Explorers: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about explorers?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to explorers. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about explorers.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about explorers, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Dear Yeti to popular sellers like The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me to some of our favorite hidden gems like Sam & Dave Dig a Hole.

We hope this list of kids books about explorers can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Explorers

This Little Explorer book
#1
This Little Explorer
Written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Learn all about the most influential explorers who searched the world far and wide in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for pioneers-in-training! Little explorers discover a great big world. The follow up to This Little President, now even the youngest adventurers can learn about the greatest explorers in history with this bright and playful board book. Highlighting ten memorable pioneers, parents and young discoverers alike will love sharing this fun historical primer full of age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.

Off & Away book
#2
Off & Away
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

How would you get mail if you lived in the middle of the sea? It’s Jo’s dad’s job to deliver it, taking bottles wherever they need to go. He always comes home with exciting stories to tell-but Jo is far too afraid to go out on the ocean herself. Until Dad gets a bad sea cold, that is. With no one but Jo to deliver the bottles, she must find her courage and set sail alone. As she embarks on her mission, her fears just might be replaced with new friendships . . . and grand stories of her own. With beautiful, atmospheric art and endearing new characters by author-illustrator Cale Atkinson, this picturebook is a treasure.

A House That Once Was book
#3
A House That Once Was
Written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The dynamic duo of Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Award–winning illustrator Lane Smith team up to tell a delightful story about a boy and a girl who explore an abandoned house and imagine who might have lived there in A House That Once Was. Deep in the woods is a house just a house that once was but now isn’t a home. Who lived in that house? Who walked down its hallways? Why did they leave it, and where did they go? Two children set off to find the answers, piecing together clues found, books left behind, forgotten photos, discarded toys, and creating their own vision of those who came before.

Jane Foster's Cities: London book
#4
Jane Foster's Cities: London
Written by Jane Foster
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Introduce little ones to London in this bold and graphic board book by illustrator and textile designer Jane Foster. In this beautiful and sophisticated board book, children will be introduced to bold images of London, such as Big Ben, Tower Bridge, fish and chips, and more!

Edmund Unravels book
#5
Edmund Unravels
Written and illustrated by Andrew Kolb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This delightful debut picture book celebrates both the joy of venturing into the unknown and the value of staying connected to loved ones back home. It stars a little ball of yarn who can’t resist the tug of adventure, the twists and turns of discovery, or the comfort of family and friends.

Edmund is a ball of yarn and a ball of energy! From the time he could roll, he’s been bouncing down his front steps to explore, and his parents have always been right there to reel him in and roll him back up. But now that he’s bigger, Edmund is ready to discover the wonders of the world. Everything is new and exciting—but sometimes, even a little ball of yarn gets lonely, and there’s nothing better than the comfort of being around those he cares about.

Magnolia's Magnificent Map book
#6
Magnolia's Magnificent Map
Written by Lauren Bradshaw and illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

?In this second book in the Walnut Animal Society series, following Henry’s Bright Idea—Magnolia the Bunny explores the grove with her friends Margaux the Kitty and Chester the Raccoon, looking for that elusive, special place that will complete her map. Deep in the shade of a walnut grove stands a tall tree house. A delightful group of friends gathers here. They call themselves the Walnut Animal Society. Their mission is to create and to always remain curious. The Walnut Animal Society is busy preparing for a very special event. The Society Soiree comes just once a month, when the night is clear and the stars are bright. Tonight it is Magnolia the Bunny’s turn to share. Everyone is excited. Everyone but Magnolia, that is. It has taken her months of exploring and sketching and picture-snapping to create her latest map—a map of the walnut grove. There’s just one problem. Her map isn’t finished. Magnolia’s map is missing a spot. Will she finish it in time?

Go for the Moon book
#7
Go for the Moon
Written and illustrated by Chris Gall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

For the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, a step-by-step explanation of how the Apollo 11 spacecraft worked as told by a young enthusiast.The Apollo 11 astronauts have prepared carefully for their attempt to be the first men to land on the moon. The young narrator of this book has prepared carefully, too: he explains the design of the spacecraft, the flight from the earth to the moon, and the drama of touching down - while shadowing the astronaut’s voyage with one of his own. Go for the Moon! captures the fascinating detail and inspiring adventure of the moon landing. It is a captivating celebration of one of humankind’s greatest technical achievements and most extraordinary feats of exploration.

