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ECO Bookworms

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. Check back at the beginning of each month for a new featured book.Drawing of a teacher with four students and several books of exaggerated size behind her

Free books for educators!

APHA’s ECO Bookworms book club is coming to your classroom! Educators who are looking to inspire climate action can choose one of our six book picks, and we will mail it to you for free. These books focus on climate change or the environment and offer many ways to take action. Select your book and encourage your students’ reading skills and awareness of the environment. 

Sign up for your free book

We look forward to seeing how you incorporate the book into your classroom. Create a class project based on the book and share on social media with the tag #ECOBookworms. At the end of the year, we will feature the projects on APHA’s social media.

Be creative! Need some inspiration? Read about some of the activities from last year.   

July 2024 ECO Bookworm

Three young children are in the foreground placing plastic bottles into trash bags. They are surrounded by a coral reef. Book text: Something Happened to Our Planet: Kids Tackle the Climate Crisis by Marianne Celano and Marietta Collins illustrated by Bhagya Madanasinghe. New York Times Bestselling Authors.This July, our ECO Bookworms Book Club selection is “Something Happened to Our Planet: Kids Tackle the Climate Crisis” by Marianne Celano, PhD, and Marietta Collins, PhD, and illustrated by Bhagya Madanasinghe. In this book, a small group of children show how mighty they are when they work together. Starting with concerns about plastics in our waterways, our young activists start a group to ask for improvements in their elementary school cafeteria. The authors use their decades of experience to write extensive reader’s notes to help adults answer kids’ questions about the climate crisis. Published by Magination Press, this book is for children ages 4-9.

Discussion questions:

  • Did you know how ants are important to flowers and the planet?
  • How can you limit what is thrown in the trash?
  • How could you and your friends work together to make a change at your school?

June 2024 ECO Bookworm

A complex drawing of the ocean with an oil rig, life preserver, shark, fish, pop can plastic rings, and other junk. Book cover text: What a Waste: trash, recycling, and protecting our planet. In a circle I’m made with responsibly sources maters and soy inks!This June, our ECO Bookworms Book Club selection is “What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet” by Jess French. This hefty book (75 pages) shares age-appropriate concerns about pollution and conservation of natural resources with children. While this book explains where we are going wrong, it also shares what we are getting right! The author shares solutions both large and small — from how countries are implementing green projects worldwide to how individuals are turning trash into something useful. Published by DK Children, this book is for children ages 4-9.

Discussion questions:

  • What plastic item could you swap out this week?
  • How can you make your house more energy efficient?
  • What item can you reuse, rather than throwing it away?

May 2024 ECO Bookworm

A large whale in the ocean with a small child nearby. Book Text: The Lost Whale: Only he can leader her home.This May, our ECO Bookworms selection is “The Lost Whale” by Hannah Gold. This adventure tale introduces us to Rio as he moves to a beach town and is overcome by the majesty of the massive gray whales he discovers there. When his favorite whale goes missing, Rio must embark on a journey across the dangerous ocean to find her. This fierce celebration of friendship informs the reader about the struggles facing whales and other ocean life from climate change, pollution, and overfishing. Published by HarperCollins, this book is for children ages 8-12.

Discussion questions:

  • What would you cross the ocean to find?
  • How does pollution in the water affect whales?
  • What can you do to prevent water pollution?

April 2024 ECO Bookworm

A Young Girl holding a globe surrounded by flora and fauna in bright colors. Book text: The World is Ours to Cherish: A Letter to a ChildThis April, our ECO Bookworms selection is “The World is Ours to Cherish” by climate writer Mary Annaise Heglar and illustrated by Vivian Mineker. This author writes an honest, open letter to children about climate change and urges them to band together to help the planet. She underscores that the world is beautiful, but changing. Climate change has already had a devastating effect on the planet, but it's not too late if we work together. Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, this book is for children ages 4-9.

Discussion questions:

  • What parts of the planet do you think are the most beautiful?
  • What steps can we take together to prevent climate change?
  • Who can you ask to help you protect the land where you live?

March 2024 ECO Bookworm

Six diverse children with their hands on a large globe. Book text: We are all connected: Caring for each other & the earthThis March our ECO Bookworm selection is “We are All Connected” by Gabi Garcia and illustrated by Natalia Jimenez Osario. This charming book in verse begins with “We all live on one blue dot spinning in space. We are all a part of one human race.” Throughout the book, the author underscores that everyone on earth is connected and thus we need to care for one another and our planet. She identifies that children can take strong stands for the climate, including protecting water, land and animals on earth. Published by Skinned Kneed Publishing, this book is for children 3-8.

