The best children’s books about nature and the seasons

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in London, close to Richmond Park, where I got to know many of the characters who have since popped up in my stories. I bird-watched, caterpillar-collected, and pond-dipped, and my bedroom had a floating population of minibeasts. My first picture book, Fred and the Little Egg, was about a bear cub trying to hatch an acorn, and my stories have continued to reflect my love of nature. My Fletcher’s Four Seasons series follows a kind-hearted fox cub as he explores his wood through the changing seasons. I hope my books will inspire children to explore and care for the natural world too.


I wrote...

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

By Julia Rawlinson, Tiphanie Beeke (illustrator),

Book cover of Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

What is my book about?

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves was inspired by my son asking me to fix a fallen leaf back onto its tree. Fox cub Fletcher is worried when his beautiful tree starts to lose its leaves. He does everything he can to save them, but it’s just no use. When the final leaf has ‘plipped’ off, Fletcher feels all hope has gone… until he goes back the next day and a glorious sight awaits him.

This tender, uplifting tale of friendship and hope, with glorious watercolour illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke, is the first book in Fletcher’s Four Seasons series. Kindness, nature discovery, and a sparkling surprise ending!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Say Hi to Hedgehogs!

Julia Rawlinson Why did I love this book?

There’s a leaf-collecting hedgehog in Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, and Say Hi to Hedgehogs! teaches you more about these wonderful animals, following a hedgehog’s story through the seasons. I love everything about this book – the illustrations are beautiful, with a ridiculously cute hedgehog family, magical night scenes, and cosy autumn and winter pages; I learnt some fascinating hedgehog facts from the notes scattered through the story; and the book even includes tips for making your home hedgehog-friendly.

By Jane McGuinness,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Say Hi to Hedgehogs! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

With words and pictures by a debut author-illustrator, this is a new Nature Storybook about a very popular little animal - the hedgehog.

A delightful Nature Storybook about hedgehogs from debut author-illustrator Jane McGuinness. There's someone we'd like you to meet - someone small and spiky. Say hi to Hedgehog! Follow this lovely little creature through the year and learn what hedgehogs like to eat, how they hunt for their food, where they build their nests, the time it takes for them grow from tiny hoglets into healthy adults and, as the seasons turn, how they prepare for hibernation. The…


Book cover of Winter Sleep: A Hibernation Story

Julia Rawlinson Why did I love this book?

I love quiet stories and this one is beautiful, exploring how animals survive in the winter woods through the relationship between a boy and his grandmother. We quickly follow the changing seasons from summer to winter and discover that although the winter woods may seem bare, life is tucked snugly out of sight waiting for Busy Spring (a companion book by the same team). A cosy story, gorgeous illustrations, and lots of nature facts, both in the story and the fact-packed pages at the end.

By Sean Taylor, Alex Morss, Cinyee Chiu (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Winter Sleep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

In this cozy bedtime story, follow a child and his grandma through a winter landscape to explore how the Earth goes to sleep for winter.

Spot the sleeping animals as the tale unfolds, then learn about their hibernation habits from the information pages at the end.

Co-authors Sean Taylor (picture book author) and Alex Morss (ecologist, journalist, and educator) offer a gentle introduction to the concept of hibernation. In the frosty, quiet forest, the snow blankets the ground and the trees have shed their leaves. Where have all the animals gone? Are they asleep too?

In each cutaway scene, see…


Book cover of The Leaf Thief

Julia Rawlinson Why did I love this book?

This hilarious tale of a squirrel struggling to cope with its tree losing its leaves in autumn shares a theme with Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, but makes it very much its own thanks to its delightfully dramatic main character. Squirrel is a hoot from start to finish, outraged one minute, trying to relax with yoga and a hot bath the next. The book has colourful, expressive illustrations, a wonderful final page twist, and some bonus facts at the back about autumn, trees, and squirrels.

By Alice Hemming, Nicola Slater (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Leaf Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

A brilliantly funny picture book about
seasons, written by Alice Hemming and illustrated by Nicola Slater.

Squirrel is so cross. Yesterday there
were loads of beautiful leaves on his tree,
but today? Today some are missing and Squirrel is convinced
that someone has stolen them... there's
a leaf thief on the loose!

