2019 Green Earth Book Award Winners Announced

April 22, 2019 — Arlington, Va. – Environmental nonprofit The Nature Generation announced the winners of the 2019 Green Earth Book Award this Earth Day to draw attention to the authors and illustrators whose books best inspire youth to grow a deeper appreciation, respect, and responsibility for their natural environment.

The winners of the 15th annual Green Earth Book Award were selected in the Picture Book, Children’s Fiction, Children’s Nonfiction, and Young Adult Fiction categories.  Authors and illustrators will receive the award and $1,500 at a fall event in Washington, D.C., and will be honored at the Salisbury University Children’s Literature Festival in Maryland next week.  “This was the biggest year to date for the number of high quality submissions, making the competition fierce.  The stories were powerful and relevant, fueling passionate discussions within the selection committees,” said Dr. Patricia Dean, Associate Professor, Early and Elementary Education Department at Salisbury University.

“The 2019 winners reflect a range of interesting and impactful stories that children will want to read,” said Amy Marasco, president and founder of The Nature Generation.


2019 Green Earth Book Award Winners

Picture Book

The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs: The Story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation, by Kate Messner, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe (Chronicle Books)

All it takes is one: one coral gamete to start a colony, one person to make a difference, one idea to change the world. This is the true story of the coral restoration pioneer Ken Nedimyer in this brilliant tribute to the wonders of nature and the power of human hope.  Tells about his ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the world’s coral reefs—with hammer and glue, and grafts of newly grown coral.  Ages 8-12.

Children’s Fiction

 The Flooded Earth, by Mardi McConnochie (Pajama Press)

Forty years after the Earth was devastated by massive flooding, four children on one small sailboat must flee corrupt authorities and overcome the dangers of the sea that drowned their world.  A breakneck pace adventure that draws readers into a race against pirates, authorities, and the sea itself in a not-so-distant future full of new technology and old human failings.  Ages 9-12.

Children’s Nonfiction

Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle, by Erica Fyvie, illustrated by Bill Slavin (Kids Can Press)

All the “stuff” that surrounds us has a life cycle: materials are harvested, the stuff is made and distributed, it’s consumed and then it gets trashed or recycled. Using the typical contents of a child’s school backpack (defined as water, food, clothing, paper, plastic, metals, electronics), this book explores those stages in detail, including lots of ways to reduce, reuse or recycle waste along the way. Children will gain new insight into the routine decisions they make about their own consuming and trashing or recycling practices. For example: Which is better for the Earth, wrapping a sandwich in aluminum foil or plastic? By learning to use critical thinking skills to make informed choices, children will feel empowered by the important, constructive role they can play in the future health of the planet.

Young Adult Fiction

Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman, illustrated by Jay Shaw (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival.  Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.  Until the taps run dry.  Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

 2019 HONORS:

Picture Book

Counting Birds, by Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by Clover Robin (The Quarto Group/Seagrass Press)

Everyday kids learn how they can help protect bird species, near and far, with Counting Birds—the real-life story of bird counting and watching. What can you do to help endangered animals and make a positive change in our environment? Get counting! Counting Birds is a beautifully illustrated book that introduces kids to the idea of bird counts and bird watches. Along the way, they will learn about Frank Chapman, who used his bird knowledge and magazine Bird-Lore to found the first annual bird count

Salamander Sky, Katy Farber, Meg Sodano (Green Writers Press)

Every spring in the eastern region of the United States, warmer nights with steady rain bring the migration of thousands of spotted salamanders to ponds and pools, often across busy roads. These crossings are magical, and secretive–most people don’t even know they happen. Salamander Sky features a mother and daughter who go out on a rainy night to help the salamanders cross the road safely. This dramatic, full-color, picture book introduces readers to the elusive spotted salamanders and the perilous nighttime journey they take each spring. Amphibians worldwide desperately need protection. This book is a valuable tool for getting children engaged in conservation.

