The 72 Very Best Books About Nature

Updated Apr. 8, 2019

Nature is filled with beauty, peace, curiosity, and wonder. There's beauty in every sunset, peace in the sound of rain or the waves on the beach, the curiosity of the bugs and animals, and how everything works and comes to be, and the wonder of the natural phenomenons you can find in nature wherever you seem to look.

These books hold adventures, beauty, and knowledge of nature for little ones to learn, explore, and enjoy.

The Secret Garden book
#1
The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Goodfather

The Secret Garden is one of my favorite stories from my childhood. I love Mary's self discovery and her help to Colin and ultimately Mr. Craven along the way. I love the way she gains color in her cheeks as she experiences the joy of playing and working outside and nurturing a garden and befriending a robin, joys that Martha and Dickon help her discover. I love that she feels the happiness that comes as she moves from a very self-centered character to thinking of others and putting their needs and wellbeing above her own. She also is lovingly forthright and frank with Colin, which helped him develop, too.

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth book
#2
The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth
Written and illustrated by Chris Burkard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers

This is an all-time favorite children's book for me. The artwork is stunning and the entire book is a fantastic celebration of our beautiful Earth. This is the first children's book by award-winning photographer Chris Burkard, and if you've seen his photography (@chrisburkard), it's no surprise that the message of this book is to take time to explore and enjoy beautiful moments. Children might not appreciate that important reminder as much as adults, but they'll love the pretty illustrations and the peaceful, calm of this book. The words are simple and direct, but that's part of what makes it powerful.

When a young boy in search of joy asks the Earth where he can find happiness, the Earth responds and agrees to show him the way. The boy rushes excitedly through the landscapes that make the Earth most proud--the ocean, the cliffs, the forest, the desert, the mountains, and the top of the world. But the boy soon realizes happiness is much harder to find than he expected.

Some Bugs book
#3
Some Bugs
Written by Angela DiTerlizzi and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

The illustrations in this book are phenomenal! This book shows a lot of different bugs as well as many different things bugs can do. My favorite part is that the ending encourages you to go find bugs outside, and the last page shows all of the bugs included in the books and their names. So fun!

Get the buzz on bugs in this Classic Board Book edition of Some Bugs by bestselling author Angela DiTerlizzi! Grab your magnifying glass! Find your field guide! And come hop, hide, swim, and glide through this buggy backyard world! Featuring butterflies and moths, crickets and cicadas, bumblebees and beetles, this zippy rhyming exploration of backyard-bug behavior is sure to have young insect enthusiasts bugging out with excitement!

My Love is For You book
#4
My Love is For You
Written by Susan Musgrave and illustrated by Marilyn Faucher
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The illustrations are friendly and approachable, yet absolutely gorgeous and the poetic (although not rhyming—that threw me off on the first read!) descriptions of love for a child are wonderful.

A beautiful board book that weaves the purity, strength and endlessness of love with simple joys of nature.

You Belong Here book
#5
You Belong Here
Written and illustrated by M. H. Clark
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"The stars belong in the deep night sky, and the moon belongs there too, and the winds belong in each place they blow by, and I belong here with you. So begins this classic bedtime book, richly illustrated by award-winning artist Isabelle Arsenault. The pages journey around the world, observing plants and animals everywhere, and reminding children that they are right where they belong. A beautiful title for new babies, adoptive families, and children of all ages. ----------- You are a dream that the world once dreamt, And now you are part of its song. That's why you are here, in the place where you're meant, For this is right where you belong."

Color Wonder Hooray for Spring! book
#6
Color Wonder Hooray for Spring!
Written by Chiêu Anh Urban
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is a great color book, especially for spring time. I especially love how interactive it is with the spinning wheels that change the colors of the flowers throughout the book!

Celebrate the bright colors of spring with this hands-on color-play novelty board book! Wake up ladybug, look what’s here? Spring brings red, march and cheer. Join award-winning artist Chiêu Anh Urban in this inventively visual experience that allows readers to mix and match the colors of vibrant flowers right before their eyes. Turn the wheels to create and change the bold colors of spring in this deceptively simple and thoughtfully layered novelty book that teaches the joy and wonder of color.

Baby Bear Sees Blue book
#7
Baby Bear Sees Blue
Written and illustrated by Ashley Wolff
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is one of my very favorite "color" books—it's calming, highly re-readable, unique and has amazingly illustrations! Plus, the repetition of the structure is great for little "readers".

Leaving the den as the weather warms, Baby Bear discovers blue birds, red strawberries, orange butterflies, and other colorful things in nature.