Join Squirrel on a mission to find the culprit,
and meet so many fun animals on the way, while
you find out how the world takes on different colours
as the months pass by.



A laugh-out-loud book about the changing
seasons, with extra information in
the back for…


Book cover of A First Book of Nature

Julia Rawlinson Why did I love this book?

A gloriously illustrated mixture of nature facts, poetry, and things to do, this book is like my childhood squished between covers, taking in pond-dipping, caterpillar-hatching, rock-pooling, worm-watching and so much more as it guides you through the seasons. I would have loved this book as a child, and still love it now. 

By Nicola Davies, Mark Hearld (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A First Book of Nature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An exquisite book that evokes a child's first experience of nature.

From beachcombing to stargazing, from watching squirrels, ducks and worms to making berry crumble or a winter bird feast, this is a remarkable book - part poetry, part scrapbook of recipes, facts and fragments - and a glorious reminder that the natural world is on our doorstep waiting to be discovered. Mark Hearld's pictures beautifully reproduce the colours of the seasons on woodfree paper, and Nicola Davies' lyrical words capture the simple loveliness that is everywhere, if only we can look.


Book cover of Tree: A Peek-Through Board Book

Julia Rawlinson Why did I love this book?

There’s so much to look at in this beautiful book which follows a tree through the seasonal cycle. The gentle rhyming text is accompanied by colourful peek-through illustrations, with an owl cleverly joined by more and more woodland animals as the seasons turn towards midsummer’s night. I had to read this one again and again, following not just the tree but the foxes, birds, and even a spider’s web through the seasons.

By Britta Teckentrup,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Watch the tree change with the seasons as each page is turned in this beautiful and educational book for curious young minds.

New York Public Library’s 100 Best Books for Kids 2016

Through a hole in the book’s cover, an owl invites you inside to meet a majestic tree and all its forest inhabitants during the changing seasons. With clever peekaboo holes throughout, each page reveals a new set of animals playing and living in the tree—baby bears frolicking in the spring, bees buzzing around apples in the summer, squirrels storing nuts in the fall, and finally the lone owl…


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The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

By Kathryn Betts Adams,

Book cover of The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

Kathryn Betts Adams Author Of The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I was first a clinical social worker and then a social work professor with research focus on older adults. Over the past few years, as I have been writing my own memoir about caring for my parents, I’ve been drawn to memoirs and first-person stories of aging, illness, and death. The best memoirs on these topics describe the emotional transformation in the writer as they process their loss of control, loss of their own or a loved one’s health, and their fear, pain, and suffering. In sharing these stories, we help others empathize with what we’ve gone through and help others be better prepared for similar events in their own lives.

Kathryn's book list on Memoirs illness aging death moving vivid prose

What is my book about?

The Pianist's Only Daughter is a frank, humorous, and heartbreaking exploration of aging in an aging expert's own family.

Social worker and gerontologist Kathryn Betts Adams spent decades negotiating evolving family dynamics with her colorful and talented parents: her mother, an English scholar and poet, and her father, a pianist and music professor. Their vivid emotional lives, marital instability, and eventual divorce provided the backdrop for her 1960s and ‘70s Midwestern youth.

Nearly thirty years after they divorce, Adams' newly single father flies in to woo his ex-wife, now retired and diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Their daughter watches in disbelief…

The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

By Kathryn Betts Adams,

What is this book about?

Grounded in insights about mental health, health and aging, The Pianist’s Only Daughter: A Memoir presents a frank and loving exploration of aging in an aging expert's own family.

Social worker and gerontologist Kathryn Betts Adams spent decades negotiating evolving family dynamics with her colorful and talented parents: her English scholar and poet mother and her pianist father. Their vivid emotional lives, marital instability, and eventual divorce provided the backdrop for her 1960s and ‘70s Midwestern youth.

Nearly thirty years after they divorce, Adams' father finds himself single and flies in to woo his ex-wife, now retired and diagnosed with…


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Interested in seasons, owls, and friendships?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about seasons, owls, and friendships.

Seasons Explore 22 books about seasons
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