When I thought this morning about how I should have planned for this Earth Day post earlier in week, I thought about a post on Juvenile Books with Environmental Sensibilities. As I looked for possible art to decorate the page, I inadvertently found a resource. Go here for a list of books you can read with or pick up for your child. However, the list I desired to affect was going in a different direction. I was going more fiction and less obvious.

Of course, it is becoming harder to find a novel that doesn’t have some sort of environmental fixation, right? A greater environmental conscious will surely be accomplished through books, especially if many of the messages are so seamlessly woven. But then, some do enjoy the message-driven tales even after 2nd grade, I suppose.

Now I am rambling–shocking.

A modest, off-the-cuff list of juvenile fiction books that are Entertaining and have great Environmental Sensibilities (to which you may please add your findings):

Ivy + Bean: Book 7: What’s the Big Idea? by Annie Barrows, Illus Sophie Blackall. A bit obvious, but the solution is not the usual. Yes, it is a bit young, but Barrows and Blackall are too fun!

Carl Hiaasen’s Hoot (2004), Flush (2007), and Scat (2009). Adults will enjoy these as well. Very humorous. And readers of Edward Abbey will recognize his particular influences, especially in Flush. I highly recommend these.

The Joy of Spooking: Fiendish Deeds by PJ Bracegirdle. For the lover’s of Poe and Lovecraft. A book wherein I love the social commentary as well.

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. The casual consumption of resources [whales] and the Japanese culture’s perspective toward nature. An adult companion I could recommend would be The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. This one looks at the interconnectedness of nature.

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi. Observes nature and its sentience and balance, and its survivalist instincts.

Jean Craighead George (of Julie and the Wolves fame) has a series of Eco-Mysteries. The daughter’s TAG class in 4th grade used Who Really Killed Cock Robin? for their section on Eco-Criticism (which was more about eco-reinforcement). Obvious, but the mysteries require an understanding of environmental science that the author simultaneously instructs.

Haven’t read these, but just discovered them and they looked interesting: The Dragon and the Unicorn by Lynne Cherry. Is about deforestation. Toby Alone by Timothee de Fombelle, translated by Sarah Ardizzone; saving nature. and Evangeline Mudd’s Great Mink Rescue by David Elliott; something about animal rights and unicycles.

Sorry for the slap-dash, but I hope a book or two will be of interest, especially as Earth Day is more than a day. Spend the year expanding the consciousness and bolster those important sensibilities.


A few grown-up reads to recommend:

The Creation by E.O. Wilson; his letter to a Southern Baptist Minister on why Christians can and should be Environmentally educated and responsible.

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (which I need to finish).

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey, accessible and interesting.

So Far From God by Ana Castillo, a different take on eco-reading, looking at culture as environment and its connection to nature, as well as the disposable resource that is the other human.

Into the Forest by Jean Hegland, post-apocalyptic narrative of survival–hand me wanting to learn how to heirloom seeds, can, and stock up on tea-leaves.

Read anything by Barry Lopez that you can get your hands on, as well as Aldo Leopold; I’ve yet to, but Earth Day seems like a bit of a New Years, doesn’t it? The excellent Professor, Dr. Greg Jacob (at Portland State), gave me a good foundation in Eco-Criticism, past time I follow up, because Literature on the subject of Ecology/Environment is quite influential, don’t you think?

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Carl V. says:

    I’d recommend adding Defending Middle-earth by Patrick Curry to your reading list. It isn’t strictly environmental, but Curry’s examination of Tolkien’s viewpoint on industrialism and what it was doing to the countryside made me really think hard about my own views about environmentalism, conservation, etc.

    1. L says:

      thanks, Carl. You hit on exactly what I mean: effectively thought provoking without being obvious or intentional.


      btw, thanks for the link/suggestion to check out the essays by Terri Windling. I am enjoying that site and her work immensely. Am trying to form a reading list from her suggestions and am going to have to find a University Library I think.. fun!

      1. Carl V. says:

        Happy to hear it, Terri Windling is an amazing woman and an amazing resource when it comes to mythic art in its many forms.

  2. Margot says:

    As I scanned your list of suggested books, my eye caught on The Heart Of a Samyurai. I just brought that home from the library and I’m very excited to get going on it. Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

    1. L says:

      I always read Margot, but am not the best about commenting. I hope you enjoy the book, am curious to hear your thoughts on it.


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