100 books like Butterfly Isles

By Patrick Barkham,

Here are 100 books that Butterfly Isles fans have personally recommended if you like Butterfly Isles. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Otter Country

By Miriam Darlington,

Book cover of Otter Country: In Search of the Wild Otter

Leif Bersweden Author Of The Orchid Hunter: A Young Botanist's Search for Happiness

From the list on nature in Britain.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and a botanist with a lifelong interest in nature. I grew up in southern England where I spent my time running around the fields and woods searching for birds, insects and wild plants (as one does). As well as writing about nature, I run plant identification training courses and have a genetics PhD.

Leif's book list on nature in Britain

Why did Leif love this book?

Miriam Darlington is my favourite author and Otter Country is one of the most thumbed, tatty-cornered, precious books that I own. I love it: for its voice, its humour and its beautiful prose. Darlington takes you on a gentle meander through the world of the otter in the most relatable of writing styles. She doesn’t start out as an otter expert; she learns as she goes, and so do you. Everything about this book is wonderful, and I would say the same about her other book, Owl Sense, which I have only left off this list because I wanted to cover five different authors!

By Miriam Darlington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Over the course of a year, Miriam Darlington travelled around Britain in search of wild otters; from her home in Devon to the wilds of Scotland; to Cumbria, Wales, Northumberland, Cornwall, Somerset and the River Lea; to her childhood home near the Ouse, the source of her watery obsession.
Otter Country follows Darlington's search through different landscapes, seasons, weather and light, as she tracks one of Britain's most elusive animals. During her journey, she meets otter experts, representatives of the Environment Agency, conservationists, ecologists, walkers, Henry Williamson's family, Gavin Maxwell's heir; zoo keepers, fishermen, scientists, hunters and poets. Above all…


The Peregrine

By J.A. Baker,

Book cover of The Peregrine

Jonathan Meiburg Author Of A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World's Smartest Birds of Prey

From the list on taking you to another world.

Who am I?

If you’re curious about the world, you can find secret doors that open onto unexpected vistas. For me, exploring the lives and origins of the caracaras in A Most Remarkable Creature revealed a vast and surprising story about the history of life on Earth, and about South America’s unique past—stories as wonderful and absorbing as any fantasy. These books are some of my favorite revelations of hidden marvels in the world we think we know. 

Jonathan's book list on taking you to another world

Why did Jonathan love this book?

Werner Herzog demands that his film students read this book, and it's easy to see why: it's an act of pure seeing that makes a humdrum English landscape blaze with vivid life. Baker, who seems diffident about humanity at best ("we reek of death," he grumbles) embarks on a quest to know the peregrine falcons who live in—and pass through—the place where he lives, and in describing their lives he finds a luminous and heroic world hidden in the muddy fields and clouded skies of Essex. Ours "is a dying world, like Mars," he writes, "but glowing still."  

By J.A. Baker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Peregrine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

David Attenborough reads J. A. Baker's extraordinary classic of British nature writing.

The nation's greatest voice, David Attenborough, reads J. A. Baker's extraordinary classic of British nature writing, The Peregrine.

J. A. Baker's classic of British nature writing was first published in 1967. Greeted with acclaim, it went on to win the Duff Cooper Prize, the pre-eminent literary prize of the time. Luminaries such as Ted Hughes, Barry Lopez and Andrew Motion have cited it as one of the most important books in twentieth-century nature writing.

Despite the association of peregrines with the wild, outer reaches of the British Isles,…


Wilding

By Isabella Tree,

Book cover of Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm

Mark Avery Author Of Reflections: What Wildlife Needs and How to Provide it

From the list on UK nature conservation.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by wildlife since the age of 5, and 60 years later I’m still addicted. I worked as a research scientist on bats and birds and then morphed into a nature conservationist. I worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for 25 years – 13 years as the Conservation Director. I’ve written books about wildlife and its conservation and regularly review such books on my blog.  I hope that my work has made a difference and that my books, and other authors’ books, can move things on a bit quicker too.

Mark's book list on UK nature conservation

Why did Mark love this book?

Wilding is already a classic book on the subject of rewilding – it’s a successful conservation project and it’s a superbly written book.

It tells the story of the wilding of the Knepp Castle Farm, in Sussex, by its owners Sir Charles Burrell and his wife, the author of this book. So this is an insider account of what happened at Knepp, and why, and how, which adds lots of delightful and juicy colour to the bare bones of the story. But the bare bones are exciting enough – there has been a rapid and massive resurgence of nature in the last 20 years.

By Isabella Tree,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Wilding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A poignant, practical and moving story of how to fix our broken land, this should be conservation's salvation; this should be its future; this is a new hope' - Chris Packham

In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the 'Knepp experiment', a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.

Winner of the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize.

