The most recommended books about protecting the environment

Who picked these books? Meet our 35 experts.

35 authors created a book list connected to protecting the environment, and here are their favorite protect the environment books.
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Book cover of Tree Beings

Sarah R. Pye Author Of Wildlife Wong and the Bearded Pig

From my list on to ignite your children’s love of nature.

Who am I?

When I was on holiday in Borneo with my daughter, we met an inspirational conservationist who was basically single-handedly saving sun bears from extinction. I asked what I could do to help. “Do what you do best,” he said. Those five powerful words shaped my last decade, most recently prompting the growing series of Wildlife Wong nonfiction children’s books based on his true adventures with rainforest creatures. I feel strongly about the importance of connecting kids to nature. Not only is it good for their physical and mental health, but my generation hasn’t done a particularly good job of environmental stewardship, and we need all the help we can get. 

Sarah's book list on to ignite your children’s love of nature

Sarah R. Pye Why did Sarah love this book?

I first became aware of this beautiful book when I shared a stage with the illustrator at a literary event. I was captivated by her cover illustration which is like a ‘Where’s Wally’ tree containing 70 hidden animals. Once I got my copy home (and after I found most of the animals) I flipped to explanations of the superpowers of trees. These are guaranteed to shift your youngsters’ perspectives. Nonfiction stories invite them to imagine themselves in the field with well-known conservationists and activists who have dedicated themselves to saving trees and their inhabitants. I love that so many of these heroes are women which, hopefully, will encourage more girls to embrace science.

By Raymond Huber, Sandra Severgnini (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner: The Wilderness Society's Environment Award for Children's Literature

We depend on trees for our survival, yet few of us understand just how fascinating these beings really are. With a foreword by the world-renowned anthropologist Jane Goodall, Tree Beings is an adventure through the secret world of trees. Challenging the perception that trees are just 'silent statues', it focuses on four big ideas:

Trees give life to the planet. Trees can help save us from climate change. Trees are like beings. Trees need our help and protection.

Along the way, you'll meet some of the scientists and explorers who helped…


Book cover of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet

Matthew D. LaPlante Author Of Superlative: The Biology of Extremes

From my list on for feeling awestruck about the world.

Who am I?

I spent the first decade of my journalistic career focused on calamity, malevolence, and suffering. By my early thirties, I wasn’t just struggling to feel happy about the world — I was struggling to feel anything at all. It was an encounter with awe — a visit to an aspen colony in central Utah that is the world’s largest known singular organism — that jarred me from this increasingly colorless world. As an author, teacher, researcher, and radio host, I strive to connect others with a sense of wonder — and I feel very fortunate that so many other science communicators continually leave me feeling awestruck for this amazing world.  

Matthew's book list on for feeling awestruck about the world

Matthew D. LaPlante Why did Matthew love this book?

It would be easy to pass off this work as a book about the environment for Muslims. And I suppose it is that—an Islamic analog for the growing list of books that implore Christians to view environmental stewardship as an essential tenet of their faith, from authors like Sandra Richter and Fletcher Harper. 

Abdul-Matin's work struck me in another way: As an expanding aperture into the faith of billions of people across this planet. Reading it was reminiscent of my first experience with Benjamin Hoff's The Tao of Pooh, which similarly offered me an accessible entryway to a religion I'd previously known very little about, and which permitted me to then dive deeper through other, more challenging works. I read Hoff's book for the first time as a teen-aged sailor onboard an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, and I have read it several times since. I am certain that…

By Ibrahim Abdul-Matin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Muslim environmentalist explores the fascinating intersection of environmentalism and Islam.
 
Muslims are compelled by their religion to praise the Creator and to care for their community. But what is not widely known is that there are deep and long-standing connections between Islamic teachings and environmentalism. In this groundbreaking book, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin draws on research, scripture, and interviews with Muslim Americans to trace Islam’s preoccupation with humankind’s collective role as stewards of the Earth. 
 
Abdul-Matin points out that the Prophet Muhammad declared “the Earth is a mosque.” Using the concept of Deen, which means “path” or “way” in Arabic, Abdul-Matin…


Book cover of Flush

Eddie Jones Author Of The End of Calico Jack

From my list on fun, fast “clean” reads for reluctant YA readers.

Who am I?

Fer over ten years I skippered a small book publishing company. During them years I inspected countless book proposals, most which got tossed overboard. I kin quickly gauge whether a manuscript be ripe fer publication. I bring that same skill ter reading YA and middle grade fiction. Ter be honest, it be a good deal easier ter judge the work of others than write great ficiton. But since “voice” be the reflection of the author’s soul, it helps ter know that those who be crafting the tales ‘ave thar moral compass aligned ter true north. These four authors be stand up in my book.

