The best children’s poetry collections about nature

Matt Forrest Esenwine Author Of Flashlight Night
By Matt Forrest Esenwine

The Books I Picked & Why

Forest Has a Song: Poems

By Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, Robbin Gourley

Book cover of Forest Has a Song: Poems

Why this book?

Amy has a way of making every poem feel personal, not just in the way the reader connects with the words, but in the way the subjects are presented. The poems are intimate, friendly, surprising, and comforting, whether they are written from a third-person perspective or from the point of view of the animals themselves. Beautiful to read, and beautiful to look at, readers will never look at the forest the same way again.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

By Joyce Sidman

Book cover of Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

Why this book?

Narrowing down just one of Joyce Sidman’s poetry collections as ‘their best’ is truly a monumental task, but Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold is certainly high on the list! Whether it’s Tundra Swans dreaming of “ice-blue sky and yodel of night” or a leaping, laughing snowflake with “lace sprouting from fingertips,” all the subjects of Joyce’s poems are rendered in elegant yet relatable text while Rick Allen’s linoleum print illustrations capture the ethereal tone of the book.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

After Dark: Poems about Nocturnal Animals

By David L. Harrison, Stephanie Laberis

Book cover of After Dark: Poems about Nocturnal Animals

Why this book?

Like Joyce Sidman, it’s very difficult to nail down one of David’s animal poetry books as ‘best,’ but After Dark is certainly a must-have. With poems like “Posted Property” (about the cougar), which is broken up over the course of three separate panels picture-book style, and “No Fooling” (about the raccoon), which readers will discover on the back cover, this book features fun, ingenious poetry and sidebars – and is educational yet never didactic


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole

By Irene Latham, Anna Wadham

Book cover of Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole

Why this book?

Where to begin? This book covers a wide range of animals found on the African grasslands – impalas, giraffes, oxpeckers, and more – but also includes unlikely (and unseemly) subjects like poop-rolling dung beetles and carcass-cleaning vultures. An especially nice poem, “Tree for All,” written from the tree’s perspective, extolls its virtues by sharing how rhinos, baboons, skinks, safari ants, and other creatures all make use of its resources.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

By Julie Fogliano, Julie Morstad

Book cover of When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

Why this book?

This is a very unique and beautiful book, all the way through. The poems are uniquely written. They present a unique perspective on their subjects. And the entire book is structured to read almost as diary entries – quite unique! Julie’s concept and execution are brilliant, with unusual wordplay and imagery (in springtime, “rushing daffodils / wished they had waited” and birds poke “a tiny hole / through the edge of winter”) and the varying tone of her poems – from joyful to contemplative to eager – keeps the collection fresh and keeps the pages turning. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists