Green Reads for Earth Day

To mark this year's Earth Day here's a round-up of books that explore environmental concerns and our relationship with nature. By Juanita Coulson

I WHEN THE WILD CALLS by Nicola Penfold (Little Tiger, £7.99)
There is a fine line between teaching children about the importance of looking after the environment and plunging them into a pit of despair. Striking just the right balance between the urgent need for action and a message of hope, children's writer Nicola Penfold follows up her 2020 novel Where the World Turns Wild with this charming and nuanced sequel.
We meet the protagonists again, siblings Juniper and Bear, as they embark on an epic journey away from their endangered grey city to a village of 'emerald mossy-roofed cabins' and back again, learning many vital eco-lessons along the way.
We are encouraged to see birds, trees and animals with fresh eyes and sustained attention. A deep connection with nature and the power of friendship between humans and across species emerge as beacons of hope. A powerful story to be enjoyed by all ages. you', just an insightful invitation.

BY THE RIVER: Essays From the Water's Edge by various authors (Daunt Books, £9.99)
From providing us with vital drinking water to fishing and transport, rivers run deep in human history and imagination. They are the bearers of stories and of species, as vital for biodiversity as they are for creativity and wellbeing.
In this beautifully curated and varied collection twelve writers reflect on the transformative effect of water, how it shapes our lives and inspires us. Some trace a literary course, such as Jo Hamya's study of Virginia Woolf and her riverside garden at Monk's House in Rodmell, and Tessa Hadley's essay on Rumer Godden's 1946 novel The River.
Others dive back into their own pasts to re-anchor themselves and define who they are: Marchelle Farrell traces her way back from the stream in her English garden to the rivers of her Trinidadian childhood. 'Something happens to our brains when we stare at moving water, a sort of broad, effortless attentiveness,' writes Amy-Jane Beer in What is a River? We all need more of that.

ENERGY 2040: Aligning Innovation, Economics and Decarbonization by Deepak Divan and Suresh Sharma (Springer Nature, £24)
It is the great existential conundrum of our times: affordable energy is vital to sustain economic growth and human life but reliance on fossil fuels is destroying our planet. Among the cacophony of doom-mongers, deniers, strident activists and weather-vane politicians, this book gives us a reason to hope.
Divan and Sharma evaluate the ongoing transition to alternative energy sources and suggest there is an achievable path to meeting our climate goals and energy needs by interweaving science, technology, entrepreneurship and geopolitics.
Divan is a professor and a leading authority on power systems, while Sharma has extensive experience in commercialising innovations - one of the book's themes is how great 'disruptive' ideas can be turned into economically viable and widespread practices. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in solutions, not just problems.

◆ EARTH DAY is an annual event, held globally since 1970 on 22 April, that promotes environmental protection and climate action. This year's theme is Planet vs Plastics, campaigning for a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040. To find out more, including how to get involved, visit