If you're looking for children's books about composting, you have come to the right place.
I'm obsessed with children's books! I have a collection that won't fit on the shelves in my house, and I'm always eager to share a favorite children's book with a friend-- child or adult. I've already promised that any learning activities I post will be high quality, and this promise extends to literature.
Here's my current list of composting favorites, which can be used for a variety of reasons:
When you start composting at home or at school
Teaching children about composting
When you start using a composting service
When you plant your garden and use new soil or compost
Teaching children about decomposition
Dig in to one of these books about dirt!
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth
By Mary McKenna Siddals
Illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Informative and fun, Compost Stew introduces the basics of composting with exquisitely-written rhyming text that shares an alphabet full of items you can add to your decomposing heap. The lively collage illustrations complement the text to create a positive and upbeat mood. This is a must-use book for children ages 4-8, but older children and adults will love it as well!
What’s Sprouting in My Trash? A Book about Composting
By Esther Porter
Direct and informative, this book takes the approach that little minds can learn big concepts and big words. The text teaches components of composting that include microorganisms, energy, nutrients, heat, water, and oxygen. The photographs bring the text to life and include close-ups of compost piles, worms, microorganisms, fungi, and the rich soil that is created through composting.
Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow: A Compost Story
By Linda Glaser
Photographs by Shelly Rotner
This story is told from the perspective of a young child teaching other children about how she and her family compost in their yard. The photographs match the steps they take to build and maintain their compost pile. It subtly addresses possible concerns children may have, such as "Does compost stink?" And it evokes a sense of wonder that will engage children, such as by explaining that the compost sometimes steams with heat. The end of the story connects backyard composting with the big question of "why" in a way that young children will understand.
Magic School Bus Meets the Rot Squad: A Book about Decomposition
By Joanna Cole
Illustrated by Carolyn Bracken and Bruce Degen
A step away from composting, this book focuses on the process of decomposition, which is central to composting-- rot! Ms. Frizzle's character has a way of sparking children's imagination when she shrinks her magical bus to take her students on an educational adventure. This time, the bus travels through a decomposing log to teach the children about decomposition. Elementary-aged children will enjoy this informative and whimsical book from the popular Joanna Cole series.
Really Rotten Truth About Composting
By Jodie Mangor
With super engaging and super dense text, this book teaches older children how something really rotten can be really wonderful-- so pun-ny! The text presents more in-depth information than the other books on this list, including different types of decomposers in a compost pile, different types of compost pile systems (static, dynamic, digesters, and vermiculture), and the nitrogen, carbon, oxygen balance that leads to a healthy pile. The graphics and text features make the content visually appealing and easy to digest. I definitely learned a little something myself from reading this book!
Diary of a Worm
By Doreen Cronin
Pictures by Harry Bliss
A humorous fiction story about one of the important decomposers in a compost pile: worms. This entertaining tale is told from the perspective of a worm writing about his daily life. The story begins and ends grounded in the real world of worms: "When we dig tunnels, we help take care of the earth." And, "We're very small, and sometimes people forget that we're even here. But, like Mom always says, the earth never forgets we're here." The middle of the story will entertain readers of all ages as the main character recalls his time doing the hokey pokey, eating his homework, and patiently greeting a line of ants. While you won't learn a ton of worm facts in this one, it's definitely worth enjoying!
Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes
Illustrated by Emily Sutton
A beautifully written and illustrated book, this is a perfect introduction to some of the tiniest living things on Earth: microbes, which are key players in a healthy compost pile. From comparing the number of microbes in a teaspoon of soil to the population of India to showing the size of microbes on an ant antenna by comparing the antenna to a blue whale, Nicola Davies does a fine job of making such an abstract concept more concrete for children. The author and illustrator work collaboratively to show children that "They are the invisible transformers of our world-- the tiniest lives doing some of the biggest jobs."
Happy reading! Feel free to add to this list in the comments below!
For more Wike Baby nature book recommendations, check out the post about books that celebrate protecting the Earth and the Books page of this site.