Hidden Shelf
Apr 22, 2020
9 min read

7 Earth Week Worthy Reads for Adults and Teens

I consider myself a “part-time hippy”. I use essential oils, and I also vaccinate my kids. We eat a whole foods diet, but occasionally hit up the drive-thru. I eat a mostly vegan diet, but I eat eggs and honey. I use non-toxic, dye-free, scent-free soaps and cleaners, but I use makeup products that don’t follow those strict guidelines. I preserve water by only showering a couple times a week, but when I take a shower it is long and hot. We do our best to shop local and support independent companies, but fall prey to Amazon’s 2 day shipping. We don’t use single use paper or plastic products, but my younger son refuses to wear cloth diapers.

I appreciate books that inspire me to do my part to care for the environment, without shaming me for not doing enough. I like books that portray the seriousness of climate concerns, without sending me into an anxiety spiral. I tried to curate an Earth Day reading list fit for all the “part-time hippies” out there.

1. Wildflower Girl, Dana Stewart Quinneyebook available

This book is a beautifully written collection of memoirs written about Dana’s childhood growing up in the wilds of Idaho in the 1950’s. Her father was a well known local fishing guide, and often fished with Ernest Hemingway. Dana’s enchantment with the outdoors led her to a distinguished career in field biology – working for Idaho Army National Guard, teaching at The College of Idaho and University of Idaho, and holding the position of Natural and Cultural Resources Manager for the State of Idaho Military, and even to discover a new species of shrimp in Idaho. Her book is a beautiful exploration of Idaho, nature, and the wonders of the wild, making it an excellent choice to highlight during Earth Day.

2. Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood – ebook and audiobook available

I made an effort to not include post-apocalyptic, dystopian books about deteriorating earth and societies, filled with sci-fi doom and gloom about what the future of our world might look like. I was feeling like right now, there is enough anxiety and fear about the future state of the world, related to Covid-19. Buuuut, I did make an exception for Margaret Atwood. Now I would never say that I like science-fiction, in fact I would go so far as to say, I typically do NOT like science-fiction. However, I DO love MargaretAtwood. In my defense, Atwood describes the Oryx and Crake as“Speculative Fiction  andAdventure Romance, rather than pure Science Fiction, because it does not deal with things we can’t yet do or begin to do, yet goes beyond the amount of realism she associates with the Novel Form.” Honestly I don’t really know how to go about describing this book, just pick it up and read it. There are also two books that follow it,The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam.

3. How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World One Plastic Bottle at a Time, Will McCallum 
e-book, and audiobook  available

Tackling the plastic problem room by room, giving tips on how to spot disposable plastics and suggestions for more sustainable options to replace them. I appreciate that this book not only provides relevant facts and numbers, but that it also gives accessible ways to stop contributing to the issue.

4. 365 Ways to Live Green:Your Everyday Guide to Saving the Environment, Diane Gow McDilda

I am a big ideas person, and sometimes I actually overwhelm myself with thinking just about the big picture. Sometimes I just need someone to help me break things down into daily small steps. This seems like a book that would be helpful for me; to create small attainable steps to make daily, to start living a greener life. Bonus, here is a similar kids version

5. The Green Teen: The Eco-Friendly Teen’s Guide to Saving the Planet, Jenn Sevedge
ebook available (Young Adult Book)

“Written in easily accessible language, The Green Teen combines simple and quick eco-friendly tips, interviews with “green teens,” ideas for organizing and communicating environmental change, and a host of resources in a handy “grab-and-go” format. Teens will learn:

  • How the choices they make each day impact the environment
  • How to fit eco-friendly decisions into their tight schedules and budgets
  • How to effectively get today’s decision makers involved in environmental stewardship”

6. The Carbon Diaries 2015, Saci Llyod
(Young Adult Book)

“Told in short diary entries filled with scrapbook clippings, this riveting eco-thriller is one girl’s attempt to stay grounded in a world where disaster has become the norm.” I love the creativity in the formatting of this book, perfect for teens and YA readers.

7. World Without Fish, Mark Kurlansky
(Middle Grade Book) 
This sounds like a very intriguing book, in a unique format, I can see my son wanting to read through the chapters  to get to more of the graphic novel bits.

Written by Rachel Wickstrom 

Rachel Wickstrom coordinates marketing at Hidden Shelf Publishing house. She’s an avid reader, master party-planner, craft enthusiast, a mom to two young boys with wildly long hair, and is married to a hospital chaplain. As an Oregon native, Rachel’s childhood memories are scented with juniper berries and the crisp mountain air of Central Oregon. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho where her days are scented with lukewarm coffee, and spilled snacks.

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