Eddie's book list on fun, fast “clean” reads for reluctant YA readers

Eddie Jones Why did Eddie love this book?

I love Hiaasen’s humor and down-to-earth boy characters. In Flush, Noah is the adult in the father-son relationship. Normally I wouldn’t go for this in a story: Dads should lead by example, even in fiction. But I recognize that in real life that’s not always the case. Hiaasen’s YA novels are clean adventures that often include strong female characters, a solid moral (in this case preserving our environment), and make me want to read them again and again. I know some want to know how readers “feel” when they read a book. Not me. I’m more interested in the adventure and solving the puzzle (who is the bad guy and will he get caught?).

By Carl Hiaasen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flush as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A hilarious, high-stakes adventure involving crooked casino boats, floating fish, toxic beaches, and one kid determined to get justice. This is Carl Hiaasen's Florida—where the creatures are wild and the people are wilder! 

You know it's going to be a rough summer when you spend Father's Day visiting your dad in the local lockup.

Noah's dad is sure that the owner of the Coral Queen casino boat is flushing raw sewage into the harbor–which has made taking a dip at the local beach like swimming in a toilet. He can't prove it though, and so he decides that sinking the…


Book cover of Stand Up! Speak Up!: A Story Inspired by the Climate Change Revolution

Julie Dunlap Author Of I Begin with Spring: The Life and Seasons of Henry David Thoreau

From my list on children's books about the climate crisis that won’t scare their socks off.

Who am I?

As a biology professor, I communicate frankly with adults about climate change, trusting them to comprehend the accelerating crisis. As a mom of Millennials, I channeled worries about their coping with wildfires, droughts, and extinctions into editing an anthology of young adults’ climate essays. Grandchildren posed a new worry: how should climate realities be introduced to the newest generation? My attempt at that task is a biography of Thoreau, focusing on his 1850s nature observations that ecologists now use to assess 21st-century climate shifts. Luckily, other children’s book writers also offer stories, memoirs, and other approaches to inform without alarming young readers; the best inspire determination to craft a better future.

Julie's book list on children's books about the climate crisis that won’t scare their socks off

Julie Dunlap Why did Julie love this book?

This is the kind of book that changes lives! The spare text and black-and-white sketches convey an inescapable message about climate action: the hope we need comes from us.

As personified by another young heroine, effective action will take resolve (“Rise up!”), imagination ("Think up”), sleepless nights (“Rest up”), and support when we can find it (“Meet up.”) Some solutions may be unexpected, like seed swaps and Little Free Libraries, but they’re not impossible. Plenty of them look like fun.

I don’t know another book that depicts more succinctly how to build the future we want and children deserve: “Show up!”

By Andrew Joyner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stand Up! Speak Up! 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?

Awarded as a 2021 Malka Penn Award Honor Book, here is a timely picture book about a young girl's mission to inspire others to help the planet. The meaningful message of climate change activism is perfect for Earth Day and every day!

Celebrate young climate change activists in this charming story about an empowered girl who shows up, listens up, and ultimately, speaks up to inspire her community to take action against climate change. After attending a climate march, a young activist is motivated to make an effort and do her part to help the planet... by organizing volunteers to…


Book cover of This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate: 50 Ways to Cut Pollution, Speak Up and Protect Our Planet!

Michele Sheldon Author Of The Mystery of The Missing Fur

From my list on animals, wildlife conservation, and kindness.

Who am I?

I’ve travelled to the Pantanal and along the Amazon both ways from Brazil and Colombia while I was teaching English in Brazil and will never forget the destruction of the Amazon. A visit to the gaping hole of Serra Pelada, a gold mine, had a lasting effect on me as did the forest fires and scorched earth, devoid of any bird or animal apart from the skinny cattle grazing amongst the blackened trees, stretching for miles. A run-in with a hyacinth macaw egg thief, who was smuggling the beautiful birds into Europe, spurred my interest in writing a children’s series which touches on conservation, endangered species, and illegal wildlife trafficking.

Michele's book list on animals, wildlife conservation, and kindness

Michele Sheldon Why did Michele love this book?

This book does exactly what it says, although the chapter entitled "Eat Your Neighbours" did make me wonder if I was reading a different genre. Without being preachy, it gives kids 50 great ideas to help them make a difference to the environment including coming up against climate deniers, rewilding your garden (obviously without the bison, wolves, and wildcats), and buying less stuff including gadgets, clothes, and fast fashion (though I still have some way to go with a certain teenager). If you feel frustrated about how huge a problem climate change is and don’t know where to start, then the book will help you understand what fuels it and gives children some agency over how they choose to live their lives and make a difference.

