Caring for Our World | Environmentalism Series Nonfiction

Young environmentalists are more aware than ever that our planet needs protecting.


Young environmentalists are more aware than ever that our planet needs protecting. School projects abound with topics that have kids seeking research books. Fledgling activists looking to enhance their knowledge will be inspired by enticing titles. Luckily, the following series will satisfy all patrons. Readers will learn about the life cycle of commonly recycled goods, about living green, and about toxins in the environment and in the human body. Middle graders will feel compassion for endangered species and be empowered to make small steps to save the world. Researchers will find colorful and well-written books on energy sources, invasive species, global warming, noise pollution, and more. With an abundance of visually appealing and engaging books, the only challenge will be narrowing down the selections.



Gaertner, Meg. Picking Up Trash. ISBN 9781646195954.
––––. Planting Trees. ISBN 9781646195961.
––––. Recycling. ISBN 9781646195978.
––––. Respecting Nature. ISBN 9781646195985.
––––. Reusing. ISBN 9781646195992.
––––. Saving Energy. ISBN 9781646196005.
––––. Saving Water. ISBN 9781646196012.
––––. Walking, Biking, and Riding the Bus. ISBN 9781646196029.
ea vol: 24p. (Living Green). North Star Editions/Little Blue Readers. Aug. 2022. Tr. $28.50.
PreS-K –Through minimal text and full-page photographs, these easy readers cover concepts such as recycling, saving water and energy, and respecting nature. Information is kept simple for young readers, such as “Trash can hurt animals,” and sentences are kept short with mostly one or two syllable words. Colored photos complement the text with many of the photos featuring kids of different races demonstrating positive behaviors. Photographs are overlaid with single words that identify objects in the photo and reinforce word recognition. A table of contents, glossary, and index are included. VERDICT A fine series for libraries looking for environmental books for their youngest audience.

Gunasekara, Mignonne. Pesticides. ISBN 9781502663740.
––––. Processed Foods. ISBN 9781502663825.
Wood, John. Air Pollution. ISBN 9781502663702.
––––. Plastic. ISBN 9781502663788.
ea vol: 24p. (People Poisons). Cavendish Square. Aug. 2022. Tr. $25.21.
PreS-Gr 1 –This series for young readers focuses not only on toxins to the earth, but also to the human body. While the shifted focus from pesticides and processed food to plastic waste and air pollution can make the series feel disjointed, each title adequately describes its topic. The information remains basic for young readers as concepts are kept simple. The graphics are reminiscent of ‘60’s pop art with bold colors and backgrounds with screen printed, patterned effects. The colored, uppercase text also adds to the design. Each book includes a table of contents, glossary and, index. VERDICT A good series for young readers, but the pesticides and processed foods titles may be more suitable for a classification in the 600s rather than in environmental sciences.

Markovics, Joyce. Heath Hen. ISBN 9781668909652.
––––. Northern White Rhino. ISBN 9781668909669.
––––. Passenger Pigeon. ISBN 9781668909676.
––––. Pinta Island Tortoise. ISBN 9781668909683.
––––. Pyrenean Ibex. ISBN 9781668909690.
––––. Rabbs’ Tree Frog. ISBN 9781668909706.
––––. Tasmanian Tiger. ISBN 9781668909713.
––––. Yellow-Tipped Oahu Tree Snail. ISBN 9781668909720.
ea vol: 24p. (Endlings: The Last Species). Cherry Lake. Aug. 2022. Tr. $12.79.
Gr 2-4 –This series examines eight animals that have gone extinct… or have they? The books take a unique perspective on extinction by telling the stories of the last animal in each species, otherwise known as the “endling,” and their loving caretakers. For example, readers meet the Pinta Island Tortoise named Lonesome George and his caretaker, Fausto Llerena. Each book explains the reason for the species extinction, the care given to the endling, and scientist’s attempts to repopulate the species through cloning and in vitro fertilization. Readers will have compassion for these animals that unjustly went extinct and for their life stories. The book covers and page backgrounds are sepia toned with overlaid color photographs. The text is limited to one paragraph per page but delivers a large amount of useful information over each of the book’s 24 pages. While more dynamically designed book covers would have increased shelf appeal, a good book talk will easily win over readers. Each title includes a table of contents, glossary, additional resources, index, about the author, and a list of three similar animals under threat of extinction. VERDICT While not as visually appealing as other books on the shelf, these titles will adequately fill the need for hard to find books on extinct animals.

