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17 Books to Celebrate Earth Day

This collection of beautiful picture books celebrate our big, round world, from the tiniest bugs, to the deepest oceans, to the great minds who strive to learn and protect our planet.

Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to learn, celebrate, and spread the word about great books for kids. Within this collection of picture books, readers can meet amazing scientists like Meg Lowman and Charles Henry Turner, and discover wonderful poetry for children that’s written to praise our precious planet—the churning forces deep underground, the beautiful birds that fly through the sky, and everything in between.

Explore these 17 Books that Celebrate Earth Day!

Thunder Underground by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Josée Masse

In this collection of poems, noted children’s poet Jane Yolen takes readers on an expedition underground, exploring everything from animal burrows and human creations, like subways, near the surface—to ancient cities and fossils, lower down—to caves, magma, and Earth’s tectonic plates, deeper still below our feet.

The Great Big Green by Peggy Gifford, illustrated by Lisa Desimini

The Great Big Green by Peggy Gifford, illustrated by Lisa Desimini

Just what exactly is the “thing”? It is green—great and gorgeous green, dark and dangerous green, real mean green. And it’s got green things—broccoli and praying mantises, watermelons, and waves of mountains. It’s green, green, green all over . . . except where it’s blue.

Grow by Joann Early Macken, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Colman

An ideal birthday or baby gift, Grow is a triumphant celebration of how young animals—and people—grow into unique individuals. Grow is a glorious ode to the wonders of growing up.

Garbage Island by Fred Koehler

For fans of Stuart Little and Poppy, here is a middle-grade adventure in which a mouse and a shrew, lost at sea, try to navigate to their home in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Braving multiple dangers, they discover they have more in common than they could ever have imagined.

It’s a Round, Round World! by Ellie Peterson

We all know the earth is round. But HOW do we know? Join intrepid young scientist-adventurer Joulia Copernicus as she takes readers on a historical journey through time and space.

The Leaf Detective by Heather Lang, illustrated by Jana Christy

This picture book biography tells the story of Meg Lowman, a groundbreaking female scientist called a “real-life Lorax” by National Geographic, who was determined to investigate the marvelous, undiscovered world of the rainforest treetops.

The Secret Life of the Sloth by Laurence Pringle, illustrated by Kate Garchinsky 

A year in the life of a sloth is revealed in this stunningly illustrated nonfiction picture book, the latest in the popular The Secret Life series.

The Secret Life of the Skunk by Laurence Pringle, illustrated by Kate Garchinsky

Discover the secret behaviors of a notoriously stinky mammal–the skunk–by following a family as the kits grow from infancy to adulthood.

The Secret Life of the Red Fox by Laurence Pringle, illustrated by Kate Garchinsky

This gorgeous and lyrical picture book follows a year in the life of a red fox named Vixen.

Bug Off! Creepy, Crawly Poems by Jane Yolen, photographed by Jason Stemple

Bug Off! Creepy, Crawly Poems by Jane Yolen, photographed by Jason Stemple

In Bug Off! readers meet thirteen bugs in playful, humorous poems and startling, intimate photographs. Nonfiction prose paragraphs broaden the perspective: Children will learn how bees make honey, that many butterflies can taste food with their feet, that lovebugs can fly higher than the Empire State Building, and much more.

The Reason for the Seasons by Ellie Peterson

We all know there are four seasons in a year. But HOW do we know? Join intrepid young scientist-adventurer Joulia Copernicus on a journey around the world as she explains with humor and wit how we know what causes the seasons.

The Secret Life of the Little Brown Bat by Laurence Pringle, illustrated by Kate Garchinsky

Learn about a year in the life of a little brown bat named Otis. This gorgeous and lyrical picture book follows a year in the life of a little brown bat named Otis as he learns to be a hunter, escape predators, and find a mate.

The Secret Life of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar by Laurence Pringle, illustrated by Joan Paley 

Kids often spot woolly bear caterpillars creeping across the ground in fall, but these furry-looking creatures seem to disappear as quickly as they pop up. Where do they come from in autumn, and where do they go?

Boom! Bellow! Bleat! by Georgia Heard, illustrated by Aaron Dewitt

This playful collection of poems—peppered with an astounding variety of animal sounds—is meant to be read aloud together.

You Nest Here with Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by Melissa Sweet 

Buzzing with Questions by Janice N. Harrington, illustrated by Theodore Taylor, III

With rhyming text, this soothing bedtime book is an ode to baby birds everywhere and sleepy children home safe in their own beds. As a mother describes to her child how many species of birds nest, from pigeons on concrete ledges to owls in oak tree boles to swallows above barn doors.

Buzzing with Questions by Janice N. Harrington, illustrated by Theodore Taylor, III

Can spiders learn? How do ants find their way home? Can bugs see color? All of these questions buzzed endlessly in Charles Henry Turner’s mind. As the first Black entomologist, he was fascinated by plants and animals and bugs. And even when he faced racial prejudice, Turner did not stop wondering.

Seed, Soil, Sun by Cris Peterson, photographed by David R. Lundquist 

Seed. Soil. Sun. With these simple ingredients, nature creates our food. Noted author Cris Peterson brings both wonder and clarity to the subject of agriculture, celebrating the cycle of growth, harvest, and renewal in this American Farm Bureau Foundation’s Agriculture Book of the Year.

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