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Build your home library by starting here!  Aim for your home library to contain at least 50% nonfiction books.  Include a healthy dosage of nature books!  These are books that I recommend.  As an educator and children's book lover, I carefully analyze books and only recommend the best.  I look for books that accurately teach about the natural world while engaging, entertaining, and inspiring. 


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Run Wild

September 10, 2019

Run Wild is a work of art that will make your heart sing! Its lyrical language is fun to read aloud, and Wike Baby adores listening to is.  David Covell's sketch and watercolor illustrations make the excitement of nature jump off the pages, encouraging you to get outside straight away!  Wike Baby giggles with delight when we read this book together, and-- my favorite-- she howls with us when we get to the last page!  If you're looking for an energetic read aloud for home or school, don't miss this!  

Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife

August 20, 2019

You will LOVE the book Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife by Sarah Grace Tuttle, illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford!  In this book, rhythmic poetry opens readers' eyes to the wondrous, natural moments that happen around us all the time.  Raccoons pillaging trashcans, red-winged blackbirds defending their homes, ants fighting on the pavement-- if you just look, you'll witness it.  Coupled with Amy Schimler-Safford's beautiful artwork that vibrantly depicts the action of the poems, this book will delight nature-lovers of all ages!  


August 02, 2019

A completely energizing and informative read!  Honeybee by Kirsten Hall and Isabelle Arsenault was a Free Forest School recommendation that did not disappoint!  Its lyrical text was fun to read aloud and taught little and big listeners lots about honeybees through story!  Coupled with lively illustrations, we all loved it. Check it out from your library, but if you have a bee lover in your life or you're a teacher with curriculum on bees, save yourself a trip and just buy it now because you're going to want to keep it!

Finding Wild

July 13, 2019

Wild is everywhere you least expect it and it's everything both wonderful and terrible!  With a spirit of exploration, Megan Wagner Lloyd writes with all of the excitement that wild can be-- if you'll only search for it!  With gorgeous illustrations by Abigain Halpin, readers are totally drawn into the wonder of the natural world.  This one has a special spot on our bookshelf.

Books that Celebrate Protecting the Earth

May 16, 2018

Here's my book list of 6 Earth Day favorites, which can be used all year 'round to celebrate our planet.  Read the linked post for a description of each book:  Here We Are, The Great Kapok Tree, Wangari's Trees of Peace, The Lorax, National Geographic Kids: Human Footprint, and One Plastic Bag.  

Over and Under the Pond

May 09, 2018

This fascinating series by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal is such a treat!  Over and Under the Pond is an engaging journey into the pond ecosystem.  Imagine yourself in a boat on any pond in the middle of the summer.  What will you see? What will you hear? What is hiding?  In this book, you'll float high above the pond and sink down low under the water, with stunning and detailed illustrations on each page.  Its vivid vocabulary (on one page, you'll read drift, tipped, clings, and teetering) and content knowledge (you find cattails, red-winged blackbirds, caddisfly larva, shelter-- all on a single page) will have you and your little ones gaining knowledge left and right.  This is a perfect book to read before your summertime visit to a pond-- it'll increase your awareness and interest in the ecosystem you're about to explore.  After you enjoy this book, check out Up it the Garden, Down in the Dirt and Over and Under the Snow by the same duo-- they are equally beautiful. 

What Will Hatch?

March 01, 2018

We love What Will Hatch by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Susie Ghahremani!  With peaceful illustrations and an engaging design, this book introduces children to 7 animals and their eggs.  The questions and cut outs on each page encourage children to guess which animal will emerge from the egg.  Then, they turn the page to find out if they were right!  With an informational index that provides more details about each animal and its eggs, this book is sure to grow with your child. 


January 31, 2018

Sometimes we just need to change our outlook... and it will change our life.  Life would be better if we could all be like this character in the new book Now by Antoinette Portis.  Everything is her favorite.  Her favorite leaf, wind, boat, tree, tooth... and her favorite "now" is the one she is having with you.  There is beauty and love all around us if we just stop to look.  This is a perfect book for my one year old Wike Baby because it is short, but it is also great for all ages because of the wonderful message. 

Copy Of -A Rock Can Be...

November 17, 2017

A Rock Can Be... by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dajiba, has fun, simple rhyming text that makes you think about all of the divergent ways rocks are used.  I love it when books with simple text have appended pages with additional information-- it makes the book more accessible to a wider audience, like my 10 month old,  myself, and everyone in between!  Try to brainstorm all the ways you can use a rock... and then dive into this good book.  It'll give your little ones something to think about next time they pick up a stone!

This Beautiful Day

November 01, 2017

This Beautiful Day by Richard Jackson and illustrated by Suzy Lee is a new (2017) gem of a book to read to your favorite child, especially if you yourself are reading There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk (which of course I am, and I am loving it).  The book starts in black and white with three children indoors on a rainy day.  They are moved by the music to dance and play, making their way outside with umbrellas and boots.  The day transforms to sun as a rainbow of watercolors floods the illustrations.  There really is no such thing as bad weather... a beautiful day starts with us!

Full of Fall

September 28, 2017

Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre is a newly published (2017) book that I think you will love!  The text is written in poetic rhyme with vivid vocabulary and highlights all of the exciting changes that occur in autumn.  The photographs capture beautiful moments of the season and provide endless possibilities for conversations with your young child.  Not only visually and lyrically stunning, but also scientifically accurate (including a page that provides more in-depth coverage of the scientific content mentioned on each page)-- this book gets two green thumbs up from Wike Baby!  

Leaflets Three, Let it Be!