By Isabel Thomas, Alex Paterson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Our planet is heating up, and it needs your help! If you want to learn to reduce your carbon footprint and cool the Earth, here are practical tips and projects that make a difference!

Are you concerned about climate change? The bad news is, global warming is a real problem that won't go away on its own. But the good news is, there are lots of easy ways you can get involved and make a difference! From swapping your stuff to assigning your school some eco-homework, helping to save the planet is within your reach. Arm yourself with info about…


Book cover of Operation Redwood

Andrea Stryer Author Of Reef Raiders: An Environmental Mystery

From my list on inspiring kids to protect our world.

Who am I?

I have been privileged to see a penguin chick running to its parent for a meal, a blue-footed booby couple doing a mating dance, a cheetah racing across the savannah, and a whale spouting out at sea. I am committed to do what I can to preserve natural habitats and limit the effect humans have on the environment. As a teacher, librarian, and author, I encourage and laud kids who want to protect our world. It is a joy to be involved with books that are models for enthusiastic youngsters. 

Andrea's book list on inspiring kids to protect our world

Andrea Stryer Why did Andrea love this book?

Each of us who has felt the awe of being in a redwood forest will identify with the kids in this book.

Julian is less than happy about having to spend the summer with his Uncle Sibley, CEO of a big company, while his mother is doing research in China. Though he knew it is wrong, he reads his uncle's email and discovers that the company is about to cut down first-growth California redwoods. Irate about both his situation and the prospect of losing the redwoods, he and friends devise a convoluted plan to solve both. 

This story shows the persistence and resolve of the kids in their concern for the environment.

By S. Terrell French,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Clandestine e-mail exchanges, secret trips, fake press releases, and a tree house standoff are among the clever stunts and pranks the kid heroes pull in this exciting ecological adventure. Smiley Carter is a moron and a world-class jerkA"-when Julian Carter-Li intercepts an angry e-mail message meant for his greedy, high-powered uncle, it sets him on the course to stop an environmental crime! His uncle's company plans to cut down some of the oldest and last California redwood trees, and it's up to Julian, and a ragtag group of friends, to figure out a way to stop them. This fantastic debut…


Book cover of Children of the Earth... Remember

Dawn Wynne Author Of Midnight Mission: An Eco Avengers Series

From my list on educate and inspire kids about the environment.

Who am I?

I have been an educator for over 20 years teaching elementary-aged children. The environment is a passion of mine. After reading the book Plastic Ocean and meeting the author Charles Moore, I realized that the issues facing our environment are going to be best solved by the upcoming generation of children. They understand how important it is to preserve our planet. Combining my love of writing with my education background, I started writing books to teach children about the environment and inspire them to make lasting changes. I love recommending books that have the same mission. Small actions equal great changes! 

Dawn's book list on educate and inspire kids about the environment

Dawn Wynne Why did Dawn love this book?

This book is breathtakingly beautiful and illustrates the need for us to take care of our planet. The message is simple yet impactful. A great book to introduce young children to caring for our environment. Parents and teachers can initiate conversations without having to delve deeply into complicated issues. It’s one of my all-time favorite books even as an adult. 

By Schim Schimmel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Children of the Earth... Remember as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Children of the Earth Remember is a tender lesson of sharing and protecting the Earth, enhanced with stunning artwork.


Book cover of Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future

Benjamin von Brackel Author Of Nowhere Left to Go: How Climate Change Is Driving Species to the Ends of the Earth

From my list on that help you understand the biodiversity crisis.

Who am I?

As a science journalist I have concentrated on the consequences of climate change. It´s the most frightening as fascinating experiment, we conduct with our planet. In 2018 I wrote a book on extreme weather together with climate scientist Freddy Otto from the University of Oxford (Angry Weather). After this I got immersed in a different climate consequence: How it is affecting biodiversity and with it the foundation of our societies. But what I also love is good storytelling. I quickly get bored with texts that have no dramaturgy or that don't give the reader any pleasure—unlike the fantastic and highly relevant books on this list.

Benjamin's book list on that help you understand the biodiversity crisis

Benjamin von Brackel Why did Benjamin love this book?

I have to start with a confession: I buy many books on the climate and biodiversity crisis—as this is my main focus as a science journalist—but in many cases, I have to quit reading after several chapters. Even if they are of relevance—they often are simply too depressing and a mere accumulation of horrible facts.

