Here are some picture books:

The Adventures of an Aluminum Can: A Story About Recycling, by Alison Inches and illustrated by Mark Chambers, Little Green Books, 2010 – watch what happens to aluminum through the eyes of a speck of alumina.

All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff, by Meghan McCarthy, A Paula Wiseman Book, 2018 – based on a true story of the Break of Dawn barge full of garbage that no one wanted.

Follow That Paper! A Paper Recycling Journey, by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Alex Westgate, Amicus Illustrated, 2017 – A bright and colourfully illustrated book to show the journey of recycled paper.  (also in the series: Follow that Bottle, Follow that Garbage, and Follow that Tap Water!)

Gabby & Grandma Go Green, by Monica Wellington, Dutton Children’s Books, 2011 – A sweet picture book showing many ways you can “go green” in one day! It even has instructions on how to sew your own cloth bag at the end.

On Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, Millbrook Press, 2015 – the true store of the women in West Africa who saw the plastic bag problem and decided to do something about it.

Nature Recycles How About You?, by Michelle Lord and illustrated by Cathy Morrison, Sylcan Dell Publishing, 2013 – Sea urchins, hermit crabs, birds etc. all recycle by using the things around them in different ways.

What Can You Do With Only One Shoe? Reuse, Recycle, Reinvent, by Simon and Sheryl Shapiro and art by Francis Blake, Annick Press, 2014  - A book for poetry that is also a book of ideas on creative ways to reuse items!

The Five R's:





Rot (compost)

Trash Magic: A Book about Recycling a Plastic Bottle, by Angie Lepetit, Capstone Press, 2013 – A book that explains why it’s important to recycle plastic bottles so that kids can understand.

Trash Revolution: Making the Waste Cycle, by Erica Fyvie and Bill Slavin, Kids Can Press, 2018 - Full of facts, information and illustrations this is a good book for older kids to learn more about the life-cycle of everyday stuff.

Trash Talk: Moving Towards a Zero-Waste World, by Michelle Mulder, Orca Book Publishers, 2015 – a thorough book that examines the history of garbage and also the many innovative ways people all around the world are dealing with waste.

Waste and Recycling, by Sally Hewitt, Crabtree Puslishing, 2009 –this looks at all sorts of aspects of waste giving kids practical ways to handle waste like composting, textiles to give away, and looks at what happens to various materials.  (Other books in the “Green Team” series include: Reduce and Reuse; Using Energy; Using Water; Your Food; Your Local Environment).

Waste Disposal, by Sally Morgan, Sea-To-Sea, 2007 – Part of the Earth Watch Series, this booklooks at the problem of waste and the different types of waste.

What Can We Do About Trash and Recycling?, by Lorijo Metz, PowerKids Press, 2010 – a good book to break things down for children with easy to read information.

What If We Do Nothing? Earth’s Garbage Crisis, by Christiane Dorian, World Almanac Library, 2007 – a good read for older kids as it explains in more detail the problem with garbage in our world.

Where Does the Recycling Go?, by Jerry Shea, Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2012 – a book for new readers that explains the recycling process. (There are other titles in the “Everyday Mysteries” series, but another that would fit with this Theme Day is: Where Does the Garbage Go?)

Waste Reduction Week/ Low Waste Lifestyle

It's a Beautiful World!

Let's learn to love it

Try some of these nonfiction/learning titles if you can find them:

Garbage: Investigating What Happens When You Throw It Out, by Donna Latham and illustrated by Beth Hetland, Nomad Press, - and excellent book, this one gives information and also includes 25 projects like tracking your trash for a week.

Green Homes, by Saranne Taylor and illustrated by Moreno Chiacchiera and Michelle Todd, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2015 – An interesting look at homes that are designed to be green!

 How Effective is Recycling?, by Catherine Chambers, Heinemann Raintree, 2015 – This book looks at recycling and its importance but also the problems and looks at some effective alternatives as well.

How is Paper Made, by Demi Jackson, Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2016 – A good book for new readers, this uses large text, but still provides a lot of information about how paper is made.

Making A Difference: Respecting Our World, by Sue Barraclough, Sea-to-Sea, 2008 – An easy-to-read book with large text and bright photographs that examines why and how we can protect the earth.  (Other titles in this “Making A Difference” series include: Recycling Materials, Reducing Garbage, and Reusing Things).

Making Good Choices About Recycling and Reuse, by Stephanie Watson, Rosen Publishing Group, 2010 – This would be a good book for older kids as it offers more detail and more text.

 Now We Know About Recycling, by Dr. Mike Goldsmith, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2010 – This includes lots of photographs and simple facts to help kids learn about recycling.

Recycle: Green Science Projects for a Sustainable Planet, by Robert Gardener, Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2011 – Older kids and the science-minded will appreciate this book full of excellent projects and the science behind Recycling, decomposition, composting etc..

Recycling, by Andrea Rivera, Abdo Zoom, 2017 – Made for new readers with large and few text, this keeps things simple for young children to understand.

How to encourage your child to write:

Choose the level of your child:
Toddler/Preschool – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
Preschool/Kindergarten – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response.  (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).

As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or poem about Waste Reduction.


and Writing

Copyright 2012. Family Theme Days. All rights reserved.

Visit your local library to find books about Zero Waste and Waste Reduction and to drop off used books!

These titles are great for parents and guardians looking for ways to reduce waste in your family's life:

My Zero-waste Kitchen, by Kate Turner, DK Publishing, 2017 – A tiny cookbook like no other as it offers tips and solutions in the kitchen including ways to give leftovers a new life.

Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Live and Reducing Your Waste, by Bea Johnson, Scribner, 2013 – A longer book but it goes into a lot of detail about different ways to reduce waste in your life by showing us how she and her family have done it.  No photos and not as many recipes as I thought it would have, but I still learned a lot from it.

Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash, by Shia Su, Skyhorse Publishing, 2018 – This was nicely organized and easy to read, plus it offered lots of recipes and practical solutions. I also appreciated all the photographs.

​​​JOURNALING Question Prompt:

Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook: 

What does your family do to reduce waste in your house? What are ways we can reduce waste in our homes and at school?   Why do we need to reduce waste? What goals can you set for yourself and your family to help reduce waste?