Brilliant Books for Kids

At this time of year, I start to get a creeping sense of dread… about Christmas! Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love the traditions, the food, spending time with my family and giving and receiving presents. But I really struggle with the amount of “stuff” that we seem expected to buy and the waste that occurs as a result.

Our house is already bursting at the seams with far too many plastic toys that don’t really get played with. I’m sure many other families are in a similar situation. With that in mind (and sounding a bit like Scrooge), I try to steer clear of buying presents just for the sake of it.

Something I do feel comfortable with buying is books, as books can be passed on and hopefully won’t be thrown away (surely it’s illegal to throw away books? No? Well, maybe it should be!).

So, if you want to buy meaningful presents for your younger friends and relatives this year, here are some suggestions for children’s books dealing with environmental issues:

The Lorax by Dr Seuss

Originally published in 1971, The Lorax today reads like a terrifying prophecy. All the same, I recommend The Lorax to adults and children alike because it explains so succinctly how we, the human race, got into such a mess. It tells the tale of The Lorax, who speaks for the trees, battling to stop the destruction of the Truffula trees to make Thneeds. A Thneed, we discover, is a “Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need” (it really isn’t!).

Personally, I find The Lorax quite a dark story, especially given the situation we find ourselves in. However, it’s so finely written (in rhyme – my favourite) and illustrated that my children love it. It contains the wonderful line “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Suitable for 4+, The Lorax should be compulsory reading for everyone in my opinion! Connie (age 6) says “I like The Lorax because I understand it and it’s fun”.

Wild Tribe Heroes Series by Ellie Jackson and Liz Oldmeadow

These colourfully illustrated picture books, suitable for 4 to 8-year-olds, tell true stories of the impact of pollution, deforestation and climate change on wildlife. Five books have been published so far including:

Duffy’s Lucky Escape – about plastic pollution in our oceans

Buddy’s Rainforest Rescue – about palm oil deforestation

Hunter’s Icy Adventure – about climate change

The books explain the various problems to young children in a gentle but truthful way and include ways in which we can all help. Spoiler alert: The stories all have happy endings.

What a Waste by Jess French

This non-fiction book is absolutely packed full of information about rubbish, recycling and protecting our planet. It covers topics such as pollution, renewable energy, landfill, single use plastic, food waste, fashion, even where our poo goes! Throughout the book there are easy to implement changes and ideas to help the planet. It is quite heavy on facts and figures and it’s probably best suited to 8 to 12-year-olds.

This Book is Not Rubbish. 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Rubbish and Save the World! by Isabel Thomas

Although aimed at 9+, this book is full of useful tips and easy eco-actions written in such a way that teenagers and adults can also enjoy it. As well as suggesting what we should do, it also explains in an accessible way, why we should be doing it. It covers a multitude of topics – from repair cafés, bee conservation, and upcycling to inspiring schoolchildren who have set up environmental initiatives. It’s a great reference book and one you can return to again and again.

101 Small Ways to Change the World by Aubre Andrus

Published by Lonely Planet Kids, this book is not solely devoted to the environment. It is split into three sections: caring for others, caring for the planet, and caring for yourself. I absolutely love the ethos of this book, it’s all about encouraging small changes to make the world a better place. The suggested actions include things like standing up to a bully, donating your old stuff to younger kids, making a happiness journal, and helping your family to be green when doing laundry. Suitable for 8+, I think even younger teenagers could get a lot from this book. Walter (age 8) says “I like this book because it is all about being kind.”

If you’re thinking about giving books this Christmas, here are some great websites: – has this great list of books for kids and is a new online bookshop that supports local, independent bookshops by letting you select which local bookshop will receive the full profit from your order

Hive – supports local independent bookshops with every sale and offers free delivery in the UK

World of Books  – sells good quality second hand books and offers free delivery in the UK

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