A New Era of Change: Books To Educate on Climate Migration

To create a more equitable and sustainable future, we must learn from and about those on the frontlines of the multifaceted climate crisis. Read on for six books centered on climate refugees and migration.

Author's Corner Diverse Voices Fiction Non-Fiction Recommendations Young Readers
Book covers for Between Two Skies by Joanne O'Sullivan, The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration by Jake Bittle, and Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada are framed by various cut outs of old and modern maps.

As the climate crisis rages on, its many symptoms worsen. Some areas of the planet are becoming uninhabitable due to global warming or are destroyed by extreme weather events, forcing people to leave their homes in search of another. For refugees displaced by persecution, political conflicts, violence, or climate change, the majority are settled in countries vulnerable to climate-related disasters, unable to adapt to the changing environment. Thus springs a variety of humanitarian crises, and the cycle is sustained as livelihoods are disrupted and continuously impeded by ongoing climate change.

To find effective, long-lasting solutions to global displacement, one must educate oneself on the issues of climate change, climate migration, and life as a refugee. Below are six nonfiction and fiction books fit for all ages to understand this issue better and strive for a better future for everyone.

Nonfiction

The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration by Jake Bittle

The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration by Jake Bittle book cover. Ripped scraps of an ancient map are scattered around a black background.
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Many think climate change is a future problem for future humans, far from impacting the daily lives of billions of people around the globe. But climate change is at our doorstep and doesn’t play by the rules of manmade boundaries and borders. The Great Displacement puts climate change into the perspective of the everyday American citizen, analyzing the past decades of wildfires, droughts, floods, and other natural disasters that have driven people out of their homes. As insurances price people inland and northward, the human geography of the United States is historically reshaping before our eyes.

On the Move: The Overheating Earth and the Uprooting of America by Abrahm Lustgarten

On the Move: The Overheating Earth and the Uprooting of America by Abrahm Lustgarten book cover. An exponential graph is half black and white and half red and yellow gradient.
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Another data-driven novel with America at the forefront of its case study, Abrahm Lustgarten prepares for and provides solutions to an increasing climate refugee issue. As poor communities are left behind while the wealthy move to safer cities, Lustgarten looks back on the policies forcing people to settle in areas of the country ill-protected by climate change, taking first-hand accounts from homeowners, customers, ranchers, and more who are on the front-lines of this new era of migration. Solutions and adaptations are provided through scientific data and predictive models to encourage a sustainable future.

Fiction

Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan

Between Two Skies by Joanne O'Sullivan book cover. An abstract painting of a sunset on the water in bright hues.
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Evangeline Riley loves nothing more than the view and community of her small fishing town, Bayou Perdu, Louisiana, has to offer. Surrounded by her beloved friends and family fishing derby titles, no greater joy comes than being surrounded by the open water and nature. But then, a storm comes and upends her entire life. In the midst of the tragedy and chaos, Evangeline meets fellow refugee Tru, and together, they navigate the prejudice of class and politics, creating a beautiful bond in the face of adversity.

Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada

Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada book cover. A hand reaches up in the middle of a green and yellow gradient circle on a pink and yellow background.
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In this somewhat dystopian future, Japan has vanished from the planet, scarcely remembered as “the land of sushi.” Hiruko, a climate refugee from the lost country, settles in Denmark, teaching immigrant children with a homemade, hodgepodge language from all the places she’s lived in. In her search to find others who speak her mother tongue, she finds a group of unlikely friends who travel across Europe, stumbling upon a series of adventures that continue into the Scattered All Over the Earth trilogy.

Children’s Literature

My Wounded Island by Jacques Pasquet

My Wounded Island by Jacques Pasquet book cover. An illustration of a young girl in a pink jacket with a fur collar, a matching pink hat, with a braid in her hair, stares at the ocean waves.
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Children’s books are a great way to introduce oneself to a topic and comfort children in times of adversity. In My Wounded Island, a creature disrupts the waves around the island of Sarichef, causing a rise in the sea level. A young girl and her family are uprooted and relocated to the mainland, leaving their community still at risk. Based on the true experiences of the Iñupiat people, the young girl and her grandfather worry about what comes next as they abandon their home and leave their community.

Two Degrees by Alan Gratz

Two Degrees by Alan Gratz. A young girl stands in the middle of a burning forest.
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In Two Degrees, four kids are faced with the three biggest climate disasters: wildfires, melting ice caps, and flooding. Akira must outrun the wildfires as she horseback rides in the California woods. Owen and George must protect their home from an agitated polar bear who just lost its own habitat. Natalie, caught in a hurricane in Miami, must fight to survive as she’s swept out of the shelter of her home and into the dangerous floodwaters. As these four kids’ lives are changed forever, they inspire readers to take action and ensure this fiction doesn’t become a reality.

Read with intention and add these books to your TBR today!


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