Every April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day. This day is a great opportunity to teach our children about taking care of our planet. Earth Day picture books are perfect for read-alouds, classroom discussions, and to introduce conservation concepts to young learners. Below you will find 25 inspiring picture books about nature, our planet, and how we can make a difference. These Earth Day books are ideal for kids of all ages!
Earth Day Reading Comprehension Activities for Third & Fourth Grade
Encourage your students to care for our planet with these comprehension passages and engaging activities focusing on conservation topics such as reusing, reducing, and recycling. They’ll also learn about the history of Earth Day!
The Best Picture Books for Earth Day
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1. The Tantrum That Saved the World by Megan Herbert
This book shares the story of Sophia, a young girl who tries to impact the world in a positive way. Students will see how the whole world is impacted when one part of the world suffers. The engaging rhyme in this story makes this a great Earth Day read aloud book!
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: Enlist your students’ help and join Sophia’s movement! Create a list of practical things to do everyday to have a positive effect on the world, then display it on your classroom door or hallway.
2. Kenya’s Art by Linda Trice and Hazel Mitchell
After a visit to a recycling exhibit at the museum, Kenya decides to create a “Thingamabob” piece of artwork to share with her class. This book serves as a great discussion of how to reuse and recycle!
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: Have your students create artwork with discarded items – clean plastic bottles, cardboard, newspaper, etc.! If you don’t have quite enough items to create this art project, you could send your students home with an Earth Day scavenger hunt to find some items that they can use for their art project. Grab the FREE Trash to Treasure activity below!
FREE Trash to Treasure Activity
Students will find reusable and recyclable materials around the house and create an invention that will help them solve a problem.
3. Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayre
Written as a love letter to our planet, this book is full of beautiful photographs of all the things about the earth to be thankful for!
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: Are your students practicing how to write friendly letters? Invite your students to write their own love letters to Earth!
4. The Last Straw: Kids vs. Plastics by Susan Hood
After sharing just how much plastic we use in our daily lives, this informative and engaging book shares the stories of several children who are trying to reduce plastic waste.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: After reading this book, you can work together as a class to find ways to reduce plastic. Consider having the students write a persuasive essay or flyer to get their peers on board with their suggested changes.
5. The Adventures of Myrtle the Turtle by Julie Jakeman
This book shares the story of Myrtle and her friends who are being negatively impacted by plastic pollution in the ocean.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: Have students write a journal entry from a turtle’s point of view about the negative impact plastic pollution has on their environment.
6. Save the Bees by Bethany Stahl
A bee named Clover teaches two children about pollination and the importance of bees. This engaging story also shows what children can do to help the bees.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: After reading this book with your class, have your students research different ways in which they can help save the bees. Students can create a presentation or brochure to share with their families.
7. Save the Arctic by Bethany Stahl
Nanu, a hungry polar bear, is having trouble finding food in the Arctic! This book illustrates the impact of global warming, in addition to sharing how everything in nature is connected.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: You can expand on the ideas from this book by having the students create their own food webs to illustrate how the health of one species impacts the well-being of another.
8. Not for Me, Please! I Choose to Act Green by Maria Godsey
This book is a fun Earth Day poem for kids! This engaging story shows students the impact that one small choice, either positive or negative, can have on the planet.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: Create a “Not for Me, Please!” bulletin board or class book. Students can share something that they can decline in favor of a more Earth-friendly alternative.
9. Heal the Earth by Julian Lennon
This is a unique and interactive book that helps students learn what they can do to take care of the planet as they dive and fly through the story.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: This would be a great book to share in small groups, since students are invited to tap pictures throughout the story.
10. Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals
This rhyming ABC book shows students all of the different things that can be added to compost!
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: You can ask the Master Gardeners in your area to visit your classroom or school and talk more about compost. You could also create an alphabet book full of ways to help the planet!
11. We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
This beautifully illustrated story from an indigenous viewpoint discusses the importance of water. It shares how a young girl stands up to the black snake (oil pipeline) that threatens the planet.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: This story provides a great opportunity to practice inference, since the black snake is not explicitly identified in the story.
12. The Plastic Problem by Lonely Planet Kids
This informative book shares 60 ways to reduce plastic waste, presented with fun and engaging illustrations. This is a longer book that can be used as a resource in your classroom, or read over the course of several days.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: After reading this book with so many ideas, students can write about how they can help the earth. My free Earth Day Writing Templates are perfect for this activity!
