100 books like Handimals

By Silvia Lopez, Guido Daniele (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that Handimals fans have personally recommended if you like Handimals. 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 Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist

Dianna Hutts Aston Author Of Mermaids' Song to the Sea

From my list on children mermaids scientists sea creatures.

Why am I passionate about this?

The shore was my first great love, the falling in love-kind. I grew up in Houston, a short distance from the Texas coast. My parents took us there often. Back then, in the 70s, I found a wealth of treasures: sand dollars, urchins, seahorses, starfish, and mollusks. Since then, the treasures have diminished considerably. It’s rare to find any of these animals that were once common. In my research on oceans, reefs, and Earth’s many animals and habitats, I’ve learned that many are endangered and that habitat loss due to human activity is the primary culprit. My contribution to help restore the Earth’s health is through children’s books.

Dianna's book list on children mermaids scientists sea creatures

Dianna Hutts Aston Why did Dianna love this book?

I love this book because it features one of my favorite kinds of nonfiction children’s books–female scientists who make important contributions to understanding and enlightening people about little-known animals.

Eugenie loved sharks from childhood. Her curiosity about them made her face any challenges, and with courage and passion, she pursued her dream of studying sharks and eventually, fearlessly swimming with them! In her early years, people didn’t encourage girls to be scientists, and it was commonly thought that sharks were evil and dumb. She proved them wrong on all counts. This book inspires girls–and boys–to pursue their passion with perseverance and courage.

By Jess Keating, Marta Álvarez Miguéns (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Shark Lady as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

One of New York Times' Twelve Books for Feminist Boys and Girls!
This is the story of a woman who dared to dive, defy, discover, and inspire. This is the story of Shark Lady. One of the best science picture books for children, Shark Lady is a must for both teachers and parents alike!
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
Named a Best Children's Book of 2017 by Parents magazine
Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn't imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But…


Book cover of Giant Squid

Lisa L. Owens Author Of The Life Cycle of a Clown Fish

From my list on marine-life magic for children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been an animal lover who's also interested in what makes different creatures tick: how they’ve evolved as living beings, where and how they exist, and what role any given one plays in our world at large. I also find bodies of water calming to gaze at, fun to splash in and sail on, and it’s intriguing to study them as ecosystems. Each type—from small transient sidewalk puddles to vast enduring seas—can support some form of animal life under the right circumstances. And, for me, the fact that we humans spend most of our time experiencing life on land makes marine life that much more mysterious and magical to learn and write about. 

Lisa's book list on marine-life magic for children

Lisa L. Owens Why did Lisa love this book?

One look at the cover of this visually stunning, expertly crafted nonfiction picture book sparks the notion that the elusive giant squid has much more to teach us than what meets the eye.

Next, this opening line from the prologue plunges the reader into the squid’s mysterious world so the rest of the book can fulfill the cover’s promise:

"Down, down in the depths of the sunless sea, deep, deep in the cold, cold dark, creatures, strange and fearsome, lurk."

I was hooked from the get-go, and I know Fleming and Rohmann’s innovative pairing of poetic expository text with darkly arresting illustrations—with every word and brushstroke remaining faithful to the facts—will engage any reader lucky enough to pick up this book.

By Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Giant Squid 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?

The giant squid is one of the most elusive creatures in the world. As large as whales, they hide beyond reach deep within the sea, forcing scientists to piece together their story from those clues they leave behind.

An injured whale's ring-shaped scars indicate an encounter with a giant squid. A piece of beak broken off in the whale's belly; a flash of ink dispersed as a blinding defense to allow the squid to escape-- these fragments of proof were all we had . . . until a giant squid was finally filmed in its natural habitat only two years…


Book cover of No Monkeys, No Chocolate

Marta Magellan Author Of Python Catchers: Saving the Everglades

From my list on picture books about wildlife.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love for wildlife has produced several award-winning nonfiction books about animals for children (bats, lizards, dragonflies, hummingbirds, and more). To observe wildlife, I travel often to wild areas, such as the Amazon, Galapagos Island, the Pantanal. A former full professor at Miami Dade College, I taught Creative Writing, English Composition, and Survey of Children’s Literature and was an adviser to the college’s award-winning literary magazine. My children’s nonfiction picture books about wild animals have won several awards: Silver Eureka for nonfiction, Silver Nautilus, two Bronze Florida Book Awards, and a Purple Dragonfly honor. Born in Brazil, I have lived in Miami for most of my life.

