12 Earth-Focused Books To Add to Your Summer Reading List

Whether you’re vacationing, on a school break, or just kicking back in the yard, warm weather and a good book go hand-in-hand. We’ve rounded up a dozen Earth-focused books that offer instruction, inspiration, and engaging stories to add to your summer reading list.

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How-To

Finding Ecohappiness

by Sandi Schwartz

Most parents know that it’s good for children to play outside but they sometimes struggle to get them there. If you need help connecting your kids with the natural world, Finding Ecohappiness is a good place to start. It’s full of suggestions and activities to help your kids find meaning in nature — and to help parents raise children who appreciate our wondrous world.

A Beautiful Lawn Organically

by Alec McClennan

This detailed book will help you keep your lawn weed-free and healthy organically. While lawn chemicals can endanger wildlife, ecosystems, and water supplies, A Beautiful Lawn Organically offers methods that are safe for kids, pets, and pollinators — and won’t pollute waterways or the soil. McClennan started an organic lawn company directly out of college and has grown the business to cover multiple Midwest states over 20 years.

101 Ways To Go Zero Waste

by Kathryn Kellogg

101 Ways To Go Zero Waste is one of the guidebooks of the zero-waste movement. Kellogg has been a leader by example in how to reduce trash, improve recycling, consume less, and reuse more. She shares her knowledge and examples in this thorough book.

Humane Home

by Sarah Lozanova

Written by longtime Earth911 contributing writer Sarah Lozanova, Humane Home offers guidance for keeping our homes in tune with nature. While this may sound daunting, Lozanova breaks down the subject into logical categories and leads us through activities and practices that we can apply to our lives.

Inspirational

The Hidden Life of Trees

by Peter Wohlleben

While less than 10 years old, The Hidden Life of Trees is a standard tome among environmental reads. This groundbreaking, beautifully written book will change how you look at trees for the rest of your life. While the book is filled with scientific information, many readers report an inspirational experience rather than an educational one.

Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us

by Emma Loewe

In this guidebook to nature and its healing properties, Loewe helps readers explore eight different kinds of natural landscapes while offering tips on how to appreciate each one’s unique features and how to protect them. Return to Nature also includes interesting statistics, sweet drawings, and inspirational quotes.

Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs

edited by Andrea G. Stillman

Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs is a chronological celebration of the well-known nature photographer’s work. While other Ansel Adams photography books focus on one subject or a single location, this collection brings them all together. It will galvanize your love for nature and nature photography.

Ansel Adams book cover

Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World

by Katharine Hayhoe

This is a book written for environmentalists to help us connect with people on the other side of the climate debate — in ways that will help them understand and join the effort. Hayhoe tells readers that the most important thing we can do about climate change is talking about it. In Saving Us, she offers the tools for productive dialogues that can have astonishing results. Hayhoe is the chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy, endowed professor at Texas Tech University, and was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. While written from a Christian perspective, this book is useful and informative for people of other faiths.

Fiction

Habitat Man

by DA Baden

The founder of the Green Stories Award (a great resource to find eco-themed books) wrote Habitat Man to showcase how authors can integrate green solutions into works of fiction. The novel follows Tim, who leaves his dull, corporate job to become a garden consultant, helping clients revamp their backyards to host native wildlife. Throw in a love interest and an unearthed skeleton, you’ll keep reading to find out what happens. The book is full of extremely quirky characters as well as conversations about eco-friendly behaviors.

The Overstory

by Richard Powers

Recipient of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and other awards and commendations, The Overstory is a powerful novel with interconnected stories about nine individuals, their connections to trees, and their struggles to protect forests from destruction by humans. Author Ann Patchett praised it as “The best novel ever written about trees, and really just one of the best novels, period.”

The Overstory book cover

The Ministry for the Future

by Kim Stanley Robinson

Renowned science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future is a book of big ideas and hope. Told from the perspective of the United Nations executive who leads an agency charged with protecting the environment, along with a chorus of characters, it recounts the conflicts and technological progress that lead to the end of global warming, and the beginning of a restorative relationship with the planet.

Lost Mountain

by Anne Coray

Lost Mountain tells the story of a small, isolated Alaska town facing a huge mining project that residents largely oppose. The poetically written novel follows a love story between two people as well as the love of place and nature.

Dig into green reading this summer with these Earth-focused books and learn more about the world around you.

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