If you are looking for environmental books for kids and young adults, then you are at the right place. I have curated a list of non-fiction and fiction books that will provide information yet help develop empathy and compassion to conserve wildlife and the environment.
Need to develop awareness about wildlife and environmental conservation
We often hear or read about ecological conservation, saving the environment and climate change. The media shows us how waste, chemicals and plastic are polluting water, air and soil. Decreasing forest cover has led to human-animal conflict, warmer climate and less rainfall. Moreover, we have experienced unseasonal weather and melting glaciers.
Waste is disposed in oceans, due to this microparticles of plastic are known to be found in consumable fish. All of these require attention, thought and action. We need to do something to bring a positive change. But what can we do as an individual or as a community?
Is planting more trees the only solution or do we need to adopt a broader approach to reverse the damage? Generations of people have got used to certain lifestyles in towns and cities. Yet the impact of urban lifestyle on our planet is such that we need to change something, so that the natural resources are conserved.
Could it be a new modified way of living that is kinder to all the living beings, plant life, water bodies, air, and soil? A few decades ago, there was little literature on actionable steps for eco-friendly sustainable living. Literature was not easily accessible to people interested in learning more about how to live in a way that reduces the environmental impact of human activities.
Nowadays, books on environmental conservation are available which we can read for knowledge, implement changes and teach young learners. This way, the adult population and new generations of young citizens can learn how to take actionable steps towards sustainable living.
Books on environmental and wildlife conservation
Reading books can help create increased awareness, however, the information has to be suitable as per the readers age group. For this purpose, I have curated a list of fiction and non-fiction books for different age groups.
It means you will find environmental books for kids, teenagers and young adults. These books will inform, inspire, motivate and provide sustainable eco-friendly solutions. Its been some years since topics of global warming and climate change have appeared in science textbooks. Yet, we need books dedicated to these topics so that we get more detailed information.
Environmental and wildlife conservation books for kids
When it comes to introducing elementary kids to wildlife and environmental conservation, I think, it’s better to first develop a love for animals, birds and nature. Only if they begin to develop a wonder and liking for nature, will they become passionate about conservation.
Here I have put the spotlight on 5 fiction books that bring forth a variety of stories to the elementary graders. Why fiction books on environment? You might wonder. Think, though the stories are fictitious, the situations are real. These stories help to develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues. Kids can relate environmental issues to real life by reading these stories.
Environmental fiction books in childrens literature have stories related to nature and environment that help kids understand human-nature interaction. These stories portray environmental, nature and wildlife related topics. The theme of such books are of nature conservation or human-animal conflict. This helps children understand the concepts of why nature should be protected and makes them think. The emotional factor in the stories arise empathy and will to protect nature.
For instance, in the book Adil Ali’s Shoes, Adil throws away his old worn-out shoes into the sea. Subsequently, his shoes get caught in the fisherman’s net. Much to Adil’s surprise, the fisherman visits Adil’s home to return the shoes. Among other takeaways, the story encourages us to think about austerity and question how we dispose of waste.
Ammu’s Bottle Boat
- Author : Niveditha Subramaniam
- Illustrator: Aindri C
- Published by Tulika Publications
The book is in verses about a little girl Ammu innocently letting go plastic bottle to float in the stream. The stream joins the sea and so does the plastic bottle. The floating plastic bottle and cap cause a fatal danger to unsuspecting aquatic life ready to swallow them.
Bumoni’s Banana Trees
- By Author : Mita Bordoloi
- Illustrator : Tarique Aziz
- Publisher Tulika
Bumoni lives near the Kaziranga National Park right across the river. In her backyard garden grow beautiful, lush banana trees. The family uses the banana trees in many ways like making banana stem bowls, leaf plates, curries and food for their cattle too. Much to the family’s dismay, a herd of elephants discover their banana plantation and enter their backyard trampling over the trees.
How does kind Bumoni and her family solve this problem? Do they deprive the elephants of their food? Read this interesting book on problem-solving, empathy for wildlife and human-animal coexistence.
Out Of The Way! Out Of The Way! (English)
- Author: Uma Krishnaswami
- Illustrator: Uma Krishnaswamy
- Tulika Publications
Written and illustrated by two different persons with the same name, this story is about how a young village boy protects a tender sapling growing at the side of the dusty village path. The young boy is particular that animals, vehicles and people do not step over the sapling, so he tells everybody to keep out of the way.