Hopper and Wilson book
#8
Hopper and Wilson
Written and illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A playful tale about friendship and home

“What,” Hopper asks his little friend Wilson, “do you think it’s like at the end of the world?” Hopper, the blue elephant, imagines a staircase to the moon, while Wilson, the yellow mouse, hopes for an endless supply of lemonade. So the two sail off in a boat made of paper . . . only to discover they already have everything they could wish for in each other, and at home. Maria van Lieshout’s adorable new picture book tugs at heartstrings, inspires discussion, and reminds us all how good returning home can feel.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole book
#9
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

The Quest for Z book
#10
The Quest for Z
Written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

From an award-winning author comes a picture book biography that feels like Indiana Jones for kids!

British explorer Percy Fawcett believed that hidden deep within the Amazon rainforest was an ancient city, lost for the ages. Most people didn’t even believe this city existed. But if Fawcett could find it, he would be rich and famous forever. This is the true story of one man’s thrilling, dangerous journey into the jungle, and what he found on his quest for the lost city of Z.

Books About Explorers and Friendship

Hopper and Wilson book
#1
Hopper and Wilson
Written and illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A playful tale about friendship and home

“What,” Hopper asks his little friend Wilson, “do you think it’s like at the end of the world?” Hopper, the blue elephant, imagines a staircase to the moon, while Wilson, the yellow mouse, hopes for an endless supply of lemonade. So the two sail off in a boat made of paper . . . only to discover they already have everything they could wish for in each other, and at home. Maria van Lieshout’s adorable new picture book tugs at heartstrings, inspires discussion, and reminds us all how good returning home can feel.

Magnolia's Magnificent Map book
#2
Magnolia's Magnificent Map
Written by Lauren Bradshaw and illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

?In this second book in the Walnut Animal Society series, following Henry’s Bright Idea—Magnolia the Bunny explores the grove with her friends Margaux the Kitty and Chester the Raccoon, looking for that elusive, special place that will complete her map. Deep in the shade of a walnut grove stands a tall tree house. A delightful group of friends gathers here. They call themselves the Walnut Animal Society. Their mission is to create and to always remain curious. The Walnut Animal Society is busy preparing for a very special event. The Society Soiree comes just once a month, when the night is clear and the stars are bright. Tonight it is Magnolia the Bunny’s turn to share. Everyone is excited. Everyone but Magnolia, that is. It has taken her months of exploring and sketching and picture-snapping to create her latest map—a map of the walnut grove. There’s just one problem. Her map isn’t finished. Magnolia’s map is missing a spot. Will she finish it in time?

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole book
#3
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Kitty Cones: What Makes Us Happy? - Discover all the little things that make the Kitty Cones happy in this sweet book of illustrations from Ralph Cosentino. Life is full of happy moments, from playing on the beach to chasing rainbows, and even running outside when it sprinkles! Join best friends Miyu, Yumi, and Koko as they discover what makes them happy. Filled with clever and endearing art from author and illustrator Ralph Cosentino, this Kitty Cones book teaches kids to value friendship, help others, and enjoy the little things in life.

  2. Return - Welcome the much-anticipated finale of Caldecott Honoree Aaron Becker’s wordless trilogy—a spectacular, emotionally satisfying story that brings its adventurer home. Failing to get the attention of her busy father, a lonely girl turns back to a fantastic world for friendship and adventure. It’s her third journey into the enticing realm of kings and emperors, castles and canals, exotic creatures and enchanting landscapes. This time, it will take something truly powerful to persuade her to return home, as a gripping backstory is revealed that will hold readers in its thrall. Caldecott Honor winner Aaron Becker delivers a suspenseful and moving climax to his wordless trilogy, an epic that began with the award-winning Journey and continued with the celebrated follow-up Quest.

  3. The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me - From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG! The Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company certainly doesn’t. They don’t need a pail, either, because they have a pelican with a bucket-sized beak. With a monkey to do the washing and Billy as their manager, this business is destined for success. Now they have their big break—a chance to clean all 677 windows of the Hampshire House, owned by the richest man in all of England! That’s exciting enough, but along the way there are surprises and adventures beyond their wildest window-washing dreams.

  4. Baby Bear's Book of Tiny Tales - Great for fans of the Little Bear series, this collection of four sweet stories of friendship and discovery makes a perfect new baby gift. This collection of simple, short, and irresistibly sweet stories about Baby Bear finding things—and figuring out what to do with them—includes “Baby Bear Finds a Book,” “Baby Bear Finds a Flower,” “Baby Bear Finds a Baby Bird,” and “Baby Bear Finds a Friend.” Charmingly written and illustrated by celebrated artist David McPhail, the impeccably classic feel of the text and art will take readers back to Sendak’s Little Bear and Lobel’s Frog and Toad books.

