SDG15: Life on Land

Did you know that humans are the reason for 75% of the earth’s surface changes? These changes result from chopping down our forests, lack of care for our farmland, and not respecting wildlife and their habitats. Land is our planet’s body, and we must do everything we can to ensure it stays healthy. Forests around the world provide us with air, water, and food. If we don’t stop cutting down trees, destroying our farmland, and hurting animals and their homes, these changes will affect animals and humans alike.

Deforestation is one of the biggest threats to our planet. Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their everyday lives as those who live in rural areas rely on them for everyday resources like food and water. If we keep losing trees at the same rate, it will affect us, as millions of people and animals will have to move to find places providing food and shelter. We must also protect the land on which we grow all our food as 74% of the poorest people in the world need this land to feed their families. Lastly, we must learn to respect plants, wildlife and their natural habitats because they are vital to the earth’s natural ecosystem and the human diet.

SDG 15: Life on Land strives to solve these problems. Browse through our new reading list to learn more about the consequences of damage to our land. Read the books together with a family member or friend and find ways to protect and care for the land in your local community.

Reading list

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The Bee Tree

A fascinating book about the Honey Hunters in the Rainforest in Malaysia. This book not only highlights respect for the rainforests, but includes cultural traditions, working together and knowledge about Malaysia, which add geographical context to the story. This book will appeal to the interested reader and also for school projects.

This book connects well with SDG15. As long as there is rainforest, there will be bees. It is inspiring to learn about the traditional harvest techniques to preserve the forests and ultimately help build a better world.

Author and Illustrator: Stephen Buchmann and Diana Cohn | ISBN: 9781935955146 | Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

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Over and Under the Rainforest

The value of the land, and appreciation of its beauty is beautifully captured, encouraging a love for the rainforest. The appealing illustrations will encourage the young reader to learn more about the animals and plants found in the glossary.

Author and Illustrator: Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal | ISBN: 9781452169408 | Publisher: Chronicle Books

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A Forest in the City

It is about the urban landscape, and thus will engage the numbers of young people who live in cities, or near to cities. It asks important questions about the relationship between people and the land, and the importance of trees.

Author and Illustrator: Andrea Curtis and Pierre Prat | ISBN: 9781773061429 | Publisher: Groundwood books

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The Life Cycle of a Polar Bear

Follow the journey of a polar bear from cub to adulthood to find out how they reach the top of the Arctic food chain and survive in the frozen north.

Author: Catriona Clarke | ISBN: 9780008208813 | Publisher: Collins

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Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa

As a young girl growing up in Kenya, Wangari was surrounded by trees. But years later when she returns home, she is shocked to see whole forests being cut down, and she knows that soon all the trees will be destroyed. So Wangari decides to do something—and starts by planting nine seedlings in her own backyard. And as they grow, so do her plans. . . . This true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a shining example of how one woman’s passion, vision, and determination inspired great change.

Author and Illustrator: Jeanette Winter | ISBN: 9781328869210 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

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You’re Strong with Me

The rain clouds are long gone and the dry season scorches the land. Everything is new for the baby giraffe. As she bounds ahead and lags behind, her mother patiently explains the ways of the grasslands. And until she grows a little taller, older, and wiser, her mother reminds her: “You’re strong with me.”

Author and Illustrator: Chitra Soundar and Poonom Mistry | ISBN: 91911373759 | Publisher: Lantana Publishing

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Hoot and Howl Across the Desert

Discover the remarkable plants and animals that live in the world’s driest climates―both hot and cold! With beautifully illustrated landscapes, this book proves just how much life exists in the world’s deserts. Travel around the globe and encounter hundreds of rare and little-known plants and animals that thrive in dry environments. Learn about nocturnal species who occupy the deserts, common survival tactics, lethal creatures to watch for, and how the desert food chain functions.

Author and Illustrator: Vassiliki Tzomaka | ISBN: 9780500651988 | Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Reading is a great way to better understand what people from across the globe struggle with in their everyday lives, and it helps us reflect on our own situation. But reading is just the first step: now it’s time to share your book club experiences and how you plan to take action. Each month, we will feature a couple of book clubs on our blog, so get ready to share your story through social media, by using #SDGBookClub and tagging @UNPublications.

Resources

We know it can be difficult to stay at home to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19. This is why we created a new guide on how to organize your own SDG Book Club online to connect with your friends and family while sharing the joy of reading. We look forward to hearing about your experience on social media using #SDGBookClub.

