I know I’m not the only parent struggling with how to talk with their kids about climate change. So I was thrilled to discover these hopeful kids’ books about climate change, each of which educates without inducing panic or despair.
A tall order if you ask me!
It helps that each of these books is beautifully illustrated and the authors are committed to sharing actionable steps to help protect our planet. I expected to be sad reading these books, but I was surprised at how uplifting they manage to be while still relaying the gravity of the situation.
Each of these books for kids about climate change are geared toward grade schoolers, but honestly, I think teens and even parents will learn so much from them too.
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Plasticus Maritimus: An Invasive Species, by Ana Pêgo
Plastic Maritimus approaches ocean plastics as if they’re a new species that kids can observe in the wild themselves. Author Ana Pêgo takes readers through a history of plastics, how long they take to disintegrate, and how they can affect animals (including humans!) after they’re disposed of.
Pêgo doesn’t pull any punches when she discusses the serious impact of single-use plastics on our world, but she also gives manageable suggestions for how to empower kids to reduce their plastic use and advocate for change so they come away feeling empowered, not disheartened.
Palm Trees at the North Pole: The Hot Truth about Climate Change. by Marc ter Horst
I really appreciate how in Palm Trees at the North Pole, Marc ter Horst uses humor accompanied by Wendy Panders’s fun illustrations, to diffuse some of the alarming information in the book. Example: There’s a whole chapter called “Chimneys and Cow Farts.”
The author spends a good bit of time educating kids about natural history, too, in order to put the climate change in perspective. And this is another book for kids about climate change that includes includes actions that readers can take to help stem the problem. The last chapter even addresses climate deniers and how to respond to them — something that will no doubt come in handy at some point. (Though hopefully less and less, as more kids grow up reading books like these.)
Our World Out of Balance: Understanding Climate Change and What We Can Do. by Andrea Minoglio and Laura Fanelli
I had to stop and take a deep breath when I read the table of contents of this book and saw chapters like Rising Sea Levels, Shrinking Forests, Extreme Weather. But once I dug in to Our World Out of Balance, I realized the authors include a “How You Can Help” and “How Other People Are Helping” section for every topic, which will make the information more bearable for even slightly older kids, who are experiencing a lot of understandable angst about climate change and their own futures. This is a solid book for kids about climate change, for when you want to give kids a “big picture” look at the many different impacts that the climate crisis can have, without totally overwhelming them.