As we approach Earth Day, I’ve been thinking about some of my family’s favorite children’s books about the environment. I came up with a list of 10 inspiring picture books about nature that I want to share with you!
Books have such a magical way of capturing a child’s imagination and inspiring them to connect with the world around them. I’m hoping that these recommendations inspire both you and your child.
So let’s get to it!
10 Inspiring Picture Books About Nature
1. The Tiny Seed
by Eric Carle
Ideal for toddlers on up, this lovely book illustrates the life cycle of a flower told through the perspective of a tiny seed as it journeys through all four seasons.
Included is a small piece of wildflower seed-embedded paper that can be planted by the reader, tended to, and then enjoyed as flowers eventually emerge.
A sweet introduction to the life cycle of a flower!
2. Backyard Fairies
by Phoebe Wahl
If you have (or know!) a child who loves fairies, this is a must-read!
A little girl searches for fairies in her backyard and the nearby woods. She finds magical clues and evidence of fairies throughout her search. While readers are able to spot fairies and throughout the beautiful illustrations, the little girl continues to diligently search.
A magical way to explore nature and imagination together.
3. finding Wild
by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Abigail Halpin
Two urban children begin an adventure in nature, exploring the wild beauty in all that they encounter. From tree bark and stormy skies to flowers and fresh fruit, they are inspired by all that they experience.
Even as they head back to their urban homes, they see signs of nature all around them. They realize that the wonders of nature exist even in their city surroundings.
A wonderful way to show children the abundance of nature, even while in urban settings.
4. when Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons
by Julie Fogliano and Julie Morstad
Beginning and ending with the vernal equinox, we’re taken through all four seasons. Through poetic free verse and watercolor illustrations, we experience flowers blooming, rainy days, the warmth of summer sun, and autumn’s falling leaves.
Along with the visual changes in nature, we also experience the different emotions that we feel as humans.
A sweet book of poetry about the changing seasons, as well as our changing emotions.
5. the Wonder Garden
by Jenny Broom and Kristjana S. Williams
An exploration of five of Earth’s most incredible habitats, each filled with amazing creatures and stunning artwork.
We visit the Amazon Rainforest, Chihuahuan Desert, Great Barrier Reef, Black Forest, and Himalayan Mountains to experience the beauty and awe of these incredible places.
A fantastic look at some of Earth’s amazing habitats!
6. the Not-so-Great Outdoors
by Madeline Kloepper
A city girl who wants nothing to do with nature reluctantly goes camping with her family. As much as she wishes she could be far away from the outdoors, she slowly begins to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds her.
Eventually, she decides that the outdoors actually has plenty to offer, after all.
This is a great book for kids who aren’t always very enthusiastic about heading outside!
7. the Big Book of Blue
by Yuval Zommer
Yuval Zoomer is one of my favorite illustrators. His artwork is full of whimsy and detail.
This book explores the ocean – animals like sea turtles, stingrays, whales, and sharks are highlighted, as well as their specific ocean habitats.
We learn how different marine animals breathe, their survival mechanisms, which animals are in danger, and important actions we can take to save our oceans.
Yuval Zommer has also written and illustrated The Big Book of Bugs, The Big Book of Beasts, and The Big Book of Birds, which are all definitely worth checking out! And his newest book, The Big Book of Blooms, comes out next month!
8. the Lorax
by Dr. Seuss
First published in 1971, one year after the first Earth Day, this is a classic Dr. Seuss story with a creative message about the importance of protecting the environment
With silly and whimsical words and colorful, zany pictures, caring for the environment is expressed in an urgent way while still managing to be playful and ultimately, hopeful.
The message is clear: Every single person has the power to make a difference.
9. follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles
by Philippe Cousteau, Deborah Hopkinson, and Meilo So
A girl named Vivienne moves to a new home by the sea and immediately joins her class as they embark on a new project where they must identify a problem that needs solving.
While at the beach, Vivienne and a new friend discover baby loggerhead sea turtles that are about to hatch. Newborn turtles instinctively make their way toward strong light which means there’s a danger they might move toward brightly lit beach houses instead of the ocean, where they belong. Vivienne and her friend are determined to help the sea turtles and enthusiastically tell their class.
The class begins by gathering information then brainstorm ways they can reach out to homeowners to plead their case. This results in a campaign created by the students.
This story offers a powerful example of how kids can make a positive difference through research, critical thinking, problem-solving, and community organization.
This is a fantastic book to show kids just how powerful their actions can be!
10. city Green
by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
A girl named Marcy has a vacant lot smack dab in the middle of her city block. It looks bleak and is full of litter which makes Marcy sad.
But one spring, Marcy decides to transform the pathetic lot into a beautiful green space for all of the neighbors to enjoy.
A beautiful example of how neighborhoods come to life in spectacular ways when individuals join together with the goal of helping and volunteering.
I really hope that these 10 picture books are inspiring for your family as you learn about and explore nature together!
And if you’re interested in picture books that celebrate each of the four seasons, be sure to check out the following:
- 10 Lovely Picture Books to Welcome Spring
- 10 Picture Books to Celebrate Summer
- 10 Cozy Picture Books to Welcome Fall
- 10 Magical Picture Books to Celebrate Winter
Wishing your family lots of inspired reading time together!
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