The best medley of dinosaur books: poetry, pop-up, and professional paleontology

Why am I passionate about this?

I am, like so many other young people (yes, I still think of myself as young!), fascinated with dinosaurs and prehistory, and have been for as long as I can remember. What I really find interesting and engaging is the combination of the fact that they do not exist anymore and therefore are otherworldly with the fact that they are real and actually of this world!


I wrote...

Dinosaur Name Poems/Poemas de Nombres de Dinosaurios

By Steven Clark Cunningham, Valeska M. Populoh (illustrator), Myriam Gorospe (translator)

Book cover of Dinosaur Name Poems/Poemas de Nombres de Dinosaurios

What is my book about?

These are 30 poems that encourage love of language. Approved by the Paleontological Research Institution, this bilingual (English/Spanish) book received two 2009 Moonbeam Awards in the Children’s-Poetry and Spanish-Language-Book categories. Tackling dinosaurs from A (Allosaurus) to V (Velociraptor), each poem plays on the meaning (etymology) of the ancient animal's name. The richly hued watercolor collages delight with whimsy, and the expansive bilingual glossary has lots of interesting information about dinosaurs to satisfy the inquisitive nature so many children bring to learning about these beloved creatures.

Appropriate for very young children, who will love the pictures, rhyme, and rhythm, and for older youth, who can appreciate the plays on words, this book is also great for adults who want to enjoy some fun reading or brush up on their Spanish.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Evolving Planet: Four Billion Years of Life on Earth

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did I love this book?

What I really love about this book is that 1) it is written by experts in the field, including a PhD evolutionary biologist and paleontologist, 2) it has an excellent balance of illustrations and text, and 3) it places dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures in context as it tells the story of how they evolved through time.

By Erica Kelly, Richard Kissel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Evolving Planet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Evolving Planet" is based on the new permanent exhibition of the same name at the Field Museum (opened in spring 2006). The book takes readers on an inspiring journey through 4 billion years of life on Earth, from single-celled organisms to towering dinosaurs to woolly mammoths to humans. Unique fossils, photographs, illustrations and maps help bring the story to life. It includes a pronunciation guide, glossary and index.


Book cover of The Illustrated Dinosaur Dictionary

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did I love this book?

This book is great for those who want a more exhaustive reference book. This is one of several good dictionaries of dinosaurs and related terms. It is illustrated in black and white, but the text predominates, and as such it serves as a reliable reference for facts about dinosaurs, including many that are not found in mass-produced gift books. I also like that it includes the etymology of entries. It’s a little old (1983), but was awarded several honors, including being a Golden Kite Honor Book, and ALA Notable Book, and a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book.

By Helen Roney Sattler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Illustrated Dinosaur Dictionary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A dictionary with entries for all known dinosaurs, about 300 at last count, and other animals of the Mesozoic Era, as well as general topics relating to dinosaurs, from Acanthopholis to Zigongosaurus.


Book cover of Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did I love this book?

Published in association with the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, this >400-page tome is beautifully and thoughtfully illustrated in color with amply detailed text so that it appeals to broad ages of readers, with younger readers relying more on the illustrations or an older co-reader. Written by a team of paleontologists, it is helpfully organized in 42 bite-sized chapters ranging from overview topics in the beginning to more specific ones toward the end.

By Thomas R. Holtz Jr., Luis V. Rey (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dinosaurs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

An award-winning encyclopdia written for young people—dubbed the "Dinosaur Bible" by enthusiasts!

Written by one of the world’s foremost experts on dinosaurs, this award-winning title—honored by the NSTA and the AAAS—is an essential addition to any dinophile’s library, regardless of age! Using casual language aimed at young people and non-scientists, it's a guide to all aspects of dinosaur science: how we figure out what dinosaurs looked like, how they lived, how they evolved, how they continue to live among us as birds, and much, much more. 

It also includes brief entries on all 800+ "named" species of Mesozoic dinosaurs, as…


Book cover of Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did I love this book?

While there are of course other books with more and better textual content, this book is an impressive work of pop-up art. I particularly like pop-up of the perennially favorite T. Rex, which quite literally jumps out of the book at you as you turn the page. Very well done.

By Robert Sabuda, Matthew Reinhart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

From renowned pop-up masters Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart comes an awe-inspiring tribute to the world's most beloved extinct animals and their 180-million-year reign on our planet.

Open this book and a massive T. REX springs out, flashing a startling jawful of jagged teeth. Turn the next spread and a ravishing raptor unfurls and appears to fly off the edge of the page. Inside the amazing ENCYCLOPEDIA PREHISTORICA: DINOSAURS are "shield bearers" in full-body armor, creatures with frilly headgear, and weighty, long-necked giants. There are even amusing tidbits on the history of paleontology itself — like a pop-up version of…


Book cover of Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did I love this book?

What I really love about this book is the use of poetry and original and engaging illustrations to invite kids into reading. My favorite poem is “Barosaurus,” which does a particularly good job of inviting the young readers to engage their imagination with the book. While not my favorite Douglas Florian book, it is, like the other books from this very talented author and illustrator, well worth the read!

By Douglas Florian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dinothesaurus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

This book is full of dinosaurs,

Both carnivores and herbivores.

You'll find a big Iguanodon,

As well as a clever Tro-o-don.

There's Spinosaurus and T. rex,

Plus plesiosaurs with giant necks,

And others from an ancient age.

Want to learn more?

Then turn the page!


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Api's Berlin Diaries: My Quest to Understand My Grandfather's Nazi Past

By Gabrielle Robinson,

Book cover of Api's Berlin Diaries: My Quest to Understand My Grandfather's Nazi Past

Gabrielle Robinson Author Of Api's Berlin Diaries: My Quest to Understand My Grandfather's Nazi Past

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Retired english professor

Gabrielle's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Gabrielle found her grandfather’s diaries after her mother’s death, only to discover that he had been a Nazi. Born in Berlin in 1942, she and her mother fled the city in 1945, but Api, the one surviving male member of her family, stayed behind to work as a doctor in a city 90% destroyed.

Gabrielle retraces Api’s steps in the Berlin of the 21st century, torn between her love for the man who gave her the happiest years of her childhood and trying to come to terms with his Nazi membership, German guilt, and political responsibility.

Api's Berlin Diaries: My Quest to Understand My Grandfather's Nazi Past

By Gabrielle Robinson,

What is this book about?

"This is not a book I will forget any time soon."
Story Circle Book Reviews

Moving and provocative, Api's Berlin Diaries offers a personal perspective on the fall of Berlin 1945 and the far-reaching aftershocks of the Third Reich.

After her mother's death, Robinson was thrilled to find her beloved grandfather's war diaries-only to discover that he had been a Nazi.

The award-winning memoir shows Api, a doctor in Berlin, desperately trying to help the wounded in cellars without water or light. He himself was reduced to anxiety and despair, the daily diary his main refuge. As Robinson retraces Api's…


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