Climate Change Reads for Young Adults

Climate change is big news, and it’s becoming apparent that making small changes to the way we live now, could be amplified, to have an even greater effect in 10 or 20 years time.

We have created a very special collection of books and audiobooks for young adults to help them learn about the environment and nature, through fiction, information about climate heroes or simple, but effective actions they can take to make a difference right now. Find them on the eBooks app, BorrowBox.

“We deserve a safe future. And we demand a safe future. Is that really too much to ask?” ~ Greta Thunberg

Fiction titles

City of Rust by Gemma Fowler

Railey dreams of winning the drone races with her bio-robotic gecko friend, Atti. But when a bounty hunter crashes their biggest race yet, the pair are forced to flee to the feared Junker clans who mine the rubbish orbiting the Earth.

The Summer We Turned Green by William Sutcliffe

It’s the summer holidays, and thirteen-year-old Luke has just had his life turned upside down. First his older sister Rose moved ‘across the road’ – where a community of climate rebels are protesting the planned airport expansion – and now his dad’s gone too.

A fresh, funny, heartfelt look at this generation’s must-win battle: one earth, one chance.

The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe by Tricia Springstubb

Beautifully written, The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe is about expeditions big and small, about creatures who defy gravity and those of us who are bound by it.   A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

A Girl Called Joy by Jenny Valentine

Meet ten-year-old Joy Applebloom, a girl with a knack for finding the silver lining in even the darkest of rainclouds.
After years of travelling the world with her parents and older sister, Claude (Claude rhymes with bored, which is just about right), Joy and her family move to suburbia – back to school, back to her grumpy, rule-obsessed grandad and back to normality.

Joy soon finds her usual irrepressible positivity and zest for life waning, but when the powers that be threaten to pull down a mighty oak tree, Joy decides to fight back, and realizes that not all magic requires wands and spells, and perhaps the most important sort of magic is the power, resilience and courage that was there all along . . .

Plastic Girl by Jessica Maison

Eva grew up in a climate apocalypse, her parents are dead, and the boy she once loved is probably trying to kill her. Just when she’s about to give up, she discovers a new species born from plastic waste. More incredibly, she can mould these creatures into other beings – first a butterfly, then a fish, a deer, a bear – and eventually, a sister, Iris. As Eva dabbles with creating life, it becomes frightfully clear that her creations, Iris included, will either save humanity or end it.

Eva, one of Earth’s last inhabitants, is a lonely girl searching for companionship and evidence that life might return to Earth. What time she doesn’t use to survive her harsh environment, she spends searching for life, stewarding the lake around her cabin and making sculptures of extinct animals out of found materials. One day, while checking on her island, she discovers something alive that shouldn’t be, something she can transform and that can also transform her. She embarks on a grand and dangerous scientific journey that ultimately will birth a new era and provide her with the companionship she so desperately needs. Through Eva’s engagement with this new life, readers will discover that to save the world, humanity may have to become something else entirely or disappear completely.

Flood World by Tom Huddleston

Kara and Joe live outside the Wall, spending their days navigating perilous waterways and scratching out a living in the ruins of the old city. But when they get swept up in a police chase, and find themselves in possession of a mysterious map, they’re suddenly in a world of trouble!As they delve deeper and deeper into a dark world of rebellion and revenge they’ve soon got gangsters, cops and ruthless Mariner pirates in their hi-tech submarines hot on their heels. But as Joe and Kara are swept up into a revolution of justice and vengeance, they must find a way to fight back and save their city before the walls come tumbling down, and the waves come rushing in…

The Territory by Sarah Govett

Noa lives in what’s left of Britain where flooding means land is scarce. Everyone must sit an exam at 15: if you pass you can stay in the Territory, if you fail you must go to the Wetlands. Rich families can buy their children an upgrade to help, but ‘Norms’ like Noa must succeed on their own merit. Noa is a bright funny teenager, not sure which boy she likes, devoted to her friends. The book follows her as she and her friends face the exam. Who will pass and who will fail?

Watership Down by Adam Richards

Set in the once idyllic rural landscape of the south of England, ‘Watership Down’ follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the destruction of their home, as they head towards a mysterious promised land.

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die.Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from?A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.

Deep Secret by Berlie Doherty

Deep in a Derbyshire valley live two girls, twins, so alike that even their family can’t tell them apart. But tragedy is waiting. When the valley is sold to be flooded for a huge dam, the villagers are forced to leave their homes. Deep secrets are uncovered. New characters enter their lives and desires, love and grief come to the surface.

