust me on this.)

By Celia C. Pérez,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Strange Birds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up. Ofelia Castillo (a budding journalist), Aster Douglas (a bookish foodie), and Cat Garcia (a rule-abiding birdwatcher) meet the kid behind the invite, Lane DiSanti, and it isn't love at first sight. But they soon bond over a shared mission to get the Floras, their local Scouts, to ditch an outdated tradition. In their quest for justice, independence, and an unforgettable summer, the girls form their own troop and find something they didn't know they needed:…


Book cover of I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness

Deborah Sosin Author Of Charlotte and the Quiet Place

From my list on mindfulness and silence.

Why am I passionate about this?

Charlotte and the Quiet Place is somewhat autobiographical, as I tend to crave quiet. For many years, I’ve been meditating twice a day for 25 minutes. I relax my mind and body, sometimes silently repeating a word or sound or just breathing rhythmically. I’m almost always more peaceful and energized after meditating. In addition to being a writer, I’m a therapist with a mindfulness specialty. I believe deeply that every child (and adult, too) can tap into their quiet place inside by noticing what’s happening in their mind and body, no matter what’s going on in their lives. We all need this skill—now more than ever!  

Deborah's book list on mindfulness and silence

Deborah Sosin Why did Deborah love this book?

I Am Peace is part of a wonderful series by this well-known team. The series explores topics such as compassion, empathy, resilience, and what it is to be a feeling human being. I Am Peace is about a child (gender not identified) who worries about the past and future and learns how to comfort and ground themselves by noticing the here and now, breathing evenly, and practicing kindness toward themselves and others. The simple, sparse text expresses these rather deep ideas in ways that all children can understand: “I can watch my worries gently pop and disappear. I let things go"; “I can hug a tree and thank it for its beauty and strength.” The back matter features a discussion of mindfulness and a guided meditation.

By Susan Verde, Peter H. Reynolds (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked I Am Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the world feels chaotic, find peace within through an accessible mindfulness practice from the bestselling picture-book dream team that brought us I Am Yoga. Express emotions through direct speech. Find empathy through imagination. Connect with the earth. Wonder at the beauty of the natural world. Breathe, taste, smell, touch, and be present.

Perfect for the classroom or for bedtime, Susan Verde's gentle, concrete narration and Peter H. Reynolds's expressive watercolor illustrations bring the tenets of mindfulness to a kid-friendly level. Featuring an author's note about the importance of mindfulness and a guided meditation for children, I Am Peace will…


Book cover of We Planted a Tree

Uma Krishnaswami Author Of Out of the Way! Out of the Way!

From my list on picture books about trees.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and grew up in India. As a child, I once planted a mango seed and watched it sprout and grow into a sapling. We moved away after that but I always wondered what might have become of that little tree. I remembered that long-ago experience when I was writing my picture book, Out of the Way! Out of the Way! in which a boy, a tree, and a road all grow together. The tree is central to that book, so I picked five picture book titles that also center trees. 

Uma's book list on picture books about trees

Uma Krishnaswami Why did Uma love this book?

The title is a refrain that rings around the world, as the children in two families, in two settings, plant a tree.

As in my book, time is a driving element here, bringing to light the cumulative effects of planting trees. Those effects, from clean air and soil retention to the bounty of fruit and the blessings of shade, are beautifully realized in the final page that brings it all back to the young characters and by inference, to the reader.

By Diane Muldrow, Bob Staake (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Planted a Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Perfect for springtime reading! In this poetic picture book with environmental themes, illustrated by award-winning artist Bob Staake, two young families in two very different parts of the world each plant a tree. 

As the trees flourish, so do the families . . . while trees all over the world help clean the air, enrich the soil, and give fruit and shade.
 
With a nod to Kenya’s successful Green Belt Movement, Diane Muldrow’s elegant text celebrates the life and hope that every tree—from Paris to Brooklyn to Tokyo—brings to our planet. Now in paperback, this book can be enjoyed by…


Book cover of Finding Wild

Erica Silverman Author Of Wake Up, City!