Discussion questions:

  • What is one thing you can do today to protect our land?
  • How can you help others care for the Earth?
  • Can you write a poem about protecting the planet?

February 2024 ECO Bookworm

Image of the book cover shows an earth in pieces with a plant and a spade on one side and a ladder on the other. Text: Title of the book:  How to Change Everything: The Young Human's Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other. New York Times Best-Selling Author Naomi Klein with Rebecca Stefoff. “How to Change Everything: The Young Human's Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other,” by Rebecca Stefoff and Naomi Klein is our ECO Bookworms Book Club pick for February. Adapted from the author’s book for adults, the author reminds children, ages 10 and up, that this is a time of great opportunity—an opportunity to change everything. Children are not just part of the climate change movement, but many are leading the way.

Full of empowering stories of young leaders from all over the world, this book offers young readers a comprehensive look at the state of the climate today and how we got here, while also providing the tools they need to join this fight to protect and reshape the planet they will inherit. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Discussion Questions:

  • What are some activities can you participate in to increase awareness of climate change?
  • Why are climate and justice related issues?
  • What tools do you already have to protect our planet?

January 2024 ECO Bookworm

Picture of a young boy with a large afro holding a paintbrush. The words The Artivist is written behind his head. Text: #1 New York Times Bestselling Illustrator Nikkolas Smith.This month, our ECO Bookworms Book Club pick, “The Artivist,” encourages children to use their talents for change! When the young boy in this book uses art to highlight social justice issues, like environmental negligence, he is both raising awareness and encouraging others to take action.

The author writes, “They say I’m an Artist. They say I’m an activist. I think it’s time to combine both parts of who I am: to take ACTION with my ART. It’s time to become … the ARTIVIST.” Written and illustrated by Nikkolas Smith. Published by Kokila. Intended for children ages 4-8.

Discussion Questions:

  • What is an Artivist and how do they encourage change?
  • What did the Artivist inspire when he painted what people deserved to have?
  • What talents do you have that can encourage change in your neighborhood?

November 2023 ECO Bookworm

Image of the book cover shows two girls and a boy on a beach picking up the litter that is pictured. Text: Title of the book. "The Big Beach Clean Up" Charlotte offsay (Author) and Katie Rewse (Illustrator).In honor of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, our ECO Bookworms book pick is “The Big Beach Cleanup,” written by Charlotte Offsay, illustrated by Katie Rewse and published by Albert Whitman & Company.

This book follows the story of Cora who was excited to compete in a sandcastle building contest, but the event is canceled because of all the litter that washed up on the beach. Cora is determined to get her community together and clean up the beach and she will not stop there. Intended for children ages 4-8.

Discussion Questions:

  • What are Cora’s big plans after the beach cleanup?
  • Have you noticed litter in your community? How can you help your community stay clean?
  • What are single-use plastics?

October 2023 ECO Bookworm

Image of the book cover shows five diverse children and a dog standing with notebooks next to a red wagon. Text: Title of the book. "Rise Up and Write It: With Real Mail, Posters, and More" Nandini Ahuja (Author) and Anoosha Syed (Illustrator).This October, check out our ECO Bookworms Book Club pick, “Rise Up and Write It,” written by Nandini Ahuja, illustrated by Anoosha Syed and published by Harper Festival. This interactive book includes different envelopes with letters, postcards and more. Make sure to open them and follow along as Farah Patel brings her community together to help make her neighborhood greener! Intended for children ages 4-8.

Discussion Questions:

  • What motivated Farah to write to Mayor Khan?
  • How did the community garden benefit Farah’s community?
  • How does Farah’s story inspire you to take action in your community?

September 2023 ECO Bookworm

Image of the book cover shows a young girl standing with her arms crossed in front of the Washington Monument and an oversized American flag. Text: Title of the book. "Melanin Brown Discovers America" Candice Davis (Author) and Benedicta Buatsie (Illustrator).APHA’s ECO Bookworms Book Club wants to ensure our conversations about climate, health and equity start with respect for all and a curiosity to discover more. Check out our September Book Club pick, “Melanin Brown Discovers America,” written by Candice Davis and illustrated by Benedicta Buatsie. This book reminds us that when we are kind to one another and care about people and the planet, we can stand up to bullies and overcome challenges. Let’s work together to address climate change and help heal our planet! Intended for children 8-12.

