Inspiring Environmental Stewards

Green Earth Book Award

The Green Earth Book Award

The Green Earth Book Award is the nation’s first environmental stewardship book award for children and young adult books. Over 80 winning and honor books have been honored since 2005. The award continues to garner attention from the literary world as an esteemed award, bringing recognition to authors, but more importantly, providing the award-winning books to children.

Each year, an expert jury selects books that best convey the message of environmental stewardship in these categories:

    • Picture Book:  books for young readers in which the visual and verbal narratives tell the story
    • Children’s Fiction: novels for young readers up to age 12
    • Young Adult Fiction: books for readers from age 13 to 21
    • Children’s Nonfiction: nonfiction books for readers from infancy to age 12
    • Young Adult Nonfiction: nonfiction books for readers from 12 to age 21

Click here for a Earth Book Award Fact Sheet 

2015 Winner – Picture Book

The Promise, written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Laura Carlin

(published by Candlewick Press)

Book Synopsis:  On a mean street in a mean, broken city, a young girl tries to snatch an old woman’s bag. But the frail old woman, holding with the strength of heroes, says the thief can’t have it without giving something in return:  the promise. It is the beginning of a journey that will change the thieving girl’s life – and a chance to change the world for good. A picture book that at first seems dystopic but is ultimately about the healing power of nature. Recommended Age:  Age 5 to 8

2015 Winner – Children’s Fiction

Deep Blue, written by Jennifer Donnelly

(published by Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group)

Book Synopsis:  Best-selling Donnelly (Revolution, 2010) builds an alluring mermaid civilization and history, filled with painterly descriptions of Sera’s underwater palace and its unearthly architecture, her sumptuous wardrobe, and the menagerie of half-human, half-marine animal denizens. A richly imagined novel. Themes of conquering fear and believing in oneself are woven throughout, along with an acknowledgment of humans’ environmental impact on the sea and its inhabitants. Recommended Age:  Age 10 to 14

2015 Winner – Young Adult Fiction

Threatened, written by Eliot Schrefer

(published by Scholastic/Scholastic Press)

Book Synopsis:  After the death of his mother and sister, Luc is left in the hands of a moneylender, Monsieur Tatagani. One of many orphans forced to do Tatagani’s bidding, Luc has found a way to be useful and earn a few coins wiping glasses in a bar in Gabon. One night a man shows up with a monkey and a silver attaché case, claiming to be a researcher sent by the National Geographic Society to study the chimpanzees in the interior. The mysterious man, called “the Prof,” offers Luc a job as his helper. From this modest beginning comes a tale of survival and discovery for both humans and chimps. There are no easy answers here, but deep themes are explored. The plight of the endangered chimps is brought to the attention of readers, as are the challenges of socioeconomic status and geographic realities of Gabon. Recommended Age:  Ages 12 and up

2015 Winner – Children’s Nonfiction

Plastic, Ahoy!:  Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, written by Patricia Newman and illustrated by Annie Crawley

(published by Millbrook Press)

Book Synopsis:  This photojournalistic book follows three young female scientists living and working aboard a small research ship and details the researchers’ process of developing a hypothesis, collecting evidence, and designing experiments to learn more about the impact of the Garbage Patch on marine life. The book is replete with Crawley’s dynamic photos of both the scientists at work and the challenges of life aboard a tiny research boat. Newman successfully summarizes all of their complex research findings into straightforward and doable tips for minimizing environmental impact. An engaging and worthwhile read, this will surely make young readers think twice about their trash. Recommended Age:  Age 8 to 12

2015 Winner – Young Adult Nonfiction

Eyes Wide Open:  Going Behind the Environmental Headlines

written by Paul Fleischman (published by Candlewick Press)

Book Synopsis:  This volume is a call to action that informs students about how they can evaluate environmental issues by using politics, psychology, history, and an understanding of economics and the media. This remarkable book offers young people the tools they need to become informed, responsible global citizens. Thoughtful readers will appreciate this insightful, refreshing title’s broad scope, use of specific examples, and the many references to related books, documentaries, and online articles, lectures, and interviews. The appended “How to Weigh Information” section is particularly excellent. Recommended Age:  Ages 14 and up

2015 Honor Winners

A Bird On Water Street, written by Elizabeth O. Dulemba (published by Little Pickle Press)

A Boy and a Jaguar, written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Catia Chien (published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla, written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas (published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