From my list on celebrating cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning author of picture books and early readers. I have set my stories in many kinds of locations, including a haunted house, an Eastern European shtetl, an English Renaissance village, and a working cattle ranch. For Wake Up, City, I turned to the setting I know best, the city. I drew on memories of walking to kindergarten in early morning Brooklyn. This book is my love song to cities everywhere. As a lifelong city dweller, I worry about the impact of urban spread on the planet, but I feel hopeful, too, because many cities are becoming more nature and wildlife-friendly. The books I'm excited to share celebrate city wildlife. 

Erica's book list on celebrating cities

Erica Silverman Why did Erica love this book?

Told in lyrical language, two children wander through their city, looking for “wild” and finding it in motion, size, sounds, touch, and smell.“It leaps and pounces and  shows its teeth.” The words dance around, hinting at flora and fauna, using adjectives and verbs to suggest and evoke. This journey arouses awareness of the natural world that lives all around us in the city. Young readers will enjoy guessing what is being hinted at. This is such an original way to talk about the urban wild!  

By Megan Wagner Lloyd, Abigail Halpin (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finding Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

A lovely, lyrical picture book with gorgeous illustrations that explores the ways the wild makes itself known to us and how much closer it is than we think.
 
There are so many places that wild can exist, if only you know where to look! Can you find it? Two kids set off on an adventure away from their urban home and discover all the beauty of the natural world. From the bark on the trees to the sudden storm that moves across the sky to fire and flowers, and snowflakes and fresh fruit. As the children make their way through…


Book cover of Snow

Lauren Stringer Author Of Yellow Time

From my list on the magic of being outside in the natural world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began as a picture book illustrator and gradually started writing my own stories, but I still love illustrating other people’s stories. From their manuscripts, I learn to look at the world in new and unexpected ways. As a visual artist, I learned from a young age to pay attention and really look at the world around me. When I have days full of errands and chores and forget to look and be present, the day becomes gray and boring. All of these books in words and pictures offer nature and the act of paying attention and celebrating as transformation and connection.

Lauren's book list on the magic of being outside in the natural world

Lauren Stringer Why did Lauren love this book?

Beginning with a single flake falling from a gray sky, the magic and excitement of the first snow are captured perfectly in illustrations and words. Every child reader will join sides with the boy and dog who are certain there is more snow coming despite the declarations to the contrary from adults on the street. Even the predictions from the radio and television of “No snow,” are soon forgotten as the magical transformation of the whole gray city becomes reason for dancing and swirling and twirling through five enchanted spreads of wondrous snow. Every time I read this book, I look out my windows in autumn, wanting to be the first one to see that first snowflake.

By Uri Shulevitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

No one thinks one or two snowflakes will amount to anything. Not the man with the hat or the lady with the umbrella. Not even the television or the radio forecasters. But one boy and his dog have faith that the snow will amount to something spectacular, and when flakes start to swirl down on the city, they are also the only ones who know how to truly enjoy it.


Book cover of Secret Place

Erica Silverman Author Of Wake Up, City!

From my list on celebrating cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning author of picture books and early readers. I have set my stories in many kinds of locations, including a haunted house, an Eastern European shtetl, an English Renaissance village, and a working cattle ranch. For Wake Up, City, I turned to the setting I know best, the city. I drew on memories of walking to kindergarten in early morning Brooklyn. This book is my love song to cities everywhere. As a lifelong city dweller, I worry about the impact of urban spread on the planet, but I feel hopeful, too, because many cities are becoming more nature and wildlife-friendly. The books I'm excited to share celebrate city wildlife. 

Erica's book list on celebrating cities

Erica Silverman Why did Erica love this book?

This is based on the L.A. River (which is undergoing an exciting revitalization) but it could be any industrial downtown: freeways, warehouses, graffiti, smog. A boy discovers a secret place, where a river still runs through a concrete bed. In hushed tones, he tells us who else knows his secret - an egret, a green-winged teal, nesting mallards, coyotes, and possum. The vivid description makes me feel as if I am right there with him, sharing his sense of wonder. This deceptively simple book offers a powerful argument for restoring green space. 

By Eve Bunting, Ted Rand (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Secret Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A small boy finds a secret place in the city that he shares with a white egret, mallards, and even ducklings.