2023 Children's Books · Children's Book Recommendations

Earth Day and Earth Picture Books

Earth Day and Earth picture book recommendations are by Angela Ferraris, The Retired School Librarian.

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Earth and Earth Day covers

Earth Day Picture Books

Cover of the picture book The Day the River Caught Fire with three children looking at the river on fire

The Day the River Caught Fire: How the Cuyahoga River Exploded and Ignited the Earth Day Movement

by Barry Wittenstein (Author), Jessie Hartland (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books . 2023. Grades 2-5. Hardcover Narrative Nonfiction Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1534480834.

Brief summary:  In the summer of 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire from the sparks of a train railcar falling into the water. It was not the first time the river caught on fire.

Young readers will learn about how the river became so polluted and what happened to change the pollution from continuously building.

Back pages include sections: Author’s Note, Environmental Time Line, Clean Water Act, To Learn More, and a Bibliography.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 📗📗📗1/2

The picture book cover of Black Beach with Sam holding a picket sign saying "Save our planet." Marine animal life are with her while the oil rig is spilling oil onto the water

Black Beach: A Community, an Oil Spill, and the Origin of Earth Day 

by Shaunna & John Stith (Author), Maribel Lechuga (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ little bee books . 2023. Grades K-4. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1499813043.

 Brief summary: Sam is in class in Santa Barbara when she sees her teacher look outside the window after the principal whispers to her and wonders why. Her parents explain to her about Union Oil causing an oil spill near where they live. The family walks to their favorite beach to find that the beach and ocean are black with oil. The town tries to clean the oil from the beach and help the animals covered with it.

A national day was created from this disaster and organized to celebrate and protest the environment which still exists today called Earth Day, April 22, 1970.

There are several sections in the back of the book: Author’s Note, Selected Bibliography, Timeline, Earth Day Today, Earth Day Every Day, and How to Become an Environmental Activist.

Teachers and homeschooling parents could share this book as a supplement in addition with Earth Day activities.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 📗📗📗📗

Earth and World Picture Books

Picture book cover of Stillwater and Koo Save the World with a grown panda and a Panda cub walking on the globe of the earth while carrying red umbrellas

Stillwater and Koo Save the World (A Stillwater and Friends Book) 

by Jon J Muth (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Scholastic Press . 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1338812312.

Brief summary: Koo wakes up and wants to save the world, and his uncle suggests cleaning his room first. Throughout the day, the uncle and nephew do small and thoughtful acts. Koo shares his feelings of wanting to save the world and learns how to make a difference in their world through acts of kindness.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 📗📗📗1/2

Cover of the picture book titled No World Too Big with three children holding up a globe of the earth

No World Too Big: Young People Fighting Global Climate Change

by Lindsay H. Metcalf (Author), Jeanette Bradley (Author, Illustrator), Keila V. Dawson (Author). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Charlesbridge. 2023. 2-5 grade. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1623543136.

Brief summary: Twelve poems written by children worldwide promoting global activisms. A paragraph explains what each child is doing and how the reader can help. 

Back pages include sections: From Me…, To We…, Glossary, Poetry Forms, and About the Poets.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3/5 📗📗📗

Picture book cover of Cool Green with a grandfather carrying his granddaughter on his shoulder while walking in a forest

Cool Green: Amazing, Remarkable Trees 

by Lulu Delacre (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Candlewick. 2023. PreK -2. Hardcover Nonfiction Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1536220407.

Brief summary: A landscaper teaches his granddaughter why he loves trees. Each tree is described in a poem.

Back pages include sections: A Note From the Author-Illustrator, Why Trees?, Cool Facts About the Trees in This Book, For Further Exploration, and A Bibliography.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 📗📗📗1/2

Cover of the picture book title The Tree and the River with a lone tree on the banks of a river

The Tree and the River 

by Aaron Becker (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Candlewick. 2023. PreK-5. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1536223293.

Brief summary: This wordless picture book begins with a tree growing on the banks of a river. It observes humans throughout the many decades changing with the seasons and years that have gone by.

Aaron Becker brilliantly captures the Mother Nature vs. humankind aspect through these detailed and thought-provoking illustrations.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 5/5 📗📗📗📗📗

Picture book cover of Flipflopi with a boy and his father building a boat with the community in the background collect plastic out of the ocean.

Flipflopi: How a Boat Made from Flip-Flops Is Helping to Save the Ocean 

by Linda Ravin Lodding (Author), Dipesh Pabari (Author), Michael Machira Mwangi (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Beaming Books. 2023. K-3. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1506486406.

Brief summary: Juma walks with his grandfather to go fishing on the beach and is met with all sorts of plastic trash and thousands of flip-flops. The community comes together and gathers all of the endless plastic waste and melts it to make a dhow boat.

This is based a on a true story which is explained in the back pages along with sections: Ocean Pollution, How Can You Help?, and Glossary.

What a “make lemonade out of lemons” story!

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 📗📗📗📗

Cover of Climate Warriors showing various photos of the different scientist with a green background.

Climate Warriors: Fourteen Scientists and Fourteen Ways We Can Save Our Planet

by Laura Gehl (Author). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Millbrook Press. 2023. Grades 3-8. Hardcover Nonfiction. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1728460406.

Brief summary: There is an introduction to define climate change before each of the fourteen scientists’ chapter. There are a variety of different scientists who explains ways they are working and studying to help the Earth. Each section concludes with recommendations from the scientist and what we can do.

The book ends with ideas of how we all can be a climate warrior.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3.5/5 📗📗📗1/2

The picture book cover of The World and Everything In It with bits and piece of the illustrations inside all around the title such as a dog, cloud, kitten, and so on

The World and Everything in It

by Kevin Henkes (Author, Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Greenwillow Books. 2023. PreK-1. Hardcover Picture Book.ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0063245648.

Brief summary: This book shares what is around us in the world: big, small, and between. The soft and calming illustrations are done with brown ink and watercolor paint, demonstrating the size differences.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 3/5 📗📗📗

The picture book cover of You Are My Pride with a large sailboat on the blue ocean

You Are My Pride: A Love Letter from Your Motherland 

by Carole Boston Weatherford (Author), E. B. Lewis (Illustrator). Publisher ‏ : ‎ Astra Young Readers. 2023. PreK-2. Hardcover Picture Book. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1635923872.

Brief summary: This touching poem, illustrated with large two-page illustrations done in watercolors, is a lovely letter from Mother Nature telling her human children how much she has loved them since the beginning of their creation on Earth.

Back pages briefly explain the Developments in Early Human Evolution.

Educators–this would be a great supplement to use with the different viewpoints unit of study.

For more details or to buy, click here.

Rating: 4/5 📗📗📗📗