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Climate Change: A Children’s Book Reading List

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Karina Glaser

Contributing Editor

Karina Yan Glaser is a full-time writer and illustrator with a varied career teaching and implementing literacy programs in family homeless shelters and recruiting healthcare professionals to volunteer in under-resourced areas around the world. Karina is the New York Times bestselling author of the middle grade books, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street and The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden. She lives in Harlem with her husband, two daughters, and an assortment of rescued animals. One of her proudest achievements is raising two kids who can't go anywhere without a book. Website:; Twitter: @KarinaYanGlaser; Instagram: @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting

Last month, in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, Donald Trump said that “nobody really knows” whether climate change is real and that he’s “very open-minded” on whether climate change is underway. “I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows,” Trump says. “Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It’s not something that’s so hard and fast.”

Do you know who really knows that climate change is real? The National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Thousands of climate researchers. Most leading scientific organizations. According to NASA (and backed up by at least three surveys), “97% or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.”

Meanwhile, the president-elect counts on advice from people like Myron Ebell. Mr. Ebell is not a scientist, but he does work at an organization that takes huge donations from ExxonMobil and people who work for or support the conservative Koch Brothers (who actively lobby against efforts to combat global warming).

As the mother of two kids, an aunt to dozens of nieces and nephews, a former teacher, and a writer of children’s books, I am terrified by what this next president will do to advance climate change and destroy our precious natural resources for our next generations. For those who want to educate this new generation of children who will inherit every one of our mistakes, here is a reading list for kids on climate change.

coral-reefs-by-jason-chinFirst off, check out books by Jason Chin. He writes and illustrates gorgeous and informative picture books about our world’s natural wonders, including Water is Water about the water cycle, Island, A Story of the Galápagos, and Redwood, about the majestic forests in California. His books that reference climate change include Coral Reefs, which take children on a journey in the coral cities of the sea while educating kids about how climate change is causing coral bleaching, and Where Do Polar Bears Live?, a book written by Sarah L. Thomson and illustrated by Mr. Chin that explores the year of the life of a polar bear and how global warming is causing food scarcity and habitat destruction. At the back of the book is a two-page spread about what kids can do to reduce their own carbon footprint.

For younger kids who love Ms. Frizzle, look for The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge. Like other Magic School Bus books, author Joanna Cole and illustrator Bruce Degen us wit, science-based facts, and adventure to explore complicated topics in a relatable way.

world-without-fish-by-mark-kurlansky-illustrated-by-frank-stocktonFor older kids (ages 9-12), World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky and illustrated by Frank Stockton is a great narrative non-fiction account of what is happening to our fish and our oceans that utilizes tons of science: biology, economics, evolution, climate, food, and nutrition, as well as how politics and culture play into it. I especially love the back resource pages of the book, which list wonderful organizations that work on marine issues as well as concrete steps children can take to build environmental movements and advocacy.

DK Eyewitness Books, always a trusted source for non-fiction, came out with a book called Climate Change in 2008. It is laid out like their other children’s reference books, with lots of photos, charts, and biographies of leading scientists showing what is causing climate change, what it might lead to, and what children can do to help.

the-lorax-by-dr-seussAnd everyone, no matter that age, should read The Lorax regularly. Dr. Seuss’s wonderful book has so much wisdom about caring for our earth. In his immortal words, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”




P.S. For a climate change reading list for adults, check out Rebecca Hussey’s great list here.