The best books about birds for little kids

The Books I Picked & Why

Fly High, Fly Low

By Don Freeman

Fly High, Fly Low

Why this book?

This book was a favorite from my own childhood and, more recently, I loved reading it to my own kids. The story has just the right amount of drama as the father bird searches high and low for his missing family. I also think it’s fun to see a story about birds with a predominantly urban setting (it is about pigeons living in San Francisco), though I may be biased because it’s set near where I live today. 


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Feathers for Lunch

By Lois Ehlert

Feathers for Lunch

Why this book?

Although many of Lois Ehlert’s works are now classics, I wasn’t familiar with her work until I was an adult. Her illustration style and simplicity of her books have had a big impact on my work. This book about the greatest enemy of backyard birds (the housecat) is graphically gorgeous and (spoiler alert) ends with a hungry cat and all the birds unharmed. 


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Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

By Mo Willems

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Why this book?

Though it’s kind of incidental that it’s about a bird, I’m including it because it is hands-down one of my favorite read-aloud books for little kids. It’s great for a group of noisy preschoolers and equally good to snuggle up and read one-on-one with a child. Kids love knowing better than the pigeon and really love being the one to lay down the law with this silly bird and his repeated, ridiculous questions. Because every preschooler knows that you don’t let the pigeon drive the bus


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Mama Built a Little Nest

By Jennifer Ward, Steve Jenkins

Mama Built a Little Nest

Why this book?

I recommend this book because of my love of Steve Jenkins’s illustrations. I think he is one of the great illustrators of animals for kids' books, and his work is a perfect blend of accuracy and abstraction. In this book, his illustrations are paired with Jennifer Ward’s charming text that’s well suited to read aloud to the youngest children.  


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Make Way for Ducklings

By Robert McCloskey

Make Way for Ducklings

Why this book?

This classic, set in Boston, is a nice east coast counterpart to Fly High, Fly Low, which is based in San Francisco. Also about a bird family on the move through the city, anyone who has seen a string of ducklings trailing their mother will acknowledge that such a procession is worth the traffic-stopping disruption they cause here.   


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