Discussion Questions:

  • What are some ways you can show love and kindness to yourself, others and the Earth?
  • Name three things you like to find out about other people.
  • Why is it important to treat each other and the Earth with respect?

man reading to baby  grandmother reading to toddler

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.

Past Book List

Download a PDF of the full list.

  • A Kids Book About Climate Change book cover“A Kids Book About Climate Change” written by Zanagee Artis and Olivia Greenspan
  • “A Planet Like Ours” written by Frank Murphy and Charnaie Gordon illustrated by Kayla Harren
  • “Aani and the Tree Huggers” written by Jeannine Atkins illustrated by Venantius Pinto
  • “ABC Earth-Friendly Me” written by Christiane Engle
  • And the People Stayed Home book cover“And the People Stayed Home” written by Kitty O'Meara illustrated by Dan Hanna
  • “Be the Difference: 40+ Ideas for Kids to create positive change using empathy, kindness, equality and environmental awareness” written by Jayneen Sanders illustrated by Cherie Zamazing
  • “Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth” written by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm illustrated by Molly Bang
  • “Coco's Fire: Changing Climate Anxiety into Climate Action” written by Jeremy Wortzel and Lena Champlin illustrated by Lena K. Champlin
  • “Drought” written by Melissa Stewart illustrated by Andrew Ceolin
  • Earth Hour book cover with people under starry sky“Earth Hour A Lights-out Event for our planet” written by Nanette Hefferman illustrated by Bao Luu
  • “Greta and the Giants” written by Zoe Tucker illustrated Zoe Persico
  • “Hurricane Watch” written by Melissa Stewart illustrated by Taia Morley
  • “I am Enough” written by Gracy Byers illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
  • If Elephants Disappeared elephant in jungle with two children“If Elephants Disappeared” written and illustrated by Lily Williams
  • “Kenya's Art” written by Linda Trice illustrated by Hazel Mitchell
  • “Melanin Brown Discovers America” written by Candice Davis illustrated by Benedicta Bautsie
  • “My Friend Earth” written by Patricia MacLachlan illustrated by Francesca Sanna
  • Book cover for No World Too Big. Three children are pictured holding up a globe with the book’s title inscribed on its surface.“No World Too Big: Young People Fighting Global Climate Change” written by Lindsay H. Metcalf and Keila V. “Dawson illustrated by Jeanette Bradley
  • “Old Enough to Save the Planet” written by Loll Kirby illustrated by Adelina Lirius
  • “One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia” written by Miranda Paul illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
  • “Penguins Don't Wear Sweaters” written by Marikka Tamura illustrated by Daniel Rieley
  • “Rise up and Write It” written by Nandini Ahuja illustrated by Anoosha Syed
  • Book cover for "Rocket says CLEAN UP!"“Rocket Says Clean Up!” written by Nathan Bryon illustrated by Dapo Adeola
  • “Sofia Valdez Future Prez” written by Andrea Beaty illustrated by David Roberts
  • “Solar Story: How One Community Lives Alongside the World's Biggest Solar Plant” written and illustrated by Allan Drummond
  • “Stand Up! Speak Up!: A Story Inspired by the Climate Change Revolution” written and illustrated by Andrew Joyner
  • “The Big Beach Cleanup” written by Charlotte Offsay illustrated by Katie Rewse
  • Image of the book cover shows a young girl holding a flower in her hand standing amongst green fronds.  Text: Title of the book. "The Coquies Still Sing" Karina Nicole Gonzalez (Author) and Krystal Quiles (Illustrator).“The Coquies Still Sing” written by Karina Nicole González illustrated by Krystal Quiles
  • “The Earth Gives More” written by Sue Fliess illustrated by Christiane Engel
  • “The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest” written and illustrated by Lynne Cherry
  • “The Lorax” written by Dr. Suess
  • “The Pout-Pout Fish Cleans Up the Ocean” written by Deborah Diesen illustrated by Dan Hanna
  • Tree Lady book cover girl lying in middle of forest“The Tree Lady: The Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever” written by H. Joseph Hopkins illustrated by Jill McElmurry
  • “The Water Walker” written by Joanne Robertson illustrated by Joanne Robertson
  • “To change a planet” written by Christina Soontornvat illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell
  • “We are Water Protectors” written by Carole Lindstrom illustrated by Michaela Goade
  • “Young Water Protectors: A Story about Standing Rock” written by Aslan Tudor, Kelly Tudor and Jason Eaglespeaker