How to organize your own SDG Book Club ONLINE

Help us spread the word by downloading our promotional materials. You will find a horizontal banner, bookmark, placard and easy-to-print sign-up sheet for your friends, family and community to join the SDG Book Club!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The SDG Book Club aims to use books as a tool to encourage children ages 6-12 to interact with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a curated reading list ofbooks from around the world related to each of the 17 SDGs in all six official UN languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

A selection committee works together to make the final selection for each of the 17 SDGs, in all six official UN languages —Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. The selection committee consists of members from the United Nations, International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Federation of Librarian Associations (IFLA), European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBA), International Authors Forum (IAF), and International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

Fiction, non-fiction, and other genres that our panel thinks will help educate children about SDGs will be considered.

The reading list is meant for children ages 6-12. However, we encourage parents, educators, and everyone who is interested to read the selected books and help children understand the importance of the SDGs.

The reading list will be published during the first week of every month for 17 months, starting with Goal 1: No Poverty in April 2019 and culminating with Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals in September 2020 for the 5th anniversary of the SDGs.

Yes. Sign up on our homepage to get a monthly email on news and updates. Your privacy is important to us so we would never share your information with third parties or spam your inbox.

No. We do not intend to sell or promote the sale of the books featured in the reading list. If you chose to, you can buy the books online, wherever books are sold, or get a copy at your local bookstore or library.

You can post your thoughts and images on social media using the hashtag #SDGBookClub. Please tag/follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Yes, there are book club meetings taking place all over the world. Check back for a link to the list! (Coming soon)

People can host book club meetings around the world and share their photos via #SDGBookClub. If you would like to organize a public book club meeting, we recommend contacting your local book store, library or school and set it up with them. Please share the planned event on social media using #SDGBookClub and we will add it to the list of events.

You can post feedback on our Facebook page or write an email to: publications@un.org.

We sincerely appreciate your interest. However, we are not currently accepting recommendations.

There are actions that you can take beyond just reading the books.

A/ Help your kids to create a poster with a photo or drawing and interesting facts about their favourite character(s) of the book.

B/ Design a reading scavenger hunt for kids using drawings and pictures instead of questions and help them search for things mentioned in the book.

C/ Help your kids write a letter to the local government representative and tell them what you learned in the book and ask them what action(s) they are taking toward a specific Goal.

D/ Organize a parent-child facilitated book discussion for younger kids. Invite your child’s friends and their parents to discuss a book from the reading list at your local library or children’s book store.

E/ Spread the word on social media, using the hashtag #SDGBookClub. We’d love to feature your pictures/videos on our social media.

You can find plenty of Student Resources here. You will find other books aimed at children, as well as the SDG board game. The game aims to help teach children around the world about the Sustainable Development Goals in a child-friendly and straightforward way.

Read to a Child campaign: A global campaign on reading to children to encourage literacy and global citizenship, incorporating the priorities youth and quality education. It is planned to take place in September 2020. More information to come. Please sign up to stay informed.

Organizers

The International Publishers Association (IPA) is a federation of publishing associations from around the world. The main mandate of the IPA is to promote and defend copyright, support the freedom to publish, promote literacy and reading. IPA is an accredited NGO in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN. IPA supports the SDGs and works particularly closely with WIPO and UNESCO.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. Founded in 1927 in Edinburgh, Scotland at an international conference, we celebrated our 90th birthday in 2017. We now have more than 1,300 Members in nearly 150 countries around the world. IFLA was registered in the Netherlands in 1971.

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization that represents an international network of people from all over the  world who are committed to bringing books and children together. Today IBBY comprises 79 National Sections worldwide.

The European & International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) represents national booksellers associations in the European Union and beyond. EIBF Members in turn have in membership booksellers of all kinds: brick and mortar bookshops, online bookshops, independents, chains.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) is the most important international trade fair of the children’s publishing industry. With over 50 years of experience, BCBF has succeeded in bringing together a unique and diverse global audience: the result is the world’s premium copyright business hub when it comes to publishing with an extra core that extends to all multi-media content for children.

SDG Book Club Chapters Around the World

Our SDG Book Club is expanding and we are excited to see SDG reading lists for children from around the world. In addition to the SDG Book Club in the UN’s six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) there are now chapters in other languages. Visit the SDG Book Club Chapters listed below.

Africa
Brazil
Indonesia
Norway
Portugal