World Environment Day: Picture book characters who inspire environmental action

World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5th. It’s the day that The United Nations encourages worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment.

There are some wonderful picture book characters who can inspire children to find ways to protect their environment as they go about their daily lives. From dealing with plastic pollution to environmental damage caused by building or tree felling, these characters are faced with different environmental challenges.


The Lumberjack’s Beard by Duncan Beedie

Big Jim Hickory, a lumberjack, needs to make a living but it affects the woodland animals when he cuts down the trees, burns the leaves and branches and sends the logs down the river. This beautifully illustrated, entertaining and humorous story shows how the ecosystem is affected by tree felling and can encourage children to talk about the importance of looking after our forests and woods and the impact of cutting too many trees down without replanting.

The Lumberjack's Beard - Story Snug


King of The Swamp by Catherine Emmett and Ben Mantle

This is a wonderful rhyming story full of humour and heart. McDarkly is a likeable, engaging character whose swampy home improvement plans are seriously disrupted when the King and the Princess come riding by with a plan to build on his beloved swamp. McDarkly and the Princess are great characters to inspire children to talk about the impact of destroying our natural environments in order to build.

King Of The Swamp - Story Snug


Setsuko and The Song Of The Sea by Fiona Barker and Howard Gray

When Setsuko befriends a lonely whale, the whale’s song encourages her and her friends to clean up the ocean and restore its beauty. Ocean pollution affects marine life and threatens the lives of sea creatures. Setsuko’s story can encourage to children to make sure that they take all their rubbish home after a visit to the sea and could even inspire a community beach clean.

Setsuko and the Song of the Sea - Story Snug

Little Turtle and the Sea by Becky Davies and Jennie Poh

Lyrical language and beautiful illustrations combine to create awareness of the danger that our sea creatures are in as a result of our plastic waste being dumped into the ocean. Little Turtle’s adventure conveys an important message and can stimulate conversation and encourage children to think about ways that they can reduce their plastic use.


Dear Earth by Isabel Otter and Clara Anganuzzi

When Grandpa tells Tessa all about what he has seen on his adventures as an explorer she is inspired to write a letter to the Earth and describe everything that he has told her about. When Tessa has finished she walks on the beach with Grandpa and they talk about sharing the message that the Earth is special so that people can keep it safe. Little Tiger Press has a letter template on their website which can encourage children to write their own letter to the earth.

Dear Earth - Story Snug

Be Green! by Mandy Archer & Katie Abey

Be Green! ‘An Activity Book For Young People Who Want To Sustain And Protect The World We Live In’ is full of fun activities to help children learn about their environment and how they can take care of our planet. It promotes important environmental messages and information in a really fun way, introduces new environmental vocabulary and can help to ensure that children grow up with an awareness of their role as a global citizen.

Be Green! - Story Snug

Do you have any picture book recommendations for World Environment Day? Are there any picture book characters that have inspired conversations about ways that we can protect our environment from pollution and climate change?

8 thoughts on “World Environment Day: Picture book characters who inspire environmental action

  1. There is so much to learn about saving our planet and I think it’s great that there are books aimed at younger children who will grow up and hopefully know better.

    • I think it’s important to make children aware from an early age how they can look after their planet. They will be even more impacted by our negative actions when they are adults.

    • Children learn so much more when they enjoy what they’re reading and there are lots of fabulous environmental stories being published 🙂

  2. I reflect that there were very few if any books about environmental concerns when I was a child. I do remember the impact of Watership Down on me but that’s about it. Good to see we now have really good resources that children and parents can read in the effort to save our planet for future generations. #MMBC

    • I read Watership Down but I can’t really remember the story, I’m sure we have it here somewhere. Our children have so many environmental books to choose from now 🙂

  3. A beautiful selection of books. It’s so important that we teach our kids from a young age on the importance of the environment and our planet.
    A Friend To Nature is another lovely resource too. 🙂

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