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The Big Topic: Conservation

The Big Topic brings together Hachette Children’s Group books across a particular topic into a handy set of resources for schools. Look out for lesson plans and activities from Reading Rocks, author videos, extracts, posters and more.

Our topic this term is Conservation. Read on for cross-curricular lesson resources based on a range of fiction and non-fiction books. The resources for each book have been targeted to a particular year group, but could easily be aged up or down.

Non-fiction books

Year 1 and 2: If Sharks Disappeared

This beautifully illustrated non-fiction picture book imagines the consequences of a world without sharks and highlights the need to protect them. Perfect for children aged 5 and up, this book is a great introduction to the food chain and some of the dangers facing our planet.

Download free cross-curricular lesson ideas and activities created by Reading Rocks for Years 1 and 2 here.

Find out more about If Sharks Disappeared here.


Year 3 and 4: The World of the Whale

Dive into the underwater world of whales and dolphins in this entrancing illustrated guide. With lyrical text and beautiful illustrations, this book explores the migrations, songs and family life of these mysterious creatures, and reveals the dangers they face from plastic, pollution and hunting. 

Download free cross-curricular lesson ideas for The World of the Whale created by Reading Rocks here.

Find out more about The World of the Whale here.


Year 5 and 6: This Book is Not Rubbish

Covering issues like plastics, pollution, global warming and endangered animals, This Book is Not Rubbish is full of top tips for kids who want to start making a difference.

With a focus on practical and achievable things that kids can do to start saving the planet right now, it’s perfect for anyone looking to set up a school eco-club.

Download free cross-curricular lesson ideas for This Book is Not Rubbish created by Reading Rocks here. Download a poster with 10 tips for starting your school eco-squad here.

Find out more about This Book is Not Rubbish here.





Extra Activities


Tutorial – How to Draw a Bear

The Variety of Life illustrator Lorna Scobie shows us how to draw a brown bear in this handy step-by-step guide.


Classroom Ideas and Projects

Activities and lesson ideas for Saving Species and The Variety of Life:

Download Saving Species resources.

Download The Variety of Life resources. 



Download free teacher’s notes and posters for Jess Butterworth’s books When the Mountains Roared and Swimming Against the Storm, these notes have been created by Shapes for Schools.

These exciting adventure stories are perfect for class reading and touch on themes of conservation and the environment.




Download Teacher’s Notes for When the Mountains Roared here.

Download Teacher’s Notes for Swimming Against the Storm here.



Download a Jess Butterworth poster for your classroom here.

Download a Big Topic: Conservation poster here.


Further Reading

A Planet Full of Plastic: And How You Can Help – a fun and engaging picture book, perfect for introducing the topic to readers aged 5+

Good to be Green – This narrative non-fiction a series of six environment education books helps children age 6+ explore green issues and find out what they can do to help the planet.

Go Green! – This funkily illustrated title explains why it’s important to save our environment by taking simple steps to reduce, reuse and recycle. Perfect for lower KS2.

Plastic Planet – A comprehensive and dynamic look at the environmental crisis of plastic pollution and what can be done. Perfect for upper KS2.