Want to see more children's books about friendship?

Books About Explorers and Famous Places

Jane Foster's Cities: London book
#1
Jane Foster's Cities: London
Written by Jane Foster
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Introduce little ones to London in this bold and graphic board book by illustrator and textile designer Jane Foster. In this beautiful and sophisticated board book, children will be introduced to bold images of London, such as Big Ben, Tower Bridge, fish and chips, and more!

Above Chicago book
#2
Above Chicago
Written by Robert Cameron and illustrated by Nina Gruener and Robert Cameron
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-5

Cam explores Chicago from his plane, highlighting the city’s stadiums, parks, homes, and marinas.

Los Angeles Is . . . book
#3
Los Angeles Is . . .
Written by Elisa Parhad and illustrated by Alexander Vidal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Los Angeles is . . . surfing waves and fashion faves, citrus fruits and long commutes, lowrider cruising and poolside snoozing, zipping cars and Hollywood stars. From taco trucks to tar pits, this stylish primer to California’s City of Angels, illustrated by Alexander Vidal, is spot-on for toddlers and first-time travelers.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Above San Francisco - Join young Cam as he explores San Francisco from Above. His imagination affords him the flight of a lifetime as he takes off from his neighborhood of Painted Ladies and soars high above the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, the Transamerica Building, the constant and mysterious fog, crooked Lombard Street, the Ferry Building and more! The beloved photographs of Robert Cameron and his hometown of San Francisco take on a child-like wonder when viewed through the eyes of Cam.

  2. Snail Mail - A long, long time ago, before email and texting, the mail was delivered in a much slower way-it was called Snail Mail (because some thought it was delivered by a snail). Although it took much longer, everyone agreed that letters were a little more special when they were delivered by Snail Mail. They might be handwritten. They might include a drawing. They might even contain a surprise inside! One such letter was sent by a Girl to the Boy she loved, and it was up to four special snails to deliver her card across the country. The snails trek across the country-through desert heat and dangerous blizzards, across mountains and plains, through cities and forests-and along the way, they find that taking time to slow down and look around makes the journey all the more beautiful. Snail Mail’s playful and educational story encourages kids to have slow living, and to approach life with determination and wonder. Julia Patton’s rich illustrations showcase America’s diverse terrain and national monuments from coast to coast. Kids and parents alike will delight in this celebration of America’s beauty and the power of a simple handwritten letter.

Want to see more children's books about famous places?

Books About Explorers and Outer Space

Midnight on the Moon book
#1
Midnight on the Moon
Written by Mary Pope Osborne and illustrated by Sal Murdocca
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The magic treehouse takes Jack and Annie to a moon base in the future where they continue to search for the fourth thing they need to free their friend Morgan from the magician’s spell.

Go for the Moon book
#2
Go for the Moon
Written and illustrated by Chris Gall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

For the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, a step-by-step explanation of how the Apollo 11 spacecraft worked as told by a young enthusiast.The Apollo 11 astronauts have prepared carefully for their attempt to be the first men to land on the moon. The young narrator of this book has prepared carefully, too: he explains the design of the spacecraft, the flight from the earth to the moon, and the drama of touching down - while shadowing the astronaut’s voyage with one of his own. Go for the Moon! captures the fascinating detail and inspiring adventure of the moon landing. It is a captivating celebration of one of humankind’s greatest technical achievements and most extraordinary feats of exploration.

Garcia and Colette Go Exploring book
#3
Garcia and Colette Go Exploring
Written by Hannah Barnaby and illustrated by Andrew Joyner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Exploring outer space and the ocean is exciting, but what if you left something very important at home?

Best friends Garcia and Colette are eager to go exploring, only they can’t agree on where to go. Garcia loves everything about space (Stars! Planets!)­ and Colette is obsessed with the sea (Waves! Fish!).

Staying home is not an option, so they each get busy. Garcia builds a rocket ship that’s snazzy and silver. Colette’s shiny submarine is perfect for deep-sea dives. And they wish each other well on their travels.

It turns out the Milky Way really is amazing and the ocean floor is truly spectacular, but Garcia and Colette both realize they left something very important back home.

