25 Nature Books You Need to Read To Your Active Kid

By freshlyplanted - 5:11 PM

Inside: A selection of our favorite children's books on nature- perfect for Earth Day and every day! This book list is great for active and curious kids, and a helpful homeschool nature study resource.

He twirls around the room, rubbing sleep out of his eyes in-between karate kicks: 

"Hi-ya! Hi-Ya! HI-YA!"

He's still in pajamas, my coffee's barely sipped, and he's already full throttle

The karate kicks turn to cartwheels then somersaults.

He's been out of bed for five minutes.

Taking a deep breath, I call to him: "Hey, buddy! Breakfast isn't done yet, why don't you grab a book for us to read?"

He rolls over to our bookshelves to see what he can find. 

Taming the wild beast

It's not always easy to move as fast as our active kids (especially first thing in the morning), so enjoying a book together is a good compromise. 

But they have to love the book- otherwise they're off & running again ;) 

The ones that keep them engaged the longest spark their curiosity and laughter. They also enjoy adventures with a tiny bit of danger- like a dragon. 

He gallops back gripping a book as I quickly sip my coffee. 

Going on adventures takes fuel! 

Nature Books for Adventurous Kids

>>free book list printable at end of post!

by Asia Citro, Illustrated by Marion Lindsay

The first in this wonderful STEM series, Zoey has become a household favorite. With lots of questions (sounds familiar), she explores and investigates the answers. My teacher-brain loves her use of the scientific method, but our kid-brains just enjoy the stories :) 

By Roald Dahl, Illustrated by Quentin Blake

After Jame's parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his horrible aunts. Luckily, he ends up in a giant peach adventure with oversized insects instead. A great introduction to Dahl for kids, it's an imagination-grower and fun to read

By Barbara Cooney

Alice grows up and goes to faraway places, then finally settles beside the sea. But there's one more thing she needs to do- find a way to make the world more beautiful. A wonderful kid-friendly message about small acts of kindness and nature preservation.

By Peggy Parish, Illustrated by Lynn Sweat

If your kids aren't familiar with Amelia Bedelia, her antics are sure to cause giggles. In this book, she goes camping for the first time and learns all sorts of lessons- like pitching a tent doesn't mean throwing it in the bushes. 

By Kenneth Grahame

These friends love to go on nature adventures- when they're not keeping their good friend Toad out of trouble. Fun to read, it's easy to pick up & put down- perfect for waiting rooms and restaurants (from experience). 

By Lisa McGuinness and Leslie Jonath

Our favorite animal dictionary! The gorgeous illustrations include a quick summary for each animal with fun facts that us parents didn't even know. Fun Fact: The eye of a flamingo is larger than its brain!

by Mel Boring, Diane Burns & Leslie Dandy

A great, kid-friendly guide about animals, tracks, and trees with scrapbook space throughout to make it their own. Our daughter got a copy last year and it's filled with her notes and drawings. Much loved! 

by Hugh Lofting

Dr. Doolittle likes treating people, but loves treating animals even more. With the help of his parrot, he learns to talk their language and give them the help they really need. But how can they help him? The wording of this timeless story is great, and it makes us laugh out loud. 

by Jan Brett

An Inuit version of Goldilocks & The Three Bears. Includes Artic animals and two parallel stories that delight kids. We do add our own ending that she returns later with a new pair of boots for Baby (you'll understand when you read it!)

by Graeme Base

The animals come everyday to drink in the water hole- but why is it disappearing? So many layers of goodness in this book: gorgeous illustrations, each page is based on a different country, two layers of look & find, and a timely message on water conservation.

by Mary Ann Hoberman

Where does everyone and everything live? This rhyming treasure teaches great vocabulary- "Houses for rabbits are hutches."- and a wonderful message: "And the earth is a house for us all." A great morning read-aloud for homeschoolers!

by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, Illustrated by Ted Rand

A nighttime adventure on the farm! A Midwestern classic with farm animals and square dancing. Good for getting kids up and dancing (if you want to).

by G. Brian Karas

Watch an oak tree grow from an acorn- and the world change around it. This timeline starts in 1775 and ends in 2000. A great parallel book for other unit studies and a light history introduction. It's amazing what can happen in 200 years! 

by Robert McCloskey

Sal loves blueberries, but so do bears! What will happen when they discover each other? A classic for a reason, this is a curious exploration with a happy ending. 

by Astrid Lindgren

Six neighborhood friends explore their countryside and go on nature adventures. A great book on getting along with friends and working togetherFrom the author of Pippi Longstocking (another favorite).

by Suzanne Slade, Illustrated by Jessica Lanan

Anna Comstock became a pioneer for female scientists, and it began with exploring her own backyard. We loved learning about this amazing naturalist & gifted illustrator who wrote books and created science & nature studies for school-children.

by Dianna Hutts Aston, Illustrated by Sylvia Long
As every parent knows- yes, they are! This explores how different nests are created and what makes them unique. Highly recommended, too: A Seed is Sleepy

by Victoria Cochrane, illustrated by Guy Troughton
A guessing game for nests, our kids love to lift the flaps to confirm their answers. And when they found a nest this summer, they knew it was a hummingbird's right away. (It turned out to be a gnatcatcher's, but it was a good guess since they use lichen on the outside too.) 

by Thorton W. Burgess
Have you ever heard two birds chattering in the tree and wondered what they were talking about? This book is a fun doorway into the world of birds. You'll want one with colored illustrations or a good quality bird guide to go along with it. Other Burgess recommendations: The Adventures of Peter Cottontail, Mother West Wind "Why" Stories

by Byrd Baylor, illustrated by Peter Parnall
What does rich look like? This young girl feels poor until her family reminds her of their many blessings- including those in nature. A great book on gratitude with magical drawings by Parnall. This duo also wrote The Other Way to Listen.

by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr
A great book to read all year round. While we've also gone on night hikes, we've yet to find an owl (yet). A fun craft to go with it: Pine Cone Owl Ornaments

by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Marla Frazee
Journey through the seasons with the Peters family! Each child loves a different food- how will Mrs. Peters feed them all? A delight to read, Frazee's illustrations tell their own stories too.

by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams
One of my favorites when I was a child, we've read this over and over as a family. The characters are fantastic and it's engaging for all ages. A great book on friends, and how to be a good one.

by Julia Rothman
Explore nature through Rothman's drawings! Perfect for curious kids and homeschoolers, it's also good for traveling. Our kids love the details and always learn something (as do I!)

by Lisa M. Rose

Because active kids get hungry, this is a great beginning guide to foraging. With lots of pictures for easy identification and kid-friendly recipe ideas. Our first foraging pick: Wood Sorrel (p. 296)- easy to find with a slight lemony taste.

Free Printable: For busy families, here's a book list PDF to print for later reference. We also included a blank book list to start your own list :) 

Happy Reading!


*Quick disclaimer: We received a copy of Zoey and Sassfras to review, but all opinions, recommendations, and true adoration are our own. 

DISCLOSUREThis post includes "affiliate links". This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we receive a small affiliate commission. Regardless, we will only recommend products or services we would use personally and believe will add value to our readers. (full)

Add caption

  • Share:

You Might Also Like


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.