This does not apply to the books of Elizabeth Kolbert—which is all the more amazing as her topic is hard stuff: How men alter and destroy nature, which we depend on. But nonetheless: I can´t stop reading it. Kolbert travels far and takes her readers to magical places that appear to be from a different planet. And by this she pulls one deeper and deeper into complicated issues, she manages to explain in a fascinating and readable way.

By Elizabeth Kolbert,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Under a White Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction returns to humanity’s transformative impact on the environment, now asking: After doing so much damage, can we change nature, this time to save it?

RECOMMENDED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND BILL GATES • SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR WRITING • ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time, Esquire, Smithsonian Magazine, Vulture, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal • “Beautifully and insistently, Kolbert shows us that it is time to think radically about the ways…


Book cover of Rescue at Lake Wild

Diana Renn Author Of Trouble at Turtle Pond

From my list on young environmentalists.

Who am I?

I live in a town near a wildlife refuge. I frequently encounter wildlife, including turtles, in my neighborhood. Trouble at Turtle Pond was inspired by volunteer work my son and I did with a local conservation group, fostering endangered Blanding’s turtles. Although my previous books were mysteries set in other countries, I have become interested in the mysteries we can find in our own back yards and in other community spaces we share with nature. I love eco-fiction about kids who love animals, who are “nature detectives,” who have strong opinions, and who are working for the environment, recognizing that every small step makes a difference.

Diana's book list on young environmentalists

Diana Renn Why did Diana love this book?

When I was a kid, I wanted to rescue animals. I remember taking crabs home from the beach in milk cartons. Sadly, they didn’t make it – nor did they need rescuing in the first place. 12-year-old Madi Lewis is a savvier rescuer, an “animal whisperer” trained by her late grandmother, an animal rehabber, to keep careful records and do basic caretaking. But Madi’s parents have made it clear: no more foster animals. When Madi and her friends find two orphaned beaver kits in a dam, she has to keep it a secret – hard to do as they uncover a local conspiracy to eliminate beavers at Lake Wild. This fast-paced eco-mystery teaches a lot about conservation, ethics, and, of course, beavers! I love Madi as a young Jane Goodall type, too. 

By Terry Lynn Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rescue at Lake Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

In this funny and moving animals-in-peril adventure, a twelve-year-old girl and her two best friends determine to rescue two orphaned beaver kits - and soon find themselves trying to solve a local environmental crisis. Perfect for fans of Pax and A Boy Called Bat. Everyone knows that twelve-year-old Madison "Madi" Lewis is not allowed to bring home any more animals. After she's saved hairless mice, two birds, a rabbit, and a stray tom cat that ended up destroying the front porch, Madi's parents decide that if they find one more stray animal in the house, she won't be allowed to…


Book cover of One Earth

Amy Houts Author Of God's Earth Is Something to Fight for

From my list on Christian Earth Day books for kids.

Who am I?

As the author of 100+ children’s books, I work mainly on assignment for educational and faith-based publishers. But when I’m freelancing, I want the topic to be something I’m passionate about. Being married to a science teacher, we often discuss science issues. After having grandchildren, I wondered, what type of planet are we going to leave them? Our grandchildren are aware and concerned about severe weather patterns. I asked myself, what can I do? Plus, I wanted to write through the lens of my faith. I wrote my picture book, God’s Earth is Something to Fight For, to instill hope and give practical ways for children to help save Earth.

Amy's book list on Christian Earth Day books for kids

Amy Houts Why did Amy love this book?

Showing the wonders of our world, One Earth is a counting book told in lyrical, rhyming verse that counts up to 10 and back down again.

This book is geared toward the youngest reader with little text and gorgeous illustrations by Rogerio Coelho. Two children walk through field and forest, mountains and shorelines to show the wonders of nature as she counts up to ten.

Counting down from 10 to one, the text features conservation, repurposing, repairing, and recycling, emphasizing we have one, just one, Earth. The message is, take care of it

By Eileen Spinelli, Rogerio Coelho (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Earth 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?

Celebrate our planet and discover easy ways to take care of it with this picture book that's perfect for budding environmentalists and nature lovers.

Kids can count reasons to love the planet and ways to protect it in the pages of this conservation-themed book. Gentle verse reminds the reader of Earth's beauties--starting with "one wide sweeping sky, two honey bees" and continuing all the way to "ten fields to plow." The text then starts counting backwards, listing simple ways children can help, such as reducing waste and reusing items. The conclusion takes us back to number one with the book's…