FREE Earth Day Writing Templates
These Earth Day writing sheets are perfect for helping your students share what they’ve learned about helping the planet! This free download also includes a craftivity that can be used on an Earth Day bulletin board!
13. Trees Make Perfect Pets by Paul Czajak
Abigail wants a pet for her birthday, but not a cat, dog, or hamster. She thinks a tree will make the perfect pet! This clever story invites discussion about the importance of trees and their proper care.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: Have students to write a poem about trees and why they are needed to help our planet. Encourage your students to add similes and metaphors within their poem.
14. One Earth by Eileen Spinelli
This counting book is a great Earth Day book for kindergarten. It shares beautiful illustrations to celebrate the Earth while counting to ten. After making it to ten, you will then count backward with different ways to help the planet.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: This book could inspire a fun eye spy activity for students of any elementary grade level, where they hide different Earth-Day related objects in their drawings for peers to find. (8 soda cans, 6 milk cartons, etc.)
15. Why Should I Recycle? by Jen Green
This book answers a valid question: “Why should I recycle?” A young student grows up in a household that doesn’t recycle and then learns about the importance of reducing waste.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: Could your recycling box use a facelift? Have your students create design ideas for decorating your recycling box and then vote on the class favorite!
16. What a Waste by Jess French
Are you looking for a book that presents important facts about recycling and pollution in an accessible way for children? This book is a great Earth Day book for elementary students!
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: Students can use facts from this book and other sources to create a short informative ‘news report’ video about recycling.
17. This Class Can Save the Planet by Stacy Tornio
This book is packed full of actionable tips for making Earth-friendly changes in your classroom!
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: This Earth day book is a great resource for discussing positive changes that can be made in your classroom and school. Have your class vote on a few changes that they’d like to implement for the rest of the school year.
18. The Earth Gives More by Sue Fliess
This rhyming picture book takes you through the four seasons, showing what the earth gives us to enjoy throughout the year. The book ends with a reminder to care for the planet.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: This book could serve as a great inspiration for a four-seasons craft or as an introduction to a lesson about the four seasons.
19. Earth Ninja by Mary Nhin
What elementary student could resist a book about NINJAS? In this fun story, Earth Ninja teaches his friend, Lazy Ninja, about reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: This book does a great job of introducing the topic of the helping the Earth. You can expand on this discussion with my Earth Day comprehension passages and activities! This collection of activities includes printable worksheets as well as digital slides.
20. What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick
Sometimes it can be difficult for children to truly understand how their small choices can impact the Earth. This book helps students see what would happen if EVERYBODY made the same seemingly-small choices.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: This book is a great introduction to cause and effect, where students can document each action (cause) and the effect of everyone doing it.
21. Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers
This beautifully-illustrated book gives a friendly tour of the earth with an important message: “You are never alone on Earth.”
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: After reading this book, you can encourage your students to write a friendly tour of one of their favorite places to visit and share tips for taking care of it.
22. Heroes of the Environment by Harriet Rohmer
This Earth Day read aloud has multiple chapters, each containing the story of someone who has made a positive impact on the environment.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: Assign a chapter of this book to different small groups in your class, then have them prepare a biographical presentation to share what they learned with the class.
23. Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green by Eileen Spinelli
In this book, Miss Fox shares with her class what it means to “Go Green!” They work together to make positive changes in their classroom and beyond.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: A fun part of this story is when Miss Fox’s class has a toy swap! Your students might enjoy organizing their own book or toy swap in the classroom or school.
24. The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle by Alison Inches
This fun Earth Day children’s book shows how plastic bottles are made, through light-hearted diary entries from the perspective of the plastic bottle.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: Students can create their own creatures from a water bottle, then write a story from the bottle’s perspective. This would make a fun bulletin board or Earth Day library display!
25. Energy Island by Allan Drummond
This story shares the story of Samsø Island in Denmark. Through fun and kid-friendly illustrations, your students will learn about how ordinary people have helped their island be almost completely energy independent using renewable resources.
Ideas for Using This Book in the Classroom: Invite your students to design their own energy islands! Have them describe where they would put certain renewable resources (such as windmills or solar panels) and why.
More Earth Day Ideas
Are you looking for more activities to go along with your Earth Day read alouds? Check out my blog post with Ten FREE Earth Day Activities and Resources!
I hope this list of Earth Day picture books will give you some great ideas for your classroom! Please tag @SweetToothTeaching in your Earth Day festivities, especially if you use these books or activities. I love to see what you’re up to!