The Greta Thunberg effect: these books will teach your kids about climate change

Has the Greta Thunberg effect got you wondering what your kids should be reading to understand climate change? Here are our suggestions

Greta Thunberg effect: children reading
(Image credit: FatCamera/Getty)

The Greta Thunberg effect is making environmentalists of us all, including (thankfully) our kids. 

The leading voice of the global Fridays for Future (opens in new tab) movement, the 16-year-old climate activist has recently made the transatlantic voyage to the United States on a zero-carbon yacht, arriving safely in New York harbor. 

Thunberg is due to speak at the UN Climate Change Summit on September 23, and the young people of NYC have already shown Greta their support by picketing outside the UN headquarters. 

Thunberg's book, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference (opens in new tab) (below), was published in May and has already inspired both young people and adults to become more proactive in the fight for climate justice. You can pick it up in both the US and UK now.

Greta Thunberg book

No one is too small to make a difference | US: $7.46 (opens in new tab) UK: £1.99 (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Amazon)

But there are many other books that can can help your children, whatever their age, to understand climate change and their crucial role in the future of the planet. We have picked our (other) favorite children's books on the subject of the environment that are informative, passionate, and engaging. 

Robert Macfarlane The Lost Words

(Image credit: Barnes and Noble)

The Lost Words (opens in new tab), aimed at the youngest readers, came out of the author's devastating realization that the newest version of the Oxford Children's Dictionary no longer included many words related to the natural world, such as 'acorn', 'dandelion', 'otter', and 'willow'. Instead, Macfarlane saw words such as 'blog', 'voicemail', and 'attachment'. If children grow up without the knowledge of the natural world, to the point where they can't name common plants and animals, how can they develop the love of nature needed to want to protect it? This charmingly illustrated book of nursery rhymes takes those missing or lost words as its subjects. The perfect first book gift.

The Tantrum That Saved The World

The Tantrum That Saved The World | €25.00 EUR (opens in new tab) 

(Image credit: World Saving Books)

What happens when an award-winning illustrator and a climate scientist come together? A children's book about climate change that's as engaging and informative as it is beautiful. The aim of The Tantrum That Saved the World (opens in new tab) is to educate children about climate change in a way that won't simply leave them depressed or afraid. It breaks down environmental issues into easily grasped stories and even comes with an Action Plan to help children feel empowered about their abilities to change things for the better. A delightful and important book. As the book is made in Holland, it's priced in euros, but the website accepts all major currencies and ships worldwide. 

It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!

(Image credit: Barnes & Noble)

Chelsea Clinton hardly needs an introduction; what not everyone knows, though, is that she has a degree in history from Stanford, an MPhil in International Relations from Oxford, and lots of experience working in public health and policy. Add to that her passion for children's books, and you have yourself It's Your World (opens in new tab): full of informative data and charts, this book engages children in several interconnected issues affecting our world: poverty, climate change, gender inequality, and public health. It then makes helpful suggestions for what each child or teenager can do to make things better. 


(Image credit: Waterstone)

Perfect as a gift for an older child or teenager who loves reading fiction, Exodus (opens in new tab) is a riveting mix of dystopian fiction, sci-fi, and climate change parable. Set in the year 2099, it follows a family who have become refugees due to rising sea levels, trying to find their way to a mysterious city built on top of what was once the city of Glasgow in Scotland. Frightening and thrilling, but not depressing, it's guaranteed to keep them turning the pages. 

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.