Josie and the Fourth Grade Bike Brigade, written by Beth Handman, Kenny Bruno, and Antonia Bruno (published by Green Writers Press)

Pills and Starships, written by Lydia Millet (published by Akashic Books)

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal, written by Margarita Engle (published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees:  A Scientific Mystery, written by Sandra Markle (published by Millbrook Press)

The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature, written by the Education Staff of Brooklyn Botanic Garden, edited by Sarah Schmidt, and illustrated by Laszlo Veres (published by Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans, written by Elizabeth Rusch (published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

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2015 Short List

The Nature Generation is pleased to announce the 2015 Green Earth Book Award Short List! Congratulations to the authors, illustrators, photographers, publishers, and others involved with these amazing environmental books:


  • A Bird on My Hand by Mary Bevis and illustrated by Consie Powell
  • A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz and Catia Chien
  • Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm and illustrated by Molly Bang
  • E-I-E-I-O:  How Old MacDonald Got His Farm by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Matthew Myers
  • Five Famous Mice Meet Winston of Churchill by Jean Davies Okimoto and illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell
  • Hope Springs by Eric Walters and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
  • Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas
  • Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
  • Old Manhattan Has Some Farms by Susan Lendroth and illustrated by Kate Endle
  • Sequoia by Tony Johnson and illustrated by Wendall Minor
  • The Cod’s Tale by Mark Kurlansky and illustrated by S.D. Schindler
  • The Great Big Green by Peggy Gifford and illustrated by Lisa Desimini
  • The Promise by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Laura Carline
  • Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube by Pat Mora and illustrated by Melio So


  • A Bird On Water Street by Elizabeth O. Dulemba
  • Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
  • Josie and the Fourth Grade Bike Brigade by Beth Handman, Kenny Bruno, and Antonia Bruno and illustrated by Janet Pedersen
  • Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest by Tamra Wight and illustrated by Carl DiRocco
  • Ospreys in Danger by Pamela McDowell and illustrated by Kasia Charko
  • Saving Sammy by Eric Walters and illustrated by Amy Meissner
  • TreeCat by Jackie McFadden and illustrated by Tara Thelen
  • Violet Mackerel’s Pocket Protest by Anna Branford and illustrated by Elanna Allen


  • Blue Iguana by Wendy Townsend
  • Parched by Georgia Clark
  • Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet
  • Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle
  • The Starling God by Tanya Sousa and illustrated by Jacob Grant
  • Threatened by Eliot Schrefer


  • Because I Am a Girl by Rosemary McCarney and Jen Albaugh
  • Every Last Drop:  Bringing Clean Water Home by Michelle Mulder
  • Kali’s Story: An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue by Jennifer Keats Curtis and John Gomes
  • Plastic, Ahoy!:  Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Patricia Newman and Annie Crawley
  • Recycling Day by Edward Miller
  • Skydiver:  Saving the Fastest Bird in the World by Celia Godkin
  • The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees:  A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle
  • The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature by Education Staff of Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Sarah Schmidt, Editor; and Laszlo Veres
  • Who Needs A Reef? by Karen Patkau


  • Beetle Busters by Loree Griffin Burns and Ellen Harasimowicz
  • Breath of Wilderness by Kristin Eggerling and the Olson Family
  • Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cat by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop
  • Eyes Wide Open:  Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman
  • Severn and the Day She Silenced the World by Janet Wilson and Janet Wilson
  • The Changing Climate of Asia by Patricia K. Kummer
  • The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans by Elizabeth Rusch
  • Wild Ocean by Matt Dembicki

2014 Festival and Winners

Our 2014 Read Green Festival in September was a resounding success!

Our winning authors were delightful, the author school visits were fun and educational, and our Award Ceremony /Green Tie Reception was inspiring.

Throughout the 2014 Read Green Festival, our authors visited five area schools in DC, Arlington, and Fairfax, reaching over 500 kids. We were also able to donate 500 books to the schools and students. Our sponsorship effort was fantastic, raising $85K for the Festival. During the Award Ceremony and Green Tie Reception, we raised an additional $1,500 through our raffle and direct donations to 10,000 Book Fund.

None of this would have been possible without our 2014 Honorary Read Green Committee, sponsors, board members, partners and volunteers!

We hope everyone was inspired as we are to make a difference in the lives of children and to engage their help in addressing the environmental challenges that face us.

Click here to check out all the amazing pictures

Click here to learn about Festival Activities including author visits to schools, book donations, the Awards Ceremony and Green Tie Reception. .

