In a dystopian future world, the indigenous people of North America are being hunted for their bone marrow, which contains something precious that the rest of the world has lost, but desperate to recover: the ability to dream. Dimaline’s classic best-seller which follows the challenges faced by the fifteen-year-old orphan Frenchie, explores language, intergenerational trauma and the deadly cycles of history.

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This clever retelling of Snow White takes place in a land of perpetual winter, post-climate breakdown and post-cataclysm. When Snow runs away from a hunter in the forest, she begins a lengthy and arduous journey with only a bear by her side. This is a “fairy tale for the future.”

Suitable for Young Adults 12+

Chilean-American writer Isabel Allende’s first YA novel takes place in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold joins his grandmother on the trip of a lifetime to the remote wilds of South America. But while exploring the jungle, Alexander overhears the plot of a greedy entrepreneur. Soon, he is dragged into an adventure, led by a mysterious spirit guide.

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Set in an uncanny dystopian future, this speculative fiction debut by Finnish author Emmi Itäranta became an instant YA classic upon its publication in 2014. It tells the story of seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio, who is learning to become a tea master in the new Scandinavian Union. After her father’s death, Noria is thrown into an adventure that will force her to choose between personal safety and the fate of her community.

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Think sci-fi Roald Dahl. Kester Jaynes has just found out that he’s one of the few people who can communicate with animals. When their entire existence is threatened, it’s time for Kester to step up into a wild adventure. This imaginative adventure book, the first in a series, combines action, humour, and environmentalism for a hugely satisfying reading.

 

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In a world with no air, if you want to breathe, you have to pay. In this dystopian novel, three teens with wildly different experiences of the world cross paths. This gripping and suspenseful novel is a page-turner for YA readers looking for sci-fi with an environmental theme.

 

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Part thriller, part sci-fi, this exhilarating YA novel is set in the depths of the ocean, at an experimental deep-sea mining rig. It follows Lily, a teen who’s been kicked out of school for her destructive behaviour. But when she ends up at the mining rig with her mother, her story leads to a shocking discovery.

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You’re never too young to start reading Ursula K. LeGuin. This science fiction novella was originally published in 1972, and is set on the fictional planet of Athshe, which is threatened by a military logging colony — until the natives begin a revolt. Because of some mature themes, this is a read better suited for teens.

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This beloved modern classic is an adventure about a new kid at school, his friends, and the boy who bullies him. But it’s also much more: there’s the drama of an endangered owl colony, a run-in with some alligators, several poisonous snakes, and a renegade eco-avenger. This story of runaway construction development in Florida will resonate with readers aged nine through twelve.

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Imagine two concentric circles, one inside the other: a social foundation to ensure the protection of every human being, and an ecological ceiling to prevent the overshooting of the planet’s boundaries. This is the doughnut: the ecologically safe and socially just sweet spot in which humanity can thrive. Widely hailed as a radically ground-breaking work, Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics identifies the seven critical ways in which mainstream economics has betrayed global society.

Debunking the myth of ‘rational economic man’ and unpicking the argument that economic growth must continue at all costs, Raworth offers an exciting and viable roadmap for bringing humanity into the sweet spot represented by the doughnut. A must-read for anyone interested in transforming the global economic system into a force for good within the means of the planet.

Read more of our Climate Classics: timeless works exploring themes of climate change and biodiversity loss.