Science and Nature

Nonfiction and Fiction


Adamson, Joy, Born Free (12-up). The Adamsons raise a lion cub and prepare it for release to the wild.

Arnosky, Jim, Deer at the Brook (2-6). Picture book of deer introduces nature watching to young children. Also All Night Near the Water (3-6).

----- Drawing from Nature (12-up). Artist shares not only valuable techniques for drawing but also his love for and keen observation of nature; continued in Drawing Life in Motion (12-up).

----- Secrets of a Wildlife Watcher (11-up). Tells how to find animals and get close enough to watch them by explaining how they live. Also, Wild Tracks!  A Guide to Natureís Footprints (4-up).

Aston, Dianna Hutts, A Seed Is Sleepy (4-10) A simple but informative picture-book introduction to the wonders of seeds of many kinds.

Bash, Barbara, Ancient Ones: The World of the Old-Growth Douglas Fir (5-12). Picture book captures the atmosphere of the old-growth forest in describing the life cycle of the firs and the web of life they support.

Baylor, Byrd, The Desert Is Theirs (4-up), and The Other Way to Listen (7-up). These books bring out the oneness of nature and man, and ways of getting in tune with nature and oneself.

Berendt, John, My Baby Blue Jays (3-6).  Simiple account of blue jays nesting on the author's city balcony, from building the nest through one of the young's adventures leaving the nest; illustrated with photos.  

Billington, Elizabeth T., Understanding Ecology (8-12). This basic presentation explains "how all living things affect each other and the world they live in."

Bird, Christopher, The Secret Life of Plants (14-up). Brings together fascinating research on consciousness in plant life.

Boeke, Kees, Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps (6-up). A journey in scale to the limits of space and into the atom, imaginatively yet accurately done; provides a cosmic perspective on mankind.

Boone, J. Allen, Kinship with All Life (10-up). Real-life experiences showing the oneness of all life and how animals communicate with each other and with people who understand them. Also Adventures in Kinship with All Life (10-up).

Brown, Vinson, Reading the Woods (12-up). Encourages a sense of wonder through understanding the woods, explaining the influence of climate and weather, and how man and animals fashion woods. Also Knowing the Outdoors in the Dark (12-up).

Burns, Loree Griffin, Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard (7-up). Focuses on four projects (butterflies, birding, frogging, and ladybugging) as examples of how children and adults can help in scientific research and projects where they live.

Carrighar, Sally, Moonlight at Midday (15-up). Natualist visiting Northern Alaska for a year stays for ten because of her interest in and love for the people, native and settlers. Strong readers will find much of interest concerning the Alaskan people, land, and wildlife.

Collard, Sneed B., III, The Prairie Builders (7-up). Describes the formation of the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa, where scientists, rangers and volunteers seek to recreate the prairie, 98% of which has disappeared in Iowa; ill. with photographs.

Darwin, Charles, Voyage of the Beagle, abridged by Millicent E. Selsam (12-up). Darwin's account of his formative journey around South America; edited for young people.

Duensing, Edward and A. B. Millmoss, Backyard and Beyond: A Guide for Discovering the Outdoors (10-up). A fascinating book filled with useful information as well as deeper insights into the wonders of one's own backyard; good index and bibliography.

Durrell, Gerald, My Family and Other Animals (10-up). Often hilarious stories from the author's childhood in Corfu, focusing on the natural habitat and his eccentric family and friends; very well written.

----- Three Tickets to Adventure (10-up). One of the author's many books about expeditions to collect animals for zoos, full of humor and love of nature; others include The New Noah, The Whispering Land, The Drunken Forest, etc.

----- A Practical Guide for the Amateur Naturalist (10-up). Walking tours through 17 environments illustrate many activities for the naturalist; full of hands-on knowledge.

Earth Works Group, The, 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth (6-12). Clearly presents ways children can respect and care for their home planet.

