Calling all Early Climate Optimists! Our ECO Bookworms book club invites parents, caregivers and educators to start conversations about climate change and the environment with their little ones.
Knowing how to talk about climate change with children can be difficult. We all want to nurture the next generation and encourage a sense of hope and personal power.
Reading stories about climate change and our changing planet is a great place to start.
Learn more about why we started the book club. And check back the second Tuesday of each month for a new featured book.
“And the People Stayed Home,” written by Kitty O’Meara and published by Tra Publishing, will encourage you and your early climate optimist to engage in new ways of living so that together, you can look forward with hope and respect for the planet.
Let’s start this year in a positive mindset of helping each other and the planet heal! This book is for ages 4-8 years.
1. Why do you think it’s important for people to stay home during the pandemic?
2. What are some ways you can help heal the planet and your community?
3. What are some things you have done to appreciate your community/family and home environment?
Our December ECO Bookworms pick is “Be the Difference: 40+ Ideas for Kids to create positive change using empathy, kindness, equality, and environmental awareness” written by Jayneen Sanders with illustrations by Cherie Zamazing. Published by Educate2Empower Publishing, this book offers over 40 ideas for you and your early climate optimist on how to make a difference in your community. Climate change is a big problem, but there are still so many little ways we can help address it. Luckily, this book will not only inspire, but give you some pre-written ideas and action steps to take.
Let’s start the new year by making a difference! This book is a great toolkit to help you and your early climate optimists and their friends make a plan of action.
- Write a list of your 10 favorite ideas from this book, and ways you can practice them in your life.
- Have you seen other people in your community carry out some of these ideas?
- What are some other ways you can take action that are not listed in the book?
Our November ECO Bookworms pick is “Young Water Protectors: A Story About Standing Rock,” by Aslan and Kelly Tudor. Published by Eaglespeaker Publishing, the book’s inspiring message of activism and unity will get you and your early climate optimist ready to take action in your community.
Embark on a journey to discover the author’s experiences at the Standing Rock Sioux march against the Dakota Access Pipeline. You will learn about how the Oceti Sakowin Camp was set up, how many people came together and all the events that took place at the camp! Aimed at children ages 9-12, this book is sure to encourage your reader to become an early climate activist.
- Why do you think people from around the world joined the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe?
- What are some ways you can continue to help the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe protect their water?
- Why is helping protect the tribe’s water important for Aslan and his family?
Our October ECO Bookworms pick is “Aani and the Tree Huggers,” written by Jeannine Atkins and illustrated by Venantius Pinto. Published by Lee and Low Books, “Aani and the Tree Huggers” is a great read to encourage early climate optimists to think about ways to take action in their community. This book’s message of environmental action will surely awaken the climate activist in your reader!
Follow along as the author tells the real-life story of a group of climate activists, who stopped loggers from cutting down the forest in their village. Forests were part of their livelihood and, by joining forces, they became environmental activists and did much to protect the trees. This book is for ages 6-9 years.
1. Why do you think Aani and the women refused the money and continued to protect the trees?
2. Do you think the men would have continued to cut the trees if Aani was the only one hugging the trees? Was it important for other people to join her?
3. Have you ever felt passionate about something in your environment? How might you have taken action?
Our September ECO Bookworms pick is “Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth,” written by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm and illustrated by Molly Bang.
Published by The Blue Sky Press, Buried Sunlight is a great read to get your early climate optimist in the back-to-school mindset, whether that means in person or online this year.
Follow along as the sun narrates the history of fossil fuels, from fossils millions of years ago, to their discovery as an energy source, to their eventual negative impact on the planet. This book is sure to educate your young reader and get them thinking. This book is for ages 4-8 years.
- When you flip a light switch, that power has to come from somewhere. Do you know where your electricity comes from?
- In the book, we learn about the results of global warming. Have you seen any of these in your community?
- Do you think we should rely on the Ancient Sun Energy to power our world?
Our August ECO Bookworms pick is, “Sofia Valdez, Future Prez,” written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts! Published by ABRAMS Books, Sofia Valdez, Future Prez is a great read to inspire your early climate optimist to never give up when faced with difficulties.
Follow along with Sofia Valdez as she tackles Mount Trashmore, a dangerous stinky mess. This inspirational, rhyming story is a great read for early optimists and might even inspire a future presidential run! This book is for ages 5-7 years.
- Sofia saw a problem in her community and thought of a way to overcome it. What are some things you want to see fixed in your neighborhood?
- What do you think Sofia felt when the clerk told her ‘no’? How would you have felt?
- What would you like to see if you could make a park? (Imaginary ideas are OK too!)
- In the book, Sofia helps out people in her community by delivering groceries or spending time with them. What are some ways that you can help people in your neighborhood, especially before or after a storm or during extreme heat days?