Miss Rumphius book
#8
Miss Rumphius
Written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A beloved classic is lovelier than ever! Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication. To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of two-time Caldecott winner Barbara Cooney’s best-loved book, Viking has reoriginated the illustrations, going back to the original art to ensure state-of-the-art reproduction of Cooney’s exquisite artwork. The art for Miss Rumphius has a permanent home in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Up in the garden down in the dirt book
#9
Up in the garden down in the dirt
Written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this beautiful, unique look at a garden, as it shows what's happening above and below the ground and pairs it with sweet sentiments of gardening with family and creating something beautiful together. This book shows the efforts of diligent work, and it also shows the beauty in nature around us, both in plants and animals.

In this exuberant and lyrical follow-up to the award-winning Over and Under the Snow, discover the wonders that lie hidden between stalks, under the shade of leaves . . . and down in the dirt. Explore the hidden world and many lives of a garden through the course of a year! Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt exists a busy world—earthworms dig, snakes hunt, skunks burrow—populated by all the animals that make a garden their home.

Green book
#10
Green
Written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text explore the many shades of the color green.

All Aboard! National Parks book
#11
All Aboard! National Parks
Written by Kevin Meyers, Haily Meyers and illustrated by Haily Meyers
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from Readerly Mom

This book is a great way to introduce kids to the wide variety of landscapes and natural features they can see when they visit national parks. The illustrations are adorable, and the book highlights national parks all over the country. The idea of a train journey around the country is appealing too--I don't know any toddlers who don't love trains!

From the creators of BabyLit®: Every area of the world can be mapped out for adventure, and brilliant babies love the sophistication of traveling by train. This new board book series written by the husband and wife team of Haily and Kevin Meyers and illustrated by Haily, celebrates the unique qualities of each city while employing a fun primer element to tell the story. These books will have you and baby seeing the world by train and will turn story time into a globetrotting event. Perfect as a souvenir or as part of a geography collection for brilliant babies, the All Aboard! series will be pulling into your station next!

The Curious Garden book
#12
The Curious Garden
Written and illustrated by Peter Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

One boy's quest for a greener world... one garden at a time. While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world. This is an enchanting tale with environmental themes and breathtaking illustrations that become more vibrant as the garden blooms. Red-headed Liam can also be spotted on every page, adding a clever seek-and-find element to this captivating picture book.

The Little Gardener book
#13
The Little Gardener
Written and illustrated by Emily Hughes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I loved the fun take on having a "little" gardener who tries to make the garden look beautiful by working as hard as he can, but in the end, he needs a little help from someone bigger. His efforts inspire those around him to work harder and he gets the help he needs! This book is darling.

There was once a little gardener and his garden meant everything to him. He worked hard, very hard, but he was just too little (or at least he felt he was). In this beautifully gentle tale, Emily Hughes, the celebrated author of Wild, once again transports us to a world not unlike our own, but still brimming with fantasy and wonder.

Sometimes Rain book
#14
Sometimes Rain
Written by Meg Fleming and illustrated by Diana Sudyka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Celebrate the four seasons of the year and all of the fun that comes with them with this lyrical, rhyming picture book from the author of I Heart You. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows, sometimes the sun shines, and sometimes the trees change color. But no matter what the seasons bring, there is lots of fun to be had! This lyrical exploration of the four seasons and all of the wonder that they bring is illustrated with vibrant watercolors.

The Secret Garden book
#15
The Secret Garden
Written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

BabyLit® is a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to the world of classic literature. With clever, simple text by Jennifer Adams, paired with stylish design and illustrations by Sugar's Alison Oliver, these books are a must for every savvy parent's nursery library. This book introduces your toddler to Burnett's, The Secret Garden.

Planting a Rainbow book
#16
Planting a Rainbow
Written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-2

This educational and enjoyable book helps children understand how to plant bulbs, seeds, and seedlings, and nurture their growth. Lois Ehlert's bold collage illustrations include six pages of staggered width, presenting all the flowers of each color of the rainbow.

The Snail And the Whale book
#17
The Snail And the Whale
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When a tiny snail meets a humpback whale, the two travel together to far-off lands. It’s a dream come true for the snail, who has never left home before. But when the whale swims too close to shore, will the snail be able to save her new friend?

