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Find more Top 10 Books on the Environment & Sustainability for Youth
Incredibly, it’s been 10 years since we devoted a Top 10 to environmental books, yet their topics of keystone species, plastic pollution, declining pollinator populations, and conservation are more important than ever. Here are some recently reviewed titles, a mix of nonfiction and fiction, that belong in every collection.
At Home with the Beaver: The Story of a Keystone Species. By Dorothy Hinshaw Patent. Illus. by Michael Runtz. 2019. Web of Life, $17.95 (9781970039009). K–Gr. 3.
Zoologist Patent clearly explains the concept of keystone species by examining the vital role the beaver plays in its ecosystem. Clear color photos lend firm support to the book’s lessons.
Biodiversity: Explore the Diversity of Life on Earth with Environmental Science Activities for Kids. By Laura Perdew. Illus. by Tom Casteel. 2019. Nomad, $22.95 (9781619307483). Gr. 4–8.
Activities and accessible text bring the importance and complexity of biodiversity to upper-elementary and middle-school students.
Cast Away: Poems for Our Time. By Naomi Shihab Nye. 2020. Greenwillow, $16.99 (9780062907691). Gr. 3–6.
In this poignant collection of poems, Young People’s Poet Laureate Nye challenges readers to consider their definition of trash and leaves them with a consciousness of Earth’s precarious environment.
Fighting for the Forest: How FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps Helped Save America. By P. O’Connell Pearson. 2019. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (9781534429321). Gr. 5–8.
In engaging prose, Pearson describes and perceptively evaluates the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal program that enhanced America’s natural resources while providing jobs for young men during the Great Depression.
Hike. By Pete Oswald. Illus. by the author. Mar. 2020. Candlewick, $17.99 (9781536201574). PreS–Gr. 2.
A father and son’s hiking trip comes to life in this nearly wordless picture book that perfectly communicates the quiet yet powerful experience of walking through a wilderness area.
If Elephants Disappeared. By Lily Williams. Illus. by the author. 2019. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (9781250143204). Gr. 1–3.
Kids will glean basic elephant facts, including background on their habitats and endangered status, before they’re shown how the loss of pachyderms would impact the ecosystems these lumbering giants call home.
Moth: An Evolution Story. By Isabel Thomas. Illus. by Daniel Egnéus. 2019. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (9781547600205). Gr. 1–3.
Over Egnéus’ engrossing collage illustrations, Thomas distills the complicated concept of evolution for young readers, using the story of the peppered moth whose coloration is tied to environmental pollution.
We Are Water Protectors. By Carole Lindstrom. Illus. by Michaela Goade. 2020. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (9781250203557). K–Gr. 2.
A young Indigenous girl leads a rally against the construction of oil pipelines in this gorgeously illustrated picture book. While the text draws on specific cultural beliefs, its argument is universal: “We are stewards of the Earth.”
Where Have All the Bees Gone? Pollinators in Crisis. By Rebecca E. Hirsch. 2020. Lerner/Twenty-First Century, $37.32 (9781541534636). Gr. 7–11.
In a well-balanced and objective presentation, Hirsch takes readers through the life cycle of bees, their important role in pollination, and the three main reasons for their decline.
You Are Eating Plastic Every Day: What’s in Our Food? By Danielle Smith-Llera. 2019. Capstone/Compass Point, $35.32 (9780756561741). Gr. 5–8.
Meet microplastics, the world’s grimmest sprinkles. Part of the Informed! series, this book comprehensively and convincingly presents the dangers single-use plastics pose to the environment and its animals, including humans.
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