You don't have to look far to see that our world is in trouble. The topics of climate change and greenhouse gases and air pollution and dying water sources are littered through the media. It's hard enough for a grown-up to begin wrapping their head around it all, so how do we expect kids to start coming to terms with it?
Ultimately, it's our children's generation that is going to need to fix a lot of the damage done by generations that come before them - and with such statements comes great responsibility ... and for many, great anxiety. We've started to see kids already speaking out for their future through things like the School Strike 4 Climate, but it's important that this topic doesn't become a deep-seeded fear for our young ones.
Power will come through knowledge about the environment, and through learning appropriate coping mechanisms for dealing with fear and anxiety.
Books are a great tool to do this - so we've rounded up some of our favourite books that deal with these topics below.
You'll note we've put recommended age groups next to each title. These take into consideration ecological writer David Sobel's motto: No tragedies before 4th grade (which is around 10 years old).
1. Uno's Garden
Written by Graeme Base
For ages 4–8
At the beginning of this book, Uno is in a lush forest filled with amazing plants and wildlife. As the book goes on, you see the impact of environmental degradation on this environement as a city grows around it. Animals and plants become harder to find. However the moral of the story is ultimately an uplifting one - teaching kids that we can prevent this by finding more sustainable ways to live.
2. The Tantrum that Saved the World
Written by Megan Herbert and climate scientist Michael Mann
For school-aged kids
This book was made off the back of a Kickstarter campaign, becoming the world's first ever carbon neutral book. The story is fun for kids, while also teaching them about the climate crisis in a non-sensationalised way that also shows them how to tackle any scary feelings this might cause.
3. Nature And Me (series)
Written by Bianca Begovich
For 4–8 year olds
Environmentalist Bianca Begovich has now created two series (six books) all about how we interact with the world. Her titles cover everything from bugs and bees to seas and trees, and they really help give children a sense of how they are connected with the world around them.
4. Wishes and Worries
Written by Sarina Dickson
For 4–8 year olds
This book is a great one for tackling the general topic of anxiety with little kids. In the story, young Dan struggles with a lot of worries - but he discovers that he feels better when he "gets rid of them" but putting them in a hole in a tree.
5. Hey Warrior
Written by Karen Young
For ages up to 10
This book tells a beautiful story that turns worriers into warriors! It explains the feeling of anxiety in terms kids will understand, and gives them tangible tools for dealing with such feelings.
6. How to Bee
Written by Bren MacDibble
For ages 8-12
This is a great book for older kids, set in a world that has been severely affected by climate change. In this world, bees have become extinct, so children are doing their job for them. It really reinforces the idea that we only have one earth, and this means we need to treat it with kindness and respect.
7. What To Do When You Worry Too Much
Written by Dawn Huebner
For ages 6-12
Consider this a self-help book for little ones! It's fun and silly, but full of useful tools and information for kids (and their grown-ups) to take on board.
Would you add other books to this list? Let us know in the Facebook comments!
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