As climate-related disasters such as floods, droughts and heatwaves continue to grab headlines around the world, the call to action is more urgent than ever.

Anyone can play a role, big and small.

With children, a simple but powerful approach to engage them in a conversation about protecting the planet is to use books.

With the theme for this year’s World Environment Day being “Restoring Ecosystems,” we’ve rounded up a few children’s books that offer meaningful messages about balanced ecosystems, finding solutions and improving the world.

“Kate, who tamed the wind” by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Lee White

There is a man who lives on top of a very steep hill, whose life is turned upside down whenever the wild wind blows. It seems like an impossible task, but little Kate offers her neighbor an eco-friendly way to live with the howling wind – by planting trees all around her house. Armed with a wheelbarrow of seedlings, she pushes it down the steep path to the top of the hill and together they find a way to tell the difference.

‘Winston Of Churchill: A Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming’ by Jean Davies Okimoto, illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell

Every winter, polar bears congregate on the frozen waters of Hudson Bay to frolic and hunt. But this year, Winston the Bear notices that their icy house is melting and shrinking. He embarks on a mission to save their home, rallying the other polar bears to convince humans that everyone must do their part in the fight against global warming.

Bee and I by Alison Jay

A bee flies in a house and the little girl who lives there takes care of it. They quickly become friends and she discovers the bee, its friends and family. We have heard so much about the plight of bees and the decline in their populations. This picture book shows young readers the importance of bees in our ecosystem and what steps can be taken to help with conservation.

Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler

Miss Maple collects orphan seeds that have not found a home for themselves. She teaches them what it means to be a seed, takes them on field trips where they can explore places to grow, and puts them to bed every night. “Take care, my little ones, for the world is big and you are small,” she said to them. She lets them go when spring comes, and they find their place in the world to take root and lay high in the blue sky.

What happened when we all stopped by Tom Rivett-Carnac, illustrated by Bee Rivett-Carnac

When blockages took place around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the animals came out to play. The rivers cleared up, the birds began to sing, the trees could breathe again. This book invites us to reflect on living in harmony with nature, and the choices we can make for our environmental future. It’s a collaboration between Tom, who wrote this poem, and his sister, Bee, whose watercolor illustrations bring this story to life. Jane Goodall recounts in this animation.

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