Facklam, Margery, Bees Dance and Whales Sing: The Mysteries of Animal Communication (5-10). Discussion of the ways in which a wide variety of animals communicate leads to an appreciation of the marvels and oneness of life. Also Partners for Life: The Mysteries of Animal Symbiosis (5-12).

Farre, Rowena, Seal Morning (11-up). Memoir of the author's life from 10 to 17 with her aunt and many wild pets in an isolated, North Scotland cottage. Remarkable descriptions of this silent, remote wilderness highlight her unusual adventures -- most humorous, a few sad.

Fiarotta, Phyllis and Noel, Snips and Snails and Walnut Whales: Nature Crafts for Children (4-up). Crafts using natural materials such as pods, leaves, rocks, and shells.

Frost, Helen, Step Gently Out (2-up). Very simple poetic text with amazing close-up shots of insects exactly matching the text makes this an outstanding nature book.

Goudey, Alice E., The Day We Saw the Sun Come Up (5-8) and Houses from the Sea (5-8). Sensitive handling of nature themes of day and night and of sea shells.

Gourley, Robbin, First Garden: The White House Garden and How It Grew (5-12). Picture book that tells the history of gardening at the White House, focusing on the very successful vegetable garden Michelle Obama and local school children planted.

Grillone, Lisa, and Joseph Germaro, Small Worlds Close Up (all ages). Scanning electron microscope photos of 31 familiar objects informs while stimulating the imagination.

Hatchett, Clint, The Glow-in-the-Dark Night Sky Book (all ages). Eight star maps divided by season, with stars that glow for easy use outdoors in the dark; also maps with the constellations as imagined by the ancients.

Herriot, James, All Creatures Great and Small (13-up). Memoirs of a vet in Northern England, full of humor and love of animals; first of a series.

Hirschi, Ron, Who Lives in . . . the Forest? (2-4). Lovely photos invite the very young to look at animals in the forest; one of a series.

Hirst, Robin and Sally, My Place in Space (4-8). A brother and sister pinpoint their location on earth and in the universe for a skeptical bus driver.

Hogner, Dorothy Childs, Endangered Plants (10-up). Describes endangered North American plants and how to help preserve and enjoy them.

Jaspersohn, William, How the Forest Grew (6-12). A clearing becomes a climax forest over a period of 200 years in this picture book.

Jeffers, Susan, Brother Eagle, Sister Sky (5-12). Using words attributed to Chief Seattle, this beautiful picture book describes respect and love for the earth and concern about its destruction.

Johnson, Jen Cullerton, Seeds of Change (6-11). Picture book biography of Noble Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, the first African woman and environmentalist to win this honor.

Kohl, Judith, and Herbert, The View from the Oak: The Private Worlds of Other Creatures (10-up). Tells how creatures from spiders to whales sense space and time, and communicate; written with humor.

Krupp, E. C., The Big Dipper and You (5-up). Gives readers of any age a ready and easy reference for finding our place in the physical universe. Also The Comet and You (5-up).

Kudlinski, Kathleen V., Boy, Were We Wrong about Dinosaurs! (4-10). Picture book explains how our knowledge about dinosaurs was formed, showing that information and theories continually change.

Lorenz, Konrad Z., King Solomon's Ring (12-up). Informative and amusing anecdotes about animals by one of the founders of modern ethology.

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs, Snowflake Bentley (5-7). This picture book tells the story of a Vermont farmer fascinated with snowflakes, who despite criticism and indifference discovers a way to photograph them so he can share this wonder with others.

Maxwell, Gavin, The Otters' Tale (8-14). Appealing, factual account of three adopted otters, abounding in photos; based on the author's Ring of Bright Water.

McNulty, Faith, Orphan: The Story of a Baby Woodchuck (4-up). The author finds and raises a baby woodchuck, then must help it go back to the wild.

Miles, Betty, Save the Earth! An Ecology Handbook for Kids (7-11). Discusses land, air, and water pollution, with projects that illustrate ecological problems and possible solutions.

