Best Children's Books About Recycling

The Top 26 Books About Recycling

Updated Apr. 16, 2019

If unfamiliar with recycling it may seem daunting, undesirable, gross, or just plain not fun. Once you start, however, you will find it is quite addicting and rather enjoyable as you realize how much you are saving and preserving in the world. Enjoy learning more about it in these great books below.

The Dump Man's Treasures book
#1
The Dump Man's Treasures
Written by Lynn Plourde and illustrated by Mary Beth Owens
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

As people continually throw their books away, the dump man restores and re-circulates them, which only pleases the children, but one day when the dump does not open, only the children know where to possibly find the dump man.

Ada's Violin book
#2
Ada's Violin
Written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

I love this book! It has something for everyone- invention, music, and more. It is a deep book that talks about poverty and the struggles of growing up in a lower-income area. However, Ada is an amazing example of someone who doesn't let life happen to her, but does what she needs to create the life she wants. I would read this story even without my little one, as it is just a story that reaches the heart and helps us all take a deeper look into our lives.

A town built on a landfill. A community in need of hope. A girl with a dream. A man with a vision. An ingenious idea.

Here Comes the Garbage Barge! book
#3
Here Comes the Garbage Barge!
Written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Red Nose Studio
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

This true story is almost hard to believe as the Garbage Barge travels up and down the coast trying to find someone who will take the load of garbage it's carrying. It will really make you think reducing your garbage footprint. As a big fan of the work of Red Nose Studio, I also enjoy the illustrations in this story.

When a little town on Long Island is inundated with garbage, its citizens become more environmentally aware, while a garbage barge travels the North American coast in search of a dumping location.

Heal the Earth book
#4
Heal the Earth
Written by Bart Davis, Julian Lennon and illustrated by Smiljana Coh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Take a journey to help the Earth in the second book of the New York Times bestselling trilogy by Julian Lennon! Jump aboard the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that can go wherever you want. This time, Lennon’s interactive book immerses children in a fun and unique journey where they can: Bring medicine to people in need! Dive below the ocean to bleached coral reefs! Visit the city to cultivate green spaces! Help the rain forest return and give its animals a home! Explore the planet, meet new people, and help make the world a better place! The Flier's mission is to transport readers around the world, to engage them in helping to save the environment, and to teach one and all to love our planet. Just press a button printed on the page, and point the plane up in the air to fly, or down to land it! An inspiring, lyrical story, rooted in Lennon's life and work, Heal the Earth is filled with beautiful illustrations that bring the faraway world closer to young children. The book includes words to a new, special poem written by Julian Lennon, specifically for Heal the Earth. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to support the environmental and humanitarian efforts of the White Feather Foundation, the global environmental and humanitarian organization that Lennon founded to promote education, health, conservation, and the protection of indigenous culture.

My First Trucks and Diggers book
#5
My First Trucks and Diggers
Written and illustrated by DK Publishing
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Introduces trucks, diggers, and other construction and excavation vehicles, including dump trucks, bulldozers, logging trucks, and steamrollers.

Don't Throw That Away! book
#6
Don't Throw That Away!
Written by Lara Bergen and illustrated by Betsy Snyder
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

You can keep that trash and reuse it in all kinds of wonderful ways! Do you see that old jar? Don’t throw that away! You can turn it into...a new vase! Follow an eco-conscious super hero as he teaches kids how to recycle and reuse common household items! The six large flaps throughout show that oridinary trash is really a treasure. From turning old clothes into fun costumes or an old box into a brand new car, kids will learn that saving the environment is super cool!

The Lorax book
#7
The Lorax
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The Once-ler describes the results of the local pollution problem.

I Had a Favorite Dress book
#8
I Had a Favorite Dress
Written by Boni Ashburn and illustrated by Julia Denos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

A young girl loves her favorite dress, but when it gets worn, goes out of fashion, or she grows too big to fit, her mother fixes up her old favorite into something new.

The Dumpster Diver book
#9
The Dumpster Diver
Written by Janet S. Wong and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Once a month--every week in the summer--Steve the electrician dons special gear and, with the help of youngsters who live in his building, dives into a dumpster seeking useful objects that they can transform into imaginative new ones.

