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Natural History: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about natural history?

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

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.

When it comes to children’s stories about natural history, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like It’s Raining Frogs and Fishes to popular sellers like You’re Snug With Me to some of our favorite hidden gems like Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt.

We hope this list of kids books about natural history 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.

Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt
Written by Carrie Clickard & illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this rhyming, hilarious romp about a little-known facet of American history, Thomas Jefferson tries to disprove a French theory that those in the New World are puny and wussy by going in search of mammoth bones.

In the New World called America big changes were a’brewing. Independence was declared with bold hurrahs and ballyhooing!

The French feel threatened by America’s new freedom and confidence, as embodied by Count Buffon who claims that the “New World was a chilly, swampy place, filled with puny, scrawny creatures, every species, breed, and race.” Thomas Jefferson won’t stand his young country being insulted, so he sets out to prove Count Buffon wrong. He sends people across the country in search of an animal or animal bones to prove that creatures in the United States are big and strong and worthy.

Hilarious, energetic, and a delight to read aloud, this book shines a light on this little-known slice of American history. Included in the back matter are an author’s note, who’s who and what’s what from American history, bibliography, and further reading.

Natural World
Written & illustrated by Amanda Wood and Mike Jolley
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.

Outside
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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.

C Is for Coyote
Written by Andrea Helman & illustrated by Art Wolfe
board book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This is a fresh and exciting approach to learning the alphabet using the fascinating animals and spectacular places of the American Southwest. A delightful mix of fun and informative facts is combined with stunning photography. “Now I know My ABCs” will never be the same again!

Karl, Get Out of the Garden!
Written by Anita Sanchez & illustrated by Catherine Stock
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

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!

  • You're Snug With Me - At the start of winter, two bear cubs are born, deep in their den in the frozen north. “Mama, what lies beyond here?” they ask. “‘Above us is a land of ice and snow.” “What lies beyond the ice and snow?” they ask. “The ocean, full of ice from long ago.” And as they learn the secrets of the earth and their place in it, Mama Bear whispers, “You’re snug with me.”

  • What in the World? - Discover nature by the numbers in this gorgeous, innovative counting book. The natural world is full of sets of numbers: from birds’ wings in twos and clover leaves in threes to deer hooves in fours and octopus arms in eights. This book uses playful rhyming text to explore these numerical sets in vibrant detail, ending with the stars in the sky—a number set too big to count!

  • It's Raining Frogs and Fishes - All the most fascinating phenomena of the sky, including rainbows, meteors, tornadoes, and the northern lights, are examined and explained in this beautifully illustrated and enthusiastic look at the natural world. 80 black-and-white drawings.

  • 1, 2, 3 Moose - Introduces the numbers one through twenty against a background of photographs and brief text describing animal and plant life found in the Pacific Northwest.

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