Milord, Susan, The Kids' Nature Book: 365 Indoor/Outdoor Activities and Experiences (all ages). Informative, thoughtful, and originally presented, it sharpens observation of nature; ideal for family participation, black and white illustrations on every page.

Muir, John, retold by Donnell Rubay, Stickeen: John Muir and the Brave Little Dog (4-12). Picture book tells of Muir's growing friendship with a dog who comes with him on a dangerous Alaskan adventure.

Nivola, Claire A., Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle (5-8). Picture-book biography of the well-known oceanographer, from her childhood in New Jersey, teens in Florida, and subsequent scientific research, bringing out our connection with the lives in the sea.

O'Connell, Caitlin, and Donna M. Jackson, The Elephant Scientist (11-up). The lead author describes her work with elephants in Africa, where she discovered that elephants communicate through their feet, and in America; gives a very good idea of what field scientist does; one in a series of books on scientists.

Pepperberg, Irene M., Alex and Me (12-up). A research scientist tells her personal story, centering on studying and documenting animal intelligence in birds, especially with Alex, the parrot who amazed the scientific world with his abilities.

Poortvliet, Rien, Dogs (8-up). The author's illustrations -- some done for accuracy, others for humorous effect -- and anecdotes about his own well-loved dogs make this an unusually appealing tribute to dogs of many types.

Pringle, Laurence, Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution (11-up).  A very clear explanation of modern scientific evolution and some of the main evidence from many fields that supports it; well illustrated with photos and drawings.

-----: The Gentle Desert: Exploring an Ecosystem (8-12). Study of North American deserts, their plants and animals, and human impact on them; author of many nature and environmental books.

Provensen, Alice and Martin, Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm (3-7) and The Year at Maple Hill Farm (3-7). Character and idiosyncrasies of the animals on the authors' farm, and their experience of the passing seasons in these picture books.

Rotner, Shelley and Ken Kreisler, Nature Spy (4-7). Photographs encourage youngsters to take a close look at the world around them.

Scott, Elaine, Space, Stars, and the Beginning of Time: What the Hubble Telescope Saw (11-up).  Beginning with a brief history of the telescope, the author discusses the Hubble, its launch, and some of its most notable findings and their implications for understanding basic questions about the universe; illustrated with diagrams and striking photos from the Hubble.

Selsam, Millicent, Backyard Insects (2-5), and All Kinds of Babies (2-5). Two of the author's appealing science books for the very young.

Simon, Seymour, Hidden Worlds: Pictures of the Invisible (5-up). X-ray, scanning electron microscope, telescope, and stop action are among the techniques used to gain an unusual view of the world.

----- Look to the Night Sky: An Introduction to Star Watching (5-up). This practical text helps children grasp the awesome magnificence of our solar system and universe; author of many science books for children.

Sheldrake, Rupert, The Presence of the Past (15-up). Lucid discussion of the inadequacies of present scientific theories of causation, which are contrasted with the author's ideas of formative causation, including morphic fields.

Sidman, Joyce, Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature (2-6). Simple introduction to the spirals found in many parts of the natural world.

Suzuki, David, Looking at Plants (7-12). Introduction to plants, with projects to help children discover nature for themselves. Also Looking at Insects (7-12).

Tresselt, Alvin, The Gift of the Tree (4-10). The process of an oak dying and returning to the soil, aided by many animals and plants, is poetically told in this picture book; formerly titled The Dead Tree.

Weiss, Malcolm E., Sky Watchers of Ages Past (10-up). Thoughtful discussion of how and why ancient peoples tracked astronomical objects, using various Amerindian, Egyptian, and Ancient European examples.

Wick, Walter, A Drop of Water, (6-up). Exceptional photographs and thoughtful text explain many characteristics of water, ice, snow, clouds, soap bubbles, etc., in this picture book.

