Beyond The Lorax: Children’s Books for Earth Day

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Erin McCoy

Staff Writer

Erin is a coffee shop explorer and yogi who moved to Minnesota a decade ago. She’s had the pleasure of studying both music theory and student development theory on her quest to earn degrees in music and academic advising. Erin owns an inordinate number of romance novels, coffee mugs, and bottles of vodka distilled in the Midwest. She lives with her husband, daughter, and a dog named Dixie.

I like The Lorax, really I do. The Dr. Seuss classic weaves together a beguiling tale of a man who cuts down Truffula trees to make Thneeds and the Lorax who “speaks for the trees.” In the end, the forest of Truffulas is gone and the man regrets his intended, and unintended, actions. Although I like The Lorax, my toddler loves The Lorax. We listen to the audiobook version, narrated by Ted Danson, in the car almost once a day. Recently when my partner took her to the bookstore to pick out any book she wanted, she came home with The Lorax.

I’m not complaining that my little one loves a particular book. I have my favorites too! To celebrate Earth Day, though, I want to broaden our horizons. The Lorax has a great message, but there are other children’s books for Earth Day out there are just as educational and engaging. So, I went in search of some other options to read and enjoy on April 22nd. If you are looking for a book to borrow from the library or to add to your collection this Earth Day, try one of these fantastic children’s books for Earth Day below.

Call Me Tree/Llamame arbolChildren's Earth Day Books | Book Riot by Maya Christina Gonzalez

This bilingual picture book would be a great addition to almost anyone’s bookshelf. Focusing on trees, which, of course, is great for Earth Day, the repetitiveness of Gonzalez’s words make this a great bedtime option.

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the EarthChildren's Earth Day Books | Book Riot by Mary McKenna Siddals, Illustrated by Ashley Wolff

This alphabet book puts a compost spin on the ABCs and shows just how much of the world around us can be composted. I don’t compost now, but this book certainly encouraged me to explore it as an option in the future…maybe for Earth Day!?!

The EARTH BookChildren's Earth Day Books | Book Riot by Todd Parr

With Parr’s signature illustrative style, and to-the-point writing, The Earth Book is great for the littlest picture book lovers. Polar bears, owls, and bunnies grace the pages so this book would be great for animal lovers too.

Michael RecycleChildren's Earth Day Books | Book Riot by Ellie Bethel, Illustrated by Alexandra Colombo

Do you have a superhero lover in your family? If so, this book is for them. When Michael Recycle drops by the town of Abberdoo-Rimey and encourages them to clean up their mess, the citizens take the advice to heart. This is the first book in Bethel’s Michael Recycle series and (bonus!) there are lots of practical suggestions for conservation in the back of the book.

Children's Earth Day Books | Book RiotOne Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of Gambia by Miranda Paul, Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Ever wonder if there is something useful you can do with all of your plastic bags? This book tells the story of Isatou Ceesay in Gambia who finds a way to repurpose the plastic bags that are making her family’s livestock ill. She, along with some friends, cleans the bags, makes them into something new, and sells them at a market. A great nonfiction recommendation for Earth Day (or year round)!

Over and Under the PondChildren's Earth Day Books | Book Riot by Kate Messner, Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

This book is beautifully written and stunningly illustrated. It’s so pretty that I’ve thought about framing the pages and hanging them on the wall. Featuring a mother and sun canoeing on a pond, they discuss the animals, plants, and wildlife that they see. This book is perfect for readers who like science and discovering the world around them.

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the ChimpsChildren's Earth Day Books | Book Riot by Jeanette Winter

On April 22nd, this is the book my daughter and I will be reading. Now I’m sure we’ll read it a lot between now and then too, since she adores it so much, but this will be the book we talk about that day. The Watcher is about Jane Goodall’s life in Gombe with the chimps, but it also shows her as a young girl and as an activist today. 

Any other suggestions for an Earth Day children’s book? Share your recommendations in the comments!

Looking for Earth Day book recommendations for yourself? Here are 15 Books to Celebrate, as well as Nature Essays.