World Book Day Picks: 12 Eco-Inspired Books for Adults and Kids

10 mins

Explore sustainable living, climate change, animal conservation and more with these top picks for World Book Day

Reading is one of life’s great pleasures. And not only is it enjoyable, it’s also scientifically proven to benefit both health and wellbeing. Getting stuck into a good book can improve mental stimulation, expand vocabulary, improve concentration and increase knowledge. It’s also a major way of helping people relax. In fact, a 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading books can reduce stress by up to 68 percent – more than listening to music or taking a walk.

And every year reading and books comes into the spotlight thanks to World Book Day. It was set up by UNESCO in 1995 to promote reading to kids and today it’s a celebration of the written word for all ages. The first World Book Day was on April 23, so in some countries that is a date marked – but it’s most commonly celebrated on the first Thursday in March, which means Thursday March 7 in 2024.

Founder Baroness Gail Rebuck stated, ‘We wanted to do something to reposition reading and our message is the same today as it was then – that reading is fun, relevant, accessible, exciting, and has the power to transform lives.’

‘The more you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go’

Dr. Seuss

Here in the UAE, World Book Day is celebrated throughout March with schools and bookstores laying on events across the month. It’s a great opportunity for those who want to broaden their knowledge about sustainable living, climate change or other environmental issues. Reading is also an important way to educate children about the environment, conservation and the impact they have on the planet.

We’ve rounded up our top picks of eco-themed books to read this World Book Day in the UAE, for adults and kids. For, as Dr Seuss said, ‘The more you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’

World Book Day Recommendations for Adults

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

front cover of a book recommended for world book day

To dive into the climate crisis, in a way that’s not all doom and gloom, this book is a top pick for World Book Day. All We Can Save is a feminist book told from the perspective of many women working in the climate change field in the USA. Formed as a series of essays and poems, thoughts come from journalists and farmers to lawyers, teachers, activists and more, all with diverse backgrounds and different stories to tell. Edited by climate leaders Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katherine K Wilkinson, this book aims to highlight what the population can do to help divert the climate crisis, while remaining hopeful. 

Clean & Green: 101 Hints and Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Home, Nancy Birtwistle 

front cover of a book recommended for world book day

For those that want to take immediate action, however small, this book is packed full of tips – 101 to be precise – on how to help the planet, starting at home. The author will be well-known to fans of the Great British Bake Off, with Nancy Birtwistle winning the television show in 2014. The guide offers helpful tips on everything from non-toxic cleaning products to more sustainable laundry practices. A cheerful, accessible guide with a friendly voice, ideal for those who want to make small steps in helping the planet by creating less waste and reducing the use of toxins. A great gift for a loved one on World Book Day too!

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, Greta Thunberg

One of the most famous names when it comes to climate change, this book comes from Greta Thunberg, who was named Times Person of the Year 2019. The climate activist from Sweden earned herself a Nobel Peace Prize nomination when she decided to protest the climate crisis at 15 years old. Now 21 years old, this book brings readers Thunberg’s story in her own words, including her impactful UN speeches.

Rewilding the Sea: How to Save our Oceans, Charles Clover

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A new release for those who are passionate about the ocean, this book came out in 2023 with a focus on how to save the world’s seas. A follow up to The End of the Line – a book on how overfishing is having a huge impact on oceans –  this looks at what would happen if oceans were allowed to take time to repair themselves. Focusing on overfishing, the destruction of coral and more, in locations around the world, this informative book highlights how trawling and dredging are destroying the oceans and how humans need to fish in a different way to help oceans return to their natural state.

The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth, Tim Flannery

front cover of a book recommended for world book day

This critically acclaimed book came out in 2005, written by renowned Australian scientist Tim Flannery but is still relevant today for World Book Day. The Weather Makers looks into the devastating effects climate change is having on the planet – from the largest hurricanes to hottest summers, most powerful storms and more. It’s an educational yet accessible read, throwing a spotlight on the history of climate change, with predictions on what it would mean for the future.

