The best alligator books

Many authors have picked their favorite books about alligators and why they recommend each book.

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The River of Souls

By Robert McCammon,

Book cover of The River of Souls

Robert McCammon is one of our finest contemporary writers. He truly has the gift of making me feel like I’m in the settings of his books, as if I’ve experienced the tribulations and triumphs of his characters firsthand. River of Souls is no exception. It transported me back in time to the swamps of the Carolinas in 1703, where alligators and snakes prowled the dark waters. The main character, Matthew Corbett, is tasked with journeying up the Solstice River in search of an accused murderer. He encounters strange settlements steeped in mysticism. Tales of a mythical beast hunting humans in the fetid landscape add to the terror. But despite these challenges, Corbett, a smart, dynamic, honor-bound character, will stop at nothing to see justice done.


Who am I?

In addition to being a writer, I’m also a wildlife researcher and therefore spend a lot of time in wild, remote areas. Using a variety of methods including bioacoustic studies, I undertake wildlife surveys to determine what species are present on lands that have been set aside for conservation. I ensure there are no signs of poaching and devise of ways to improve habitat. I have surveyed for the presence of grizzlies, wolves, spotted owls, wolverines, jaguars, endangered bats, and more. These remote settings inspired me to write my current thriller series about a wildlife biologist who encounters dangerous situations while working to protect endangered species.


I wrote...

A Solitude of Wolverines: A Novel of Suspense

By Alice Henderson,

Book cover of A Solitude of Wolverines: A Novel of Suspense

What is my book about?

While studying wolverines on a wildlife sanctuary in Montana, biologist Alex Carter is run off the road and threatened by locals determined to force her off the land. Undeterred, Alex tracks wolverines on foot and by cameras positioned in remote regions of the preserve. But when she reviews the photos, she discovers disturbing images of a severely injured man seemingly lost and wandering in the wilds.

After searches for the unknown man come up empty, local law enforcement is strangely set on dismissing the case altogether. Alex realizes too late that she has seen too much—she's stumbled onto a far-reaching illegal operation and has become the biggest threat. Alex’s life now depends on using all she knows to win the brutal battle for survival.

Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)

By Julie Falatko, Tim J. Miller (illustrator),

Book cover of Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)

Another brilliant gem of a book, Snappsy the Alligator is just trying to go about his day, but the annoying narrator of the book insists that he behave in certain ways. This book cleverly considers what the role of character is in a book and how the characters function in their story. Adults will appreciate the sophistication of the concept while younger readers will laugh hysterically at Snappsy’s attempts to be himself despite what the narrator thinks he should do.


Who am I?

I’m a full-time author and illustrator, and a recovering second grade teacher. I visit with tens of thousands of kids at schools every year and love sharing funny books with them. I’ve written and illustrated over 30 published books and know that kids appreciate subtle humor as well as in-your-face hilarity. I love writing stories that will make readers laugh and think. But mostly laugh.


I wrote...

Almost Everybody Farts

By Marty Kelley,

Book cover of Almost Everybody Farts

What is my book about?

Grandmas fart. Teachers fart. Terrifying creatures fart. But... is there someone who doesn't fart?

With sly humor, this fun picture book looks at a subject that’s sure to make children laugh: farting. With silent farts, farts like horns, and rainbow farts from unicorns, Almost Everybody Farts comically captures the gassy scene. And only one person insists she’s fart-free: Mom! But is she? Kids will insist on reading this rhyming story again and again.

Chez Bob

By Bob Shea,

Book cover of Chez Bob

A book about a lazy alligator who opens a restaurant on his nose so he doesn’t have to chase birds before eating them? Yes, please! I’ve always been a huge fan of Bob Shea’s work, but this book is next-level awesome. The voice is impeccable! It’s impossible to read this book without slipping into your best lazy alligator voice. The masterfully chosen words will draw it right out of you. I didn’t even know I had a lazy alligator voice until I read this book. My husband is not nearly as enamored with children’s books as I am, but even he loved Chez Bob and laughed a total of 11 times. There is no doubt this book is fiercely funny, but it is also utterly charming. Seeing Bob’s affection grow for his feathered friends is what makes him an endearing and enduring character. 


Who am I?

Three of my favorite things are reading, writing, and laughing. So, of course, my favorite books are usually the ones that make me giggle. I also have a slightly dark sense of humor which means I have a soft spot for books where one of the characters may get eaten. But I think the very best books are ones where unexpected friendships occur instead. So often our perceptions about others are wrong, and if we just take the time to get to know the animal (or person) behind those extra sharp teeth, we may find we have more in common than we realized. 


I wrote...

My School Stinks!

By Becky Scharnhorst, Julia Patton (illustrator),

Book cover of My School Stinks!

What is my book about?