Winter, Jeanette, The Watcher: The Story of Jane Goodall (4-6). Simple retelling of Jane Goodall's childhood and work with chimpanzees in Africa.

Yezerski, Thomas F., Meadowlands: A Wetland Survival Story (6-10). Recounts the history of New Jersey's Meadowlands, from before European settlement, through its destruction by development and pollution, to its ongoing recovery through careful stewardship.


Aragon, Jane Chelsea, Salt Hands (3-7). In the middle of the night a young girl watches a deer that comes and licks salt from her hands.

Baker, Jeannie, The Hidden Forest (5-10). Collage picture book about a boy who learns to appreciate the sea and its creatures after diving through the kelp beds with a friend.

----- Window (4-10). Wordless picture book of elaborate collages shows how a little boy's wilderness home in Australia is engulfed by the city as the years go by. Also Home.

Baker, Sanna Anderson, Mississippi Going North (3-7). A journey by canoe north from the Mississippi headwaters through the unspoiled Minnesota wetlands.

Banks, Kate, A Gift from the Sea (5-11). With few words, this picture book suggests the many adventures a rock has undergone from the time of the dinosaurs till a boy finds it at the beach.

Barker, Cicely Mary, Flower Fairy Series (2-6). Accurate paintings of plants, shown with their "fairies," with poems giving information about the plants. Series includes "Spring," "Summer," "Trees," "Garden," and many more.

Bauer, Marion Dane, The Longest Night (3-10). On the cold longest night of the year, various animals in the forest seek to bring back the sun, but it is the little chickadee that finally summons it; evokative illustrations.

Blake, Robert J., The Perfect Spot (4-up). In this picture book, a boy and his artist father walk through the woods looking for the perfect spot to paint.

Bogart, Jo Ellen, Big and Small, Room for All (3-6). An exploration of scale in few and simple words, which brings out the interconnection of everything in the universe and our place within it.

Burnford, Sheila, The Incredible Journey (9-up). The friendship among two dogs and a cat, and their will to survive, on a 250-mile trek through the Canadian wilderness.

Burningham, John, Hey! Get Off Our Train (3-9). Picture book where one night a boy and his dog go around the world on his toy train, letting endangered animals join them one by one.

Carrighar, Sally, One Day on Beetle Rock (12-up). Fictionalized but scientifically accurate account of a June day in the life of various members of the animal community in the High Sierras.

Cherry, Lynne, The Great Kapok Tree (5-11). Centered on the interdependence of rainforest life and the importance of preserving the trees.

Chin, Jason, Coral Reefs (6-9). A lot of information about coral reefs and their sea creatures wrapped up in a story about a girl whose library book transports her to the underwater world.

Fish, Helen Dean, When the Root Children Wake Up (4-8). Beautifully illustrated story from the early 1900s about the waking of life in spring, its flourishing in summer, and its return to the earth in autumn.

George, Jean Craighead, Julie of the Wolves (11-14). An Eskimo girl, protected by wolves while lost on the tundra, gains appreciation of her heritage and her oneness with nature.

----- My Side of the Mountain (10-up). A city boy survives in the wilderness, learning about the plants and animals.

----- Who Really Killed Cock Robin? (9-14). An ecological detective story, where young investigators discover how interrelated seemingly separate or trivial environmental factors are.

Goffstein, M. B., Natural History (3-6). Simple, effective presentation of the brotherhood of all life.

Hiscock, Bruce, Ookpik: The Travels of a Snowy Owl (3-12).† Beautiful picture book of the life and habits of these arctic birds, told as the story of one birdís first year of life.

Holling, Holling Clancy, Pagoo (6-9). The life story of a hermit crab, beautifully illustrated.

Keller, Holly, Grandfather's Dream (6-8).  During the Vietnam War wetlands were drained, the cranes no longer came, and people planted rice.  Now Grandfather wants to flood some of the land so the cranes will return again, but will people give up the rice fields and will the cranes come back? 

