Books That Will Inspire Kids to Protect Our Planet

Books That Will Inspire Kids to Protect Our Planet

Much like the audience they are intended for, kids books are successful at getting to the point on an topic quickly! There are many inspiring titles helping young minds understand the big environmental and social problems our world is facing without the doom and gloom adult books can contain.

At some point in the not to distance future I know our son will want to have chat about why we hire toys from the toy library instead of buying brand new or why we don't buy most of our food in plastic packaging plastic. Unless of course by some miracle there has been a sweeping change in the next year (I can dream!). Instead of listening to Mum go on a spiel about pollution and the devastating effects our overflowing bins can have, books can help start the conversation.

I thought it would be nice to share the books I have collected to help start those conversations and hopefully inspire. Thank you to Penguin Books Australia, Scribe Publications and Hardie Grant for sending some some of the kids books below to add to our collection. These have been marked with an asterisk*. If you have any other books that have helped you and your family, send me an email as I'd love to add them to the list.

How to Save the Whole Stinkin' Planet : A Garbological Adventure

by Lee Constable and Illustrated by James Hart

TV Host and science communicator uses her skills to train up young readers to be ultimate waste warriors. Lee explains where our stuff goes when we put our rubbish and recycling bins out, the ways we can reduce and divert waste from landfill properly, how to set up a compost. As kids work their way through the book they earn badges. Sections of the book are hands on with fun DIY activities, big information is turned into accessible facts, plus questions are asked along the way to help this new knowledge stick. It's a fun hands on book that would be suit that would be great for the whole family to work through together. For those who have read the book and wondering what my Waste Warrior recruit name is, well it's The Great Splatto. This book was a gift from Penguin Books Australia.

Plastic: Past, Present and Future

by Eun-Ju Kim and Illustrated by Ji-Won Lee

Eun-Ji Kim book details plastics invention and history, from its uses throughout society to looking at how complacent we became leading to the devastating impact on our environment. The book then looks at attempts being made to reduce our reliance and what is happening around the world to fight plastic pollution. I love Ji-Won Lee's bright illustrations and diagrams help explain the complex processes of plastic production and recycling in an easy to follow method. The overall book is the first children's book one I've read that explains in depth everything about plastic. This was a gift from Scribe Publications. 

I like Old Clothes

by Mary Ann Hoberman

This poem was published in 1976 follows two children as they talk about their love for used clothing. To them wearing hand-me-downs, clothes from friends and charity stores is normal. I enjoy when topics like this are presented as normal and now more than ever second-hand clothe shopping needs to be made regular. It would make a great book to read with kids helping them understand where clothes come from, how to care for them and where they can go after we stop wearing them.

Sea Change 

by Joel Harper and Illustrated by Erin O'Shea

The main character has red hair, but you never know her name because there are no words in the book. Instead it's purely beautiful illustrations that take us through a young girls trips to the beach where she encounters a plastic rubbish that she then starts picking up. The rubbish is then taken home and turned into a sculpture to be used as school to inspire fellow classmates to help clean up the beach that then leads to the whole school community to also clean up the bach; one person can make and inspire others. The book is printed on 100% recycled fibers using 100% post consumer waste.

All The Way To The Ocean

by Joel Harper and Illustrated by Marg Spusta

Another Joel Harper book and this one does have a written story along with illustrations by Marg Spusta. Issac shows his friend James what happens to rubbish that ends up in our gutters as it travels through the storm water drains, leading to our oceans, lakes and rivers. The book focuses the marine life directly affected by plastic pollution. Similar to Sea Change the book ends with the two kids sharing what they know with others and encouraging a clean up at school.

Ocean Warriors: Plastic in Paradise 

by Cath Witten and Illustrated by Jasmine Kammeyer

This book was a gift to my son from my sister and her family. You know the cool sister that told me I should watch The Clean Bin Project. The story is in Bahasa Indonesian and translated into English underneath. Which makes sense since all proceeds from the book go to creating a sustainable waste management system in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, the Amazon of the Ocean. Two siblings work together to reduce plastic pollution after rescuing a tea turtle from eating a plastic bag.

Lelani and the Plastic Kingdom

by Robb N. Johnston

Lelani opens a plastic bottle floating in the ocean to find a note inviting her to visit an island made of rubbish from all over the world. It's on this Island she meets Sam, who shows her the plastic straw forest and and marine animals entangled in rubbish, all caused by the waste sent to this now growing island from the Fast Lands. Lelani is inspired to make changes when she returns to her home and share this knowledge with her community. This book would be suited for older childern around the age of 8-10. The watercolour illustrations are beautiful and worth purchasing the book for alone.

