Environment, climate and change eco topic books for EYFS, KS1, KS2 and KS3. This list includes fiction and nonfiction texts, picture books and real-life stories of ecology, conservation, preservation, sustainability, saving the planet, protecting the environment and biological threats by writers including Jess French, Shaun Tan, Emma Shevah, Zillah Bethell, Karen Swann, Gemma Fowler, Jackie Morris and Piers Torday.
Environment, climate change and eco topic books for EYFS, KS1, KS2 and KS3 – our recommended titles
Milly Cow Gives Milk by Deborah Chancellor and Julia Groves
This narrative non-fiction picture book shows nursery aged readers Milly the Cow, where she lives, and how her milk goes from the farm to the supermarket. A useful book to discuss when teaching children about food and where it comes from.
How To Save the World with a Chicken and an Egg by Emma Shevah
Featuring extrovert Ivy, who has a unique way of communicating with the natural world, and Nathaniel, a boy with a singular and uncanny ability to retain facts about living things, this fascinating eco-mystery is an absorbing read that will appeal to more advanced readers in upper KS2. The interesting narration is an ideal starting point for discussing and hot seating characters with different perspectives on life.
The Tale of the Whale by Karen Swann and Padmacandra
When a young girl meets a whale, she is taken on a miraculous journey through pristine paradise waters of endless treasures, but also plastic pollution and discarded waste. A beautifully illustrated and sensitive story that will inspire younger children to consider the environment. If your EYFS class is planning a beach or litter clean, this is a great book to read and share.
City of Rust by Gemma Fowler
This exciting eco-adventure sees Railey and her sidekick robo-Gecko Atti not only trying to win a futuristic worldwide drone race but also save the world from an impending explosion of rubbish and refuse. Fast-moving and easy to read, this middle-grade novel will appeal to environmentally aware and STEM engaged pupils in year 5&6.
Eco Warriors by Campbell Books
A fun, chunky board book to inspire younger readers that includes vibrant and colourful life stories of key environmental and Eco-aware heroes and heroines such as Greta Thunberg, John Muir, Isatou Ceesay and David Attenborough. With push and pull sliders and lots of interactivity, this book is ideal to read with your preschool-age child.
Song of the Dolphin Boy by Elizabeth Laird
A thought-provoking story for 9-11 years olds about Finn – ostracised by other children in the village – who campaigns for the pollution endangering offshore dolphins to be stopped. His campaigning leads to unexpected allies. This refreshing middle-grade novel is ideal to help Year 6 children discuss and formulate ideas about protecting their local environment.
The Rabbits by Shaun Tan
This clever, and at times dark, picture book presents a fictional history of a world taken over by rabbits. Seeing the rabbits build roads, grow in population and change the landscape will make children in KS2 think about man’s impact on the environment and how many of the perspectives put forward by politicians and industry are biased against the natural world. An ideal book to spark artwork ideas and philosophical debate.
The Lost Words by Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane
This groundbreaking large format hardback contains a collection of spectacularly-illustrated poems, spells, and wordplay that will captivate children interested in the natural world. With rich language, figurative language and pages spilling with imagination, this book is highly recommended as a literacy text to inspire lessons in KS1 and KS2. There is an extensive collection of free resources for schools and home learning on the publisher’s website. https://www.thelostwords.org/resources/
Dear Greenpeace by Simon James
Written as a series of letters between a young girl and Greenpeace, the worldwide environmental organisation, this picture book explores why a whale cannot be expected to live long term in a pond. Examining themes of captivity, species endangerment and conservation, this text will appeal to readers in KS1 and will be useful for children in KS2 studying man’s impact on the environment in geography and letter writing in literacy.
The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare by Zillah Bethell
An atmospheric story that slowly builds into a gripping page-turner. Set in a world fighting over dwindling water supplies, the reader is introduced to Auden – an 11-year-old who is colour blind. But when he moves to a new town and meets a fascinating new friend, his life begins to change. Can he finish the work his professor uncle started and solve the planet’s problems? An ideal class reader for upper KS2.
The Last Tree by Ingrid Chabbert
When a young boy who has always lived in a concrete jungle discovers something growing, neither he nor his friend knows what it is. Little do they realise that it may be the last ever tree. Can they save it from being covered by an apartment block? With evocative illustrations, this is a great picture book to read and discuss in KS1.
The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
This engaging modern fable follows a man who works all day with an axe to cut down a tree in the Amazon rainforest. When he falls asleep, exhausted, the forest community speaks to him and try and make him change his mind and protect their environment. A great book to inspire hot seating discussions in year 2 and year 3 and ideas for cross-curricular geography and artwork projects.
Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann
This spellbinding and fantastical picture book sees a polar bear mysteriously appear in a forest, prompting surprise and fear among the animals that live there. When the bear begins to collect the fallen leaves, suspicion and mistrust develop, but no one can predict the polar bear’s amazing plan. This inspirational book is ideal to spark discussion about climate change with younger children in EYFS.
One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul
When Isatou Ceesay saw festering plastic bags polluting the roadside in her Gambian neighbourhood, she decided to take action. The plastic was killing animals that tried to eat it, harbouring vermin and disease and causing dangerous smoke when it caught fire. So she set about finding a way to recycle all the plastic. This story will inspire younger readers in EYFS and KS1 to believe that their actions really can make a difference.
The Last Wild by Piers Torday
The first of an engrossing animal adventure trilogy for 9-12-year-olds. When Kester discovers that he can talk to pigeons, he realises nothing will ever be the same again. Soon he finds he might be the only hope for stopping the spread of an apocalyptic global virus. An ideal class reader for year 5 or year 6.
What A Waste: Rubbish, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet by Jess French
An exciting and informative fact-based non-fiction book by well-known conservationist Jess French, this book will help lower KS2 children explore what happens to household waste, how refuse can be recycled, and how the oceans are being polluted. An ideal year 3/4 topic book for the classroom library.
Island by Nicky Singer
A riveting KS3 thriller about a teenaged Cameron who begins to realise not everything his Arctic research-based mother is telling him is true, and that the ice melts could be perilous for Inuit survival if things aren’t fixed soon. This is a great novel to discuss in year 7 and 8 book clubs and an ideal story to explore empathy and different perspectives.
This Book is Not Rubbish by Isabel Thomas
This collection of 50 ways to become an eco-warrior is perfect for inspiring home learning projects, presentations and individual, class, year group or school challenges. Aimed at upper KS2 aged children, this is an accessible, practical and useful book that is full of ideas. Highly recommended.
World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky
This lavishly illustrated book for older children is both thought-provoking and inspirational. Seamlessly linking the food chain, commercial fishing and exploitation, evolution, climate change, activism and politics, this short and poignant book blends nonfiction and fiction to make complex ideas easy for upper KS2 and KS3 children to grasp and form their own opinions about. A must-have book for school libraries.
A Planet Full of Plastic: and how you can help by Neal Layton
A highly practical book that explains why plastic is dangerous, this book aimed at EYFS and KS1 aged children also offers teachers and parents lots of ideas to show children how they can contribute to helping reduce pollution and safeguard their futures.
The Tin Forest by Helen Ward
This award-winning lyrical picture book combines spectacular and immersive illustrations with a moral tale about the value of keeping our world free of human refuse and waste and enjoying the natural world. Equally suitable for reading to younger children, and discussing with older pupils in KS2 to provoke story ideas or creative artwork for display.
The Blue Giant by Katie Cottle
When a giant living creature appears on a wave, Meera and her mother are stunned when it asks them to help save the sea from plastic pollution. They agree and embark on an unforgettable story to improve the marine environment. This award-winning picture book is ideal to read and share with children in key stage one.
If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams
This picture book – suitable for EYFS and KS1 children – deftly explains why the loss of one species has a domino effect on the rest of an ecosystem. Ideal to read and discuss, this vibrantly illustrated hardback with double-page spreads is perfect for inspiring wall displays and pupil’s artwork.
National Trust: How to Help a Hedgehog and Protect a Polar Bear by Jess French
This colourful and informative non-fiction guide will introduce KS2 children to the concept of endangered species. On each highly illustrated double paged spread, there’s a detailed depiction of each habitat and practical suggestions on what action you can take to help the animals. Highly recommended for home learning.
Environment, climate change and eco topic resources
- BBC Bitesize offers a series of videos for KS1 classes about protecting the environment as part of the citizenship curriculum, and for KS2 science about humans and their impact on the environment.
- The Worldwide Fund for Nature has produced an excellent set of free downloads to help schools raise awareness and involvement in protecting the environment.
- Kids Against Plastic offers a series of free child-centred resources to show children what they can do to make a positive impact in the fight against plastic pollution.
- For pupils in KS3 year 7&8, BBC Bitesize has a range of short films to show the effects of environmental and climate change from a geography perspective and a science perspective.
- The Geographical Association offers a great free download aimed at KS3, but with elements suitable for more advance KS2, about protecting the environment.
- Canary Wharf has created an excellent resource for teaching KS3 children about inner-city environments.
- Surfers Against Sewage has a free download offering schools and parents practical advice about organising a beach clean.
- And the Irish Marine Institute has produced complete lesson plans to underpin a school beach clean, aimed at 10-12-year-olds.