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.
2021 Top 5 Book Picks
Inspire your young reader to be an early climate optimist this holiday season with any or all of our top five book picks of the year.
- “And the People Stayed Home,” written by Kitty O’Meara and published by Tra Publishing
- “If Elephants Disappeared” written and illustrated by Lily Williams and published by Roaring Brook Press
- “Old Enough to Save the Planet,” written by Loll Kirby, illustrated by Adelina Lirius and published by Magic Cat Publishing
- “A Kids Book About Climate Change,” written by Zanagee Artis and Olivia Greenspan, and published by A Kids Book About, Inc
- “The Water Walker,” written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson and published by Second Story Press
Get ready for the new year by learning different ways you and your early climate optimist can take action and help protect the Earth! APHA’s December ECO Bookworms pick, “ABC for Me: ABC Earth-Friendly Me: From Action to Zero Waste,” written by Christiane Engel and published by Walter Foster, Jr., offers 26 ideas on how to make a difference in your community and is sure to inspire your early climate optimist! Intended for children ages 3-6.
1. Do you have a plan? Write down some ideas from this book and think about how you can practice them in your life.
2. How can these ideas help tackle climate change?
3. What are some other ways you can make a difference in your community?
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, APHA’s November ECO Bookworms Book Club pick is “The Water Walker,” written and illustrated by Joanne Robertson and published by Second Story Press.
This book highlights the story of Ojibwe grandmother Josephine Mandamin and the Mother Earth Water Walkers and their journey to raise awareness to protect Nibi (water). It speaks to the importance of taking care of Mother Earth and will inspire your early climate optimist to take action! Intended for children ages 6-9.
1. What is contaminating our water and making it unfit for life?
2. Why is it important to protect water?
3. What are some ways you can help Nokomis and the Mother Earth Water Walkers raise awareness to protect water?
APHA’s October ECO Bookworms book club pick is “Penguins Don’t Wear Sweaters,” written by Marikka Tamura, illustrated by Daniel Rieley and published by Nancy Paulsen Books and Penguin Random House.
Inspired by real events, this book tells the story of what happens when people knit sweaters for penguins affected by oil spills! Its message highlights the importance of bringing awareness to these environmental disasters and how we can work together to do what’s best for the environment. Intended for children ages 2-5.
1. What is oil and where does it come from?
2. How do oil spills harm our health and that of marine life?
3. Why did people decide to knit sweaters for the penguins?
Not sure how to talk to your kids about climate change? Check out APHA’s September ECO Bookworms book club pick, “A Kids Book About Climate Change,” written by Zanagee Artis and Olivia Greenspan, and published by A Kids Book About, Inc.
This book will help you navigate the topic of climate change with your early climate optimist by offering simple and clever facts about climate change and ideas on how they can take action to help address it. Intended for children ages 5-9.
1. Why does climate change matter?
2. Have you noticed any changes in recent events, such as floods or fires, impacting your community?
3. What are some ways you and your community can help address climate change?
As part of children and youth preparedness and as hurricane season is fast approaching, we introduce our August #ECOBookworms book club pick, “Hurricane Watch,” written by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Taia Morley and published by HarperCollins Publishers.
Find out how hurricanes form, how scientists track them and learn ways you can prepare and stay safe during these natural disasters! Intended for children ages 4-8.
1. How do you think climate change is affecting natural disasters like hurricanes?
2. How can extreme weather events impact our health?
3. What are some ways you can prepare for extreme weather in your area?
Introducing our July ECO Bookworms book club pick, “Kenya’s Art,” written by Linda Trice, illustrated by Hazel Mitchell and published by Charlesbridge Publishing. Recycling can be fun, and Kenya teaches us creative ways to reuse, recycle and make art!
This story will inspire your early climate optimist to take action and help keep the planet clean by recycling and reusing! Intended for children ages 4-8.
1. Why is it important to recycle and reuse?
2. How can recycling help keep our planet healthy?
3. What are some creative ways you can recycle and reuse things in your house and share your art with friends and family?
Our June ECO Bookworms pick is “Old Enough to Save the Planet,” written by Loll Kirby, illustrated by Adelina Lirius and published by Magic Cat Publishing. This book highlights the real-life stories of 12 young activists from around the world, who have taken action to help address climate change.
Through these stories, your early climate optimist will learn different ways to make a difference and help save the planet. Intended for children ages 8-12.
1. Why do you think it’s important to address climate change?
2. Has someone in your community helped protect the Earth?
3. How can you take action in your community to help protect the planet?
In honor of National Endangered Species Day, our May ECO Bookworms book pick is “If Elephants Disappeared” written and illustrated by Lily Williams and published by Roaring Brook Press.
This book reminds us that all life on Earth is interconnected and that we all play a crucial role in keeping our ecosystems healthy. Intended for children ages 4-8.
1. Why is it important to protect elephants and other endangered species?
2. Can you think of any other animals that might be threatened or endangered?
3. What are some ways that you can protect these endangered species and threatened ecosystems?
Our April ECO Bookworms pick is "We are Water Protectors" written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade. Published by Roaring Brook Press, this book illustrates the vital need to protect the Earth's water from pollution.
This Earth Day, follow the story of a young climate leader who brought her community together to stand for clean water. Intended for children ages 3-6 years old, this book reminds us that no one is too small to become an early climate optimists and take action!
1. What do you do to honor Mother Earth and protect the water and land?
2. Why is water a valuable resource for our health?
3. How can climate change impact the water in your community?
Our March ECO Bookworms pick is “The Tree Lady: The Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed A City Forever,” written by H. Joseph Hopkins. Published by Beach Lane Books, this book illustrates the importance of coming together as a community to care for our earth.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we celebrate H. Joseph Hopkins’ passion for glorifying the beauty of our earth. Come celebrate with us! This book is for readers ages 5-10.
1. What can you do in your own neighborhood to celebrate the beauty of your community?
2. What makes Kate such an inspirational leader?
3. Why are trees important to our health? And what can you do nurture them?
“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?
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.