Owl Moon book
#18
Owl Moon
Written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Celebrating 30 years of the beloved classic Owl Moon from renowned children’s book author Jane Yolen and Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator John Schoenherr! Late one winter night a little girl and her father go owling. The trees stand still as statues and the world is silent as a dream. Whoo-whoo-whoo, the father calls to the mysterious nighttime bird. But there is no answer. Wordlessly the two companions walk along, for when you go owling you don’t need words. You don’t need anything but hope. Sometimes there isn’t an owl, but sometimes there is.

Mama Loves You So book
#19
Mama Loves You So
Written by Terry Pierce and illustrated by Simone Shin
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

With lilting lullaby text and lovely illustrations, the New Books for Newborns stories are the perfect first books for new parents to share with their little ones right from the start! Start here. If only raising a child was that easy. It can be difficult in the first year to figure out what’s just right for your baby. But with this new line of books—New Books for Newborns— story time is really that simple. Designed as the first books to start reading with your baby, these just-right stories hit all the right notes with soothing texts, lovely art, and, most importantly, stories meant for sharing any time of the day. Start here. Snuggle up. It’s story time! This book celebrates a mother’s love trumping even majestic mother nature…a mama’s love is higher than a mountain and deeper than any stream.

Listen, Listen book
#20
Listen, Listen
Written by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by Alison Jay
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The beautiful, crackly illustrations are whimsical and fun, and I love all the different tableaus. This book takes you through all four seasons and the sounds you may hear out and about, encouraging to stop, listen, and be in the moment!

Introduce young readers to the sights and sounds of the year - from summer's sizzling sun to winter's crackling snow. Featuring breathtaking illustrations by internationally renowned illustrator, Alison Jay, this book will open your child's eyes and ears to the world around them!

The Tiny Seed book
#21
The Tiny Seed
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

With his inimitable bright collage art and simple text, Carle follows the journey of a seed, from being blown by the wind to taking root and sprouting seeds of its own. Full color.

Jane Foster's ABC book
#22
Jane Foster's ABC
Written and illustrated by Jane Foster
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Introduce little ones to letters in this bold and graphic style board book by illustrator and textile designer Jane Foster. In this ABC board book, children will be introduced to letters by associating them with animals, such as D for duck, L for lion, and Z for zebra.

Mrs. Peanuckle's Bird Alphabet book
#23
Mrs. Peanuckle's Bird Alphabet
Written by Mrs. Peanuckle and illustrated by Jessie Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

From the albatross to the zebra finch, Mrs. Peanuckle pulls out her binoculars and introduces toddlers to 26 species of birds from all around the world. Described by a single interesting fact or defining characteristic, each bird proves to be as unique and surprising as the one before. Ever wonder why flamingoes are pink? It’s all those shrimp they eat. Are there birds that can fly backward? Yes, but hummingbirds are the only ones! With colorful, dynamic art, and attention-grabbing text, Mrs. Peanuckle’s birds fly off the page, and in some cases, into the parks and backyards of the children and adults reading this book. Mrs. Peanuckle’s Bird Alphabet is the fifth title in a series of board books celebrating the joy of nature at home and in the backyard, from fresh fruits and vegetables to birds, bugs, and trees.

Mrs. Peanuckle's Tree Alphabet book
#24
Mrs. Peanuckle's Tree Alphabet
Written by Mrs. Peanuckle and illustrated by Jessie Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Whether they’re short or tall, pruny or smooth, full of berries or flowers or nuts, the 26 types of trees in this alphabet primer are sure to surprise and delight the youngest of readers (and their parents). After all, trees do more for us than sway in the wind. Did you know incense Cedars are perfect for making pencils? (So we can practice writing our ABCs.) Or that Katsura trees are great for climbing? (So we can discover more about trees!) With playful text, bright illustrations, and pages as strong as an oak, Mrs. Peanuckle’s trees will engage toddlers and take them on an alphabet adventure through the natural world. Mrs. Peanuckle’s Tree Alphabet is the sixth and final title in a series of board books celebrating the joy of nature at home and in the backyard, from fresh fruits and vegetables to birds, bugs, and trees.

Mrs. Peanuckle's Bug Alphabet book
#25
Mrs. Peanuckle's Bug Alphabet
Written by Mrs. Peanuckle and illustrated by Jessie Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Mrs. Peanuckle’s Bug Alphabet introduces babies and toddlers to all sorts of interesting bugs. Perfect to read aloud, this creepy, crawly adventure will engage children and parents alike with its vibrant illustrations and fascinating facts about bugs. Learning the ABCs has never been so bitingly fun! Mrs. Peanuckle’s Bug Alphabet is the fourth title in a series of board books celebrating the joy of nature at home and in the backyard, from fresh fruits and vegetables to birds, flowers, and trees.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!