Forced to accept that intensive farming on…


Thinking on My Feet

By Kate Humble,

Book cover of Thinking on My Feet: The Small Joy of Putting One Foot in Front of Another

Leif Bersweden Author Of The Orchid Hunter: A Young Botanist's Search for Happiness

From the list on nature in Britain.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and a botanist with a lifelong interest in nature. I grew up in southern England where I spent my time running around the fields and woods searching for birds, insects and wild plants (as one does). As well as writing about nature, I run plant identification training courses and have a genetics PhD.

Leif's book list on nature in Britain

Why did Leif love this book?

This is a book for people who like to come home to a steaming mug of tea after a long walk in the countryside – rain or shine. Kate Humble takes us with her on her walks through the year, both at home and abroad. Her descriptions of the Wye Valley make you want to put on your wellies and walk out the door, dogs in tow, ready to splash through puddles, hop styles, and walk beneath the trees and the clouds. It is a lovely reminder that it is so often the little things in life that can bring us the most happiness: muddy walks in the woods, chatting to friends over a pot of coffee, watching the sky change as the sun rises. I love this book so much: it’s a lesson in the benefits of learning to live in the moment and to not take the simple…

By Kate Humble,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thinking on My Feet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I've discovered that going for a daily walk has become as essential to me feeling good for the rest of the day as that first cup of tea. But I would argue that all I am doing is responding to a natural need we all have. Humans have always been migrants, the physiological urge to be nomadic is deep-rooted in all of us and perhaps because of that our brains are stimulated by walking. I solve all sorts of problems, formulate ideas, work things out to that gentle rhythm of self-propelled movement.' - Kate Humble

THINKING ON MY FEET tells…


Hunting Eden

By VH Nicolson,

Book cover of Hunting Eden

Elle Nicoll Author Of Drawn to Mr. King

From the list on love with heavy topics to make your heart hurt.

Who am I?

I worked for years as a long-haul flight attendant, and met a lot of people. Some travelling for love, honeymoons, anniversaries, some for medical care, to say goodbye to someone. And some for that bucket list item, because they knew it was their last chance. I’ve always been amazed by the human spirit and its ability to love deeply. And I love romance stories! I have read so many. My favourites are the ones about people and the emotional journeys they go on. So combine the two, and you’ve got heart-wrenching stories that make you realise what’s important, even if they do break your heart in the process.

Elle's book list on love with heavy topics to make your heart hurt

Why did Elle love this book?

This book is funny. But it is also sweet and touches on some heavy subjects, such as miscarriage and the butterfly effect it can have on an entire family and the way in which the main character, Eden, a dance instructor, is led very much by her past and the deep hurt it holds. 

Eden meets Hunter King, a pro-golfer, and this is where the fun and steam come in! V H Nicolson is Scottish, and the book is based in Scotland and uses local terminology, with a fun glossary at the beginning of each chapter.

By VH Nicolson,

Why should I read it?

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


The Butterfly Garden

By Dot Hutchison,

Book cover of The Butterfly Garden

Jeannette de Beauvoir Author Of Dead in the Water

From the list on stories involving kidnapping.

Who am I?

One of the joys of writing a mystery series is you have time to explore your characters—who they are, where they come from, what motivates them. In this particular series, I’d established a rift between the protagonist and her family, and I began to wonder why it was there. My own sister died when still a baby, yet her absence cast a long, complicated shadow over our family for decades. I wanted to explore more about the family dynamics around a missing child—and kidnapping seemed the best tool to get there. So I read everything I could about kidnapping to present that absence in both intimate and compelling ways.

Jeannette's book list on stories involving kidnapping

Why did Jeannette love this book?

This book is both absolutely gorgeous and deeply disturbing.

The premise is simple: in an FBI interview, a young woman recounts the horrific ordeal she’s survived as a member of a serial killer’s “garden” of kidnapped victims. The reading experience is considerably more complex. Much of the story is told in flashbacks, allowing the reader to explore Maya’s experience in the Garden; that’s then balanced with her FBI interview, filling in blanks and establishing her as an almost-reliable narrator.

The dual timeline—one of my favorite devices to read and write—is handled brilliantly, and Hutchinson successfully achieves a formidable tightrope act, balancing the brutality of torture and murder with an elegant and refined narrative.

Her darkness is graceful—but it’s still darkness. 

By Dot Hutchison,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Butterfly Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees...and a collection of precious "butterflies"-young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle…


Book cover of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Stephanie Calmenson Author Of Dinner at the Panda Palace

From the list on counting for young children.

Who am I?

I've written more than 100 books including the counting books Dinner at the Panda Palace (HarperCollins / PBS StoryTime) and Dozens of Dachshunds (Bloomsbury / Scholastic Book Clubs).  I also write easy readers such as Stomp! (Ready-to-Read / JLG) and early chapter books including the Our Principal series and, with Magic School Bus author Joanna Cole, The Adventures of Allie and Amy series. As a former early childhood teacher and children's book editor, I'm a big fan of counting books and look forward to writing – and reading – many more. 