Friends of Our World

by Alexis Todorovski and illustrated by Azzalene Todorovski

Alexis's book focuses on illegal dumping of items which is huge problem. It's not just the dumping of rubbish in remote locations, but right here in our own neighbourhoods. The characters Mondo and Amigo ask their friends from around the world to share the message of reusing and recycling instead of dumping stuff like clothing, furniture and other household goods.

A Bag and a Bird

by Pamela Allen

Set in iconic Sydney, A Bag and a Bird follows Alex and his mum on a picnic outing when one of their plastic bags blows away and gets stuck on an Ibis (a well known bird in Sydney!). Through Alexander's story we learn how plastic bags can damage the environment and those that depend on it. A great story to help kids to becoming more aware of the impact of their choices.

Compost Stew

by Mary McKenna Siddals

Keeping those organics like food scraps out of landfill is important to helping fight climate change and putting much needed nutrients back into the soil. Mary's book aim is to show how easy it is to do this by composting, how to start and what can and can't go into a compost.

Sullie Saves The Seas

by Goffinet McLaren

Following Memorial Day weekend a seagull calls a meeting with other beach birds asking for help to do something about the rubbish left behind on the beach. They then go about teaching humans how to reduce their rubbish and not litter. I did find some parts of this story sad and think the book is best suited for older children 8-12.

The Bin Chicken

by Kellie Marks and Illustrated by Jackson Lian, Ari Lobos

This book can be personalised with a kids name and even change skin, hair and eye colour for the main character which I think is neat. The main character wakes up one morning to the sound of a bin chicken (a nickname Australian's use for the white Ibis) going through the bin. Curiosity leads them to find out why the Ibis eats from a bin discovering the local habitat is polluted because of our wasteful habits. Sadden by the state of the Ibis home the main character then begins educating his friends at school creating a ripple effect of change in the community.

Zero Waste and Slow Fashion

by Megan Anderson, Genna Campton, Carolyn Ang

These two picture books are great conversation starters for little people. They look at simple ways we can reduce waste at home and looking after our clothing. The illustrations are bright and joyful too. I enjoyed reading these with my four year old - it was nice to see him connect actions we do at home with the ones in the books. 

I Wonder Why 

by Allison Paterson

Allison's book prompts children is ask why would someone litter and what litter actually is, the affect it can have on our environment, animals and each other. It was a wonderful story that will help children understand the need to care for our belongings and that we can all do our part.  

Somebody Swallowed Stanley 

by Sarah Roberts

Stanley is a plastic bag that keeps getting mistaken for a jelly fish. It's a beautifully illustrated story highlighting how easy animals confuse plastic for food. I think Sarah's book, who is also an animal behaviourist herself, would make a fun resource for classrooms (and in the home) to help children understand the dangers plastic and other types of packaging have in the natural world. This was a cute gift from Isabel at Party Kit Network

Super Power 

by Philip Bunting*

This engaging and funny book has been popular with my five year old who is very interested about electricity, where comes from, what solar panels are and how wind farms work. I liked there was also a focus on the history of electricity and tips for reducing our use and why it's necessary to do so. 

Bondi & Poppy Help Heal The Planet

by Judith A Proffer and Illustrated by Yoko Matsuoka*

Meet Bondi and Poppy, an adorable koala and bear duo who hail from opposite sides of the world. Their shared passion? Healing our wonderful planet! This delightful rhyming book is a joyful way to introduce kids to the importance of caring for our Earth, climate change and the everyday activities we can do to tread lighter. The book's sweet illustrations and the author's passion for this topic bring an uplifting and heartwarming feel to the story.

The Little Red Stroller 

by Joshua Furst and Illustrated by Katy Wu

The Little Red Stroller is a delightful picture book that embodies the essence of community, diversity, and the joy of sharing. This enchanting story revolves around a tiny red stroller that serves as a symbol of love and connection among families. The narrative follows Luna and her red stroller, a cherished gift from her mother. As Luna grows, so does her attachment to the stroller, becoming an integral part of her daily adventures. However, the day arrives when Luna has outgrown the stroller, and it's time to pass it on to a toddler in their neighbourhood who needs it. Thus begins a heartwarming journey as the red stroller is handed down from one child to the next showing the power secondhand goods has to create connection.

Happy reading :)

#trgcollab: The books 'Plastic: Past, Present and Future', 'How to Save the Whole Stinkin' Planet', 'A Garbological Adventure' 'The Bin Chicken' 'Zero Waste' 'Slow Fashion' and 'Super Power'  'Bondi & Poppy Help Heal The Planetwere gifts by the publishers. I use the hashtag #trgcollab to help readers idenifty items or services gifted to me or are paid post. These items were unpaid gifts and I was not compensated financially to post about them. All views are my own. I only accept gifted items or services I would use personally.