Why Should I Recycle? book
#10
Why Should I Recycle?
Written by Jen Green and illustrated by Mike Gordon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Uses color illustrations and simple text to explore the importance and benefits of recycling bottles, cans, plastic, clothes, and paper. Original.

I Can Save the Earth! book
#11
I Can Save the Earth!
Written by Alison Inches and illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

A new “green” series!: Little Green Books will educate children on what they can do to be more eco-friendly. The books in this line will be made from recycled materials, and the storylines will cover subjects such as improving the environment, learning about endangered animals, recycling, and much more. Meet Max the Little Monster. He is a cute, furry green monster who is an environmental nightmare. Among other things, he leaves on all the lights, keeps his computer plugged in, blasts the TV, hoards his old toys and uses so much toilet paper it clogs the toilet until finally, his excessive ways cause a power outage. With no TV to watch, computer to play on, video games to play with, Max finds there is a whole big world outside that he can make a difference in the environment. Kids can follow Max the Little Green Monster's journey to environmental awareness and learn tips on how they can become little green monsters themselves. A kid-friendly glossary of terms is included in the back of the book. This 8x8 paperback is perfect bound and will be printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper with soy-ink. The paper is FSC certified.

Michael Recycle book
#12
Michael Recycle
Written by Ellie Bethel and illustrated by Alexandra Colombo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Michael Recycle, the green-caped crusader, visits the town of Abberdoo-Rimey and proves to the residents that recycling can actually be fun.

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat book
#13
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
Written and illustrated by Simms Taback
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The illustrations in this book are very fun (Caldecott Honor book, so you'd expect nothing less!) and my favorite part is how detailed they are, with fun little references to Fiddler on the Roof and other cultural phenomena. It is a little moralizing (but it says it will be right up front and doesn't pretend to anything else!) but the lesson is a great one in our throw it away world...reuse and reinvent!

A very old overcoat is recycled numerous times into a variety of garments.

I Love the Earth book
#14
I Love the Earth
Written and illustrated by Todd Parr
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

With his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity, bestselling author Todd Parr explores the important, timely subject of environmental protection and conservation in this board book. This adaptation of The Earth Book includes child friendly reasons to love our planet--from appreciating a beautiful tree to taking care of animals all around the world. Equally whimsical and heartfelt, this sweet homage to our beautiful planet is sure to inspire readers of all ages to do their part in keeping the Earth happy and healthy.

Compost Stew book
#15
Compost Stew
Written by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A rhyming recipe explains how to make the dark, crumbly, rich, earth-friendly food called compost while collage illustrations made with recycled and found materials echo the eco-friendly message. By the author of Millions of Snowflakes.

Trashy Town Board Book book
#16
Trashy Town Board Book
Written by Andrea Zimmerman and illustrated by David Clemesha, Dan Yaccarino
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

An ALA Notable Children’s Book! Now in a sturdy board book, this edition is perfect for fans of things that GO! Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the Trashy Town! Meet Mr. Gilly. He cleans up Trashy Town. There’s trash at the pizza parlor, trash at the school, and trash at every house. It’s a big job, but Mr. Gilly does it with a big truck, a big smile, and loads of style. David Clemesha and Andrea Zimmerman have created a rhythmic, repeatable refrain that will have children clamoring for repeat readings, and internationally acclaimed illustrator Dan Yaccarino’s dynamic art puts the zip in Mr. Gilly’s stride and adds style and charm to trash collection.

Lumberjack's Beard book
#17
Lumberjack's Beard
Written and illustrated by Duncan Beedie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Every day, Jim Hickory the lumberjack heads into the forest with his trusty axe and chops down trees. Unfortunately, all sorts of creatures lose their homes in the process, so Jim gives them a home in his beard - until one day it all just gets too much. Time for Jim to come up with a better solution! A story with a green message.