Exploring your favorite place can be terrific, but maybe the company is more important than the destination.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Life on Mars - In this sneaky, silly picture book for fans of Oliver Jeffers and Jon Klassen, an intrepid-but not so clever-space explorer is certain he’s found the only living thing on Mars. A young astronaut is absolutely sure there is life to be found on Mars. He sets off on a solitary mission, determined to prove the naysayers wrong. But when he arrives, equipped with a package of cupcakes as a gift, he sees nothing but a nearly barren planet. Finally, he spies a single flower and packs it away to take back to Earth as proof that there is indeed life on Mars. But as he settles in for the journey home, he cracks open his cupcakes-only to discover that someonehas eaten them all! Readers will love being in on the secret- Unbeknownst to the explorer, a Martian has been wandering through the illustrations the whole time-and he got himself a delicious snack along the way.

  2. The Skies Above My Eyes - Have you ever looked up and wondered what’s going on high up in the skies above your eyes? Take a journey up into the air, through the atmosphere, way out into space, and back down to Earth in this richly illustrated concertina book. Readers will zoom past the technology that fills our skies, from helicopters, fighter jets, weather balloons, and satellites, hang-gliders and hot-air balloons. They’ll also discover the insects and animals that whizz through the skies, explore the layers of the atmosphere, and travel through the solar system and out to the galaxies far beyond. Following on from The Street Beneath My Feet, which dug down to the centre of the Earth, this expansive concertina book opens out to an impressive 2.5 metres, perfect for inquisitive young minds.

  3. Curiosity - Maybe you remember when a little robotic spacecraft landed on a far-off planet. On August 6, 2012, the rover Curiosity touched down on the rocky surface of Mars—and now she’s ready to guide you through her journey firsthand. From idea to creation and beyond, this fact-filled, stylish book introduces readers to Curiosity and her mission: to discover more about the red planet and search for evidence of life. How did Curiosity get her name? What tools does she use to carry out her tasks? In her own voice, the popular NASA rover tells how and why she traveled more than 350,000,000 miles to explore a planet no human has ever visited . . . and what she’s been doing there. In his debut picture book, Markus Motum brings Curiosity’s story to life in vivid color: the deep blues of space set off the warm, rusted hues of Mars’s dusty red surface, marking this lovable rover and her mission as something special—truly a world apart.

  4. Above and Beyond - Since NASA was established in 1958, it has landed rovers on distant planets and launched telescopes deep into space—all so that we can look back to the beginning of time. Through stunning images provided by NASA and fascinating profiles and sidebars of lesser known contributors to the NASA program, young space fans will learn how NASA started, how it faced challenges along the way, how much it has achieved, and how it will continue to move forward in the future. NASA’s boundless curiosity and urge to explore lies at the heart of the human adventure. NASA rises to the urgent challenges we face, using its massive reach and expertise to find answers to vital questions like: How can we learn to live in a more extreme natural environment? Inspired by Rory Kennedy’s documentary of the same name (airing 10/2018), Above and Beyond aims to leave audiences hopeful and inspired about the future of our planet—and convinced that NASA is essential to our continued survival as we mark its important anniversaries and dream of new discoveries to come.

Want to see more children's books about outer space?

Books About Explorers and Animals

Old MacDonald Had a Farm in Oregon book
#1
Old MacDonald Had a Farm in Oregon
Written by Forrest Everett and illustrated by Mary Sergeeva
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Old MacDonald had a farm . . . in Oregon! In this delightful Oregon twist on the familiar farm tune, the sea lion goes bark bark here, the beaver goes chuck chuck there, and everywhere’s there’s lots of Oregon pride. This chunky layered board book cleverly reveals each Oregon animal and, when closed, forms an adorable pickup truck! Friendly Oregon animals and scenery fill the pages of this irresistible book for kids.

What's the Difference? book
#2
What's the Difference?
Written by Emma Strack and illustrated by Guillaume Plantevin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

What distinguishes a mandarin orange from a clementine, an iris from a pupil, a tornado from a cyclone, and a bee from a wasp? The difference is in the details! This content-rich illustrated extravaganza distills the distinctions between an impressive collection of pairs—from animals to food to geography and more—offering enlightening trivia, amusing tidbits, and unforgettable facts in a highly browsable format. Young readers can dip in quickly to feed their curiosity, or delve into the details and stay awhile. With a bold, graphic art style and an accessible, smart text, this miscellany collection will enrich probing minds (or is it “brains”?!).

