Reading books can help kids develop environmental conscience

Published 10:06 am Monday, March 5, 2018

As an environmentalist and a children’s librarian, I love children’s books about conservation, endangered animals and how we should treat our planet.

Reading to your child is really important for their language and literacy development. Reading books about nature and how to take care of it is important too. With the recent celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and with Earth Day just around the corner, it has gotten me thinking about my favorite kids books about the environment. So, here is my list of must-read, environmentally friendly children’s books:

1. “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss: This is my of one of my all-time favorite books. It’s about how beautiful nature is and how we can destroy it if we aren’t careful. It’s also about how we can make a difference and it’s up to us to try.

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2. “Roly Poly Pangolin” by Anna Dewdney: This book is a great way to educate kids about an animal that is not super well known. The pangolin is actually the most trafficked animal in the world.

3. “My Little Planet” series by Charles Ghigna: I pretty much love everything that Ghigna writes. In this series, he has four different books that all tackle a different environmental theme. One of my favorite things about these books is that at the end, there are activities to do with your kids. “Little Seeds” is about how to plant seeds and how they grow. “Recycling Is Fun” is about the different kinds of materials you can recycle and how to recycle. “We Need Water” is about where we can find water and how important it is to us. “Pick Up The Park” is about enjoying being outdoors and why it’s important to keep nature free of litter.

4. “Buried Sunlight” by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm: This book is really interesting and does a good job tackling the controversial topic of fossil fuels and their impact on the Earth. It also does a really great job of explaining where fossil fuels come from and why they are used.

These are all picture books and are on different reading levels but I think they are all interesting books and are good to share with kids so they can learn about the environment and what impacts — positive and negative — they can have on the environment. When kids are young, it’s important to introduce them to the importance of nature and the beauty of nature. This way, they know about all of the awesome things in nature that they can work to protect when they are older.

If you have any favorite kids books with environmental themes, I’d love to hear about them. You can let me know what they are at

You can always check your local library for cool and interesting books. Using your local library is a great way to be environmentally friendly. The first of the three R’s — reduce, reuse, recycle — is reduce. That’s because reducing how much we use if the most important way we can be environmentally friendly. By using your local library, you are reducing our need to cut down trees by sharing books with lots of other people. The Lorax would definitely approve.  

Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week

Earthworms don’t have lungs, they actually breathe through their skin.

About Amanda Wheeler

Amanda Wheeler is the children and teen services librarian at the Lincoln County Public Library. She has a master's in zoology education from the University of Miami and has taught as an educator at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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