Recommended Reading:

  • An Eagle’s Feather, by Minfong Ho, illustrated by Frances Alvarez (The Cornell Lab Publishing Group)
  • Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea, by Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Rebecca Green (Kids Can Press)
  • Junk: A Spectacular Tale of Trash, by Nicholas Day, illustrated by Tom Disbury (Sleeping Bear Press)
  • Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Scientist Pu Zhelong’s Work for Sustainable Farming, by Sigrid Schmalzer, illustrated by Melanie Linden Chan (Tilbury House Publishers)
  • The Coral Kingdom, by Laura Knowles, illustrated by Jennie Webber (The Quarto Group / words & pictures)

Children’s Fiction

Ellie’s Strand: Exploring the Edge of the Pacific, by M.L. Herring and Judith L. Li, illustrated by M.L. Herring (Oregon State University Press)

With charming pen-and-ink drawings and a compelling story, Ellie’s Strand makes coastal science exciting for young beach explorers everywhere. Ellie and Ricky are amazed by their discoveries at the edge of the world’s largest ocean. Together, they realize the power of volunteering and grapple with the challenges of ocean conservation. In her journal Ellie records her observations of their adventures in her own words and pictures.  Ages 8-12.

Recommended Reading:

  • Squirm, by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf Books for Young Readers Random House)
  • The Lost Rainforest: Mez’s Magic, by Eliot Schrefer (Katherine Tegen Books / Harper Collins)
  • Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden, by Karina Yan Glaser (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

Children’s Nonfiction

Bat Citizens, by Rob Laidlaw (Pajama Press)

In Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night, celebrated animal activist and biologist Rob Laidlaw sheds light on these famously shadowy mammals, from their habits and habitats to their importance for maintaining biodiversity. Bat biology is explored alongside human-bat relations, with facts to fascinate even the most nervous reader. Spotlight features on “Bat Citizens” make this an empowering book for children seeking their own expressions of global citizenship. With informational sidebars, color photographs, a glossary and index, and a center-gatefold bat illustration, Bat Citizens is a book that will both instruct and inspire.

 Recommended Reading:

  • Back from the Brink, by Nancy Castaldo (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
  • Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife (Scientists in the Field Series), by Amy Cherrix (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
  • Camp Panda, by Catherine Thimmesh (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
  • Dive In!: Exploring Our Connection with the Ocean, by Ann Eriksson (Orca Book Publishers)
  • Eavesdropping on Elephants: How Listening Helps Conservation, by Patricia Newman (Millbrook Press)
  • Spring After Spring:  How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement, by Stephanie Roth Sisson (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children’s)

Young Adult Fiction

Orphaned, by Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic)

A riveting, heartbreaking early encounter between ape and man, told from the ape’s point of view. It is a journey unlike any other in recent literature. When a natural disaster shakes up her family, Snub finds herself as the guardian of her young sibling, and lost in a reshaped world. Snub may feel orphaned, but she is not alone. There are other creatures stalking through the woods: a new form of predator, walking on two legs. One of their kind is also orphaned, and is taken in by Snub. But the intersection of the human world and the gorilla world will bring both new connections and new battles.

Beyond the Sixth Extinction: A Post-Apocalyptic Pop-Up, by Shawn Sheehy, illustrated Jordi Solano (Candlewick Press)

Elaborate pop-ups feature some wonderfully creepy creatures that just might dominate the ecosystem and be essential to our planet’s survival in an eerily realistic future world. Whether or not we know it, the sixth global extinction is already under way, propelled not by a meteor but by human activity on Earth. Take a long step forward into the year 4847 with the help of stunning pop-ups portraying eight fantastical creatures, along with spreads and flaps presenting details about each one. Paper engineer Shawn Sheehy envisions the aftermath of extinction as a flourishing ecosystem centered around fictional creatures that could evolve from existing organisms. Promising high appeal for science-fiction fans of all ages — and plenty of food for discussion — this evolutionary extravaganza offers a time line of the six extinction events in Earth’s history, a “field guide” to each creature, a diagram of species relationships, a habitat map of the (imagined) ruins of Chicago, and an illuminating author’s note.

Young Adult Non Fiction

Recommended Reading:

  • Birding Is My Favorite Video Game, by Rosemary Mosco (Andrews McMeel Publishing)
  • Diet for a Changing Climate: Food for Thought, by Christy Mihaly and Sue Heavenrich (Twenty-First Century Books)

The books were vetted by a panel of esteemed judges representing environmental and educational organizations in private industry, associations, and governmental natural resource agencies, as well as college professors, elementary school teachers, and librarians.

Learn more here.