Youth Guides open up a fascinating world

What tomorrow’s leaders need to read

According to UNICEF, young people between the ages of 10-19 make up 16 percent of the world’s population. ©FAO/Wajdi Skaf


Everything we do at FAO aims at ensuring a better future. Sure, we need to tackle the huge food and environmental challenges we face today. But we always keep an eye on what that means for tomorrow. More than just quick fixes, we look for sustainable solutions that will benefit generations to come.

The future of our world depends on today’s youth. With this in mind, FAO produces a number of guides specifically for our younger audiences. The guides are fun, informative and easy to read. And funnily enough, they’re also great for introducing parents of young readers to the natural world around them. Nice pictures, no jargon, exciting adventures and great storytelling – what’s not to like? 

Left: An estimated two thirds of all land-based species live in forests or depend on them for their survival. ©IUCN/Sergio Garrido
Right: Oceans cover 72 percent of the Earth’s surface. Without them, life on Earth would never have begun 3.5 billion years ago. ©FAO/Rommel Cabrera

The tree of life

According to ancient Norse mythology, Yggdrasil, the sacred tree of life, united the heavens and the Earth while a dragon gnawed at one of its roots. Even though this is only mythology, the fact is that trees really are a uniting force… perhaps without the dragon part though. Trees hydrate the earth and pump life-giving oxygen into the atmosphere. They’re pretty good at it by now; they’ve been doing it for around 370 million years!

In The Youth Guide to Forests, you’ll learn all about trees, animals, insects and much more, from Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book to the incredible walking catfish in the forests of South East Asia. And if this whets your appetite for even more forest stories, don’t miss our Forests for Kids learning guide.

Oceans ahoy!

If walking catfish aren’t your thing and you prefer your fish in the water, then The Youth Guide to the Ocean should really float your boat. Dive in deep, but it might be tricky to get your head above water again; the average depth of the ocean is 4 km and the pressure gets to over 10 tonnes per square metre!

While diving in the depths, say hello to the 80 percent of the Earth’s organisms living in the ocean. And if you’re looking for treasure, make sure to bring a big bag! There are nearly 20 million tonnes of gold hiding in the deep blue! 

Biodiversity means the variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat. When there is a rich diversity of species, i.e. biodiversity, both plants and animals can better adapt to challenges like climate change. ©FAO/Marcello Bizarro

The Earth’s bounty

On the fascinating topic of biodiversity, you can read about genes, species, ecosystems and all the interactions that occur to make the world the wonderfully diverse place it is. In our Youth Guide to Biodiversity, you’ll also hear about the dark side of human development, which threatens biodiversity through habitat loss, climate change, overexploitation, invasive alien species and pollution.

Luckily, we still have powerful tools to preserve biodiversity. One of these is taxonomy, which helps us name and keep track of all the organisms we find in the world’s abundant ecosystems… There really is a word for everything.

Interested in finding out more? Follow the links below.

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