Marta's book list on picture books about wildlife

Marta Magellan Why did Marta love this book?

Who doesn’t like chocolate? No Monkeys, No Chocolates explains to the reader how we lucky humans ended up with what has to be one of the most popular treats in the world. Although the author writes about the entire process, starting with cocoa beans and ending with trees, wildlife plays an important part in our final chocolate treats, hence, the title. Midges, anoles, maggots, lizards, and of course, monkeys all play a part in getting the cocoa beans to grow, pollinate, and become new trees. One part of the book is straight nonfiction with serious explanations about the process, but illustrations of bookworms on the bent corner of the book give it that bit of metafiction to delight the younger readers who may not want to sit through every word.

By Melissa Stewart, Allen Young, Nicole Wong (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Monkeys, No Chocolate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everyone loves chocolate, right? But how many people actually know where chocolate comes from? How it’s made? Or that monkeys do their part to help this delicious sweet exist?

This delectable dessert comes from cocoa beans, which grow on cocoa trees in tropical rain forests. But those trees couldn’t survive without the help of a menagerie of rain forest critters: a pollen-sucking midge, an aphid-munching anole lizard, brain-eating coffin fly maggots—they all pitch in to help the cocoa tree survive. A secondary layer of text delves deeper into statements such as "Cocoa flowers can’t bloom without cocoa leaves . .…


Book cover of Butterflies Belong Here: A Story of One Idea, Thirty Kids, and a World of Butterflies

Marta Magellan Author Of Python Catchers: Saving the Everglades

From my list on picture books about wildlife.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love for wildlife has produced several award-winning nonfiction books about animals for children (bats, lizards, dragonflies, hummingbirds, and more). To observe wildlife, I travel often to wild areas, such as the Amazon, Galapagos Island, the Pantanal. A former full professor at Miami Dade College, I taught Creative Writing, English Composition, and Survey of Children’s Literature and was an adviser to the college’s award-winning literary magazine. My children’s nonfiction picture books about wild animals have won several awards: Silver Eureka for nonfiction, Silver Nautilus, two Bronze Florida Book Awards, and a Purple Dragonfly honor. Born in Brazil, I have lived in Miami for most of my life.

Marta's book list on picture books about wildlife

Marta Magellan Why did Marta love this book?

This past year, I have been fascinated by butterflies, and especially the monarchs and their utterly magnificent flights of migration. But there are other books about monarch butterflies, so why this one? It is a story, fictitious admittedly, about how a group of children with passion and love for nature and butterflies face a growing problem using grassroots activism. It is based on what children and communities are doing to help butterflies all over the country and on the real issue of the decline of the monarch butterfly. It is sure to inspire the budding environmental activist.

By Deborah Hopkinson, Meilo So (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Butterflies Belong Here 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?

Butterflies Belong Here is a powerful story of everyday activism and hope.

In this moving story of community conservation, a girl finds a home in a new place and a way to help other small travelers.

This book is about the real change children can make in conservation and advocacy-in this case, focusing on beautiful monarch butterflies.

* From Deborah Hopkinson and Meilo So, the acclaimed team behind Follow the Moon Home
* An empowering, classroom-ready read
* The protagonist is a girl whose family has recently immigrated to the United States.

I know what to look for: large black-and-orange…


Book cover of The Art of Animal Drawing: Construction, Action Analysis, Caricature

James Gurney Author Of Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist

From my list on anatomy and drawing.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is James Gurney and I've been a professional illustrator for National Geographic and Scientific American for over 40 years. Although I went to art school, everything I know about drawing and painting comes from studying art instruction books, and from sketching directly from nature. I'm best known for writing and illustrating the New York Times bestselling Dinotopia book series, published in 32 countries and 18 languages. I designed 15 dinosaur stamps for USPS and a set of five dinosaur stamps for Australia Post. My originals have been shown in over 35 solo museum exhibitions. My book Color and Light has sold over 200k copies and was Amazon's #1 bestselling book on painting for over a year.

James' book list on anatomy and drawing

James Gurney Why did James love this book?

Disney animator Ken Hultgren shares an approach to drawing animals that emphasizes the unique characteristics of all the major types of mammals. His style features action poses ranging from straight to cartoony. His pen-and-ink drawings are usually accompanied by a skeletal analysis to help students see the hidden structure. He never loses sight of the lines of action flowing through a pose, something that both realist painters and cartoonists can benefit from.