Gradually, the sapling grows into a big tree while the village expands into a bustling town with many people and vehicles buzzing past it. The dusty path next to the tree becomes a road, the village landscape changes and the little boy who protected the sapling, grows into a young man.
Read how people sit under the tree as a meeting point. The tree means so much to many people. The story shows how one little person’s love for the environment makes a difference to many.
Leopard in Mumbai
- Author: Lubaina Bandukwala
- Illustrator: Allen Shaw
- Publisher: Karadi tales
It’s a funny, beautifully illustrated picture book about a leopard going places in Mumbai. Mumbai has the unique distinction of having a national park inside the metropolitan city. Now and then, Mumbai witnesses visit by leopards in the neighbourhood of the national park.
In this book, the leopard goes beyond the immediate vicinity of the national park and hops on a Mumbai local train at Borivali railway station. The normally crowded train compartment becomes empty for the leopard’s comfort. Later the adventurous leopard visits several prominent places in Mumbai, much like a tourist, atop the big red bus and eating Bhel Puri at Marine Drive, etc.
The story has a funny twist to human-animal co-existence.
Waiting for turtles
- Author: Pankaj Sekheria
- Illustrator: Vipin Sketchplore
- Publisher Karadi Tales
The story is about a young boy named Samrat and his mother Seema, waiting to spot sea turtles at Tarmugli beach in the Andaman Islands. Samrat’s mother is a sea turtle researcher yet it’s the first time Samrat will be witnessing the sea turtles. So the boy is very excited, but will the turtles visit or is there any surprise? Read aloud this exciting story with brilliant illustrations.
More good children’s environmental books
If you are looking for nonfiction and fiction children’s environmental books then explore books in the list given below.
Environmental and wildlife books for middle grade and teenagers
By middle grades, kids get closer to the teenage. They have some idea of reducing waste, recycling, composting, protecting trees, water bodies and air. They are ready to know more about carbon footprint, climate change, conserving wildlife, minimalism and much more. Yet, these serious topics need not be boring.
- Author: Deepak Dalal
- Publisher: Penguin
This book is part of the exciting wildlife series “Vikram-Aditya adventures” by Deepak Dalal. Now if you are a parent and have read adventure books while growing up, then you must give your middle grader/s a chance to read this contemporary wildlife adventure series. In this book, “Ranthambore Adventure” the duo Vikram and Aditya get involved in finding the movements of dangerous poachers in the jungles of Ranthambore.
The poachers are after the skin and bones of Genghis, the majestic deadly predator who terrorizes the jungle animals but is himself a target of the evil poachers.
More book series by Deepak Dalal on wildlife conservation
Feather Tales Series
- Written and Illustrated by Rohan Chakravarthy
- Published by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS)
To be passionate about conservating wildlife, you need to know something about wildlife too. In this book “Bird Business”, the author/illustrator brings to the readers several aspects of birdlife with plenty of illustrations and information.
So after reading this book, middle-grade readers can smartly talk about birdlife as they go for nature walks or a vacation in nature. They can share information with peer groups and teachers, formulate quizzes, create sketches or organise educational skits on birdlife in neighbourhood events. The author has also written “Green Humour For A Greying Planet” and “Naturalist Ruddy” the unique comic strip books on ecological conservation.
A Cloud Called Bhura
- Author: Bijal Vachharajani
- Publisher: Talking Culb
What do people in a big city like Mumbai do when a massive dark cloud with poisonous gases covers the entire city? Four young friends are worried and so are all the who’s who of Mumbai, right from politicians, scientists to movie stars. The media calls the cloud “Bhura” as it chokes all living beings in the city. Read this funny story that will make you think about the underlying topic of climate change.
- Author: Lubaina Bandukwala
- Illustrator: Sanket Pethkar
- Publisher: Harper Children’s
This book will take you underwater to the colourful world of corals with coral woman Uma Mani. Uma Mani is a 50+ years homemaker, certified scuba diver, a painter from Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu and passionate about coral reefs. She paints coral reefs on canvas and learnt to dive at the age of 49 to witness the beautiful corals.
