Green Reads for Kids
Finding the best eco-themed books to help your kids become more environmentally aware
I’ve been asked this question over and over again: What are the best eco-themed books for kids? I’m gearing up to spend a week at the beach and I’m thinking about it again. We all know The
Giving Tree and The Lorax—and if you haven’t read the latter, do! It’s much different from the movie version (and not just because it lacks controversial marketing).
Whether your family prefers to spend Saturdays doing recycled crafts and eco-activities or already regularly embraces popular fictional characters from Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss, getting into good green reading is a worthwhile activity. This extensive list proves that everyone from Sponge Bob to Charlie and Lola is down with green. And there are books for all ages. Start early with an Eco Baby board book or you can hand your high schooler a copy of the teen edition of The Inconvenient Truth. —Alexandra Zissu
Long lists can be overwhelming. So here are just a few of my favorites:
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which my mother, an avid gardener, read to me often as a kid. I recently read it to my daughter. It’s not technically an eco-tale, but the descriptions of earth coming to life in the spring, the heath, and kids gaining health and strength from being outside and digging in the dirt are lovely.
Watership Down, by Richard Adams has a strong ecological theme, which has captivated my daughter and her father, who have spent the last few weeks curled into a ball reading this. Listening in, I know big themes of the story include animals and nature being spoiled by man, and man not living in harmony with nature. I love hearing descriptions of the natural settings that open most chapters, with their endless lists of fauna, and I am charmed by the rabbits’ plant names (Hazel, Strawberry, Dandelion and so on).