100 books like Evolving Planet

By Erica Kelly, Richard Kissel,

Here are 100 books that Evolving Planet fans have personally recommended if you like Evolving Planet. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Illustrated Dinosaur Dictionary

Steven Clark Cunningham Author Of Dinosaur Name Poems/Poemas de Nombres de Dinosaurios

From my list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and 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!

Steven's book list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and paleontology

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven 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 Author Of Dinosaur Name Poems/Poemas de Nombres de Dinosaurios

From my list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and 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!

Steven's book list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and paleontology

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven 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 Author Of Dinosaur Name Poems/Poemas de Nombres de Dinosaurios

From my list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and 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!

Steven's book list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and paleontology

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven 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 Author Of Dinosaur Name Poems/Poemas de Nombres de Dinosaurios

From my list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and 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!

Steven's book list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and paleontology

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven 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!


Book cover of Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution

Pamela S. Turner Author Of How to Build a Human: In Seven Evolutionary Steps

From my list on children’s books about evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

Life really is stranger than fiction, and some of the stuff served up by evolution is outrageously bizarre. There are one-celled creatures that make rats want to cozy up to cats, a parasitic worm that turns snails into “disco zombies” and an ape that communicates across continents by pushing keys to create rows and columns of pixels. I’m fascinated by all of these creatures and love writing books for children about evolutionary biology, especially the evolution of intelligence. Besides authoring How to Build a Human, I’ve written about the evolution of intelligence in dolphins (The Dolphins of Shark Bay) and crows (Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird).

Pamela's book list on children’s books about evolution

Pamela S. Turner Why did Pamela love this book?

A step more sophisticated than the picture books above, Life on Earth is targeted to children ages 9 to 12. The eye-catching format and succinct text cover the diversity of life on Earth, major evolutionary transitions, and nicely illustrates the process of natural selection through a succession of illustrations of frogs as the fittest individuals are selected by their environment. Engaging and packed with information.

By Steve Jenkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life on Earth 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?

There are millions of different kinds of plants and animals living on the earth, and millions more have lived here in the past. Where did they all come from? Why have some become extinct and others lived on?

What lived on Earth before us, who is still with us, and what prompts evolutionary change? In this remarkable picture book, Steve Jenkins uses his signature eye-popping art to answer these questions and explore the fascinating history of life on earth and the awe-inspiring story of evolution.


Book cover of The Riddle of the Dinosaur

Dougal Dixon Author Of After Man: A Zoology of the Future

From my list on popular depiction of evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dougal Dixon graduated from the University of St. Andrews with two degrees in geology. But although his education was entirely scientific his background was deeply artistic – a potentially unemployable combination back in the ‘70s. And so he ended up in publishing, as the Earth Science editor for an illustrated encyclopedia publisher. Since then he has become a full-time writer, specializing in geological articles for encyclopedias, handbooks on fossil collecting, and principally children’s books on dinosaurs. As well as that he has done a number of books on speculative evolution – exploring the principles of biology in novel ways.

Dougal's book list on popular depiction of evolution

Dougal Dixon Why did Dougal love this book?

We can be a bit precious about all this. But it is important to keep in mind that we have not always known as much as we do now about the history of life on earth. Wilford gives us a very readable account of the practical history of palaeontology - the people involved, the excitement of the discoveries, the anecdotes of the expeditions, the thought processes that went into the interpretations . . . And how the public have percieved the various discoveries throughout history.

By John Noble Wilford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sketches the history of paleontology, traces the study of dinosaurs, and summarizes what we have learned about their lives and the reason for their extinction


Book cover of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Caro Feely Author Of Cultivating Change: Regenerating Land and Love in the Age of Climate Crisis

From my list on biodiversity, plants and natural magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a published author specializing in nature, travel, and wine writing, and I have been an organic farmer for nearly two decades on an award-winning estate in France. I’ve written four books about the transformation of our organic farm. In my latest, Cultivating Change, I explore how biodiversity helps us address climate change and how important it is to the health of the land. It is also a human story; like the books below, stories are key to bringing these subjects to life. My list is women authors, not because I set out to do that, but because these books are beautiful, intuitive, and deep, like the women who wrote them.

Caro's book list on biodiversity, plants and natural magic

Caro Feely Why did Caro love this book?

Elizabeth Kolbert is a respected science writer. In this book, she pieces together hard facts, historical background, and personal stories to help us understand the 6th extinction currently underway.

This deeply researched book doesn’t just leap to blame climate change (which is a factor) but looks at this loss of biodiversity through a much wider lens of humankind’s impact on our environment. Kolbert is a gifted writer and entertainer who finds ways to bring humor to this dark subject. 

By Elizabeth Kolbert,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Sixth Extinction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions of life on earth.

Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Elizabeth Kolbert combines brilliant field reporting, the history of ideas and the work of geologists, botanists and marine biologists to tell the gripping stories of a dozen species - including the Panamanian golden frog and the Sumatran rhino - some already gone, others at the point of vanishing.