By Ken Hultgren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Animal Drawing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"You'll learn everything there is to learn about drawing animals." — Collectors' Corner
This thoughtful and incisive guidebook, written by a former animator for Walt Disney Studios, will help artists at many skill levels improve their ability to draw a wide variety of animal forms both realistically and as caricatures.
You'll learn why the author considers construction, action analysis, and caricature all-important for a clear understanding of animal anatomy and movement. You'll also benefit from Mr. Hultgren's expert
advice and tips on catching the essential movement and character of animals and avoiding the stiff, wooden poses that are the frequent…


Book cover of Science of Creature Design: Understanding Animal Anatomy

Sandra Staple Author Of Drawing Fantastic Dragons: Create Amazing Full-Color Dragon Art, Including Eastern, Western and Classic Beasts

From my list on art instruction for fantasy artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been drawing fantasy creatures and characters for over thirty years now, and have collected hundreds of fantasy, art, and art instruction books over the decades. Both drawing and reading are a passion of mine, so I am happy to share some of my favorite fantasy art books that I have in my own personal library.

Sandra's book list on art instruction for fantasy artists

Sandra Staple Why did Sandra love this book?

Whitlatch is best known for her creature designs for Lucasfilms, so as you can imagine her book is full of amazing illustrations explaining how to design your very own creature. It specifically takes a look at breaking down and combining different types of animals from the five vertebrate classes, as well as a close look at using dinosaurs as a reference. 

By Terryl Whitlatch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Science of Creature Design as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What is creature design? We all have a notion―mostly consisting of evocative images of otherworldly beings galloping, swimming, flying, and often attacking the hero of an epic film or story. But what makes a creature believable? In the follow-up to her bestseller, Animals Real and Imagined: The Fantasy of What Is and What Might Be, world-renowned artist Terryl Whitlatch reveals the secret behind believable creature design: anatomy. How anatomy applies practically to the natural history and story is the prime cornerstone on which successful creature design hangs, whether the creature is real or imaginary. Studying, understanding, drawing, and applying accurate…


Book cover of Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos

Karlin Gray Author Of Anne and Her Tower of Giraffes

From my list on picture-book biographies for young animal lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write picture-book biographies and my latest book focuses on the first giraffologist, Dr. Anne Innis Dagg. While researching this book, I learned about so many people who have dedicated their lives to studying and protecting animals. Almost always, their love of wildlife began in childhood. So why not inspire young animal lovers today with true stories about people who share their passion for wildlife?

Karlin's book list on picture-book biographies for young animal lovers

Karlin Gray Why did Karlin love this book?

I like biographies that approach a subject from a different angle and this book does that by focusing on the animals that influenced Frida Kahlo. By witnessing Frida’s relationships with her pets—a parrot, eagle, fawn, cat, dogs, turkeys, monkeys—kids will get to know Frida and learn how she became one of the world’s most beloved artists despite several challenges. The back matter explains that the artist often included her pets in her work. So when readers of this biography encounter one of Kahlo’s animalito paintings (perhaps in a museum or in another book), they will delight in recognizing Frida’s furry and feathered friends. A wonderful way to introduce kids to an artist’s work!

By Monica Brown, John Parra (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos 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?

Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor 2018
ALA Notable Children's Book 2018
New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2017
Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2017
Smithsonian Top Ten Best Children's Book of 2017
2018 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, is based on the life of one of the world's most influential painters, Frida Kahlo, and the animals that inspired her art and life. 

The fascinating Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, her dramatic works featuring bold…


Book cover of Love in Infant Monkeys: Stories

Jess Bowers Author Of Horse Show

From my list on animal lovers who are also history geeks.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a fiction writer and animal studies scholar, I’m always looking for strange historical anecdotes about human/animal relationships and literary works that help me view humanity’s complex historical relationship with our fellow creatures through fresh eyes. As these books show, whenever humans write about animals, we also write about personhood, bodily autonomy, coexistence, partnership, symbiosis, spectacle, sentience, and exploitation—themes perpetually relevant to what it means to be human!

Jess' book list on animal lovers who are also history geeks

Jess Bowers Why did Jess love this book?

