Picture books are a great entry point to many difficult conversations with our kids. Read on for more about this creative project to help kids connect with and understand the global social and environmental justice goals as defined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in an age-appropriate way.
This picture book list is part of a series of picture book lists that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We’ve created a picture book list for each of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as a FREE coloring poster to track progress and explore the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with kids.
Learn More & Download The Free Coloring Poster
To learn more about the FREE coloring poster and see all 17 picture book lists, head to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Coloring Poster and Picture Book List homepage. Alternatively, simply sign up for our email list below and receive a link to download the FREE coloring poster.
What Are The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?
In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collective framework for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The Sustainable Development Goals have broad intentions to end poverty and other deprivations while recognizing the need to simultaneously improve health and education, reduce inequality, spur economic growth, and tackle climate change.
Good Health & Well-Being | United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #3
The third Sustainable Development Goal from the United Nations seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Through this component of the SDGs, the United Nations looks to increase access to quality and affordable health care for everyone, increase the availability of vaccines and other medications, and reduce premature deaths from a variety of causes. For young children, understanding the importance of basic personal hygiene and how germs spread can be good starting points for conversations about how to help others lead more healthy lives.
Videos To Understand the Global Goals
To accompany the picture book list, these videos are great introductions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (also called the Global Goals) for students in Primary and Secondary Schools.
Understand Goal 3: Good Health & Well-Being (Primary)
Understand Goal 3: Good Health & Well-Being (Secondary)
A Note On Buying and Borrowing Books
We’ve included affiliate links to each of the books below. If you purchase through one of these links, Raising Global Kidizens earns a very small commission that has no impact on your purchase price.
If you can find the books from your local library, from a friend, at an independent bookstore, or through a used book shop, those sources are ideal. Using the library is zero waste, saves money, and saves space in your home because you can read all the books without storing all the books on your bookshelves. If you’re not sure of the best way to use your local library, check out these tips to make the most of your local library. With a little exposure, your kids will learn to LOVE the library!
If you prefer to listen to audiobooks, we recommend using Libro.fm, our favorite audiobook app. We’ve tried several audiobook apps and love that Libro.fm supports independent bookstores and offers a great user experience.
Picture Books about Health and Well-Being
The following list includes picture books about health and wellness. From healthy food to spreading germs to the importance of community health care, the stories share insights into why health matters and how each of us can play a part in having healthier communities for everyone.
Mimi’s Village: And How Basic Health Care Transformed It by Katie Smith Milway
The story follows a little girl who lives in Kenya in a village without basic health care services. They cannot drink the water without boiling it because the water is contaminated. They also live in an area plagued by malaria. She and her family must walk long distances to get to the nearest health care center.
Her sister gets quite sick. They are able to get her the necessary care at the health care center so she returns to health, but the young girl is inspired to create a health care center in her own village.
In the end, the story highlights how much prosperity the health care center brings to the village, and how the nurse who visits periodically teaches the women in the village to provide basic health care services with the supplies they are able to keep in their new local center.
Ages 8 – 12 | Pages 32
Eat More Colors by Breon Williams
This fun rhyming book helps kids understand the different benefits they receive from eating a variety of foods that are of different colors. Let this book help your youngsters learn about the amazing benefits of eating right and living a healthy lifestyle.
Ages 9 – 12 | Pages 46
Fly, Doctor, Fly by Lyndsay Archer
PJ is a very curious, imaginative, and creative young boy from the rural countryside of Jamaica. When PJ comes across an injured Doctor Bird, Jamaica’s national hummingbird, he wants to figure out a way to help him fly again. What PJ doesn’t realize is that his newfound mission leads him to explore what he is truly passionate about, the field of medicine. His exposure to healthcare heroes within his own community and his mother’s love give him the motivation he needs to pursue his dreams.
Ages 4 – 8 | Pages 48
I Don’t Want To Wash My Hands! by Tony Ross
A young girl gets so frustrated having to wash her hands all the time. Her mother explains to her why it’s so important and how it helps keep her healthy. Once she understands this, she’s much more excited about doing this simple task to protect her health and that of others.
