boy reading book on a hammock in the summer

Summer break from school is nearly upon us! It’s time for library summer reading challenges and lazy days in the shade reading a book with the kiddos. It’s also a great time for helping your children connect with the beauty of nature and learn about how our planet works. These eco-themed books focus on kindness to the environment and learning about the natural world — perfect for summer reading.  Our list includes books at different reading levels for summer bookworms of different ages.

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Books for Little Kids

Sky’s Search for EcoHappiness

by Sandi Schwartz and Julie Neustadter, illustrated by Emily Hercock

A charming picture book, Sky’s Search for EcoHappiness is about a little girl who feels like she’s not quite happy, but isn’t sure why. She goes on a walk, finds many friends spending time outside, and learns the value of time in nature.

Over and Under the Pond

by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

This book introduces young readers to the interesting life that lives under the water in ponds. Over and Under the Pond pairs an easy-to-understand story with muted, charming illustrations that convey the beauty of aquatic life.

Over and Under the Pond - book cover

Big Book of Blooms

by Yuval Zommer

Part of a series of beautifully illustrated books about nature for kids, Big Book of Blooms teaches children about flowers and plants from around the world along with their relationship to the surrounding ecosystems.

From Seed to Plant

by Gail Gibbons

From Seed to Plant is 30 years old but still holds a lot of value for little kids. Its simple words and striking pictures help children understand how a seed grows into a plant or tree. The book introduces scientific information about flowers, seeds, and soil in a way that young children can understand.

Books for Elementary School Kids

Young Naturalists Pop Up Handbook: Beetles

by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda

This pop-up book for big kids is part of the Young Naturalist’s Handbook series. In Beetles, intricate details and interesting information about beetles accompany huge pop-up pages and moving parts to illustrate the diversity and beauty of beetles.

Pop-up Handbook of Beetles

The Magic and Mystery of Trees

by Jen Green, illustrated by Claire McElfatrick

Open the mystery of the canopy to children with The Magic and Mystery of Trees. Through both photographs and gorgeous illustrations, the book teaches kids about many trees throughout the world, how they grow, how they communicate with each other, and how they interact with the world around them.

Zero Waste Kids

by Rob Greenfield

Zero Waste Kids is an activity book for the whole family to use to reduce their waste. Kids feel like they take charge when they conduct their own waste audit, learn about composting, and how to reuse discarded items.

Zero Waste Kids - book cover

Can You Hear the Trees Talking?

by Peter Wohlleben

Can You Hear the Trees Talking? is a lovely children’s version of the bestseller adult book, The Hidden Life of Trees. This picture book introduces kids to how trees of the forest interact through stories, quizzes, activities, and images.

Old Enough to Save the Planet

by Loll Kirby, illustrated by Adelina Lirius

A picture book to empower young people to change the world, Old Enough to Save the Planet highlights 12 kids in different countries standing up for the planet. Beautiful images and encouragement for everyday kids to make a difference accompany each story.

Books for Middle School and High School Kids

Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth

by Rachel Ignotofsky

A picture book for middle schoolers and high schoolers, its attractive images help students understand how the science of ecology works. Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth ends with information on climate change and leaves readers with a sense of hope.

Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth - book cover

365 Days of Art in Nature

by Lorna Scobie

365 Days of Art in Nature is a challenge within a book to make nature art daily for a year. Summer break would be the perfect time to start such a daily habit that will wind its way into the school year to help reduce the stress of studying.

Rocks and Minerals: Get the Dirt on Geology

by Chris Eboch, illustrated by Alexis Cornell

This book digs into the geological topics of plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, and erosion. Rocks and Minerals also helps learners connect with other STEM topics and possible future careers.

These are just a few of the many books for youngsters that help guide their environmental awareness. With so many options for eco-themed reading, parents and children are sure to find a book with a topic they will enjoy together.

By Maureen Wise

Maureen Wise is a freelance writer for a number of green-leaning companies. She also works in higher education sustainability and previously in watershed restoration. Wise serves on the board of two environmental nonprofits, is a solar owner, and is a certified master recycler.