The best animal books

Who picked these books? Meet our 203 experts.

203 authors created a book list connected to animals, and here are their favorite animal books.
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What type of animal book?


The Going to Bed Book

By Sandra Boynton,

Book cover of The Going to Bed Book

Kenneth Kraegel Author Of Mushroom Lullaby

From the list on bedtime books for young children.

Who am I?

I write and illustrate picture books. Before I was a father I just thought of the picture book as my chosen art form. When I became a dad, I saw first-hand how important picture books are in the lives of young children and the people who read to them. They become family friends. For the youngest kids, bedtime and nap-time are rituals performed many times a day, which means those books get read over and over. In doing so, I found some favorites that I still enjoy reading today, even if I am reading to myself!   

Kenneth's book list on bedtime books for young children

Discover why each book is one of Kenneth's favorite books.

Why did Kenneth love this book?

I didn’t think much of rhyming picture books until I became a father. Whether I was savoring the bedtime experience, impatient to get on to the next task or about to fall asleep myself, the rhythm of this (and all of Boynton’s books) pulled me into the moment and made me an engaged reader. And Boynton’s books are as fun to look at as they are to read. 

By Sandra Boynton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Going to Bed Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Getting ready for sleep is tons of fun in this Sandra Boynton classic.

The sun has set not long ago.
Now everybody goes below
to take a bath in one big tub
with soap all over-SCRUB SCRUB SCRUB!

This classic bedtime story is just right for winding down the day as a joyful, silly group of animals scrub scrub scrub in the tub, brush and brush and brush their teeth, and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep.

Kindred Spirits

By Allen M. Schoen,

Book cover of Kindred Spirits: How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live

Jane Miller Author Of Healing Companions: Ordinary Dogs and Their Extraordinary Power to Transform Lives

From the list on the healing power of animals and human-animal bond.

Who am I?

It all began at a very young age when I aspired to be Jane Goodall and save the lives of animals. Since then, her wisdom, courage, and activism have guided me throughout my life. Through my childhood, I nursed fledglings with eyedroppers, adopted turtles left on the curbside, and became an advocate for “Save our Seals”. In college, I immersed myself in the study of animal behavior. I explored the behavior of Red Kangaroos, "Megalia Rufas" in captivity, exploring ways in which zoos could improve their facilities to respect the needs of the animals. These experiences set the landscape for my work as a holistic psychotherapist with the healing power of dogs.

Jane's book list on the healing power of animals and human-animal bond

Discover why each book is one of Jane's favorite books.

Why did Jane love this book?

This book had a huge impact on my life into exploring so many different healing modalities filled with love and compassion for animals we share our lives with. He eloquently explores the healing power of the human-animal bond with deeply personal stories. He changed my life and will impact your connection to the animals that you share your days with. 

By Allen M. Schoen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Treating animals just as any healer would treat human beings, Allen Schoen has become one of America’s most celebrated veterinarians. Kindred Spirits shares the transformative power of his remarkable methods, explores how alternative healing is revolutionizing his profession, and, in the tradition of James Herriot, shares heartwarming stories of animals and their caretakers who have deeply enriched each other’s lives. Through moving scenes–such as an ailing German shepherd who fights to stay alive so he can assist and comfort his ailing human companion–Schoen details the ways in which the human-animal bond can provide a wellspring of love and support, and…


By Vikki VanSickle, Anna Pirolli (illustrator),

Book cover of Anonymouse

Elen Ghulam Author Of Graffiti Hack

From the list on graffiti to make you want to pick up spray paint.

Who am I?

I'm sure you’ve heard of method acting. A technique by which an actor embodies the character they're portraying 24/7. I'm a method writer. I embody the world of the novels that I write. However, when the time came to write a novel inspired by graffiti, I faced a particular frustration. Graffiti is illegal. I felt a strong desire to grab a spray paint can to decorate public spaces. And yet the fear of a jail cell prevented me from acting on the impulse. I had to find a different outlet for that desire. I poured over every book and movie on the subject. I believe I became a bit of an expert.

