An Award-Winning Book Club for Kids
Shop Now

Recycling: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about recycling?

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.

Share this list
Add to list
Ada's Violin
Written by Susan Hood & illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
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.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Add to list
The Dump Man's Treasures
Written by Lynn Plourde & 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.

Add to list
Here Comes the Garbage Barge!
Written by Jonah Winter & illustrated by Red Nose Studio
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.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Add to list
Heal the Earth
Written by Julian Lennon and Bart Davis & 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.

Add to list
I Had a Favorite Dress
Written by Boni Ashburn & 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.

Don't Throw That Away! book
Add to list
My First Trucks and Diggers book
Add to list
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat book
Add to list
The Lorax book
Add to list
  • Don't Throw That Away! - 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!

  • My First Trucks and Diggers - Introduces trucks, diggers, and other construction and excavation vehicles, including dump trucks, bulldozers, logging trucks, and steamrollers.

  • Joseph Had a Little Overcoat - 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!

  • The Lorax - Celebrate nature with Dr. Seuss and the Lorax in this classic picture book about protecting the environment! I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. Dr. Seuss’s beloved story teaches kids to speak up and stand up for those who can’t. With a recycling-friendly “Go Green” message, The Lorax allows young readers to experience the beauty of the Truffula Trees and the danger of taking our earth for granted, all in a story that is timely, playful, and hopeful. The book’s final pages teach us that just one small seed, or one small child, can make a difference. Printed on recycled paper, this book is the perfect gift for Earth Day and for any child—or child at heart—who is interested in recycling, advocacy, and the environment, or just loves nature and playing outside. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. “Pretty much all the stuff you need to know is in Dr. Seuss.” –President Barack Obama

Add to list
Why Should I Recycle?
Written by Jen Green & 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.

Add to list
I Can Save the Earth!
Written by Alison Inches & 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.

Add to list
Michael Recycle
Written by Ellie Bethel & 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.

Add to list
The Dumpster Diver
Written by Janet S. Wong & 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.

Add to list
Not for Me, Please!
Written by Maria Godsey & 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!

Compost Stew book
Add to list
I Love the Earth book
Add to list
Trashy Town Board Book book
Add to list
The Big Adventures of Tiny House book
Add to list
  • Compost Stew - 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.

  • I Love the Earth - 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.

  • Trashy Town Board Book - 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.

  • The Big Adventures of Tiny House - 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.

Add to list
Judy Moody Saves the World!
Written by Megan McDonald & 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!

Add to list
One Plastic Bag
Written by Miranda Paul & 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.

Add to list
The Three R's
Written by Nuria Roca & 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.

Add to list
The Old Red Rocking Chair
Written & illustrated by John Sandford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An old rocking chair is recycled through a neighborhood, broken down bit by bit as young and old find various uses for it, until it ends up as a tiny footstool in the hands of the original owner.

Add to list
The Adventures of an Aluminum Can
Written by Alison Inches & 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.

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle book
Add to list
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree book
Add to list
The Lumberjack's Beard book
Add to list
The Best Sweater book
Add to list
  • The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle - 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!

  • Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree - A classic picture book celebrating all the joy a Christmas tree can bring. Christmas is here and Mr. Willowby’s tree has arrived. There’s just one big problem: The tree is too tall for his parlor. He cuts off the top so it will fit, and soon the top of that tree is passed along again and again to bring holiday cheer to all the animals in the forest. Kids will love watching the tree move from home to home, and families will appreciate the subtle message of conservation and recycling, as the tree top spreads joy to so many of the forest dwellers. This heartwarming story is the perfect way to start your yuletide season, and a warm addition to your family’s festive holiday traditions.

  • The Lumberjack's Beard - 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.

  • The Best Sweater - A charming picture book about a little mouse and his favorite sweater. It’s one little mouse’s birthday and he is very excited to open his presents! He gets a lot of great gifts, but his favorite is the sweater his grandma made him. He loves it so much that he wears it all the time! But as he grows bigger and bigger, Grandma realizes she must find a different use for the sweater, so she makes him a new, big sweater he can grow into and turns his old one into a toy rabbit.

Add to list
My Panda Sweater
Written by Gilles Baum & illustrated by Barroux
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A quirky kid donates her beloved panda sweater, and through this act of sacrifice gains a new friend. With whimsical, contemporary artwork, this story balances the topic of selflessness with humor and heart, while also offering an opportunity to talk about bullying, sharing and self-confidence.

Add to list
What a Waste
Written & illustrated by Jess French
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Everything you need to know about what we’re doing to our environment, good and bad, from pollution and litter to renewable energy and plastic recycling. This environmental book will teach young ecologists about how our actions affect planet Earth. Discover shocking facts about the waste we produce and where it goes. Did you know that every single plastic toothbrush ever made still exists? Or that there’s a floating mass of garbage twice the size of Texas drifting around the Pacific Ocean? It’s not all bad news though. As well as explaining where we’re going wrong, What a Waste shows what we’re doing right! Discover plans already in motion to save our seas, how countries are implementing schemes that are having a positive impact, and how your waste can be turned into something useful. Every small change helps our planet!

Add to list
The Great Paper Caper
Written & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

From the illustrator of the #1 smash hit The Day the Crayons Quit comes a whodunnit just right for the youngest of readers (not to mention instructions for how to build the perfect paper airplane!)

The animals? homes are disappearing. Tree by tree, the forest is being cut down. Clues! There must be clues. For instance, look–there is a mysterious bear carrying an ax! But what would a bear want with so many trees? Perhaps the discarded paper airplanes littering the forest floor have a story to tell?

Oliver Jeffers’ quirky, childlike humor and lovable illustrations are in full effect in this funny whodunit featuring a winning cast of animals and a message about the importance of conservation and recycling.

Add to list
Trash Revolution
Written by Erica Fyvie & 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.”—

Add to list
Katie Saves the Earth
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

With Earth Day coming up, Katie decides to have a yard sale with her friends and recycle her old toys.

The Friendship Lie book
Add to list
  • The Friendship Lie - Cora Davis’s life is garbage. Literally. Her professor parents study what happens to trash after it gets thrown away, and Cora knows exactly how it feels—to be thrown away. Between her mom and dad separating and a fallout with her best friend, fifth grade for Cora has been a year of feeling like being tossed into the dumpster. But Cora has learned a couple of things from her parents’ trash-tracking studies: Things don’t always go where they’re supposed to, and sometimes the things you thought you got rid of come back. And occasionally, one person’s trash is another’s treasure, which Cora and Sybella learn when they come across a diary detailing best-friendship problems. Told in two intertwining points of view, comes a warm, wry story of friendship, growing up, and being true to yourself. Written by Rebecca Donnelly, author of How to Stage a Catastrophe (an Indies Introduce and Indie Next List honoree), The Friendship Lie will speak to any reader who has struggled with what to hold on to and what to throw away.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.

Suggested Links