Inspiring Environmental Stewards

2015 Green Earth Book Award Winners Announced

On Earth Day, The Nature Generation announced the winners of the national 2015 Green Earth Book Award.  The literature award is national recognition of authors and illustrators whose books best inspire young readers to appreciate and care for the environment.

“Each year I’m amazed at how magnificently our Green Earth Book Award winning authors are able to capture the wonder of nature and the importance of caring for the environment in their wonderful books,” said The Nature Generation Board Chairman Ian Kline.  “These books will engage and inspire children and young adults in a way that only fantastic stories like these truly can.”

The announcement was made during an Earth Day event at Patterson Elementary School in Washington, DC. NBC4 News Anchor Wendy Rieger brainstormed with 4th graders on ways they could help to take care of our planet every day. They made Earth Day resolutions to recycle more, use less water while brushing their teeth, and flip the light switch off when leaving the room.


The students will report back how they did with their resolutions in the fall, during the annual Read Green Festival on September 29-October 1, 2015. The Festival, a three-day event that works to get more environmental literature into the hands of kids through author visits and book donations, culminates with an Awards Ceremony and Green Tie reception honoring the winners on October 1 at the National Press Club.

The students helped announce the five winners of the 2015 Green Earth Book Award:

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


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


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


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


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


Honor Books

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)


Since 2005, The Nature Generation (formerly Newton Marasco Foundation), has honored 42 books with the Green Earth Book Award and recognized 76 Honor Books.


An expert panel of judges representing teachers, professors and environmental professionals chose the winners from over 100 books that were nominated 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

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