Lampman, Evelyn Sibley, The City under the Back Steps (7-12). Two children become tiny and are forced to take an active role in the life of a colony of ants, whom they come to respect.

Lester, Alison, Are We There Yet? (5-11). Charming picture-book travelogue featuring a family of five who take a three-month trip around the whole of Australia in their tent trailer, seeing many noteworthy sites. 

Locker, Thomas, Where the River Begins (4-8). Beautiful landscape illustrations highlight this picture book about two brothers and their grandfather hiking from their home to the headwaters of the river that flows by their house.  

McDonnell, Patrick, Me ... Jane (4-7). Simple picture book about Jane Goodall as a little girl who was curious about everything and dreamed of living with and helping animals in Africa.  

McNulty, Faith, The Lady and the Spider (4-8). A gardener spares a spider living in her lettuce plant; brings out the value of all life.

Messner, Kate, Over and Under the Snow (3-7). In this simple, atmospheric story, a girl and her father explore the snowy countryside, observing and thinking about all the animals living above and under the snow.

Morey, Walt, Canyon Winter (11-up). A city boy, stranded in the wild for six months with an old prospector, gains strength, understanding, and a true friend; plea for environmental responsibility and appreciation of nature.

Mowat, Farley, Owls in the Family (9-12). Humorous story of a boy's love of nature -- especially animals -- while growing up in Canada.

Robertson, Keith, In Search of a Sandhill Crane (10-14). A teenager from the city matures while staying with his aunt in the country.

Rounds, Glen, The Blind Colt (5-11). Tells how a blind wild colt survives his first year in the Badlands of Montana, finally to be befriended by a young boy; fine nature descriptions.

Ryder, Joanne, Chipmunk Song (3-8). A little girl imagines that she, too, has shrunk to chipmunk-size and is taking part in the chipmunk's life.  

St. Pierre, Stephanie, What the Sea Saw (2-8).† Lush paintings of the seashore and its lives, with spare lyrical text, bring home the rhythms and interrelations of nature.

Salas, Laura Purdie, A Leaf Can Be... (3-6). Imaginative, poetic consideration of the many roles that leaves can play.

Salten, Felix, Bambi: A Life in the Woods (6-10). Classic story of a deer, and of man's impact on the forest.

Seeger, Laura Vaccaro, First the Egg (2-5). Spare, colorful treatment of natural and creative transformations, of egg to chicken, caterpillar to butterfly, paint to picture, etc. Also Green (2-5).

Seton, Ernest Thompson, Lives of the Hunted (10-up) and Wild Animals I Have Known (10-up). Beautifully told, but often sad, stories of animals by a master nature author.

Seuss, Dr., The Lorax (4-8). Fable on the importance of preserving the environment.

Simon, Mina and Howard, If You Were an Eel, How Would You Feel? (3-6). Imaginative, poetic presentation of various animals.

Skofield, James, All Wet! All Wet! (3-7). Wordless story about nature seen by a small boy on a rainy day.

Smith, E. Boyd, The Farm Book (4-9). Simple story of two city children spending time on a farm, as well as beautiful, accurate illustrations, reveal New England rural life and values in 1910.

Tejima, Keizaburo, The Bears' Autumn (2-7). Striking double-page color woodcuts depicting a bear and cub fishing for salmon at night. Also Owl Lake (3-8).

Titchenell, Elsa-Brita, Once Round the Sun (5-9). Combining science with fun, Peter's "Big Year" provides many lessons about natural rhythms and phenomena.

VerDorn, Bethea, Day Breaks (3-6). Day comes to the people and animals everywhere: forests, deserts, canyons, farmlands, seashore, and city.

Wood, Nancy, Old Coyote (5-11). Coyote has grown old and stiff, and although he still enjoys the beautiful world, he knows it's time to take his last journey; a sensitive, reassuring book about death in old age.

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