Zenith by Julie Bertagna

Sixteen-year-old Mara and her ship of refugees are tracking the North Star, desperate to find a homeland in the melted ice mountains of Greenland. The vast, floating city of Pomperoy is just one of the shocks that are not in their navigation plans. Unwittingly, the refugees bring catastrophe in their wake for Tuck, a gypsea pirate-boy, and also for Ilira – a land whose inhabitants exist in a state of terror at the top of the world. Back in the drowned ruins at the feet of the towering sky city, Fox is beginning his battle with the cruel, corrupt forces that rule the New World. But separated from Mara, his resolve begins to waver . . .

The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold

When a deadly Fly Flu sweeps the globe, it leaves a shell of the world that once was. Among the survivors are 18-year-old Nico and her dog, on a voyage devised by Nico’s father to find a mythical portal; a young artist named Kit, raised in an old abandoned cinema; and the enigmatic Deliverer, who lives Life after Life in an attempt to put the world back together. As swarms of infected Flies roam the earth, these few survivors navigate the woods of post apocalyptic New England, meeting others along the way, each on their own quest to find life and love in a world gone dark.

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean

Every summer Quill and his friends are put ashore on a remote sea stac to hunt birds. But this summer, no one arrives to take them home. Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they’ve been abandoned – cold, starving and clinging to life, in the grip of a murderous ocean. How will they survive?

Non-Fiction titles

Be the Change by Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens

From National Poetry Day Ambassadors Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens comes an incredible anthology of poetry identifying ways we can Be the Change.

These positive and upbeat poems will explore sustainability and the positive efforts being made to protect the planet and are perfect for starting conversations about looking after each other and our environment.

Climate Rebels by Ben Lerwill

Most people know about Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough. But there are many other climate rebels around the world. They are not as famous, but they work very hard. This book is about some of these amazing people.

99 Maps to Save the Planet

A shocking but informative, eye-catching and witty book of maps that illustrate the perilous state of our planet. The maps in this book are often shocking, sometimes amusing, and packed with essential information.

Save our Species by Dominic Couzens

Focusing on thirty of our most loved and most ‘at risk’ inhabitants, this uplifting and hopeful book will give naturalists of any age the tools to respond to the SOS calls heard from their garden, local park and beyond.

The Almost Zero Waste Guide by Melanie Mannarino

In a perfect world, we would all be able to fit a year’s worth of waste in a mason jar. But for most of us​,​ doing so can be immensely intimidating or simply not feasible. In ​The (Almost) Zero Waste Guide​,​ author Melanie Mannarino shares 100 simple tips for being less wasteful w​ith what​ you eat, ​how you live in​​ your home, when you’re curating your wardrobe, when you practice self-care, during your travels​ near and far​, and in your community.

Make it Happen: How to be an Activist by Amika George

In the spring of 2017, 17-year-old Amika George founded the Free Periods movement on behalf of every schoolgirl who couldn’t afford tampons or sanitary towels. Three years later, in January 2020, these products became freely available to every schoolgirl in England for the first time, funded by the government. Anyone can make history, including a teenager launching a global petition from their bedroom. And Amika will show you how, in this essential guide to being an activist.

Taking on the Plastics Crisis by Hannah Testa

In this personal, moving essay, youth activist Hannah Testa shares with readers how she led a grassroots political campaign to successfully pass state legislation limiting single-use plastics and how she influenced global businesses to adopt more sustainable practices. Through her personal journey, readers can learn how they, too, can follow in Hannah’s footsteps and lower their carbon footprint by simply refusing single-use plastics.

Plasticus Maritimus by Ana Pego

For young readers comes an imaginative guide to ocean plastics, filled with tips and tricks for identifying—and combating—pollution in our oceans. Inspired by biologist Ana Pêgo’s life’s work, and filled with engaging science and colourful photographs, this foundational look at plastic pollution in the ocean explains why it is such an urgent contemporary issue.

Imaginary Borders by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

In this personal, moving essay, environmental activist and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez uses his art and his activism to show that climate change is a human issue that can’t be ignored.

One Earth: People of Colour Protecting our Planet by Anuradha Rao

One Earth profiles Black, Indigenous and People of Colour who live and work as environmental defenders. Through their individual stories, the book shows that the intersection of environment and ethnicity is an asset to achieving environmental goals.

No One is too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

‘Everything needs to change. And it has to start today’ In August 2018 a fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate crisis, inspiring millions of pupils to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. This book brings you Greta in her own words, for the first time.

Open your mind: Learn to deal with the big stuff in life by Gemma Cairney

Full of honest and practical advice from Gemma Cairney and a whole host of trained professionals and real people, ‘Open Your Mind’ is the best friend of a book everyone needs. From stress, trauma, and anxiety, to your place in the world and everything in between. It includes chapters on anxiety, depression, addiction, politics, our natural world, and feminism.

