Read a Book of Fiction

Taking action doesn’t always mean participating in a practical activity – it can also be about learning, discovering, and imagining in order to make the world a better place. Fiction can sometimes allow us to escape to a better place, but it can also teach us about the reality that we live in. How can we as humans become better connected to the environment? What similarities are there between us and other animals? What are the possible impacts of climate change and how can we alleviate them now?

Although these are questions that can also be answered by science, literature can often help us to empathise with others and inspire imaginations in regards to conserving our natural world. Often termed ‘eco-fiction’, more and more authors are highlighting issues of the modern environmental crisis through their work in the hopes that more people will take notice of the nature around them.

So why should you read eco-fiction? Firstly, reading is good for you! Studies show that reading for pleasure can socially benefit children, teenagers and adults, improve parent-child relationships, and provide mental health benefits to adults. Secondly, it’s fun – works of fiction can inspire, delight, surprise or encourage you to understand something that you’d never realised before. Lastly, it is easy to take a book with you on a walk, hike, camping or beach trip, or simply into your own backyard to relax and immerse yourself in both a good story and the wonder of nature.

Below are some suggestions for those wanting to delve into eco-fiction as either adults, teenagers or children. They are a mix of Australian and international titles that in some way explore themes of nature and the human connection with it.


Adult Literature

Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood

At Hawthorn Time – Melissa Harrison

Clade – James Bradley

Loosed Upon the World – John Joseph Adams (ed.)

The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. Le Guin

The Wind-Up Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi

The Swarm – Frank Schatzing

Galapagos – Kurt Vonnegut

Only the Animals – Ceridwen Dovey

Young Adult Literature

Green Valentine – Lili Wilkinson

As Stars Fall – Christie Nieman

Watership Down – Richard Adams

Exodus – Julie Bertagna

Walking the Boundaries – Jacqui French

Hoot – Carl Hiaasen

The Carbon Diaries 2015 – Saci Lloyd

Children’s Literature

The Lorax – Dr Seuss

Rivertime – Trace Bala

A River – Marc Martin

Fox – Margaret Wild & Ron Brooks

The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill – Dorothy Wall

The Rabbits – John Marsden & Shaun Tan

Magic Beach – Alison Lester

The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie – May Gibbs

Where the Forest Meets the Sea – Jeannie Baker

Zobi and the Zoox – Ailsa Wild et al.