Natural World book
#3
Natural World
Written and illustrated by Mike Jolley and Amanda Wood
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

A first introduction to the natural world that looks at the myriad ways in which plants and animals have adapted to give themselves the best chance of survival. Natural World explores and explains why living things look and behave the way they do in a series of visually compelling information charts.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Song of the Wild - An extensive look at nature in verse. An essential introduction to the animal world with exquisitely modern illustrations.

  2. Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear - At first glance, a wild animal’s appearance may seem simple. But there is fascinating science behind every part of an animal’s physique—from its nose to its toes! Celebrated author Jennifer Ward explores different kinds of fur, feathers, skin, and scales in this nonfiction picture book that’s truly like no other. From porcupines and polar bears to octopuses and owls, you’ll never see animal outerwear the same way again!

  3. It's an Orange Aardvark! - Acclaimed New York Times-bestselling picture book creator Michael Hall delivers a funny and suspenseful story about colors, ants, aardvarks, and rainbows that will appeal to Lois Ehlert fans and fans of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. Another winner from the author of My Heart Is Like a Zoo, Perfect Square, and Cat Tale! Five carpenter ants at home in their tree stump hear a noise. What is it? One ant thinks it is a hungry aardvark lurking outside the stump, just waiting to eat them. One ant makes a hole in the stump to see. Orange light floods the stump—it’s not an aardvark, proclaims the ant chorus. It’s orange! So what is lurking outside the stump? This very funny picture book features die-cut holes on almost every page, suspenseful page turns, a wonderful surprise ending, and an introduction to a rainbow of colors. It’s an Orange Aardvark! is a tour de force for Michael Hall, the acclaimed and bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo, Perfect Square, and Cat Tale.

  4. Let's Feed the Ducks! - When a brother and sister go on a walk to feed the ducks, they come across many different animals with different sounds—but where are the quacking ducks? Young readers will learn to identify and connect different animals and sounds in this delightful and engaging story.

Want to see 8 more children's books about explorers and animals?

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Books About Explorers and Nature

Dad and Me in the Morning book
#1
Dad and Me in the Morning
Written by Patricia Lakin and illustrated by Robert G. Steele
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Early one morning, a young boy wakes to the light of his alarm clock. He puts on his hearing aids and clothes, then goes to wake his father. Together they brave the cold as they walk down the dirt road that leads to the beach. Lakin’s understated story reminds readers that sometimes the best way to communicate doesn’t involve words, while Steele’s watercolor illustrations show that beauty is never far away.

Off the Track book
#2
Off the Track
Written by Cristy Burne
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

From the author of To the Lighthouse comes a new adventure for young readers about falling in love with the bush, and with hiking and being in the wild. It’s about disconnecting from technology and discovering yourself. Harry’s perfect life was straying way off-track. He looked pleadingly at Mum. Surely she could see? Spending an entire weekend tramping around stinking-hot, snake-filled scrub was a horrible mistake. But doing it without a phone? That was just brutal. As it turns out, it was only the beginning …

Rocks book
#3
Rocks
Written by Carol Lawrence and illustrated by Francesco Zito
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

What are rocks? How are rocks formed? Why do some of them glitter? Baby Explorer encourages little ones to explore the world around them, through their five senses of seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, or tasting.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Outside - Who does this footprint belong to? What is this worm up to? What is the name of this tree? Even if we live in the city, nature is still all around us: clouds and stars, trees and flowers, rocks and beaches, birds, reptiles or mammals. What are we waiting for? Let’s jump off the couch and begin exploring! Created in collaboration with a team of Portuguese experts, this book, which won the coveted Bologna Regazzi award, aims to arouse your curiosity about fauna, flora and other aspects of the natural world. It includes suggestions for activities and many illustrations to help the whole family get started, leave the house, and go out to discover - or simply admire - the amazing world that exists outdoors.

  2. Nature's Day - Discover the world of wonder on your doorstep with this first book of nature.

  3. See Hear - This innovative flip-format picture book is a sequel to the best-selling and CBCA Notable Book for 2017, Smile Cry. Piglet, Bunny and Cat return in a charming, whimsical sensory adventure that encourages kids to explore the multitude of ways that they can engage with the world around them, particularly via the senses of sight and sound. From watching ‘squiggly rain’ on a window to pointing out ‘heavenly horses’ in the clouds, from hearing ‘buzzing blossoms’ as bees collect pollen and nectar to ‘hot pan sizzles’ as a favourite meal is prepared, See Hear invites us to open our eyes and ears to the everyday magic that surrounds us. Younger kids will respond to the soft whimsical illustrations, while older readers will enjoy the onomatopoeic wordplay. Perfect for ages 3 and up, this is a book that will captivate children and parents alike.