It’s Getting Hot in Here by Bridget Heos

Tackling the issue of global warming head-on for a teen audience, Bridget Heos examines the science behind it, the history of climate change on our planet, and the ways in which humans have affected the current crisis we face. It’s Getting Hot in Here illustrates how interconnected we are not just with everyone else on the planet, but with the people who came before us and the ones who will inherit the planet after us.

It’s Your World by Chelsea Clinton

In It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going, Chelsea Clinton tackles some of the biggest challenges facing our world today, especially for kids. Using data, charts and stories she unpacks challenges related to Poverty, Climate Change, Gender Equality, Health, Endangered Species and more. She also talks about what’s being done to make a difference in each area, particularly by kids and teenagers. With lots of suggestions and ideas for action, Chelsea Clinton shares her passion for helping others and shows readers that the world belongs to every single one of us, and every one of us counts.

Guarding Eden by Deborah Hart

Guarding Eden tells the personal stories of twelve ordinary people who were so concerned about climate change that they altered their lives to do something about it. Some did quiet backroom work in research, drafted submissions or wrote to politicians; others decided to go public, really public – one was part of the team occupying a 160-metre power-plant chimney, one went on a hunger strike publicised around the world, another started the Lock the Gate Alliance.

V is for Vegan by Kerstin Rogers

Vegan food has long suffered from a fusty, bland image so Kerstin Rodgers set out to change this. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, vegan curious, pescatarian or carnivore, if you are looking for something different, or merely to cut down on your animal and meat intake, this book will change your perception of veganism forever.

Chew on This by Eric Schlosser

Based on Eric Schlosser’s bestselling Fast Food Nation, this is the shocking truth about the fast food industry – how it all began, its success, what fast food actually is, what goes on in the slaughterhouses, meatpacking factories and flavour labs, global advertising, merchandising in UK schools, mass production and the exploitation of young workers in the thousands of fast-food outlets throughout the world. It also takes a look at the effects on the environment and the highly topical issue of obesity.

Generation Us by Andrew Weaver

In clear and accessible language, Generation Us explains the phenomenon of global warming, outlines the threat it presents to future generations and offers a path toward solutions to the problem. The reality of global warming has long been accepted within the scientific community, yet it remains a hotly debated topic at the political and social level.

Generation Green by Linda Sivertson

We all know about the Earth’s environmental crisis, but there is someone who can truly make a difference: you. If you text your friends or chat with them online, download music to your iPod, or toss bottles and papers into recycling bins, you’re already more eco-savvy than you think. It’s just as easy to do even more to help save the earth, and Generation Green shows you how. 

We are the Weather Makers by Tim Flannery

We Are the Weather Makers is a concise and revised edition that will allow listeners aged from nine to 90 to learn the facts about climate change and is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 2006.

How to Change Everything by Naomi Klein

The first book for younger readers by internationally bestselling social activist Naomi Klein: the most authoritative and inspiring book on climate change for young people yet. Warming seas. Superstorms. Fires in the Amazon. The effects of climate change are all around us. Reforestation. School-strikes for climate change. Young people are saving the world and you can join them because you deserve better. Are you ready to change everything?

We are all Greta by Valentina Giannella

We Are All Greta sets out the basic ideas required to understand climate change, explained in a scientific and accessible way and drawn from the most authoritative sources. With a chapter on key words and sites to help you understand the climate challenge and a list of websites to visit for further information, this is a book for young people, for parents, for grandparents and anyone having to answer direct and urgent questions about what must be done to protect our world.

Voices of Change

The twelve essays in Voices of Change, by fifteen inspiring youth leading the climate change movement in Canada, explore the most challenging issues around climate change, from sustainability to activism. The contributors, from all across the nation, describe their own work developing successful initiatives that have positively brought about environmental change—from creating a “Library of Things” in Waterloo, Ontario, to an ocean-education program in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Blue Planet II by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe

Discover all there is to love about our Blue Planet, the stories of its inhabitants, and realise how you can help protect this wilderness beneath the waves.

New Life Stories by David Attenborough

How did Sir David track down a giant Earthworm? Why does he respect Rats? What was the first bribe in nature? Why do well known foods often have two names? And where can you see evidence of the earliest life on Earth? His enthusiasm is as infectious as ever, and conveys a unique fascination on topics as diverse as the Kiwi, Hummingbirds, Monsters, Butterflies, Chimps, Cuckoos, Fireflies and Elsa, the famous lioness. 

“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.”  ~ David Attenborough

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