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Kid Lit: Books to Help Kids Cultivate a Love of Nature

Looking for ways to get your kid off screens and outside this summer? Pique their curiosity with these books on the wonders of the natural world.

June 9, 2017

Another Pacific Northwest summer is just within reach! Get to the library and check out one of these books in preparation for your summer outdoor adventures — you’ll encourage the curiosity of your little scientists and enhance your family’s appreciation for our astounding natural world. 

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

By Kenard Pak
Recommended for ages 2+

Revel in the warm glow of these stunning illustrations as you and your child read about summer’s gradual transition to autumn. The main character chats easily with the elements and creatures of the natural world, creating a sense of friendliness and compassion between humans and nature.

Where’s the Elephant?

By Barroux
Recommended for ages 3+

Starting out as a colorful seek-and-find expedition for kids, this book transforms into a unique, visual explanation of deforestation and its effects on wildlife as our main characters are forced to occupy smaller and smaller natural habitats.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

By Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad
Recommended for ages 4+

Dip your toe into some poetry this summer with this lyrical collection. The bite-sized poems and charming illustrations are a treat for any season. Here’s a taste: “if you want to be sure / that you are nothing more than small / stand at the edge of the ocean / looking out.

Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story

By Susanne Slade, illustrated by Jessica Lanan
Recommended for ages 5+

Anna Comstock was a trailblazer in the natural sciences during the late nineteenth century, a time when women didn’t become scientists and children were taught to dissociate themselves from the environment. She blended her passion for nature with art to produce detailed illustrations of flora and fauna. The ripples of her advocacy for nature education spans generations.

Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles

By Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Meilo So
Recommended for ages 5+

Written by environmental activist Philippe Cousteau, the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, and acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson, this empowering story follows a young changemaker who sets out to educate her community about the local population of loggerhead turtles.

¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! Descubriendo el bosque nublado
Olinguito, from A to Z! Unveiling the Cloud Forest

By Lulu Delacre
Recommended for ages 6+

Written in both Spanish and English, this poetic alphabet book sheds light on the olinguito, native to the Ecuadorean Andes and only identified in 2013. You’ll be entranced by the unique ecosystem of the cloud forest, which is bursting with life, including the little-known olinguito.

Planet Earth II (DVD)

Recommended for ages 6+

If you’re faced with a dreary afternoon this summer break, take advantage of the time inside and watch the BBC’s newest documentary installment, Planet Earth II. This breathtaking visual spectacle ventures into Earth’s remote habitats and explores the technology breakthroughs that made the series possible.

Grand Canyon

By Jason Chin
Recommended for ages 7+

Step out of the green, lush Pacific Northwest and into the arid, rocky landscape of the Grand Canyon. Learn about the magnificent biodiversity and resilience of the plants and animals that call this geologic wonder their home. Add this to the many other outstanding narrative nonfiction books by author and illustrator, Jason Chin.

Curious Kids Nature Guide: Explore the Amazing Outdoors of the Pacific Northwest

By Fiona Cohen, illustrated by Marni Fylling
Recommended for ages 7+

As you enjoy the much-anticipated warmer months of the Pacific Northwest, cultivate your inner naturalist by learning about the unique habitats of this region: forest, beach, fresh water, and backyards and urban parks. The scientific illustrations are striking, as are the facts about our environment. 

The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk

By Jan Thornhill
Recommended for ages 7+

The Great Auk was a magnificent bird native to the North Atlantic that went extinct due to its struggles to evolve defenses against mounting challenges from predators, climate change, and unchecked human hunting. This fascinating, yet difficult story is infused with hope in that the extinction of the Great Auk spurred the modern conservation efforts that we know today.


Ashley Braun

Ashley is a children’s librarian at the Seattle Public Library, where she is busy making customized reading lists for kids through Your Next 5 Books! Get a hand-selected reading list for yourself today (adults, too!). 

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