Dear Diary, Today is the first day at my new school and I think there’s been a mistake. My deskmate stinks, my locker buddy bites, and my teacher is unbearable! I told Mom my classmates are WILD ANIMALS, but she said all little kids are wild animals. I think I’m going to be sick tomorrow.

This hilarious back-to-school story is about a young boy who accidentally ends up at a school for real animals. When Stuart first arrives at Wildwood Elementary, not even deep breaths and happy thoughts can calm his nervous jitters. Stuart does his best to avoid his wild classmates, but soon learns friends come in all shapes, sizes, and species. 

New and Selected Poems, Volume One

By Mary Oliver,

Book cover of New and Selected Poems, Volume One

Like nature itself, poetry allows quiet reflection and a deep peace into our lives. Like Mary Oliver, I too, find an almost divine rapture in the sheer glory of Nature’s elemental wildness. In this collection, Oliver's mystical connection to nature combined with her simple language and clear imagery create poems that are profoundly beautiful. During these past years of the global pandemic lockdown, I was unable to restore my soul by visiting the South African wilderness that is so close to the city I live in. Instead, through contemplation of Oliver’s poetry and writing my own, I was able to re-connect with the bliss and strength that the natural world so generously offers us.


Who am I?

As a poet and a dreamer, I believe in a world where we live in harmony with other people, nature, and the Divine. During the completion of my Master of Arts degree, I discovered a love of poetry: the lyrical cadences of the romantic poems reminded me of the sung psalms of my youth. No life is without sorrow, and the gift of poetry — both writing and reading it — has offered me hope through many a dark time, inspiring me to push on towards a new dawn. My wish for you is that, in these poetry collections, you too find a light during these turbulent times that we’re living in.


I wrote...

the dust of hope: rune poems

By Judy Croome,

Book cover of the dust of hope: rune poems

What is my book about?

As a poet and an intuitive tarot reader, my fascination with symbolism and its ability to inspire people is reflected in my latest collection of poetry. I turned to the ancient ways of the Nordic runes, to shine a light of hope and healing as we navigate through the wilderness of anxiety permeating these early years of the twenty-first century. These deceptively simple verses console us with a calm acceptance that, even during a global pandemic, everyday life ebbs and flows with the natural rhythms of the timeless oceans. In these poems, we’re invited to stop, to breathe, and to see the world around us from a new perspective birthed within the centre of our souls.  

A Mother for Choco

By Keiko Kasza,

Book cover of A Mother for Choco

A Mother for Choco is a classic in the world of adoption books. Told through the lens of a bird looking for his mama, children learn that not all family members look alike! So many foster and adoptive children (and even the children of multi-ethnic birth families!) struggle to identify their place in a family that looks different from them. This story helps to shape the idea that family members can have different hair color, skin color, height, and other varying features from the parents or siblings of the home—and still be family. This is so powerful and important for kids developing their sense of identity and belonging, regardless of their origin.


Who am I?

As a birth, foster, adoptive, and pseudo mom to many children, I know firsthand how hard it is to find quality literature that reflects their experience and gives them skills for their own life journey. As a therapist, certified in trauma and resilience, having spent many years in social services, I also see the lack of resources available to caregivers, teachers, and counselors. It's my passion to help remove shame, build resilience, and reclaim hope in the lives of each member of these families. I’ve done this through a TEDx talk on the power of story on the brain, authored multiple books, speak regularly, offer trainings, and private parent coaching.


I wrote...

Speranza's Sweater: A Child's Journey Through Foster Care and Adoption

By Marcy Pusey,

Book cover of Speranza's Sweater: A Child's Journey Through Foster Care and Adoption

What is my book about?

Kids deserve a safe place to live and grow and learn. For some kids, this means living with foster or adoptive parents. Speranza wears her sweater everywhere, hanging onto the last memories of her birth home until it’s threadbare. Like her unraveled sweater, Speranza must weave together a new story, bringing threads from her past and strands from her present, into a future of love, family, and the true meaning of home.

This heart-warming story provides hope and support for the many mixed emotions a child will experience during their foster and adoption journey, through the unraveling and re-weaving of a favorite sweater. Speranza’s Sweater includes a dictionary of words to empower children and their carers by understanding the language used around them.

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

By Karen Russell,

Book cover of St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

Russell has written many books that traffic in underworlds, weirdness, and magic, but for me this book—her first—takes the cake. Written when the author was just twenty-five, St. Lucy’s Home is a collection of magical coming-of-age stories—my favorite one features the children of werewolves who are sent to a rigid school with impossible rules. Russell is a poet at the sentence level—her verbs constantly do acrobatics! In these stories, she portrays adolescence as a sort of sieve in which we must leave all our wonderful weirdness behind in order to become adults.


Who am I?