Stephanie's book list on counting for young children

Why did Stephanie love this book?

On Monday, a tiny, very hungry caterpillar ate through one apple. 

"But he was still hungry." 

On Tuesday, he ate through two pears, on Wednesday, three plums, and so on through the week. 

When he gets to Saturday, he eats way too much, starting with one piece of chocolate cake and ending with one slice of watermelon. 

That night he has a stomach ache! The caterpillar recovers on Sunday and, no longer tiny and no longer hungry, he builds a small house around himself called a cocoon.

In time, he becomes a beautiful butterfly.

With cutout pages and gorgeous Eric Carle art, this book is a joy to share with young children. 

By Eric Carle,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Very Hungry Caterpillar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There are so many ways to spend a sunny summer day. Join The Very Hungry Caterpillar and explore everything the season has to offer!

Celebrate summer with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and his friends in this exploration of the season. Young readers can learn all about seasonal sensory experiences, like listening to noisy bugs, feeling the warm sunshine, smelling the yummy scents of a cookout, and so much more!


Butterfly House

By Eve Bunting, Greg Shed (illustrator),

Book cover of Butterfly House

Kathleen Doherty Author Of The Thingity-Jig

From the list on picture books with hope, happiness, and empathy.

Who am I?

I’m a former reading specialist/educational specialist who still enjoys reading aloud to students, helping kids learn to read, and introducing them to quality literature. I love reading picture books...and I write them to entertain and empower kids.

Kathleen's book list on picture books with hope, happiness, and empathy

Why did Kathleen love this book?

This is a gentle, lyrical story. This book inspires love. If you read it, you’ll feel the loving relationship the girl has with her grandfather...and with butterflies. You’ll wonder why the butterflies visit the girl once she’s grown up. What do the butterflies who visit her seem to know or sense? Why aren’t the butterflies visiting her neighbors?

By Eve Bunting, Greg Shed (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the help of her grandfather, a little girl makes a house for a larva and watches it develop before setting it free, and every summer after that butterflies come to visit her. By the author of Smoky Night.


Paper Butterflies

By Lisa Heathfield,

Book cover of Paper Butterflies

Deborah Crossland Author Of The Quiet Part Out Loud

From the list on YA that made me cry.

Who am I?

I have loved story since I was little, and I’ve curated a life where it has always taken center stage in some or another. I was a high school English teacher for ten years, and have been a college professor for eight. But what really inspires me to write the books I do is my PhD in mythological studies. As a mythologist, I’m lucky enough to be able to see why stories resonate with us for so long and use those same themes and metaphors to write my own. 

Deborah's book list on YA that made me cry

Why did Deborah love this book?

I first read this book pre-publication in 2016, and I still think about it at least once a week.

The story is a haunting portrayal of a girl lost in a blended family with a stepmother who treats her worse than Cinderella and a father who only wants to see the shiny surface of his shiny new family. It’s told in a then/now timeline which slowly reveals not only what June did to land her on death row but the abuse she endured that got her there. This one is heavy, but oh so worth the read.

By Lisa Heathfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one―and a secret one. Not even her dad knows the truth, and she can't find the words to tell anyone else. She's trapped like a butterfly in a net. Then June meets Blister, a boy from a large, loving, chaotic family. In him, she finds a glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away. Because she deserves her freedom. Doesn't she?


Book cover of The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland: 1638-1651

Kirsteen MacKenzie Author Of The Solemn League and Covenant of the Three Kingdoms and the Cromwellian Union, 1643-1663

From the list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653.

Who am I?

I am an academic historian who has had a passion for the wars of the three kingdoms for over three decades. I have been reading books about the civil wars in Britain and Ireland since I was ten years old. I have been a member of the re-enactment society The Sealed Knot and the Cromwell Association. I published my first monograph on the wars of the three kingdoms in 2018. The monograph views the conflict from a three kingdoms perspective through the eyes of the Scottish Covenanters and their English allies. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Kirsteen's book list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653

Why did Kirsteen love this book?

Still the best introductory text for students covering all major events in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in a concise and accessible manner.  This book steps away from the more Anglo-centric analyses of the conflict, looking at events in Ireland, Scotland and Wales in some detail.  In contrast with the books above, Bennett also steps away from the experience of political elites and examines the experiences of ordinary soldiers and civilians during the conflict.  

By Martyn Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides a fresh perspective on one of the most complex and turbulent periods in the history of the British Isles. Setting the experience of Wales, Scotland and Ireland alongside England, the author examines the interplay of politics, societies and culture both within and between each of the four nations involved in the political struggles of the mid--seventeenth century.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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