So much is her passion that she took efforts to save the coral reefs from bleaching and pollution from local factories in Tuticorin. Thoothukudi or Tuticorin is an old and historic place along a coastline rich in coral reefs. Priya Thuvassery who worked with NDTV made a documentary named “Coral Woman” which has been screened at several international film festivals. You can watch it here on Vimeo.
Let your middle graders read and experience the story of this inspiring eco-crusader.
So You Want To Know About The Environment
- Author: Bijal Vachharajani
- Publisher: Rupa Publications
This book is interactive and informative, explanatory yet asks questions. Illustrations by Sayan Mukherjee are interesting and well placed. It’s a great read for beginners to get introduced to environmental facts. Written in simple language so every middle-grade reader and parents can read too.
The author provides many eco-friendly ideas that readers can implement at home and in the community.
More environmental and wildlife books for middle graders and teenagers
Environmental and wildlife conservation books for senior graders and young adults
As we are on the topic of wildlife conservation here, I suggest senior graders, young adults and parents too, might enjoy watching an insightful movie on tiger conservation named “Sherni” on Amazon Prime.
Now moving on, I have listed here best environmental books that will give information and practical solutions for living an eco-friendly life.
Imperfectly Zero Waste
- Author: Srini Swaminathan and Shubhashree
- Publisher: Hachhett India
This book is a straightforward and actionable guide to living sustainably in India. The Indian authors Srini and Shubhashree are eco-conscious individuals. They provide practical solutions and ideas that will help readers live an eco-conscious life with zero waste in India.
Everybody should read and consider following the solutions given in this book.
- Author: Sumant Sinha
- Publisher: Harper Business
The human lifestyle in the 21st century is heavily dependent on fossil fuels for the creation of energy and other products. Fossil fuels commonly used by humans are coal, petroleum and natural gas. These are found underground and used for creating several products including electricity, fuel for vehicles and cooking gas.
The sad part is fossil fuels are a limited natural resource and burning them releases carbon and other poisonous gases into the air, which in turn contributes to pollution and global warming. In this book, the author explains and discusses a carbon-light future with increased use of clean renewable energy and a gradual decline of dependency on fossil fuels.
The author runs a clean energy company called ReNew Power and therefore is highly knowledgeable to write about this topic in his book. Senior graders and young adults will gain knowledge, insights and inspiration from this book.
50 FAQ’s on Climate Change
- Author: Swati Prabhu
- Publisher: TERI (The Energy Resources Institute)
The climate in various parts of the world is significantly impacted by pollution and human activities. By itself, the earth would be working smoothly by the climate clock. But because of the circus of human activities all over the world, the pollution levels and natural resources are affected.
So what are these human-made conditions that affect the climate? If you are looking for comprehensive books on climate change, then this is it. This book answers 50 frequently asked questions related to climate change. So the topics covered are,
- Weather and climate
- Ancient observations on climate change
- Climate change in the 21st century
- The annual rise in CO2 emissions
- Greenhouse effect
- Climate change and food production
And many more.
If you have a debate, discussion, quiz or essay writing coming up, then you need this book to help you. You want a comprehensive refresher on information concerning climate change, then go for this book. Alternatively, you might like to read another book “Emerging Energy Alternatives for Sustainable Environment”. You’ll be impressed with TERI. It’s because they publish several books and magazines on environmental conservation, climate change and related topics.
How To Avoid A Climate Disaster
- Author: Bill Gates
- Publisher: Allen Lane
If you are wondering where you can read perspectives and in-depth about climate change, this is the book. It’s written by Bill Gates. He is a visionary, an internationally well-known techie and a philanthropist. Bill Gates has written this book after decades of research and understanding of various aspects of climate change. He gives his opinions, perspective, and concerns in this book. They are supported by explanations, facts and solutions. It’s an informative, insightful and thought-provoking book everybody should read.
It’s indeed good news that some countries, like India, have put major focus on empowering energy transition and boosting renewable energy. This will help hit the brakes on climate change.
Can I Recycle This?
- Author: Jennie Romer
- Illustrator: Christi Young
- Publisher: Penguin Books
If you have ever wondered what you can or cannot recycle? This book on recycling will clear your doubts.
Some more books on environmental and wildlife conservation for senior students and adults
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Also read: Ways to develop reading habit.