Nelson, Louise. Life of a Glass Jar. ISBN 9781636918990.
––––. Life of a Piece of Paper. ISBN 9781636919003.
––––. Life of a Plastic Bottle. ISBN 9781636919010.
––––. Life of a Soda Can. ISBN 9781636919027.
ea vol: 24p. (Eco Journeys). Bearport/Fusion. Aug. 2022. Tr. $26.99.
PreS-Gr 1 –Each of the four books in this series follows an item (piece of paper, glass jar, plastic bottle, and soda can) through its creation, usage, disposal, recycling process, and reuse. The descriptions and details are easy to understand and provide just the right amount of information for young readers. The use of photographs, colorful graphics, simple text bubbles and single sentences make the books extremely visually appealing. Readers that usually gravitate toward books by National Geographic Kids will find these titles equally as attractive. A table of contents and glossary make these books easy to use and the “Quick Quiz” at the end of the book is a fun review of what was presented. VERDICT This is a fantastic purchase for libraries looking for easy reading books about recycling.

Twiddy, Robin. Being Energy Efficient. ISBN 9781978530287.
––––. Composting and Gardening. ISBN 9781978530324.
––––. Eating Locally. ISBN 9781978530362.
––––. Living Zero Waste. ISBN 9781978530409.
––––. Upcycling and Recycling. ISBN 9781978530447.
––––. Using Water Wisely. ISBN 9781978530485.
ea vol: 32p. (Small Steps to Save the World). Enslow. Aug. 2022. Tr. $26.27.
Gr 2-4 –Join the Small Steps Revolutionaries as they save the world from environmental destruction. Each of the six children of various races is a specialist in one area of environmental protection. After a short explanation of the problem, each child speaks directly to readers as they present approximately 10 actions that kids can take to protect the environment. Pages resemble a superhero comic book with words and photographs inside comic panels, and important facts inside starburst speech bubbles. While the first chapter provides a wonderful explanation about how to gather more information and use reliable resources, the books are less about research and facts and more about ways kids can take action to save the planet. Each book includes a table of contents, glossary, index, and a manifesto that serves as a summary of the book. VERDICT A great purchase for libraries with current or future young environmental activists.


Upper Elementary to Middle School

Amson-Bradshaw, Georgia. Plastic Planet. ISBN 9781978531567.
Claybourne, Anna. Extinction Planet. ISBN 9781978531475.
––––. Hot Planet. ISBN 9781978531505.
––––. Pandemic Planet. ISBN 9781978531536.
––––. Recycled Planet. ISBN 9781978531598.
––––. Sustainable Planet. ISBN 9781978531628.
ea vol: 48p. (Explore the Planet). Enslow. Aug. 2022. Tr. $28.93.
Gr 4-8 –Filling each page with eye-popping graphics and short, informative text, this series stresses the human impact on the environment and provides multiple actions to reverse or reduce the dangerous speed of degradation. Filled with captivating colored backgrounds, graphics, and illustrations, these books are sure to be a first selection for readers. The in-depth coverage of each topic will provide adequate information for middle grade researchers as well as be an ideal start for anyone with a personal interest in the topic. Rather than full pages of written text, each page has multiple text boxes, side bars, timelines or graphs that make finding information easy and interesting. Each book includes a table of contents, index, glossary and a list of further readings. VERDICT A must purchase for any library in need of books on the environment.

Bradford Edwards, Sue. Investigating Fossil Fuel Pollution. ISBN 9781503858060.
Gagliardi, Sue. Investigating Household Waste Pollution. ISBN 9781503858114.
Kennedy Henzel, Cynthia. Investigating Manufacturing Pollution. ISBN 9781503858107.
––––. Investigating Noise Pollution. ISBN 9781503858121.
MacCarald, Clara. Investigating Agricultural Waste. ISBN 9781503858077.
––––. Investigating Nuclear Pollution. ISBN 9781503858091.
Perdew, Laura. Investigating Light Pollution. ISBN 9781503858084.
––––. Investigating Plastic Pollution. ISBN 9781503858053.
ea vol: 32p. (Investigating Pollution). The Child’s World/Wonder Books. Aug. 2022. Tr. $32.79.
Gr 2-5 –Eight types of pollution are evaluated through comprehensive text and simple graphics. Each book begins with a captivating story that draws readers into the topic, such as a manatee named Gerard whose food source was destroyed by agricultural pollution. This is followed by an explanation of the pollution source, why it is harmful, and finally, what humans can do to reduce the pollution. White pages are filled with full-page text that is simple to understand, yet complex enough for research. White pages are offset by colored edging, photos, and text boxes. The overall effect is appealing, while still maintaining an academic appearance. Each book includes a table of contents, fast facts, a hands-on project, a glossary, a list of ways to help, further readings, and an index. VERDICT An excellent selection due to the series’s easy-to-understand text, colorful photos, and resources at the end of each book.