July 27, 2017

Leaflets Three, Let it Be! The Story of Poison Ivy, by Anita Sanchez will show you how to identify poison ivy in the wild.  This is super helpful for young and old alike because the pesky plant can come in so many shapes.  This book also teaches about how poison ivy fits into the ecological system.  I never realized so many living things eat poison ivy!  While showing children how to avoid itchy skin caused by the plant, they are reminded that there are no "bad" plants-- every living thing is valuable and that plants are interesting and important, too!

Mama Built a Little Nest

June 28, 2017

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward with illustrations by Steve Jenkins is a sweet book about birds' nests-- all types!  With a sing-song rhyme, each page teaches about a different type of bird's nest and its purpose.  Did you know the male cactus wren builds many nests in a row in order to attract a mate?  This book is a great way to build on your child's natural curiosity about birds.  I love what I call "layered books" like this-- you can just read the rhymed text and enjoy it on its own, or you can also read the information boxes accompanying each page to learn more.  It opens the book to a wider audience in my opinion.  For little Wike Baby, I read the rhymed text quickly and with expression to keep her attention.  I enjoyed the rest on my own!  Young and old alike are sure to be both entertained and informed by this delightful book!

Some Bugs

June 28, 2017

A board book for little hands and big brains... we're in love with Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizza with "bugs" by Brendan Wenzel!  It's super simple but embraces the Wike Baby philosophies by teaching about different insects and the interesting things they do while encouraging young readers to look for the creatures in their backyards.  Each page has simple text, such as "Some bugs hop.  Some bugs glide.  Some bugs swim." The simple text is supported by detailed illustrations of various bugs and their actions.  The last page has a drawing of each insect depicted with its name.  So fun and informative! I imagine we will have more and more to talk about while reading this book as my Wike Baby grows.  It is certain to become a favorite!

Give Bees a Chance

June 26, 2017

The narrator of Give Bees a Chance desperately tries to convince his best friend to love bees-- the only thing they don't have in common.  The illustrations are cartoonish and the dialogue between characters is silly and fun-- but also super informative!  It has "100% raw tasty bee facts inside" and will keep readers engaged and thinking.  This is a great book to read to combat the "bad bugs" narrative children often develop... especially with bees being listed as endangered for the first time earlier this year!  Bee-lovers and bee-phobic friends alike should look for this new (April 2017) book by Bethan Barton in bookstores and libraries near you!

Feathers: Not Just for Flying

June 20, 2017

We all know birds have feathers but.... Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart teaches children about the many practical uses for feathers.  Did you know that some birds use feathers to float while other birds use feathers to plunge? We are introduced to 16 interesting birds, which are magnificently illustrated with watercolor by Sarah Brannen.  The simple text on each page can be enjoyed quickly by the youngest listeners, like Wike Baby, and the more informative boxes will engage older readers.  This is a great book to build your child's interest in birds.  I believe children are naturally curious about birds and then adults squash that interest before too long... read more about how to raise little birders here.  I found the information to be interesting as an adult, so I definitely recommend this book for your nature library!  

Mosquito Bite

June 13, 2017

Mosquito Bite by Alexandra Siy and Dennis Kunkel tells two stories of hide and seek simultaneously: one between two children and one between a mosquito and a little boy.  This totally captivating book teaches about the life cycle of a female mosquito in a very engaging way, making you understand her need to bite humans!  The book includes many photographs from an electron microscope, which is an interesting feature to discuss with your child.  I recommend this book to anyone with a child who is interested in insects.  It's always great to start with something relevant.. and who hasn't been bitten by a mosquito!  A word of caution: the book goes into detail about how the actual bite occurs, so you'll want to be ready to comfort any squeamish kiddos!  This book is great for elementary school-aged children and middle schoolers alike. 

Whose Garden Is It?

May 30, 2017

Planting or harvesting your garden?  Read this AMAZING book with your children!  In Whose Garden Is it? by Mary Ann Hoberman, the gardener claims the garden is his, but so does the rabbit, woodchuck, bird, worm, butterfly...even the sun, rain, and seeds!  In beautifully written rhyme, each living and nonliving thing gives his reasons as to why the garden belongs to him.  The illustrations by Jane Dyer are vibrant, and beautiful.  It is a perfect way to open a discussion with your children about who owns the earth and humankind's roles in nature!  (Enjoy the photo, which pictures my garden as it looks having been eaten by my resident bunnies... whose garden is it, bunnies?!) . Read more about this book and about teaching children that they are part of nature here.

Henry Builds a Cabin

May 26, 2023

When you visit Walden Pond with your wike tykes, complement it with this book!  In Henry Builds a Cabin, author Donald B. Johnson tells the story of Thoreau building a cabin at Walden Pond to live simply, and Thoreau is portrayed by this lovable bear!  He teaches his friends, including Emerson, how his small home will be enough because the forest will also be his home.  There is a whole series of these Henry books, telling stories of different parts of Thoreau's life.  Check them all out at your library!

Flowers are Calling

May 23, 2017

Flowers are Calling by Rita Gray (words) and Kenard Pak (pictures) is perfect for ages 4-8, but even 4 month old Wike Baby liked the cadence of the text when I read it with expression.  It's all about flowers and their forms and functions "calling" insects and birds to help pollinate.  It teaches the relationships between plants and animals and is great for combating that "plant blindness".  the simple, rhyming main text is coupled with denser informational text, so you can dive into the content as deeply as you want.  And the illustrations are beautiful and offer lots to talk about!  This is a great book for spring when the flowers are in bloom!  

The Life Cycle of a Maple Tree

May 16, 2017

If you have a maple tree and a little one, first thing you must do is look at it every single day to notice its changes.  The next thing you must do is check this book out from the library!  The Life Cycle of a Maple Tree by Gale George.  It's simple nonfiction explaining the changes and life cycle of the maple tree.  You can compare the photos in the book with your own tree.  Great for ages 2-5 years old.  

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