Nature-themed children’s book recommendations

Looking for some children’s books to help spark your young one’s love of nature? We’ve got you covered.

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Drew Ball
State Director, Environment North Carolina

Author: Drew Ball

State Director, Environment North Carolina

(919) 833-0015

Started on staff: 2017
B.A., North Carolina State University, M.P.A., American University

Drew directs Environment North Carolina’s efforts to promote clean air, clean water, clean energy and open spaces in North Carolina. Prior to assuming his current role, Drew served as director of government relations for North Carolina’s Sierra Club.

Looking for some children’s books to help spark your young one’s love of nature? We’ve got you covered. 

These are my top picks for children in the preschool through elementary school age group: 

Myrtle The Turtle by Celeste Meiffren-Swango - Written by the director of Environment Oregon, this wonderful tale focuses on our need to address plastic waste pollution in order to save sea creatures. The story stars Myrtle, who is a young, adventurous sea turtle in the Pacific Ocean. She mistakes a plastic bag for a jellyfish before realizing she needs our help to keep her ocean home safe and beautiful.

Bee & Me  by Alison Jay - A little girl befriends a bee who takes her on a journey of discovery, revealing ways in which every child can take to aid in conservation. This beautiful, wordless picture book brings a personal note to the plight of the honeybee and offers a message of hope. 

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies - This gorgeously illustrated volume of poetry, sprinkled with facts and fun things to do, sows an early love for nature in all its beauty and wonder.

Save the Ocean by Bethany Stahl - A brilliant ocean story about two friends working together to discover that one of the character’s favorite foods may not be what it seems!

A Warmer World: From Polar Bears to Butterflies, How Climate Change Affects Wildlife by Caroline Arnold - A thought-provoking and informative species-by-species account of how global climate change has affected wildlife over the past several decades.

The Problem of the Hot World by Pam Bonsper - Bear, fox, deer, mole and owl set off on an action-packed adventure as they search to solve a pressing problem: Their forest is getting too hot.  This is a great book to start the global warming discussion and help children understand its impacts.

Don’t Let Them Disappear: 12 Endangered Species Across the Globe by Chelsa Clinton - This book introduces young readers to a selection of endangered animals, sharing what makes them special -- and also what threatens them.

I Am Earth: An Earth Day Book for Kids, by Rebecca McDonald - This volume introduces kids to the basic concepts of earth science while also encouraging the importance of taking care of our special planet through environmental awareness and sustainability.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss - A classic, this beloved story follows the Lorax as he “speaks for the trees.” It’s a timeless tale that reminds us that just one small seed, or one small child, can make a difference. 

The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth: Understanding Our World & Its Ecosystems by Rachel Ignotofksy - An illustrated tour of the planet, Ignotofksy’s work explores ecosystems large and small -- from reefs, deserts and rainforests to a single drop of water. This book makes earth science accessible and entertaining through art, maps and infographics. 

Over & Under The Pond by Kate Messner - In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. 

Grow: A Family Guide to Growing Fruits & Vegetables by Ben Raskin - A delightful guide -- packed with games, activities, and extras -- that will satisfy the garden-curious and get families excited about growing their own fruits and vegetables.

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown - While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world. Red-headed Liam can also be spotted on every page, adding a clever seek-and-find element to this captivating picture book.

The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever by H. Joseph Hokins - This true story introduces children to green-thumbed pioneer and activist Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens.

Drew Ball
State Director, Environment North Carolina

Author: Drew Ball

State Director, Environment North Carolina

(919) 833-0015

Started on staff: 2017
B.A., North Carolina State University, M.P.A., American University

Drew directs Environment North Carolina’s efforts to promote clean air, clean water, clean energy and open spaces in North Carolina. Prior to assuming his current role, Drew served as director of government relations for North Carolina’s Sierra Club.