2021 came with a whirlwind of endangered and extinct species, climate change, and pollution. All things that are only going to get worse if we don’t take action now.

This year also provided us with a wide selection of animal and environmental-based books that can help us to better understand the world around us, as well as inspire us to take action.

1. Plastic: An Autobiography

Plastic: an Autobiography, written by Allison Cobb, details society’s destructive habits of using and discarding plastic waste.

In this book, Cobb takes the reader on a journey through the connections between plastic waste, climate change, nuclear technologies, and racism. The book not only outlines the huge issue of plastic pollution, but also discusses where we can go from here.

You can buy the book here.

2. Wild Life!: A Look at Nature’s Odd Ducks, Underfrogs, and Other At-Risk Species

Wild Life is a book focused around some of the world’s strangest and most unique creatures, focusing specifically on the ones that won’t be around for much longer.

This book, filled with beautiful wildlife photography, showcases the variety of species at risk of going extinct very soon if we don’t do something.

You can purchase the book here.

3. The Memory of an Elephant

The Memory of an Elephant tells the captivating and heart-wrenching story of an African elephant.

The book is told by an aging African elephant, mainly following his perilous journey to find the people who rescued him some fifty years ago. The stories of others closely intertwine with his own, creating one cohesive nattrative.

You can buy the book here.

4. National Geographic Photo Ark Wonders: Celebrating Diversity in the Animal Kingdom

National Geographic Photo Ark Wonders is a unique compilation of breathtaking photographs of the wildlife kingdom. The book was created by Joel Sartore, who is on a mission to photograph all of the creatures in the world.

The book includes four chapters: Pattern, Shape, Extra, and Personality. They all contain their own unique photographs as well as comical animal comparisons between species.

This is the perfect book for animal lovers who are fascinated by the variety of wildlife, as these photographs document the amazing diversity in nature.

You can buy the book here.

5. The Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People

The Speckled Beauty is a 2021 book written by Rick Bragg about his heartwarming, comical, and sad story of how a stray dog transformed his life.

The story focuses on Rick and Speck, the stray dog that showed up at Rick’s house one day. Speck is a ball of naughtiness and poor decisions, the very opposite of a good boy. However, he comes at just the right time as Rick is battling a cancer diagnosis and other health issues.

Despite Speck’s many flaws, he and Rick help each other to heal and survive. The book documents the amazing tale of two creatures gaining strength and grit from one another.

You can buy the book here.

6. The Atlas of a Changing Climate: Our Evolving Planet Visualized

The Atlas of a Changing Climate is focused on climate change and what that is doing to our planet. The book includes cleverly illustrated maps and charts to give visual representations of what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen if we don’t stop climate change. It is filled with amazing details that help the reader to understand just what climate change is doing.

You can buy the book here.

7. The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times

The Book of Hope written by Jane Goodall, Douglas Abrams, and Gail Hudson is a breath of fresh air in trying times.

The book talks about pressing climate change, environmental, species, and political issues. The book is surrounded with Jane and Douglas’ dialogue about how to maintain hope during these times. It focuses on the human spirit and the power to create a better future for ourselves and future generations.

The resounding message throughout this book is how we can save the world by holding onto our hope for a better future.

You can purchase this book here.

8. Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation

Regeneration takes a closer and more unique look into the current climate crisis that we have found ourselves in. It also seamlessly weaves in justice, climate, biodiversity, equity, and human dignity into its approach to end the climate crisis.

The book discusses the major movements that humanity can partake in to help stop the climate crisis and give the earth and humanity a second chance. It discusses the basic needs like reducing pollution, as well as more complicated efforts.

You can purchase the book here.

9. Bear Boy: The True Story of a Boy, Two Bears, and the Fight to Be Free

Bear Boy is a story that focuses on Justin, a teenage boy who notices that two bears are being treated horribly at a nearby zoo. He decides that he has to rescue them and get them to an animal sanctuary but will have to pay a quarter of a million dollars to do so.

Justin ends up talking to the media to get nationwide attention to save the bears and himself in the process.

This book touches on the topics of kindness, activism, animal rights, and LGBTQ identity.

You can buy the book here.

10. Bewilderment

Bewilderment is a 2021 book focused around astrobiologist Theo Byrne’s child, Robin, and his interest in wildlife and the planet.

This book follows the comical, heartwarming, and devastating life of Theo and Robin. Theo desperately tries to keep his son on the right path he becomes more and more troubled.

It focuses strongly on the struggle that parents have when describing the peril that the planet is in, as children are facing the dire consequences of past generations more so now than ever.

You can buy the book here.

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