These powerful children's books about pollution help your students understand the dangers and effects of pollution. They also illustrate ways to stop pollution and keep our planet clean.
Why Read Children’s Books about Pollution?
Pollution is a problem that affects everyone. There are three main types of pollution – air, water and land.
It's important to teach children about pollution so they can understand what it is, how it harms people and animals and the environmental consequences.
When children learn about pollution, they can help make a difference by making choices that reduce pollution and help keep our planet clean.
Teachers can help children learn about pollution by reading real-life and fictional accounts of people and communities taking action. These books also bring up ways to stop pollution and its environmental impact.
Reading such books will help your students understand they are important in making a difference in reducing pollution.
Reading children's books about pollution shows your students
- Pollution is harmful to people and the environment.
- New ways to stop pollution and reduce its environmental impact.
- Ways to make better choices regarding pollution.
- How to spread awareness about pollution and how to reduce it.
- They need to do their part in reducing pollution.
- They can be powerful advocates for reducing pollution.
Different Ways to Stop Pollution
- Walking or biking.
- Turning off lights and electronics when they're not using them.
- Recycling and composting.
- Choosing sustainable products.
- Planting trees and other plants.
- Raising awareness about the issue.
- Speaking up when they see pollution.
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Children’s Books about Pollution
Alba and the Ocean Cleanup by Lara Hawthorne
Alba the fish collects beautiful items that end up in the ocean. As the fish grows, it notices the things changing from beautiful shells to plastic bottles and tin cans. On a treasure-hunting trip, Alba gets stuck in a bottle, and the fish drifts until a young girl, Kaia, finds Alba. She gathers her neighbours to clean up their beach and reef. Kaia releases Alba into an improved ocean environment.
Read Alba and the Ocean Cleanup to promote discussions on pollution, the effects of human actions on nature, taking action, responsibility and activism.
The Brilliant Deep: The Story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation by Kate Messner
Based on the true story of coral restoration in Florida. Ken Nedimeyer loves the ocean and notices the coral reefs are dying. He experiments with ways to grow and restore the coral. Along with many volunteers, Ken grows and attaches the new coral to the existing coral. The experiment was successful, and Ken is now taking his knowledge worldwide.
Read The Brilliant Deep to promote discussions on making a difference, problem and solution, patience, knowledge, creative thinking, inventiveness, and anything is possible.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
Liam’s curiosity leads him to explore an elevated train track. He discovers dying flowers and begins to nurture them. His dedication pays off when the flowers grow and spread over the city.
Promotes the environment, patience and a sense of community.
Flotsam by David Wiesner
A young boy discovers an old camera on a beach. When he develops the images, they are not at all what he expected. He discovers an underwater world he didn’t know existed. One photo shows a child holding a photo of another child, who is also holding a photo of a child and so on. They all returned the camera to the beach for someone else to discover its magic.
Read this wordless book to discuss inference, making connections, and interpretation.
Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea: How a Science Project Helps One Family and the Planet by Elizabeth Suneby
During the monsoon season in Bangladesh, Iqbal's family must cook indoors. The smoke from the open fire affects the family's health. Iqbal learns about solar energy cooking and develops a solution to his family's health problems.
Read Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea to promote discussions on inventors, sustainability, pollution, problem-solving, and STEM.
Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg
Walter couldn’t be bothered to sort out the rubbish. He had better things to do. That is until he dreams of a nightmare future. Reformed, Walter understands everyone needs to respect the environment for a more positive future.
The Last Straw by Zoe Matthiessen
Sippy is a plastic straw that is discarded and blown into the sea. It learns about the negative consequences of single-use plastic on different animals.
Read The Last Straw to promote discussions on recycling, the environment, reducing the use of plastics, sustainability, and cause and effect.
Little Turtle and the Sea by Becky Davies
A young turtle grows up swimming in the ocean repeatedly to reach the coral reefs. As the turtle ages, it notices the oceans' environment change as it becomes full of pollution.