For me, this book is a master class on using animals to write about humans without losing sight that animals aren’t human at all. It’s also laugh-out-loud hilarious because each story here is based on a real celebrity’s fateful encounter with an animal—and Millet uses a delightfully broad and irreverent definition of “celebrity.”

In this book, Noam Chomsky tries to sell a used gerbil habitat, Sharon Stone’s journalist husband is bitten and infected by a komodo dragon, and Madonna, in her British accent phase, shoots a pheasant badly. Millet’s precise prose satirically skewers our relationship with celebrities and creatures, inviting us to reconsider both.

By Lydia Millet,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Love in Infant Monkeys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Animals and celebrities share unusual relationships in these hilarious satirical stories by an award-winning contemporary writer.

  Lions, Komodo dragons, dogs, monkeys, and pheasants―all have shared spotlights and tabloid headlines with celebrities such as Sharon Stone, Thomas Edison, and David Hasselhoff. Millet hilariously tweaks these unholy communions to run a stake through the heart of our fascination with famous people and pop culture in a wildly inventive collection of stories that “evoke the spectrum of human feeling and also its limits” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review).

  While in so much fiction animals exist as symbols of good and evil or as author…


Book cover of In the Wild

Matt Forrest Esenwine Author Of Once Upon Another Time

From my list on children’s poetry collections about animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my parents gave me a copy of Dorothy Aldis’ The Secret Place and Other Poems, I have enjoyed a lifelong love of poetry. Now, as a traditionally-published children’s author, I have had numerous books and poems published over the years, including books that began as poems, like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) and Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, 2021). My poems can be found in various anthologies including The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (N.G. Children’s Books, 2015) and Construction People (Wordsong, 2020) as well as Highlights for Children magazine.

Matt's book list on children’s poetry collections about animals

Matt Forrest Esenwine Why did Matt love this book?

This book proves that poetry is thoughtful, succinct, and beautiful to read – and most importantly, accessible to all. From elephants and cheetahs to American bison and polar bears, David distills the essence of each animal into short poems that are brimming with insight and wit. While all of David’s books in this series are wonderful, In the Wild was one of the first and remains one of the best.

By David Elliott, Holly Meade (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Wild 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?

“A stunning combination of poems and illustrations celebrating some of Earth’s wildest and most beautiful creatures.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The stellar team who brought us On the Farm presents a companion book evoking creatures of the wild in simple, clever poems and vibrant woodcuts. From the lion standing alone on the African savannah to the panda in a bamboo forest, from the rhinoceros with its boot-like face to the Arctic polar bear disappearing in the snow, David Elliott’s pithy verse and Holly Meade’s stunning woodcut and watercolor illustrations reveal a world of remarkable beauty and wonder.


Book cover of On the Night You Were Born

Beth Cox Author Of All Bodies Are Wonderful: An Inclusive Guide to talking about you!

From my list on embracing who you are.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an inclusion consultant working with publishers to help ensure all children are included in books. It’s easy to forget how important embracing all types of bodies is when thinking about diversity and inclusion. But inclusion is essentially about welcoming and appreciating all different types of bodies. The best way to promote this is to build a sense of awe about how bodies are created, understand the science behind why differences occur, and see that bodies come in many shapes and forms, and are all beautiful. There are so many books that can help with this, but alongside my book, the books on this list are a great place to start.

Beth's book list on embracing who you are

Beth Cox Why did Beth love this book?

I read this book to my son when he was a baby every single night for over a key, and it still gives me goosebumps.

Personally, the road to becoming a parent hadn’t been straightforward, and this celebration of a new life in the world put my feelings about the wonder of this into words. A key part of building self-worth and self-esteem in children is creating a sense of awe and wonder, and this book does that alongside helping each child to see how special and unique they are.

It’s relevant for any of us at any age to remind us that we all have immense value.

By Nancy Tillman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked On the Night You Were Born as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 1, 2, 3, and 4.

What is this book about?

On the night you were born,
the moon smiled with such wonder
that the stars peeked in to see you
and the night wind whispered.
"Life will never be the same."
On the night you were born, the whole world came alive with thanksgiving. The moon stayed up till morning. The geese flew home to celebrate. Polar bears danced.
On the night you were born you brought wonder and magic to the world. Here is a book that celebrates you. It is meant to be carried wherever life takes you, over all the roads, through all the years.
This debut…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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