The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most…


Book cover of Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History

David F. Prindle Author Of Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution

From my list on the politics of evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

While growing up as a budding intellectual, two of my passions were social science (in other words, politics), and natural science, particularly biology. For decades, I thought of those as two unconnected fields of knowledge. I studied politics in my professional capacity as a government professor, and I read nature and wildlife studies as a hobby. Then, one day in 2000, I picked up a copy of a book by Stephen J. Gould, a Harvard paleontologist. It struck me that in every sentence he was combining science and politics. It was an on-the-road-to-Damascus moment. Since then, I have studied and written about the politics of evolution.  

David's book list on the politics of evolution

David F. Prindle Why did David love this book?

Until his death in 2002, Gould, a Harvard paleontologist, was probably the best-known natural scientist in the United States. What was not always recognized was that virtually every line Gould penned proceeded along two tracks, the scientific and the political. A leftist who started his career as a Marxist and developed into a more orthodox liberal, Gould had a genius for combining scientific lessons with political disputation and presenting that combination in lucid, interesting prose. No single book summarizes all of his political/evolutionary views. This one, in which he discusses many fascinating aspects of natural history while demolishing the views of creationists, would be a good place to start reading.

By Stephen Jay Gould,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over a century after Darwin published the Origin of Species, Darwinian theory is in a "vibrantly healthy state," writes Stephen Jay Gould, its most engaging and illuminating exponent. Exploring the "peculiar and mysterious particulars of nature," Gould introduces the reader to some of the many and wonderful manifestations of evolutionary biology.


Book cover of Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas

Pamela S. Turner Author Of How to Build a Human: In Seven Evolutionary Steps

From my list on children’s books about evolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

Life really is stranger than fiction, and some of the stuff served up by evolution is outrageously bizarre. There are one-celled creatures that make rats want to cozy up to cats, a parasitic worm that turns snails into “disco zombies” and an ape that communicates across continents by pushing keys to create rows and columns of pixels. I’m fascinated by all of these creatures and love writing books for children about evolutionary biology, especially the evolution of intelligence. Besides authoring How to Build a Human, I’ve written about the evolution of intelligence in dolphins (The Dolphins of Shark Bay) and crows (Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird).

Pamela's book list on children’s books about evolution

Pamela S. Turner Why did Pamela love this book?

This superb picture book for children aged 6 to 9 begins by asking children to wonder why dolphins and sharks look superficially similar, yet are less closely related than dolphins and hippos. It covers the emergence of life, evolution in the seas, the appearance of land animals, and the “return to the blue” by dolphins and whales. The illustrations are terrific: bright, simple, and kid-friendly while retaining scientific details.  

By Elizabeth Shreeve, Frann Preston-Gannon (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Out of the Blue 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?

Graceful, succinct prose and engaging illustrations trace the evolution of life on Earth out of the blue and back again.

Clear and inviting nonfiction prose, vetted by scientists—together with lively illustrations and a time line—narrate how life on Earth emerged “out of the blue.” It began in the vast, empty sea when Earth was young. Single-celled microbes too small to see held the promise of all life-forms to come. Those microbes survived billions of years in restless seas until they began to change, to convert sunlight into energy, to produce oxygen until one day—Gulp!—one cell swallowed another, and the race…


Book cover of Children's Encyclopedia of Earth

Robert R. Coenraads Author Of Rocks and Fossils: A Visual Guide

From my list on our planet’s geological wonders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I‘m a Sydney-based exploration geologist and science writer, travelling the world in search of gold, exotic metals, gemstones, and the stories they have to tell — writing is my tool to bring alive ideas and concepts important to me, and my popular books include Rocks, Fossils and Dinosaurs; Natural Disasters; and Geologica. Working in the world's poorest regions has also sparked a strong humanitarian interest. I'm the founding president of FreeSchools World Literacy – Australia, a charity dedicated to education of underprivileged children, and towards which earnings from my writing go. It is my belief that education for all, not just a privileged few, is key to solving the world's problems. 

Robert's book list on our planet’s geological wonders

Robert R. Coenraads Why did Robert love this book?

This book stands as one of the last great paper encyclopedias created for children in this day and age of digital searches, and that is what I love about it. As you leaf through its pages, it is reminiscent of turning the stone pages of our own planet’s 4.6 billion-year-old story, featuring the evolution of life, culminating in us! This beautifully illustrated and written encyclopedia presents the most up-to-date information about planet Earth in a style and format designed for children, but which will appeal to a wide range of readers. With hundreds of photographs, illustrations, diagrams, and maps, it presents an impressive overview of our globe—beginning with the history of the universe and ending with today's conservation issues. A truly spectacular reference. 

By Michael Allaby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Children's Encyclopedia of Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How do twisters form? What makes lightening strike? Why are tropical rain forests the lungs of our planet? Curious kids want to know everything about their planet. They’ll find the answers to their questions here, as they investigate our world from its core to its cosmic connections.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in evolution, extinction, and earth?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about evolution, extinction, and earth.

Evolution Explore 145 books about evolution
Extinction Explore 33 books about extinction
Earth Explore 292 books about earth