Read Little Turtle and the Sea to promote discussions on pollution, conservation, activism and consequences of human actions.
The Lorax by Dr Seuss
The Lorax works to save the Truffula Trees from being harvested. Animals are losing their home, and the landscape is being destroyed. Dr Seuss wrote this book in the 1970s but is just as relevant today.
The Odd Fish by Naomi Jones
Little Fish comes across an odd fish and sets out to find its family. On its journey, it finds a turtle with a tummy ache and an octopus all tangled up. Little Fish wonders if the Odd Fish doesn't belong in the sea.
Read The Odd Fish to promote discussions on pollution, conservation, the environment, responsible decision-making, consequences of our actions, and cause and effect.
The Old Boat by Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey
A boy and his grandmother go fishing in their old boat. They see the wonders of the oceans but also the pollution. As the boy grows, he continues to fish from the old boat and decides to take action on the pollution, inspiring others to do the same.
Read The Old Boat to promote discussions on making a difference, pollution, taking action, time passing, decoding illustrations, making connections, and inference.
One World by Michael Foreman
While at the beach, a brother and sister create a tiny world in a bucket. It is filled with wildlife, shells, oil, and even a tin can, mirroring the world and pollution in the real world.
Read One World to promote discussions on conservation, pollution, and environmental responsibility.
Rainbow Weaver by Linda Elovitz Marshall
This is the second of two books about children's books for Earth Day by Linda Elovitz Marshall. Ixchel wants to continue the weaving tradition of her Mayan community. She walks around her village to find items to weave with but only finds colourful plastic bags.
As the bags pile up, Ixchel cuts them into strips and starts weaving them, producing a rainbow fabric.
This bilingual book promotes perseverance, recycling and problem-solving.
Rocket Says Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon
Rocket visits her grandparents in Jamaica. While beachcombing, Rocket passes piles of rubbish and finds a baby turtle tangled in a net. She decides something must be done. She brings the community together to clean up the beach and teach them about plastic pollution.
Promotes discussions on activism, pollution, conservation, and caring for the environment.
Somebody Swallowed Stanley by Sarah Roberts
Stanley is no ordinary jellyfish. In fact, Stanley is a plastic bag with two handles instead of tentacles. While other jellyfish glow, Stanley is covered in stripes. Unfortunately, different animals eat this discarded plastic bag as it floats in the sea.
Read Somebody Swallowed Stanley! to promote discussions on plastic pollution, the effects of humans on the environment, and sustainability.
The Tale of the Whale by Karen Swann
A child takes in the sea's wonders on a whale's back. On their journey, the whale cannot avoid eating the plastic pollution littered throughout the ocean. Seeing the consequences of the human population's careless attitude to waste, the child returns home and promises to spread the ‘whale's tale' of the ‘plastic soup sea'.
Read to discuss responsible decision-making, pollution, conservation, and our actions' consequences.
Walk of the Whales by Nick Bland
Different species of whales leave the ocean to walk on the land. The people are perplexed at the sight of whales doing human things. Soon, shops go out of business, farms flood, and the human inhabitants start to heckle the mammals with anti-whale words. It takes a little girl to discover the whales have left their home because of ocean pollution caused by humans.
Read Walk of the Whales to promote discussions on sustainability, ocean pollution, and the effects of humans on the environment.
We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom
An Indigenous girl tells the reader about her village's attempts to protect the water. One day a black serpent (oil pipes) will come to poison the water, and her community's responsibility is to safeguard the water from harm and corruption.
Use this poetic book to discuss activism, environmental protection, and indigenous communities.
Where the Heart Is by Irma Gold
Based on a true story. Old Joao finds a penguin covered in oil on a beach near Rio de Janeiro. He nurses it back to health, and the penguin stays with Joao long after it is healthy. After a year, the penguin travels over 8,000km to a penguin colony in Patagonia, only to return on the long journey to visit the old man.
Use to discuss friendship, connections, caring for others and a sense of belonging.
What children's books about pollution do you have in your classroom or library? If I don't have them on the list, let me know about them in the comments!