Click here to learn more about the Green Earth Book Award


2014 winners:

Winner – Picture Book: The Eye of the Whale – A Rescue Story, written and illustrated by Jennifer O’Connell (published by Tilbury House)

O’Connell describes the rescue of a humpback whale that was found tangled in lines from crab traps miles off the coast of San Francisco. A team to try to save the massive creature. What happened next provides a captivating ending to this unusual tale and will spark discussion of the whale’s ability to experience and demonstrate emotions. O’Connell’s attractive paintings–many of them full spreads, some with insets–show the rescue from above and below the ocean surface and the tiny size of the divers compared with that of the whale, which is shown from many perspectives. Recommended Age: 5 to 10

eye of the whale

Winner – Children’s Fiction:  The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, written by Kathi Appelt (published by Simon & Schuster, Inc.)

Raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah are the newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The opportunity to serve the Sugar Man—the massive creature who delights in delicious sugar cane and magnanimously rules over the swamp—is an honor, and a big responsibility  Twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn is not a member, but he loves the swamp something fierce, and he’ll do anything to help protect it. And help is needed, because world-class alligator wrestler Jaeger Stitch wants to turn the  swamp into an Alligator World Wrestling Arena and Theme Park.  Newbery Honoree and National Book Award finalist.   Recommended Age: 8-12


Winner – Young Adult Fiction:  Washashore, written by Suzanne Goldsmith (published by Lucky Marble Books, an imprint of PageSpring Publishing)

Fourteen-year-old Clementine Harper must spend a winter on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with her mother. She’s what the locals call a “washashore”—someone who’s come to live on the island but isn’t from there. Far from the city life she knows, her best friend and the father she adores, Clem doesn’t fit in. But when she finds a fallen bird—an osprey—she also finds a role for herself helping to bring back the endangered birds, and learns that there are some things you can’t save and some things you can—like osprey nests and, maybe, a lonely boy named Daniel. Recommended Age:  Age 11-up

Washashore front cover.jpg

Winner – Children’s Nonfiction:  A Place for Turtles, written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond (published by Peachtree Publishers)

In simple yet informative language, A Place for Turtles introduces young readers to the ways human action or inaction can affect turtle populations and opens kids’ minds to a wide range of environmental issues. Describing various examples, the text provides an intriguing look at turtles, at the ecosystems that support their survival, and at the efforts of some people to save them. At the end of the book, the author offers readers a list of things they can do to help protect these special creatures in their own communities. Recommended Age:  6-10

Layout 1

Winner – Young Adult Nonfiction: Inside a Bald Eagle’s Nest: A Photographic Journey Through the American Bald Eagle Nesting Season, written by Teena Ruark Gorrow and Craig A. Koppie  (published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.)

Take a photographic journey of American Bald Eagles during nesting season. Through breathtaking images captured in eagles’ natural habitats, this factual account offers a rare glimpse into the behaviors and activities of America’s national symbol as it prepares a nest, mates, lays eggs, and raises its young. Travel with adult eagles as they gather nest materials, forage for prey, and ward off intruders into their territory. Inside the nest, observe how eaglets grow from hatchlings into fledglings, and experience first flight. Included are tips for observing eagles and a glossary of terms.  Recommended Age:  13-21


Honor Winners

  • Ellie’s Log:  Exploring the Forest Where the Great Tree Fell, written by Judith L. Li and illustrated by M.L. Herring (published by Oregon State University Press)
  • Frog Song, written by Brenda Guiberson and illustrated by Gennady Spirin (published by Henry Holt BYR, Macmillan Children’s)
  • Mousemobile, written by Prudence Breitrose and illustrated by Stephanie Yue (published by Disney Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group)
  • Parrots Over Puerto Rico, written by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trombore and illustrated by Susan L. Roth (published by Lee and Low Books)
  • The Lord of Opium, written by Nancy Farmer (published by Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
  • The Tapir Scientist:  Saving South America’s Largest Mammal, written by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop (published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

“One of the beauties of the Earth Book Award is that it recognizes an author who’s writing about a topic that is of vital importance to our Earth, yet it’s an area that, until recently, received little attention.”

~ Pam Spencer Holley, author of the American Library Association’s Quick and Popular Reads for Teens ~

Eco Tips

Above what continent is the ‘ozone hole’ located?

  1. North America
  2. Antarctica
  3. Asia
  4. The South Pole
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