Not for Me, Please! book
#18
Not for Me, Please!
Written by Maria Godsey and illustrated by Christoph J Kellner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Luke is a wise, confident, and caring young boy. After seeing first-hand the damage caused to the environment and animals due to trash and waste, he's changed his ways and now thinks and acts green. He believes he can have a big impact on the world around him and protecting the planet has become his new passion.Using his helpful phrase, "Not for me, please!", he shares examples of how he chooses differently than others to act green. Luke hopes he can teach you why plastic, not recycling, and overconsumption are harmful to our planet and what you can do to impact this with the choices you make.Lastly, for our big readers, he's included some interesting facts, definitions, and statistics on the bottom of some pages to help explain the scenario being discussed in more detail. With this information, he hopes to better equip you to explain to your young reader what Luke is sharing or answer some of the questions that may pop up!

Trash Revolution book
#19
Trash Revolution
Written by Erica Fyvie and illustrated by Bill Slavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

"The Waste Cycle covers the entire life cycle from beginning to end - and back again - for a truly big-picture look at how things are sourced, made, used and then trashed and/or recycled into new materials. Plastic plates made from pig pee? Drinkable wastewater? Strange (and gross!) but soon-to-be true! Divided into 9 chapters, The Waste Cycle explores the life cycle of a different raw material a kid might typically tote in his or her backpack on any given school day (water, food, clothing, paper, plastics, metals and electronics.) The application of each raw material is presented as a 'recipe, ' with each component itemized to reveal the big picture, e.g., what goes into making (and subsequently recycling) a basic cotton T-shirt, a PET plastic water bottle or a cell phone. Two additional chapters explore the ultimate closed loop system setting of space, and the concept of zero waste. Back matter includes glossary, select bibliography and other information resources, and index."--

Judy Moody Saves the World! book
#20
Judy Moody Saves the World!
Written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H Reynolds
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The mercurial Judy returns - and she's in a mood to take on the world! Judy Moody did not set out to save the world. She set out to win a contest. A Band-Aid contest. It all started with the Crazy-Strip contest - and the dream that she, Judy Moody, might one day see her very own adhesive-bandage design covering the scraped knees of thousands. But when her "Heal the World" motif merits only an honorable mention, Judy Moody realizes it's time to set her sights on something bigger. Class 3T is studying the environment, and Judy is amazed to learn about the destruction of the rain forest, the endangered species (not) in her own backyard, and her own family's crummy recycling habits. Now she's in a mood to whip the planet into shape - or her name isn't Judy Monarch Moody!

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle book
#21
The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle
Written by Alison Inches and illustrated by Pete Whitehead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Learn about recycling from a new perspective! Peek into this diary of a plastic bottle as it goes on a journey from the refinery plant, to the manufacturing line, to the store shelf, to a garbage can, and finally to a recycling plant where it emerges into it's new life...as a fleece jacket! Told from the point of view of a free-spirited plastic bottle, kids can share in the daily experiences and inner thoughts of the bottle through his personal journal. The diary entries will be fun and humorous yet point out the ecological significance behind each product and the resources used to make it. Readers will never look at a plastic bottle the same way again!

The Big Adventures of Tiny House book
#22
The Big Adventures of Tiny House
Written by Susan Schaefer Bernardo and illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The adventure begins when an old farmhouse gets salvaged and recycled into Tiny, a snug little house with a big heart -- and WHEELS! With the help of Big Truck, Tiny sets off across America to discover if he is still a real home.Tiny makes friends on the road, like Shiny the Airstream, Waverly the houseboat, and Buster the skoolie. He even goes to a jamboree! After thousands of miles, Tiny discovers that home isn't a place...it's a feeling in your heart.The irresistible rhymes and delightfully detailed illustrations in this new classic from the creators of Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs are sure to enchant children - and the book's gentle messages about sustainable living and working together will delight parents and teachers as well.

One Plastic Bag book
#23
One Plastic Bag
Written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

"Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred. ... Something had to change. Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community"--Jacket.

The Three R's book
#24
The Three R's
Written by Nuria Roca and illustrated by Rosa M. Curto
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Explains how reducing, reusing, and recycling can help decrease pollution, and provides examples of how to do these things, including finding new uses for hand-me-downs and placing bottles in collection areas instead of trash cans. Original.

The Adventures of an Aluminum Can book
#25
The Adventures of an Aluminum Can
Written by Alison Inches and illustrated by Mark Chambers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Follows the story of a piece of aluminum as it goes from ore in the ground to a refinery and becomes an aluminum can, and then becomes recycled as a baseball bat.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.