Wasteland: The Dirty Truth About What We Throw Away, Where It Goes, and Why It Matters, Oliver Franklin-Wallis

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This book by journalist Oliver Franklin-Wallis was published in 2023, and is a must-read is for anyone who wonders what happens to their things when they throw them away. Whether it’s donating old clothes or separating the recycling, chucking out the household rubbish or looking at food waste – it all has to end up somewhere. And that’s where Franklin-Wallis’ travels have taken him. To the ‘somewheres’ of landfills in India, second-hand markets in Ghana and beyond. He talks to the people he meets along the way and unearths some dark truths about waste – and what large corporations, and individuals, can do about it. An insightful read this World Book Day.

World Book Day Recommendations For kids

Charlie and Lola: We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers, Lauren Child

front cover of a book recommended for world book day

A popular pair from British writer and illustrator Lauren Child, Charlie and Lola help educate children on issues on everything from trying new food to looking after the planet. Throughout the series – which has also been adapted for television – five-year-old Lola and her helpful older brother Charlie (who’s seven) embark on a variety of adventures.

We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers focuses on what happens to old toys that children don’t want any more. In this book – perfect for bedtime on World Book Day and beyond – Charlie convinces Lola to recycle her toys rather than just throwing them away – which leads to her entering a recycling competition and enlisting her classmates’ help. Ideal for children under five, the book includes easy to apply recycling tips and is printed on FSC-approved paper.

The Journey Home, Frann Preston-Gannon

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The Journey Home is aimed at kids as young as one, so parents can start reading it to their little ones before bed as early as they like. Highlighting the melting ice caps, a polar bear is forced to find a new home – and in doing so finds himself on an adventure across the sea, making friends along the way. These are also other animals who have lost their home, or are in peril, because of humans.

It puts a spotlight on the importance of climate change and looking after the planet, plus the impact humans’ actions can have on animals. It has delightful illustrations and is a brilliant first book to get children interested in conservation. Get your hands on one this World Book Day to start your little ones understanding the basics of conservation from now.

The Lorax, Dr Seuss

front cover of a book recommended for world book day

Focusing on deforestation, pollution and climate change The Lorax was written by the famed Dr Seuss (of The Grinch and the Cat in the Hat fame) back in 1971. One of the original children’s books to help little ones learn about the planet, The Lorax looks at problems faced by the environment. The Lorax, a character who gives trees a voice, fights against human greed, as The Oncler cuts down trees for his own financial gain. The book highlights climate change and pollution and educates kids on the importance of speaking out and taking action. More than 50 years later the message is more important than ever.

The Tale of a Toothbrush, MG Leonard

front cover of a book recommended for world book day

Plastic in the oceans is one of the biggest plights on the planet. According to UNESCO, plastic waste makes up 80 percent of all marine pollution, with around eight to 10 million metric tonnes of plastic ending up in the ocean each year. This topical but sweet book written by MG Leonard is ideal for little ones – it’s aimed at kids aged three to nine, but it’s worth starting earlier, when they start brushing their teeth.

With illustrations by Daniel Rieley, the book chronicles what happens to plastic toothbrushes when they’re thrown in the bin. Billions of toothbrushes around the world are discarded and The Tale of a Toothbrush takes a lighthearted look at a serious topic when a toothbrush ends up in the sea. It aims to get little ones thinking about where waste goes, and why they should consider more sustainable options for everyday items, even from an early age. Get your kiddies learning about plastic this World Book Day and beyond to foster little eco-warriors.

We Are Water Protectors

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A newer book, this was released in 2020 to great critical acclaim. This award-winning book was written in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and highlights the importance of water – to the planet, to humans, to everyone. A picture book illustrated by Michaela Goade, We Are Water Protectors aims to get kids aged three to six interested in where water comes from and goes, the importance of keeping it clean and preserving it.

Whale In A Fishbowl, Troy Howell

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For little ones who love animals, this is an important read, highlighting nature’s right to be free. An award-winning book for kids aged four to eight, this is an emotional story about a captive whale who wants to be free, swimming around the ocean – as whales are born to be. Wednesday the whale lives in a fishbowl in a city, surrounded by people and traffic. However, she can get a glimpse of the ocean beyond if she jumps high enough. A story about longing for freedom, it’s an emotional read for slightly older kids this World Book Day.

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