  4. Bugs - What are bugs? Are all bugs insects? What role do they play in our world? Baby Explorer encourages little ones to explore the world around them, through their five senses of seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, or tasting.

Want to see 11 more children's books about explorers and nature?

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Books About Explorers and The Ocean

Inky's Amazing Escape book
#1
Inky's Amazing Escape
Written by Sy Montgomery and illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Learn all about Inky the Octopus, an international sensation known for escaping from the New Zealand aquarium in April 2016, in this adorable picture book from National Book Award nominee and octopus lover Sy Montgomery. Inky had been at the New Zealand aquarium since 2014 after being taken in by a fisherman who found him at sea. Inky had been getting used to his new environment, but the staff quickly figured out that he had to be kept amused or he would get bored. Then one night in 2016 Inky, about the size of a basketball, decided he’d had enough. He slithered eight feet across the floor and down a drainpipe more than 160 feet long to his home in the sea. Acclaimed author Sy Montogmery reminds readers that Inky didn’t escape—but instead, like the curious animal he is, wanted to explore the rest of the vast ocean he called his home.

Flying Deep Climb Inside Deep Sea Submersible ALVIN book
#2
Flying Deep Climb Inside Deep Sea Submersible ALVIN
Written by Michelle A. Cusolito and illustrated by Nicole Wong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Climb aboard Alvin, the famous deep-sea submersible credited with helping to find the Titanic, and take a trip two miles down to the bottom of the ocean. Experience a day in the life of an Alvin pilot, diving two miles down to explore the seafloor, collect samples, and conduct research. Along the way, discover what one wears, eats, and talks about during a typical eight-hour trip in a underwater craft, and find out more about the animals that live deep in our oceans.

In expressive, poetic language and gorgeous illustrations, the mysteries of the deep sea are revealed. Backmatter includes an author’s note about researching this book, a glossary, and suggested further reading.

Little Explorers: Under the Sea book
#3
Little Explorers: Under the Sea
Written and illustrated by Little Bee Books
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Introducing the next book in the LITTLE EXPLORERS series, an interactive nonfiction series for curious youngsters. With more than 30 flaps, UNDER THE SEA provides little ones with hands-on fun! UNDER THE SEA is a lively introduction to all types of sea creatures, where children can lift the flaps to learn about all types of amazing animals and the environment they live in. Young readers will be amazed as they find out all about the coral reef, open ocean, endangered animals, shipwrecks, and much much more! This book features over 30 sturdy flaps to lift, along with charming, kid-friendly artwork that introduces new concepts and vocabulary in a simple and accessible way.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Sinking of the Vasa - Newbery Medalist Freedman explores the mystery of the sinking of the great Swedish warship, the “Vasa, “ on her maiden voyage in 1628, and her resurrection from the seas centuries later. Full color.

  2. Great White Shark Adventure - Two young explorers join Fabien Cousteau and his team to get up close and personal with great white sharks in this start to a series of graphic adventure novels. Junior explorers Bella and Marcus join famed explorer Fabien Cousteau and his research team as they embark on an ocean journey off the coast of South Africa, where the world’s largest concentrations of great white sharks are found. Their mission is to investigate a sighting of a massive white shark, and tag it so they can track and protect it. Along the way, they’ll encounter whales, seals, dolphins, penguins, and a colorful array of other marine life. They’ll also enter a shark cage and come face to face with these powerful creatures. Dramatic, graphic illustrations and a compelling story help young readers discover tons of facts about sharks and other marine creatures. Children will also learn the many damaging myths about sharks, why they are so misunderstood, and what is being done to protect them from further exploitation and possible extinction.

  3. Island in the Salish Sea - This gorgeously illustrated picture book is a celebration of summer vacation and West Coast island life. Every day is different on Gran’s island in the Salish Sea as granddaughter climbs big-leaf maples, eats blackberries, explores tide pools and sandstone caves and examines ancient middens and petroglyphs. She and Gran watch harbor seals sunning themselves and Gran’s neighbor carving an eagle out of a piece of cedar while drinking fresh nettle tea. And on her way home, our young narrator sees a pod of orcas, breaching,tail lobbing and spy-hopping as she says goodbye to the island for another summer.

