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16 Picture Books & Comics 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 13 beautiful picture books perfect for celebrating earth day!

1. Mermaid Kenzie: Protector of the Deeps

In this adorable picture book, written by Charlotte Watson Sherman and illustrated by Geneva Bowers Kenzie turns her fierce love for the ocean into action, resourcefully cleaning up the beach after her mermaid-tail swimsuit tangles in floating plastic bags.

2. If This Bird Had Pockets: A Poem in Your Pocket Day Celebration

Fascinating information about the animals—yes, sea otters have pockets!—tucked into short, lively poems and bright, bold artwork make this collection perfect for Earth Day and National Poetry Month and every day. Written by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater and illustrated by Emma J. Virján.

3. The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest

This picture book biography by Heather Lang, illustrated by Jana Christy, 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.

4. Pangolina by Jane Goodall, illustrated by Daishu Ma

From legendary naturalist Jane Goodall, an absorbing fictional tale that will steal hearts and open minds about the plight of the pangolin, the only mammalian species with scales, and endangered by illegal trafficking.

5. Sea Lions in the Parking Lot: Animals On The Move In A Time Of Pandemic

This picture book by Lenora Todaro, illustrated by Annika Siems, features twelve fascinating real-life stories of creatures around the globe who reclaimed their habitat during the COVID-19 quarantine show animal lovers and aspiring citizen scientists how to help wildlife by fighting habitat loss.

6. A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse* Comic

There’s so much to see at the bottom of the world! Join a young explorer and his best friend, Mouse, on a sea journey to Antarctica, where they make new friends with penguins and a whale – and have all kinds of fun. Young readers won’t stop grinning as they’re swept away by the strange and magical world created by Frank Viva.

7. While You’re Away

A beautiful story that humbly conveys the importance of paying attention to nature. “★A gentle reminder to appreciate the natural world and its creatures.” — School Library Journal. Written by Theoodoris Papioannou, illustrated by Petros Boulaubasis.

8. Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner

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—he was fascinated by plants and animals and bugs. This picture book biography by Janice N. Harrington and illustrated by Theodore Taylor, III, is perfect for Earth Day and tells the story of first Black entomologist.

9. Thunder Underground

In this collection of poems by noted children’s poet Jane Yolen, illustrated by Josée Masse, 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. This thought-provoking collection will evoke a sense of wonder and awe in readers, as they discover the mysterious world underneath us.

10. Grow

An ideal birthday or baby gift, Grow is a triumphant celebration of how young animals—and people—grow into unique individuals. Grow by Joann Early Macken, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Colman, is a glorious ode to the wonders of growing up.

11. Zig and Wikki in The Cow * Comic

In this wonderful TOON Books comic, alien pals Zig and Wikki lose their spaceship on Earth. In order to get home, they must travel through a farm and into a cow, picking up fun facts about ecology (and picking fights) along the way. Nadja Spiegelman and Trade Loeffler’s funny, science-based early-reader is packed with fast-paced adventure and facts about poop: what more could a young reader want?

12. Garbage Island

For fans of Stuart Little and Poppy, here is a middle-grade adventure by Fred Koehler 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.

13. Seed, Soil, Sun: Earth’s Recipe for Food

Seed. Soil. Sun. With these simple ingredients, nature creates our food. Noted author Cris Peterson and photographer David R. Lundquist bring 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.

14. The Reason for the Seasons

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. Written and illustrated by Ellie Peterson.

15. Good Night, Planet* Comic

What happens while you’re sleeping? Your toys go out to play! After a long day of jumping in the leaves and reading her favorite books, this little girl is worn out – but her favorite stuffed animal, Planet, is just getting started. Planet befriends a dog, gobbles a cookie, and takes a leap into the unknown. This tender, gorgeous tale by the internationally renowned cartoonist Liniers will reveal to early readers the wonders that exist at night, in secret, after they close their eyes.

16. One Boy’s Choice

A National Council for the Social Studies – CBC Notable Trade Book! On the bank of a river in the Amazon, a boy learns from his grandfather about a father fish that cares for his offspring, and the importance of preserving the species for future generations. Written by Sueli Menezes, illustrated by Annika Siems.

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