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.

Destroying forests

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.

The Lumberjack's Beard - Story Snug

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.

Building on a natural beauty spot

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.

Marine pollution

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.

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.

Caring for our planet

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.

Be Green! by Mandy Archer & Katie Abey
Be Green - Story Snug

Be Green! 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.

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?

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4 responses to “World Environment Day: Picture book characters who inspire environmental action”

  1. Carol avatar

    These environmental books are not only informative but also look delightful! #MMBC

    1. Catherine avatar

      The Lumberjack’s Beard is one of my favourite picture books!

  2. Kim Carberry avatar

    These sound like great books for children to learn about our world and how to protect it.

    1. Catherine avatar

      I like the way that the stories and characters help children become more aware of issues that the planet faces.