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Books About Explorers and Making Friends

Dear Yeti book
#1
Dear Yeti
Written and illustrated by James Kwan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A sweet and whimsical story of a perfect kid-sized winter adventure, Dear Yeti is the debut picture book of an author/illustrator to watch.

Two young hikers set out to look for Yeti one day, and with the help of a bird friend, they trek further and further into the woods, sending letters to coax the shy creature out of hiding. But as their trip goes on, the hikers find that they have not prepared very well, and though their morale is high, food supplies are low, the forest is getting darker, and a snowstorm looms. Luckily Yeti is a friend they can rely on, and though he’s not ready to come out of hiding, he sneakily finds a way to get the hikers exactly what they need when they need it.

Explorers of the Wild book
#2
Explorers of the Wild
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Boy and Bear both love to explore the outdoors. There are so many neat things to see, and so many strange things to find. These explorers are prepared for anything . . . except each other! When Bear and Boy meet in the woods, they’re scared at first. Really scared. But soon these kings of the wild realize that no mountain is too big to conquer if you have a friend to climb it by your side.

I am a Kitten book
#3
I am a Kitten
Written by Ole Risom and illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

The beloved board book I am a Kitten is back—fully reillustrated and ready to be embraced by a new generation of children. Join Kate, a curious kitten, as she plays with her brothers and sisters, explores the garden, makes new friends, and more! With simple text and colorful illustrations, this sweet story about a day in the life of a kitten will be popular with very young children.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Explorers: The Door in the Alley - This is one of those stories that start with a pig in a teeny hat. It’s not the one you’re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.) This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and there is a girl looking for help that only uninquisitive boys can offer. The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is the first book in a series that is sure to hit young readers right in the funny bone

  2. Big Foot and Little Foot (Book #1) - Hugo is a young Sasquatch who longs for adventure. Boone is young boy who longs to see a Sasquatch. When their worlds collide, they become the unlikeliest pair of best friends. At the Academy for Curious Squidges, Hugo learns all manner of Sneaking—after all, the most important part of being a Sasquatch is staying hidden from humans. But Hugo dreams of roaming free in the Big Wide World rather than staying cooped up in caves. When he has an unexpected run-in with a young human boy, Hugo seizes the opportunity for a grand adventure. Soon, the two team up to search high and low for mythical beasts, like Ogopogos and Snoot-Nosed Gints. Through discovering these new creatures, together, Big Foot and Little Foot explore the ins and outs of each other’s very different worlds but learn that, deep down, maybe they’re not so different after all.

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Books About Explorers and Imagination

A House That Once Was book
#1
A House That Once Was
Written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The dynamic duo of Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Award–winning illustrator Lane Smith team up to tell a delightful story about a boy and a girl who explore an abandoned house and imagine who might have lived there in A House That Once Was. Deep in the woods is a house just a house that once was but now isn’t a home. Who lived in that house? Who walked down its hallways? Why did they leave it, and where did they go? Two children set off to find the answers, piecing together clues found, books left behind, forgotten photos, discarded toys, and creating their own vision of those who came before.

Beyond the Pond book
#2
Beyond the Pond
Written and illustrated by Joseph Kuefler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A stunning picture book about the power of imagination, perfect for fans of Extra Yarn and Journey, from debut author-illustrator Joseph Kuefler. Just behind an ordinary house filled with too little fun, Ernest D. decides that today will be the day he explores the depths of his pond. Beyond the pond, he discovers a not-so-ordinary world that will change him forever.

Make-Believe Class book
#3
Make-Believe Class
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon and Fran Manushkin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

One cold, gray, winter day, Miss Winkle leads Katie Woo and the rest of her class on an imaginary journey, challenging them to find ways to complete their lessons on a sunny island, under the sea, or on the moon.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Invisible Garden - A young girl and her family travel from the city to the country to celebrate her grandmother’s birthday. Someone suggests that Arianne, as the only child at the party, might enjoy exploring the garden more than listening to the adults chat. Arianne is unsure what to do in the quiet garden, and she soon lies down out of boredom. But then she spots a pebble…and a grasshopper…and flies away on a dandelion seed pod into the cosmos as she discovers the freedom of her imagination.

  2. Zoe's Jungle - When Mama’s schedule and Zoe’s playtime collide, what’s an explorer to do? A quest book, a sister story, and a race against the clock, Zoe’s Jungle is a heartwarming tale of adventure and imagination.

