The best environmental books for kids

Looking for some reading to inspire, inform and engage young environmental champions? Look no further! We’ve selected some of our favourite books for children and young people on a range of subjects from climate change to conservation and everything in between.

Diary of a Young Naturalist

by Dara McAnulty, published by Penguin

Cover of the book Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty

Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty

This multi-award winning book is a must-read for all budding naturalists. Dara, who is also a Roots and Shoots ambassador, captures perfectly his experience of watching and being immersed in nature.

One Plastic Bag:

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia

By Miranda Paul, published by Millbrook Press.

One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul

This brilliant book tells the true story of Isatou Ceesay, who decided to do something about the plastic bags polluting her local environment. She discovers a way to recycle and reuse them, and what started as something she did on her own transformed her community…because one person really can make a difference.

The Lorax

By Dr Seuss

The Lorax by Dr Seuss

While this book might not be new (it was first published in 1971!) its message is still very much true…

…the message The Lorax has for all of us is important. It’s important that we continue to care, that we try to make a difference and to try and look after our planet because it’s beautiful and worth saving… and we’ll really miss it if we lose it.

The Great Kapok Tree

By Lynne Cherry, published by HMH

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

This beautiful story is accompanied by stunning illustrations. It follows the story of a man who falls asleep at the foot of one the huge and ancient Kapok tree, and while he sleeps the different inhabitants of the tree whisper in his ear about how important it is… and he wakes having learnt something special.

Greta and the Giants

By Zoe Tucker and Zoe Persico, published by Frances Lincoln

Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker and Zoe Persico

This book is a brilliant, fun and accessible way of learning the story of Greta Thunberg, the young environmentalist who has already changed the world, and is calling us all to join her.


No One is Too Small to Make a Difference

By Greta Thunberg, published by Penguin

Greta Thunberg. No one is too small to make a difference

Greta Thunberg’s book is her call to action to young people around the world

This book is a must-read, and it’s by one of the most important, inspiring and influential people in the world. Greta Thunberg has empowered young people around the world to raise their voices and take action, and encouraged adults to do the same.

‘Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.’

This is a collection of some her powerful, emotive speeches: her call to action in her own words. We all need to listen, and we all need to act.

Stories For Kids Who Dare to be Different

By Ben Brooks (author) and Quinton Winter (illustrator). Published by Quercus Publishing.

These kids each had a dream, and they made it reality. You can too!

If you’re looking for the stories of inspirational people who made their dreams reality, then this is the book for you. It’s not just about environmental issues, but it is all about how you can, as a young people, work to achieve your dreams and that’s something we want every member of Roots & Shoots to know. We want them to dare to be different, to dare to be themselves, and to dare to raise their voices and take action!

A Planet Full of Plastic (and How You Can Help)

by Neal Layton, published by Hachette Children’s Group

Lots of brilliant ideas on how to fight plastic pollution

This book is perfect for younger readers. It explains what plastic is, where it comes from, why we use it and why it’s a problem for lots of wildlife and the environment. But most importantly, it gives some great, simple ideas on what people can do to help.

Earth Heroes: 20 Inspiring Stories of People Saving Our World

By Lily Dyu, published by Nosy Crow

There are people around the world who are fighting to save our planet. Some you may know, others you may not, but each one of them is inspiring

In this age of climate change, the heroes we need are the people who are fighting to save our planet. This book shares the story of 20 amazing people from around the world who are each taking action. Each story will inspire you to take action too!

What A Waste: Rubbish, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet

by Jess French, Dorling Kindersly

‘What a waste’ by Jess French, published by Dorling Kindersly

This book covers, as you can probably guess, the issue of all the waste we produce. It combines plenty of facts and science about waste and recycling with some practical advice for children on how they can make a difference, such as collecting their family’s plastic waste for a week then going through it to see how it could be reduced and switched for something non-pastic.

Jane Goodall – Little People, BIG DREAMS

By Isabel Sanchez Vegara (author), Beatrice Cerocchi (illustrator), published by Francis Lincoln Publishers Ltd

Part of the Little People, Big Dreams series

We love this book! The beautiful illustrations and engaging writing share the story of our favourite environmentalist and wildlife champion Dr Jane Goodall in a way that will captivate younger readers.

This book, like others in the series, is all about making role models accessible to children by showing them though they went on to do big things, it all started with a little girl with a dream.

Greta’s Story: The Schoolgirl Who Went on Strike to Save The Planet

By Valentina Camerini (author), Moreno Giovannoni (translator) and Veronica Carratello (illustrator). Published by Simon and Schuster.

Image of illustrated book cover for the book ‘Greta’s Story: the schoolgirl who went on strike to save the planet’

If you’d love to know more about Greta’s story, this book is perfect

On a hot day in August in 2018, a schoolgirl decided that enough was enough. She went on strike in front of Sweden’s parliament building, demanding that adults took action about climate change and environmental destruction. That girl was Greta Thunberg, and this is her story.

How to help a hedgehog and protect a polar bear

By Jess French (author) and Angela Keoghan (illustrator)

There’s plenty of practical advice in this lovely book from The National Trust

This brilliantly useful and fun book by The Natural Trust is full of practical and simple things kids can do to help our planet, as well as a beautifully illustrated guide to different habitats and the plants and animals that live in them.

Be Green!

By Mandy Archer (author) and Katie Abey (illustrator)

There are plenty of practical ideas for young people in this book

This book describes itself as ‘an activity book for young people who want to sustain and protect the world we live in’ and that’s something we think is super useful. This would make a brilliant resource for Roots & Shoots groups who are looking for ideas for projects to work on.


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