Our July ECO Bookworms pick is, “One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia” written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. Published by Millbrook Picture Books, One Plastic Bag is a great read to inspire your early climate activist to take action on problems in their community.
Follow along with the inspiring story of Isatou Ceesay, who finds a creative solution to plastic waste in her community. This book, based on real people and events, is sure to inspire your early climate optimist to take action in their community. This book is for ages 5-9 years.
- In the book, Isatou saw hundreds of plastic bags. They made her village look messy. How would that make you feel?
- How do you think that they got there and have you seen plastic bags or water bottles in your neighborhood?
- When you go shopping, what kind of bags do you use? If you use a plastic bag, what do you do with it when you are done?
Our June ECO Bookworms book is “Greta and the Giants” by Zoë Tucker and Zoe Persico! Published by Frances Lincoln, “Greta and the Giants” is a great way to celebrate this month’s themes of activism and advocacy.
In this fictional tale,Greta lives in a beautiful forest threatened by Giants. When the Giants come to the forest, they chop down trees to make homes, which grow into towns and cities until hardly any forest is left. Luckily, Greta has an idea! Vivid illustrations and a motivating message dominate this tale.
"Greta and the Giants" was inspired by real life climate activist, Greta Thunberg, who has inspired millions to join in advocating for climate action. Aimed at children aged 4-8, this book is the perfect way to show early climate optimists that no one is too small to stand up for an issue they believe in.
- Who do you think the Giants represent in this story?
- How did a crowd of people make a bigger difference than just one person?
- Why was saving the forest important to Greta?
Our May ECO Bookworms book club selection is “The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest” by Lynne Cherry! Published by HMH Books for Young Readers, “The Great Kapok Tree” tells the story of a man who exhausts himself trying to cut down a kapok tree within the forest.
While he sleeps, the forest’s residents whisper in his ear about the importance of trees and how they all must support one another... and their persuasion works! This book’s message of conservation is backed by each character’s accurate and scientific explanation of why their environment matters and can be applied to all habitats.
Aimed at readers aged 4-8, we hope this book will help introduce your early climate optimist to new perspectives and remember all the animals that are affected by climate change on National Endangered Species Day.
- Why does chopping down just one tree make such a large difference?
- What are ways that the rainforests of the Amazon are similar to a forest or other habitat near you?
- What does “conservation” mean to you? How can you talk to your own trees or plants at home?
Our April ECO Bookworms book club selection is "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss! Published by Random House, "The Lorax" is the perfect read to help early climate optimists celebrate Earth Day and National Arbor Day - both happening this month!
"The Lorax's" message is even more urgent today than when first published in 1971. It is a call to industry and consumers alike to conserve Earth's precious and finite natural resources. Help plant the seed of an idea in your early climate optimist, readers 4-8 years old, to help share a healthier, greener future.
1. Are there any ways that you can "speak for the trees" or other environmental issues that matter to you?
2. Do you think the Once-ler needed to chop down the entire Truffula tree in order to make the Thneed? What are some other ways businesses can support the environment?
3. How do trees help our health and protect us?
4. What would you have done with the Truffula seed given by the Once-ler?
Our March ECO Bookworms book is “The Earth Gives More” written by Sue Fliess and illustrated by Christiane Engel. Published by Albert Whitman & Company, "The Earth Gives More" is a great read as we transition into spring.
While each season gives us something to delight in, we can give back to the planet all year long. This sweet rhyming story is sure to inspire you and your early climate optimist to be stewards of the Earth, our home. The book is for ages 5-7 years.
- What joys does the Earth give you throughout the seasons?
- How do the characters in the book give back to the Earth?
- What are some other things you can do at home or in your neighborhood to help our Earth thrive and grow?
Our February ECO Bookworms book is "The Pout-Pout Fish Cleans Up the Ocean" by Deborah Diesen, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux!
Through this book, we celebrate our February theme of friendship. When Mr. Fish discovers a big, big mess invading his pristine ocean home, he and his friends come together to find out what caused it and what they must do to clean it up. The book is for ages 3-6 years.
- How did you feel when you saw the big, big mess in the ocean?
- Have you seen litter in your community? How does litter affect plants and animals and you?
- What can you do to help your community stay beautiful?
BONUS: How can you work together with your friends?
Books can convey big and scary subjects like climate change in ways that inspire young people to act with optimism. Our stories focus on solutions to help young readers feel empowered, rather than overwhelmed.
Our selected books target readers 8 years old and younger, but we encourage everyone to follow along and read. Let’s empower our young climate optimists by equipping ourselves with the right tools to start a conversation. Check with your local library or bookstore to find a copy of each month’s book.
We are excited to be on this book club journey with the APHA community and friends. Tell us about your favorite environmental or climate change children’s book.