  3. Rosa Draws - Take a fantastical ride through Rosa’s imagination where you’ll meet a purple moose, a very posh goose, a peacock wearing socks and a super-speedy fox! Rosa loves to imagine and she really loves to draw. But as her drawings grow and grow, will they get her into trouble? This delightfully fun story, told with playful text and inventive characters, has a positive message and a heart-warming final twist that will resonate with both children and parents. Perfect for encouraging creativity and exploration in any child who’s ever picked up a pen or pencil.

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Books About Explorers and Science

Charles Darwin's Around-The-World Adventure book
#1
Charles Darwin's Around-The-World Adventure
Written and illustrated by Jennifer Thermes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

In 1831, Charles Darwin embarked on his first voyage. Though he was a scientist by profession, he was an explorer at heart. While journeying around South America for the first time aboard a ninety-foot-long ship named the Beagle, Charles collected insets, dug up bones, galloped with gauchos, encountered volcanoes and earthquakes, and even ate armadillo for breakfast! The discoveries he made during this adventure would later inspire ideas that changed how we see the world.

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos book
#2
Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos
Written and illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For every child who has ever looked up at the stars and asked, “What are they?” comes the story of a curious boy who never stopped wondering: Carl Sagan.

When Carl Sagan was a young boy he went to the 1939 World’s Fair and his life was changed forever. From that day on he never stopped marveling at the universe and seeking to understand it better. Star Stuff follows Carl from his days star gazing from the bedroom window of his Brooklyn apartment, through his love of speculative science fiction novels, to his work as an internationally renowned scientist who worked on the Voyager missions exploring the farthest reaches of space. This book introduces the beloved man who brought the mystery of the cosmos into homes across America to a new generation of dreamers and star gazers.

All Aboard The Discovery Express book
#3
All Aboard The Discovery Express
Written by Tom Adams and Emily Hawkins and illustrated by Tom Clohosy Cole
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Welcome on board the Discovery Express! The year is 1937 and a conundrum is afoot: a professor on the verge of a brilliant discovery has disappeared. Can you help to solve the clues on this time-travelling adventure and track down the missing scientist? On your voyage, you’ll travel the world, see some of the most important moments in the history of transportation, meet the most brilliant engineers of all time, and ultimately unveil the design of the world’s first jet engine! ?This interactive lift-flap adventure is sure to spark the imaginations of aspiring scientists and engineers everywhere.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Karl, Get Out of the Garden! - Do you know what a Solanum caule inermi herbaceo, foliis pinnatis incises, racemis simplicibus is?* Carolus (Karl) Linnaeus started off as a curious child who loved exploring the garden. Despite his intelligence—and his mother’s scoldings—he was a poor student, preferring to be outdoors with his beloved plants and bugs. As he grew up, Karl’s love of nature led him to take on a seemingly impossible task: to give a scientific name to every living thing on earth. The result was the Linnaean system—the basis for the classification system used by biologists around the world today. Backyard sciences are brought to life in beautiful color. Back matter includes more information about Linnaeus and scientific classification, a classification chart, a time line, source notes, resources for young readers, and a bibliography. *it’s a tomato!

  2. Baby Loves Gravity - Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners. Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book explores the ups and downs of gravity. When baby drops food from a high chair, why does it fall? Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!

  3. Many Moons - Many Moons explores every phase of the moon through beautiful illustrations, and compares each phase to a different shape, like a waxing moon and a banana! Many Moons shows young children the different phases of the moon, from the new moon to a waning crescent, with a variety of beautiful, bright illustrations. Each spread features a specific phase of the moon, and compares it to different shapes, such as a cat’s tail, a banana, or a brilliant smile. The night sky is vast and beautiful, and to many children, a mysterious thing full of wonder. Why not nurture this sense of early curiosity? Many Moons introduces children to basic astronomy. Understanding the moon is a jumping off point to learning about the stars, space, the ocean tides, and so much more

  4. Baby Paleontologist - Baby Scientist is an adorable board book series that brings fun, accessible science concepts to baby’s world using simple language, recognizable settings, and vibrant art. Read them all with your baby scientist! Baby Paleontologist digs for fossils. With his pickax and brush, he discovers plants and animals that lived long, long ago. What stories do fossils tell? What did dinosaurs look like? Find out with Baby Paleontologist! Don’t miss the other books in this series, including Baby Oceanographer, Baby Astronaut, and Baby Botanist!

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Did you enjoy our explorers book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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