Ages 2 – 5 | Pages 32
My Magical Foods by Becky Cummings
Fruits and vegetables are so important. Help kids understand where their food comes from and why natural foods are so important to our health and wellness through this fun story that brings fruits and veggies to life.
Ages 4 – 8 | Pages 40
Right This Very Minute by Lisl H Detlefsen
A young girl is hungry and decides she needs food right this very minute. Her mother proceeds to explain to her that she needs a farmer because their food comes from a farm. This book gives children an insight into the path wholesome and nutritious food takes from farm to table.
Ages 5 – 7 | Pages 32
Blow Your Nose Big Bad Wolf by Steve Smallman
In this twist on a classic story, the three little pigs don’t let Big Bad Wolf into their home despite his genuine intentions. He has a cold and just wants to borrow a tissue to prevent his sneezing, but the three little pigs aren’t interested in helping him.
In the end, the Big Bad Wolf passes his cold to the pigs, and kids learn how to prevent germs from spreading simply by using tissues and being mindful about things like sneezing and coughing around others.
Ages 4 – 7 | Pages 24
Brush Your Teeth, Please by Jean Pidgeon
This pop-up book shows kids how different animals brush and floss their teeth. Your children can master their dental hygiene by copying a chimp, a lion, and even a shark.
Ages 2 – 5 | Pages 12
Splat The Cat Goes To The Doctor by Rob Scotton
Splat the Cat can’t wait to go to the doctor for a checkup! That is until his friends start talking about all the scary things a doctor’s visit can mean. With a little help from his mom, Splat realizes the doctor isn’t so bad and conquers his fear of the doctor’s office.
Ages 4 – 8 | Pages 24
Something Smells! by Blake Liliane Hellman
Elliot wakes up to a terrible smell one morning. He spends the entire day trying to figure out what stinks. As the day ends and he finally takes off his dirty clothes and takes a bath, he realizes he was the cause of the smell. Cleaning his body and changing his clothes were part of a good hygiene routine that helps keep his body clean and healthy.
Ages 4 – 8 | Pages 48
The Germ Lab: The Gruesome Story of Deadly Diseases by Richard Platt
Vermin are depicted as key eyewitnesses in the story of history’s biggest epidemics and pandemics. Using fun characters and entertaining illustrations, the book takes readers on a journey through the challenges and victories humans have experienced with the nastiest germs in existence. A rogue’s gallery, a secret war room, and the deadliest disease presentation make learning about germs compelling.
Ages 7 – 12 | Pages 48
A Garden in Your Belly: Meet the Microbes in Your Gut by Masha D’Yans
This colorful book takes readers on a journey into the microbiome in their gut, which is illustrated as a garden of organisms in their bellies. The book discusses how a healthy gut has organisms that like lots of different types of healthy foods and sends messages to our brains to eat more of those things. But if we eat too much junk food and feed the bad microorganisms, then those start to take over and send our brain messages to eat more junk. It’s a fun and simple way to illustrate to kids the importance of diversity in what we eat, the complexity of bacteria and other microorganisms in our guts, and the need to eat wholesome food.
Did I miss any books you love about good health and well-being? Do you have a favorite picture book about personal hygiene or how germs spread? Share them in the comments so we can check them out!
Download a Printable Book List and Library List
We’ve created a printable PDF of this book list that you can have as a resource for later. It includes images of each of the book covers as well as a single page of titles and authors to take to the library if you prefer to check out books while you visit. To download the list, drop your email address in the sign-up form below. After confirming your email address, you’ll receive the printable booklist in just a few minutes.
And if you have not done so already, be sure to check out the other booklists aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and print out the FREE Coloring Poster!
About The Author
Jen Panaro, a co-founder of Raising Global Kidizens, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. She’s also a serial library book borrower and a messy gardener.
As a mom to two boys, she is passionate about helping families be more responsible stewards to their communities and the planet. She also owns Honestly Modern, an online space focused on eco-friendly living for modern families.