I’m an American author and writing teacher both at Harvard and Oxford’s online programs. I've mostly written poetry and nonfiction, then in 2021 I published my first novel, She Never Told Me about the Ocean. I started writing the book when my daughter was born as a way to explore the complicated feelings and fears that suddenly washed over me. The book—like a daughter—outgrew my plans and expectations for it. It became, unexpectedly, a mythology of mothers and daughters. For two decades I've studied fairy tales and myths. Fairy tales deal in fears and the stories we tell ourselves to feel safe—which is why I read them and use them in my writing.


I wrote...

She Never Told Me about the Ocean

By Elisabeth Sharp McKetta,

Book cover of She Never Told Me about the Ocean

What is my book about?

Magic. Mothers. Daughters. Birth, love, and death. Enchanted islands. Underworlds. Plant medicine. Generations learning to understand each other through the stories we tell and hear. In the words of one of my favorite authors, Arthur Golden, “She Never Told Me about the Ocean is a heroine's journey through forgiveness, birth and rebirth, all the while treading the line between honoring the dead and feeling paralyzed by them. She has offered us a complicated portrait of mothers and daughters, cupped inside one another like nesting dolls.” 

Gator Aide (Rachel Porter Mysteries)

By Jessica Speart,

Book cover of Gator Aide (Rachel Porter Mysteries)

The Rachel Porter Mysteries by Jessica Speart are not well known, but they deserve to be. These books are available now only as Kindle ebooks and used mass-market paperbacks. Based on years of experience as an investigative journalist focusing on wildlife law enforcement and endangered species issues, the author created protagonist Rachel Porter, a new wildlife agent who is determined to protect animals wherever she is assigned, no matter what dangers and challenges may erupt from the environment, the local citizens, or her own bosses, who typically believe that she doesn’t belong in the field. Speart writes amazing scenes that are both suspenseful and funny, a trick that as an author I envy. I learned a lot about the illegal wildlife trade in each book, and I never tired of the quirky characters and Rachel’s fearless dedication to protecting wildlife at all costs


Who am I?

Nature is my passion. As an avid hiker, kayaker, snowshoer, and occasional scuba diver, nothing thrills me more than observing wild species in their native environments. Freedom from the constant noise of civilization helps maintain my sanity. I want to share my passion for the endless fascination and solace of nature with my readers, and I also enjoy using my ten years of experience as a private investigator to craft each mystery. And last but never least, I relish strong characters who must rely on their own ingenuity to solve problems, so using a setting where 911 cannot immediately deliver help is a key element in many of my stories. 


I wrote...

Endangered

By Pamela Beason,

Book cover of Endangered

What is my book about?

Summer "Sam" Westin's assignment to report on cougars in a Utah park goes horribly awry when a child vanishes from a campground and the TV news focuses on the local mountain lions as the likely culprits.

As days tick by with no sign of the missing boy and media coverage continues to inflame the public, pressure grows for the park administration to kill the cougars. But Sam was one of the last people to see the child, and she has good reason to suspect a man she saw as little Zachary Fischer ran away from her. Can she uncover the truth in time to save both the child and the big cats?

Swamplandia!

By Karen Russell,

Book cover of Swamplandia!

Amusement parks, and the people who work in them have always had a fond place in my heart. Growing up at the Jersey Shore, some of my earliest memories are of the carnival rides and the games of chance on the Boardwalk. One of my first “real” jobs during high school was working in a candy store on the Boardwalk. With the front door open to let in the ocean breezes and the sound of happy screams from the arcade next door, not to mention as much free candy as I could eat, it was the best summer job ever.

My summer experience working in the seasonal tourism industry made me intrigued by the exploits of the Bigtree family. They’re white people, originally from Ohio, who run a struggling Florida theme park on a 100-acre island in the Everglades, while pretending to be Native Americans. This is a bizarre, suspenseful,…


Who am I?

I’m a lifelong New Jerseyan married to a man whose family comes from Georgia. It gave me an opportunity to observe the white, Southern, upper-class weltanschauung, up close. To hear them talk, you’d think the Civil War had ended just a few days earlier, and if the Yankees had only respected states’ rights, none of that mess would have happened. My book is about a dysfunctional Georgia family who has far too much money than is good for them. Hijinks ensue.


I wrote...

White Oaks

By Jill Hand,

Book cover of White Oaks

What is my book about?

It’s hellishly hot and humid in South Georgia, down by the Florida state line. Things have a way of steaming down there, including tempers, and decades-long grudges. The Trapnells are world-class grudge-holders. Fabulously rich and more than a little crazy, patriarch Blanton Trapnell is a law unto himself, ruling over the town of Cobbs like a medieval king. When Blanton expresses the desire to kill someone with his bare hands as a ninetieth birthday present, his children get busy to make it appear to happen, without anyone getting hurt. Disaster befalls them when Blanton’s birthday present goes horribly, hilariously wrong.

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