Books on climate activism for young adults

Young people are understandably worried about one of the most pressing issues of our time: the climate emergency.

Rather than portraying dystopian futures, the following four novels and one non-fiction book show positive ways that young people can become engaged in climate activism in accessible stories that will inspire, entertain and inform.


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If Not Us by Mark Smith

Hesse lives a small coastal town, where a coalmine and power station are a part of the scenery, and a part of the ever-growing problem of climate change. His mum is a member of a local environmental group campaigning to close the mine and shut down the power station, but Hesse is more interested in surfing-and in Fenna, the new exchange student from the Netherlands.

When Hesse nervously agrees to speak at a protest meeting he has no idea of the storm he is about to unleash. Read our review here.

Suitable for ages 12 and up.


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Green Rising by Lauren James

Gabrielle is a climate-change activist who shoots to fame when she becomes the first teenager to display a supernatural ability to grow plants from her skin. Hester is the millionaire daughter of an oil tycoon. Theo comes from a long line of fishermen.

On the face of it, the three have very little in common. Yet when Hester and Theo join Gabrielle and other teenagers around the world in developing the strange new Greenfingers power, it becomes clear that to use their ability for good, they’ll need to work together…

Suitable for ages 12 and up.


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How to Change Everything by Naomi Klein

Where are we? How did we get here? What happens next?

From the Great Barrier Reef to Hurricane Katrina to school environmental policies to Greta Thunberg - climate change impacts every aspect of the world you live in. How to Change Everything will provide readers with clear information about how our planet is changing, but also, more importantly, with inspiration, ideas, and tools for action. Because young people can help build a better future. Young people can help change everything.

Suitable for ages 11 and up.


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Burning Sunlight by Anthea Simmons

Zaynab is from Somaliland, a country that doesn’t exist because of politics and may soon be no more than a desert. Lucas is from rural Devon, which might as well be a world away. When they meet, they discover a common cause: the climate crisis.

Together they overcome their differences to build a Fridays For Future group at their school and fight for their right to protest and make a real impact on the local community. But when Zaynab uncovers a plot which could destroy the environment and people’s lives back home in Somaliland, she will stop at nothing to expose it. Lucas must decide if he is with her or against her…

Suitable for ages 12 and up.


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This One is Ours by Kate O'Donnell

Sixteen-year-old Sofie is a dreamer, an artist and a romantic. So when she goes on exchange to Paris, she is expecting magnificent adventures of the heart and mind. Yet France isn’t what she imagined.

But then her host sister, Delphine, and fellow artist Olivier show her a different side of Paris, and Sofie starts to question her ideas of art, beauty and meaning. Of everything. And when a catastrophe strikes close to home, Sofie realises she needs to act. But what can one girl do? Will Sofie be able to find the courage to fight for change?

Suitable for ages 12 and up.

 Read review
If Not Us

If Not Us

Mark Smith

$19.99Buy now

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