“Mom, what’s climate change?” This question from my middle son stopped me in my tracks. Truth is, I don’t know a whole lot about climate change. I know it’s real. I know it’s awful. But it’s not something I like thinking about.
However, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Science has showed us that climate change is a very real problem, one that has already caused damage to our planet. How we respond to this crisis will determine what kind of world we leave for our children and grandchildren.
You may also enjoy these 101 Diverse Picture Books.
These books introduce kids to the problem of global warming and climate change, and shows them ways that they can help. I like these books about climate change because they inform and empower, without scaring kids or making them feel helpless. They will equip your family with knowledge and resources to help make our planet a better place to be, for generations to come.
12 Children’s Books About Climate Change
Climate Change Books for Younger Kids
Fever at the Poles by Stephen Aitken
This book explores how temperatures are rising all over the earth, especially at the North and South Poles, and what this means for our planet. It also equips children with “Hot Facts and Cool Ideas” that they can put into action. This empowering read is great for kids ages 4 to 7.
The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole
Join Mrs. Frizzle’s class as they work to put on a play about the Earth. The book they’re using doesn’t have up-to-date information, so Mrs. Frizzle has them climb aboard the Magic School Bus to learn firsthand how the planet’s climate is changing. This book explains in simple terms why the climate is changing and what kids can do to be part of the solution.
The Fog by Kyo Maclear
Told from the perspective of Warbler, a tiny yellow warbler, this book explores the power of working together. Warbler is an expert people-watcher, but he gets concerned when a mysterious fog interrupts his human-watching. He tries to get the other birds to help him get rid of the fog, but they aren’t interested. He finally finds a friend in a little girl with a red hat, and they work together to rally creatures from all over the world who want to fight back against the fog. As they work together, the world around them grows clearer.
This book bring notes of humor to a very serious topic, and it’s a great introduction to environmental issues for kids ages 3 to 8.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
While not directly about climate change, I had to include this classic story because of its powerful message. The Lorax speaks for the trees, and the Once-ler narrates the story of what happens when he didn’t heed the warnings of the Lorax and over-consumed this precious natural resource. This book is really wonderful for kids of all ages, and it includes one of my most favorite quotes ever: “Unless someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not.”
The Polar Bears’ Home by Lara Bergen
If you’re looking for a book to introduce preschoolers to the concept of climate change, this book is a great choice! This book shows how climate change impacts two young polar bear cubs and their parents. It also includes actionable tips for kids on how they can help slow the effects of global warming. It’s even printed on recycled paper with soy ink! I recommend reading this with kids ages 3 to 6.
The Lonely Polar Bear by Khoa Le
This book is a very soft and subtle introduction that is perfect for young children. A young polar bear finds himself alone, and as he searches for his mother he makes friends with a spirit girl and other arctic animals. This story introduces both the concerns of climate change and the beauty of the Arctic world, with gorgeous illustrations by the author.
I recommend this story for kids ages 3 and up.
Our House Is on Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call to Save the Planet by Jeanette Winter
This lovely picture book is a call-to-action for young people, and an important reminder that children can be leaders and help change the world.
In this book, readers will follow the story of how Greta Thunberg learned about the climate crisis, how she took action for change, and where those actions have taken her. I recommend sharing this book with kids ages 5 and up.
Climate Change Books for Older Kids
What is Climate Change? by Gail Herman
This informative and engaging book explores the topic of climate change, and why it has become a social and political issue as well as an environmental issue. Readers will learn the difference between climate and weather, how climate change is affecting nature, and the dangers we face if we do nothing about this growing problem.
Herman does a great job of showing both sides of the climate debate, while allowing the scientific data and facts to speak for themselves. This is a great read for kids ages 8 to 12.
Under the Weather by Tony Bradman
This unique book explores climate change through fictional short stories. The stories humanize the problem of climate change, and show how this global warming affects all of us, all over the world.
This empowering and inspiring collection of short stories is perfect for kids ages 9 and up.
A Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids by Julie Hall
Kids have the power to change the world, and this book will equip kids with ideas and motivation for fighting climate change. This extensive volume will explain the basics of global warming, and it includes numerous actions kids can take, including a whole chapter about how they can be the “cool kids” who fight global warming.
I recommend this for home or the classroom, and it’s perfect for kids ages 9 to 14.
Mission: Save the Planet by Sally Ride and Tam O’Shaunghnessy
This book can be hard to find, but it’s definitely worth it — the content is excellent. The book opens with Sally Ride’s perspective as an astronaut on Earth and its atmosphere, and then explores the ways all the different ecosystems on our planet work together. If something breaks that delicate balance (like climate change), the whole planet suffers.
This book communicates the seriousness of global warming, and show kids ways that they can take action. It’s a fantastic choice for kids ages 10 and up.
No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg is probably the most well-known voice in the climate change movement, and this book collects her speeches and writings into one inspiring volume. Greta teaches us so much about the dangers of climate change, but she also shows how anyone can make a difference, if they’re willing to stand up for what is right.
I recommend this book for kids ages 10 and up.