Top 10 Climate Change Books: Children & Adults 2020

What a year it has been, one with far too many lows, but incredibly, one with some highlights and silver linings too. This post shares some of our newly found and treasured climate and environmental books from the past year.

For the holidays and for the near future, if we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by loved ones, in almost all instances these gatherings are and will be virtual rather than in person. This is a unique holiday season, in a unique year, that we will always remember. 2020 is already infamous; a global experience etched forever in our individual and collective memories. This year too, even our youngest children will carry memories forward, as we retell the stories of how we built resiliency through our shared concern and by our care and caring for one another.  As Climate Mamas and Papas, we can already envision many ways that – from the darkness of this time – there will be takeaways and learning opportunities that will refresh and renew our commitment to address the climate crisis.

As a way of  building and growing our knowledge and finding new paths that move us forward, we have created our: Top 10 list of climate and environment books, for both adults and children. All these books have had releases (or re-releases) in the past year and all of these books have been recommended and shared by our Climate Mama and Papa community across the country and around the world. Consider these books, as you think about thoughtful gifts to share both during the holidays, and in the coming year.

Children Book Titles:  (In no particular order):

Writers on Earth, New Visions for our Planet (for tweens and teens); Young Voices Across the Globe Series, 2019

A collection of reflections, essays, stories and poems written by young writers (13-19) from across the globe. In the face of our climate emergency, these writers find beauty all around them.




What the World Needs Now: Trees (4-8 years) Cheryl Rosebush, 2020

A wonderfully crafted and illustrated story that parents, caregivers and teachers can share with our youngest children to help them understand what we have, what is at stake and how each of us can help. This is the first book in the What the World Needs Now series; we are looking forward to the other books, which are coming soon.


Under the Kapok Tree 30th Anniversary Edition 

Lynne Cherry, Reprint 2020

30 years later the Great Kapok Tree is as relevant and accessible as it was when it was first released. A book found in schools and libraries across the globe, Lynne Cherry journeyed deep into the rain forests of Brazil to write and illustrate this gorgeous picture book. When a man exhausts himself trying to chop down a giant kapok tree,  the forest’s residents, including a child from the Yanomamo tribe, whisper in his ear while he sleeps, about the importance of trees and how “all living things depend on one another” . . ..


Saving Planet Earthly (4-8 years) Climate Science 2020

The first in a series of free downloads, this story unfolds in Johannesburg, South Africa, following Earthly and her friend to the doctor’s office where they discover that Earthly is sick with climate change! The book explains climate change in a way that is easy to understand, and encourages children to become more environmentally friendly. Looking forward to the other books in the series, which are coming soon.

James the Steward (4-8) Maria Auma Horne, Herbert Murungi, 2020

Set in Uganda, the book tells the story of James and Sarah who, after experiencing an environmental disaster, begin to explore  the relationship between environmental degradation and climate change. The duo begins a journey of transforming fellow children to be nature and climate conscious.

Adult Book Titles:

Facing the Climate Emergency, Margaret Klein Salamon, 2020

Salamon gives people the tools to confront the climate emergency, face their negative emotions, and channel them into protecting humanity and the natural world.

The Future We Choose, Surviving the Climate Crisis, Christina Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, 2020

Written by the two leaders who led the negotiations for the United Nations during the historic Paris Agreement of 2015–comes a cautionary but optimistic book about the world’s changing climate and the fate of humanity. The authors outline two possible scenarios for our planet.

Climate Crisis and Corrupt Politics, Larry J Schweiger, 2019

This book is an urgent message aimed at parents and grandparents who care about their children forced to live on the edge of an unprecedented climate crisis. This book is also for young leaders who understand that we must act now. Together, we must confront and overcome the many toxic money influences, reverse a failing democracy and retake the reins of government to enact policies that secure our shared future and the future of life on earth.

Emotional Inflammation, Lise Van Sustren & Stacey Colino, 2020

A rising number of people today are troubled by a phenomenon for which they don’t know there’s a name. This condition is called emotional inflammation―a state not unlike post-traumatic stress disorder, but one that stems from simply living in today’s anxious, overwhelming, and tumultuous world. This book presents a breakthrough guide to help ground us and become more resilient in these turbulent times.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change, Turning Angst into Action, Harriet Shugarman, 2020

With catastrophic global warming already baked into the climate system, today’s children face a future entirely unlike that of their parents. Yet how can we maintain hope and make a difference in the face of overwhelming evidence of the climate crisis? Help is at hand. This book provides tools and strategies for parents to explain the climate emergency to their children and galvanize positive action.


***Please note that while we have provided Amazon links for each book, most of these titles are available at your local independent bookstore. Please join us in supporting your local businesses all year around, including independent bookstores.

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