10 Picture Books for the Budding Environmentalist

Picture books are a powerful tool in any young learner’s education. At a fundamental level, they help children build vocabulary, learn sentence and story structure, and encourage creativity. Picture books also offer a unique opportunity to introduce complex topics and ideas in a vibrant, palatable format. If you’re looking for a way to talk to your children about climate change and environmental activism, picture books provide the perfect medium to bridge that discussion. Read on for a list of inspiring picture books about the environment to help motivate your future environmentalist.

We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrome and Michaela Goode

This beautifully illustrated book doesn’t just teach young readers about the importance of water conservation; it calls for action and dedication to environmental stewardship. It also celebrates Indigenous-led movements to protect natural resources.

My Friend Earth book cover

My Friend Earth by Patricia MacLachlan and Francesca Sanna

This might be my favorite book on this list. My Friend Earth features bold die cut illustrations and a powerful message about all the gifts that Earth provides us. Stunning art complements the lyrical text, written by the Newbery Award–winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Sea Bear: A Story of Survival by Lindsay Moore

Sea Bear is a beautifully illustrated, poetic look at how climate change affects the planet. Readers follow a determined polar bear as he traverses the Arctic and learns to adapt to his changing environment. Educational backmatter elevates the book.

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World book cover

10 Things I Can Do To Help My World by Melanie Walsh

If you’re looking for a nonfiction book to get your family started in environmental action, check out 10 Things I Can Do To Help My World. Colorful illustrations accompany a list of concrete ways your family can tackle going green.

The Hike by Alison Farrell

I love this fun story about three adventurous kids going on a nature hike. Budding scientists and adventurers will enjoy the illustrations and notations about all there is to experience in the great outdoors.

Flowers Are Calling Book Cover

The Flowers Are Calling by Rita Gray and Kenard Pak

This is a sweet, rhyming story that teaches kids about different pollinators and cycles of life in nature. Pak blends watercolor and digital illustrations to bring nature to life in the hands of your young reader.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating and Marta Álvarez Miguéns

Check out Shark Lady for the inspiring story of Eugenie Clark, a scientific pioneer who changed the way we think about sharks. Clark’s story is fascinating and empowers children to follow their passions into adulthood, too. 

Green Green: A Community Gardening Story by Marie Lamba, Baldev Lamba, and Sonia Sanchez

Pick this one up if you’re looking to introduce your child to the concept of community gardening. This book carries a powerful message about how a community can build beautiful things together.

The Water Princess by Susan Verde, Georgie Badiel, and Peter H. Reynolds

Based on the childhood of supermodel Georgie Badiel, this inspiring book is about one young girl’s desire to bring clean water to her African village. The Water Princess is perfect for launching conversations about the importance of water conservation.

Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit by Linda Marshall and Ilaria Urbinati

This delightful picture book introduces readers to the true story of Beatrix Potter, the woman behind the beloved Peter Rabbit series. Potter lived a fascinating life as a conservationist, amateur scientist, and trailblazing businesswoman. Detailed illustrations show how she used her earnings from the Peter Rabbit series to purchase and preserve over 4,000 acres of land.


Looking for more children’s books about the environment? Try 8 Picture Books About Nature to Bring the Outdoors To You and 6 Children’s Books By Women Authors Perfect For Earth Day.