News & Media

12 Books to Celebrate Earth Day

This collection of 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 beautiful books perfect for celebrating Earth Day!

1. The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest by Heather Lang, illustrated by Jana Christy

This award-winning 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.

2022 Green Earth Book Award Winner
NCSS Septma Clark Award, Elementary Level Honoree
Junior Library Guild Selection
John Burroughs Association Riverby Award 
Honorable Mention, Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award

2. Cactus Queen: Minerva Hoyt Establishes Joshua Tree National Park by Lori Alexander, illustrated by Jenn Ely

How did the Joshua Tree National Park in California come to be? Meet Minerva Hamilton Hoyt, an artist, activist, and environmentalist, whose determination saved the desert and helped to create the park, in this STEAM picture book.

★ “A lively picture book biography with tie-ins to Earth Day and Women’s History Month. Highly recommended.” —School Library Journal, starred review

3. You Are My Pride: A Love Letter from Your Motherland by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by E. B. Lewis

In this powerfully written and beautifully illustrated picture book by award-winning author and illustrator team Carole Boston Weatherford and E. B. Lewis, Mother Africa addresses her offspring of all colors in all corners of the earth, reminding us of our timeless bond. Includes back matter with nonfiction information about human evolution and about the migration of Homo sapiens from Africa around the globe.

4. Rooting for Plants: The Unstoppable Charles S. Parker, Black Botanist and Collector by Janice N. Harrington, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III

Meet Charles S. Parker, an unsung yet trailblazing Black scientist who made major contributions to the fields of botany (the study of plants) and mycology (the study of fungi) in this inspiring STEM/STEAM picture book biography from the creators of Buzzing with Questions.

NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book
CCBC Choice

5. How Birds Sleep by David Obuchowski, illustrated by Sarah Pedry

Discover the mysterious and fascinating sleeping habits of more than twenty bird species from around the world in this gorgeously illustrated read-aloud picture book, perfect for bedtime, or any time.

“Did you ever wonder how and where birds sleep once the sun goes down?….Pedry’s artwork is a definite highlight….Share this one-on-one or in very small groups so children can see the details.” — Kirkus Reviews

6. Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner 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—he was fascinated by plants and animals and bugs. This picture book biography is perfect for Earth Day and tells the story of first Black entomologist.

★ “A relatively unknown entomologist comes out of oblivion in this engaging picture book biography. Harrington’s text is inviting, and Turner’s enthusiasm comes through clearly…Harrington and Taylor have rescued a worthy scientist from obscurity.” —School Library Journal, starred review


7. A Journal: A Bug’s Notebook designed by Zhu Yingchun

Unleash your creativity with this delightfully designed journal. Doodlers, daydreamers, diary-keepers, and bug-lovers alike will be inspired again and again by this utterly unique notebook.

8. Outdoor Farm, Indoor Farm by Lindsay H. Melcalf, illustrated by Xin Li

Discover how both outdoor and indoor farms sustainably grow the food we eat throughout the year in this vibrant, rhyming picture book.

“Spare, bouncy rhymes pair with soft, rounded illustrations…A full spread of detailed notes at the end describes why farms are changing and how each type works…A captivating glimpse into the shifting agricultural landscape.” —Kirkus Reviews

9. Bird Girl: Gene Stratton-Porter Shares Her Love of Nature with the World by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon

This lively STEAM picture book is about the life of Gene Stratton-Porter, a pioneering wildlife photographer and popular author from the late 19th and early 20th century, who showed the world the beauty of nature, especially birds, and why it was worth preserving.

“Fascinating and inspiring.” —Kirkus Reviews

10. The Reason for the Seasons, written and illustrated 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.

11. One Boy’s Choice by Sueli Menezes, illustrated by Annika Siems

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.

NCSS/CBC Notable Trade Book

12. The Secret Life of the Flying Squirrel by Laurence Pringle, illustrated by Kate Garchinsky

Follow a year in the life of Volans, a flying squirrel, as she glides in the night air to hunt for food, deftly avoids danger from a raccoon, and gives birth to three tiny pups before preparing once again for the coming winter.

“Garchinsky’s digital paintings bring this beguiling glider to life… an intriguing introduction to a nocturnal and secretive forest dweller.” —Kirkus Reviews

Other Amazing Children’s Books for Earth Day!