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A guide to juvenile, young adult, and adult novels with environmental themes, generally focused on pollution.
Last Updated: Jun 23, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Book Suggestions

Do you know of a great environmental novel that should be on this list? Let us know!

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Environmental issues provide the backdrop for an array of novels, from suspense to romance to comedy. This bibliography includes books for young adults and adults. When looking at your library for fiction with environmental themes, some of the following subject headings may be helpful: 

  • Eco-fiction
  • Environmental protection – Fiction
  • Hazardous wastes – Fiction
  • Industrial pollution – Fiction
  • Offenses against the environment – Fiction
  • Pollution – Fiction 

For an excellent list of picture books with environmental and nature themes, see Childsake's Nature and the Environment Booklist.

This list was compiled by Charlotte Roh, Lauren Bordson, and Laura L. Barnes.

Environmental Book Festivals

The popularity of environmentally-themed fiction has grown such that many literary festivals now have environmental themes. There are even environmental book festivals and awards that are a great resource for environmental books. They include:

  • Green Book Festival
    Founded in 2010, the Green Book Festival in San Francisco honors books that "contribute to greater understanding, respect for and positive action on the changing worldwide environment." It is a competition that includes a $1500 for the Green Book Festival Author of the Year and transportation to the event.
  • Green Earth Book Awards
    Sponsored by the Newton Marasco Foundation, the goal of this award is to inspire youth to think about the environment. They also have a Read Green Program and Teach Green Program to further support environmental education, focusing on children and young adults.
  • SEJ's Rachel Carson Environment Book Award
    Sponsored by the Society of Environmental Journalists, these award winners are fact, not fiction, but are comprised of some very compelling and readable reporting.

Subject Guide

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Laura L. Barnes
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Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
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