Theme Guide: Environment

Picture Books


Frankenstink! Garbage Gone Bad
Written and illustrated by Ron Lightburn
Tundra Books, 2015
ISBN 978-1-77049-694-1
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades 2-3

Imagination | Garbage | Monsters | Composting | Recycling | Environment

A boy who ignores the growing pile of trash under his bed is awakened one night as the garbage transforms and mutates into a greedy, disgusting monster, devouring everything in its path! Is it just a dream? The monster that feeds on “a mountainous salad of plastic and goo” is a hilarious example of what could happen if we don’t compost and recycle!



On the Reef

On the Reef
Written by Judith McMurray and Shandley McMurray
Illustrated by Robert Bateman and Tobin Island Artists
Firefly Books, 2016
ISBN 978-1-77085-857-2
IL: Ages 6-10 RL: Grades 2-3

Coral Reefs | Endangered Species | Turtles | Pollution | Natural World | Environmentalism | Marine Ecology

While snorkelling on a coral reef in the Bahamas, Chloe and Zachary find a Hawksbill turtle entangled in plastic. With the help of their guide, the kids bring the turtle onto the beach to await rescue. This book captures the beauty of the coral reef, an endangered part of the marine ecosystem, while teaching the importance of preserving the fragile balance of life in the oceans.



Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World
Written and illustrated by Celia Godkin
Pajama Press, 2014
ISBN 978-1-927485-61-3
IL: Ages 6-9 RL: Grades 1-3

Peregrine Falcons | Pesticides | Environment | Wildlife Protection

High in the sky, a peregrine falcon joins her mate for some swooping and diving before returning to her nest to guard her eggs. But her eggs are under threat from the pesticide DDT, which makes the eggshells thin and fragile. Skydiver tells the inspiring story of a family of peregrine falcons, and of the efforts by scientists and volunteers who came together to save the fastest bird in the world.


What Matters

What Matters
Written by Alison Hughes
Illustrated by Holly Hatam
Orca Book Publishers, 2016
ISBN 978-1-4598-0910-9
IL: Ages 4-8 RL: Grades 2-3

Recycling | Environmentalism | Making a Difference | Littering | Nature

What happens when one small boy picks up one small piece of litter? He doesn’t know it, but his tiny act has big consequences. This book gently explores nature’s connections, from the minuscule to the monumental, and traces the ripple effects of one child’s good deed to show how we can all make a big difference.


Junior & Intermediate Fiction


Justine McKeen, Thermostat Chat
(Orca Echoes)
Written by Sigmund Brouwer
Illustrated by Dave Whamond
Orca Book Publishers, 2017
ISBN 978-1-4598-1201-7
IL: Ages 6-8 RL: Grades 2-3

Global Warming | Environmental Stewardship | Climate Change | Sustainability | Teamwork | Conservation

Justine McKeen is on another mission, this time to rid homes and schools of energy vampires. Justine and her friends are working to fight global warming by unplugging electronics that aren’t in use. Too bad they didn’t warn Grandpa Blatzo before they started.



Luz Makes a Splash
(The Future According to Luz, Book 2)
Written and illustrated by Claudia Dávila
Kids Can Press, 2012
ISBN 978-1-55453-769-3
IL: Ages 8-12 RL: Grades 3-4

Water | Water Conservation | Drought

Luz’s favourite park is suffering in the drought and no one knows what to do to help. The local swimming pond has also been drained by the factory nearby so there’s nowhere to cool down. Luz must rally her community to help save both of her favourite places. This graphic novel includes a guide on how to make a water-wise garden.


Summer We Saved the Bees

The Summer We Saved the Bees
Written by Robin Stevenson
Orca Book Publishers, 2015
ISBN 978-1-4598-0834-8
IL: Ages 9-12 RL: Grades 5-6

Honeybees | Activism | Blended Families | Environmentalism | Responsibility

Wolf’s mother is obsessed with saving the world’s honeybees. He gets that. But it’s another thing altogether when she announces that she’s taking her Save the Bees show on the road — family style, complete with mortifying bee costumes. Can Wolf and his sisters convince her that dragging the family around in a beat-up panel van may not be the best idea she’s ever had?


Sydney and Simon Go Green

Sydney & Simon: Go Green!
Written by Paul A. Reynolds
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing, 2015
ISBN 978-1-58089-677-1
IL: Ages 6-9 RL: Grades 2-3

Environmentalism | Curiosity | Garbage | Recycling | Problem Solving

While visiting an aquarium, mice twins Sydney and Simon learn how much trash ends up in the oceans. The two observe how much trash is made at home and at school and realize that everyone could use a reminder about keeping our planet clean! This title celebrates the STEAM approach (exploration through science, technology, engineering, art and math).



Be the Change for the Environment

Be the Change for the Environment
(Be the Change!)
Written by Megan Kopp
Crabtree Publishing, 2014
ISBN 978-0-7787-0632-8
IL: Ages 5-8 RL: Grades 2-3

Environment | Leadership | Stewardship

Caring for Earth is everyone’s job! Readers will discover ways they can have a positive impact on the environment, including planting trees and eating locally grown food, as well as “pre-cycling” and protecting animal habitats. Children will learn to take personal responsibility for environmental stewardship and discover how to be effective problem solvers when it comes to protecting the planet.


Tragic Tale

The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk
Written and illustrated by Jan Thornhill
Groundwood Books, 2016
ISBN 978-1-55498-865-5
IL: Ages 9-12 RL: Grades 4-5

Great Auk | Extinction | Wildlife Conservation | Natural World | Ecology

For thousands of years, great auks thrived in the icy seas of the North Atlantic. But by 1844, not a single one of these magnificent birds was still alive. The tragic demise of the great auk led to the birth of the conservation movement. Laws were passed to prevent the killing of birds during the nesting season, and similar laws were later extended to other wildlife species.


Trash Talk

Trash Talk: Moving Toward a Zero-Waste World
(Orca Footprints)
Written by Michelle Mulder
Orca Book Publishers, 2015
ISBN 978-1-4598-0692-4
IL: Ages 8-13 RL: Grades 4-5

Garbage | Waste | Recycling | Reusing | Environmentalism | Creative Thinking | Global Community

Humans have always generated garbage. Our landfills are overflowing, but with some creative thinking, stuff we once threw away can become a collection of valuable resources. This fascinating text digs deep into the history of garbage, from Minoan trash pits to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and uncovers some of the many innovative ways people all over the world are dealing with waste.


Water Wow

Water Wow! An Infographic Exploration
Written by Antonia Banyard and Paula Ayer
Illustrated by Belle Wuthrich
Annick Press, 2016
ISBN 978-1-55451-821-0
IL: Ages 8-12 RL: Grades 4-5

Science | Environment | Water | Nature | Conservation

Where did water come from before it got to Earth? Is the water you drink the same stuff that was around when dinosaurs were alive? If water can’t be created or destroyed, how can we run out? What are water footprints? Find out the answers to these and many more intriguing questions in this appealing visual exploration of an important topic.