Gilles, Renae. Infographics: Agriculture. ISBN 9781668909164.
––––. Infographics: Clean Water. ISBN 9781668909201.
––––. Infographics: Climate Change. ISBN 9781668909157.
––––. Infographics: Industrialization. ISBN 9781668909225.
––––. Infographics: Invasive Species. ISBN 9781668909171.
Lowe, Alexander. Infographics: Natural Disasters. ISBN 9781668909188.
––––. Infographics: Pollution. ISBN 9781668909195.
––––. Infographics: Renewable Energy. ISBN 9781668909218.
ea vol: 24p. (Enviro-Graphics Jr.). Cherry Lake. Aug. 2022. Tr. $30.64.
Gr 3-6 –Infographics are a great, in-depth introduction to a topic, and this series is no exception. Each of the eight books provide a thorough overview of a wide variety of topics such as clean water, climate change, invasive species, and more. The text consists of short paragraphs that introduce the chapter’s topic followed by infographics that provide detail for a well-rounded understanding or easy to find research statistics. The wide variety of infographics, such as charts, lists, graphs, and definitions, include source notes that lead researchers to more information if needed. The white backgrounds accentuate the colored text boxes and graphs, and the bright geometric graphics make the pages even more appealing. Each book includes an activity, glossary, index, suggested books and websites, and a bibliography. VERDICT Because of the visually appealing graphics and the breadth of information, these books should be a first choice for environmental collections.

VONDER Brink , Tracy. Biofuels. ISBN 9781039660632.
––––. Fossil Fuels ISBN 9781039660649
––––. Nuclear Power ISBN 9781039660656
––––. Solar Power ISBN 9781039660663
––––. Water Power ISBN 9781039660670
––––. Wind Power ISBN 9781039660687
ea. vol: 32p. (Energy Sources). Crabtree/ Crabtree Crown. Sept. 2022. Tr. $30.60.
Gr 2-5 –The six books in the series focus on biofuels, fossil fuels, nuclear energy, solar power, water power, and wind power. Each book starts with the same first chapter, which briefly explains what energy is, the harm of fossil fuels, and climate change. The second chapter then goes on to describe the specific energy, how it is sourced, and how the energy travels to homes. The text is a clear and simple read for young readers or a starting point for older students’ research projects. There is one short paragraph per page with single-sentence side notes on some pages. All pages have a basic design with colored backgrounds and a large photo or illustration that complements the text. Each book begins with six guiding questions that readers can contemplate while learning and follow up questions at the end of the book to review what was presented. A table of contents, index, and glossary are also included. VERDICT Not a first choice, but a solid selection for libraries looking for books on energy sources.

While there is something here for everyone, the series that stands out for its visual appeal and precision of in-depth information is “Explore the Planet” (Enslow). It is beautifully designed and easy to read for school projects and pleasure. “The Endlings. The Last Species” (Cherry Lake) is ­another solid choice for its wealth of ­information, stories that will pull at readers’ heartstrings, and a unique perspective on endangered animals. “People ­Poisons” (Cavendish Square), “Living Green” (North Star Editions), and “Eco Journeys” (Bearport) are all wonderful introductions to environmental topics for young readers. “Investigating Pollution” (The Child’s World), “Infographics” (Cherry Lake), and “Energy Sources” (Crabtree) are all great resources for school projects and should be purchased where there is a need. Young activists will enjoy ­reading about all the ways they can save the planet in the series, “Small Steps to Save the World” (Enslow). Overall, this fall’s ­environmental books will surely meet the needs of young environmentalists and ­adequately fill any subject gaps on library shelves.

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