The best nature books to WOW! kids and teens

The Books I Picked & Why

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message

By Chief Jake Swamp, Erwin Printup, Jr.

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message

Why this book?

I love the simple elegance of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) Thanksgiving address because it considers nature a gift. The address, on which this book is based, is spoken before every ceremonial or governmental gathering of the Six Nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora). Children greet the world with the address each morning. They thank the people, the waters, the grasses, the plants, the animals, the winds, the rain, the Sun, the Moon, and the stars of the night sky. What a perfect way to stay connected to Nature!

Perfect for kids ages 5-11.


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Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes

By Nicola Davies, Emily Sutton

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes

Why this book?

I met Nicola Davies in 2015 when we accepted our Green Earth Book Awards in Washington, D.C. She writes about nature in a way that helps even young readers understand and think a little harder about their connections to it. In Tiny Creatures, Nicola tackles microbes—where they live, and how they help or hurt us. This focus on the unseen world will then help kids understand the importance of the unseen fungi internet in Can You Hear the Trees Talking and the importance of tiny phytoplankton in Planet Ocean.

Perfect for kids ages 5-8.


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Can You Hear the Trees Talking?: Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest

By Peter Wohlleben

Can You Hear the Trees Talking?: Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest

Why this book?

Trees are part of the fabric of our lives. We depend on them for oxygen, shade, and lumber. Animals call them home. Yet, we often wander by trees without really seeing them. In this young readers’ edition of Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees, children discover how trees drink and breathe, how they talk, what they’re afraid of, how they clean our water, and so much more. You and your kids will never look at trees the same again.

Perfect for kids ages 8-10.


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Wildlife Ranger Action Guide: Track, Spot & Provide Healthy Habitat for Creatures Close to Home

By Mary Kay Carson

Wildlife Ranger Action Guide: Track, Spot & Provide Healthy Habitat for Creatures Close to Home

Why this book?

This book challenges kids to get outside and observe the wildlife in their own communities—the BEST way to connect to nature. Written as a field guide, this book is meant to be shoved in a backpack and consulted on the trail. Mary Kay Carson shows kids how to record observations in a nature journal and includes many projects with materials found around the house. Before you know it, your kids will be local wildlife experts. When kids understand nature, they care about it, and when they care, they protect it. 

Perfect for ages 6-12.


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The Story of Seeds: Our Food Is in Crisis. What Will You Do to Protect It?

By Nancy F. Castaldo

The Story of Seeds: Our Food Is in Crisis. What Will You Do to Protect It?

Why this book?

Nancy Castaldo and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to connecting kids and teens to the environment. In The Story of Seeds, she says, “It may sound crazy, even improbable, but there are scientists who are risking their lives every day for seeds. It’s true, and they’ve been doing it for years.” I love her conversational style and the narrative arc of this book. A must-read for teens who like to get their hands dirty.

Perfect for ages 12 and up.


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