Elen's book list on graffiti to make you want to pick up spray paint

Discover why each book is one of Elen's favorite books.

Why did Elen love this book?

Anonymouse is a charming illustrated picture book for children that grownups will appreciate. It tells the story of a mysterious graffiti artist that creates art specifically for animals. What I love most about it, is that it illustrates the transformative power of art. As the different animals are surprised and delighted with the graffiti, their lives, how they see themselves and relate to each other are enhanced in surprising ways.

By Vikki VanSickle, Anna Pirolli (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Animal-friendly street art is popping up all over the city, but who is creating these masterpieces? There is no explanation, only a name: Anonymouse. For fans of Sidewalk Flowers and Art & Max.

Art for the birds.
Art for the ants.
Art for the dogs, cats and raccoons.
Art to make them laugh, make them think, make them feel at home.
But who is creating it?
Only Anonymouse knows for sure . . .

This clever tale mixes street art, animals and gorgeous illustrations to create a meditation on how art can uplift any creature's spirit -- human or animal…

You Will Be My Friend!

By Peter Brown,

Book cover of You Will Be My Friend!

Anne Marie Pace Author Of Groundhug Day

From the list on picture books about navigating friendship.

Who am I?

I expect that the folks at approached me as a picture book author, since I’m the author of eleven picture books, including the four books of the Vampirina Ballerina series, which were adapted into the Disney Junior hit series Vampirina. But my thoughts and ideas about friendship and community really stem from once having been a child myself and from being a parent of four children, each of whom approached the roller coaster ride of childhood friendship in their unique ways. I was always happy to help them find answers in a book, even when those answers involved more, and deeper, questions.

Anne's book list on picture books about navigating friendship

Discover why each book is one of Anne's favorite books.

Why did Anne love this book?

Lucy Bear is determined to make a friend, but it turns out to be a harder task than she anticipated. Her efforts startle, bother, annoy, and anger the other forest animals. She’s ready to give up but in the end, she finds a perfect friend—perfect for her, that is, and isn’t that what really matters? I adore Peter Brown’s colorful, jocular illustrations and the way the answer to Lucy’s desire is presented not in the text, but in the art. For a bonus friendship lesson, check out Brown’s bio on the dust jacket.

By Peter Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Will Be My Friend! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Today is the day the exuberant Lucy is going to make a new friend! But she finds it's harder than she had thought--she accidentally ruins the giraffe's breakfast and is much too big for the frogs' pond. Just when she's about to give up, an unexpected friend finds her, and loves her just the way she is.

This heartwarming story offers a unique and humor-filled spin on the all-important themes of persistence and friendship.

Something's Wrong!

By Jory John, Erin Kraan (illustrator),

Book cover of Something's Wrong!: A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear

Sarah Williamson Author Of Elevator Bird

From the list on teaching kids kindness.

Who am I?

Of all the lessons that we should be teaching kids, I think kindness should be at the top of everyone’s list. If people treated every human and sentient being with kindness and compassion the world would be a better place, which is something we all want. The more we can illustrate this for children the better so that they can understand that we are all in this together and that everyone deserves respect.

Sarah's book list on teaching kids kindness

Discover why each book is one of Sarah's favorite books.

Why did Sarah love this book?

Jory John is a hilarious writer and this book is no exception. A bear forgets something but he can’t figure out what (it’s his pants). We see him in his white cotton underwear, but it’s never actually stated so while he mulls over the problem to other animals in the forest, the reader laughs waiting to see what will happen. No one tells him what the problem is. But his good friend, Anders puts on underwear too. He proclaims to the other animals in the forest that it’s cool and the new style. A dose of kindness goes a long way in this funny and surprising tale.

By Jory John, Erin Kraan (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Something's Wrong! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jeff the bear has definitely forgotten something. He ate his breakfast, he watered his plant, he combed his fur . . . what could it be? Why does he feel so oddly off? So he asks his friend Anders the rabbit what could possibly be wrong. It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that he's wearing underwear . . . over his fur . . . could it? Another read-out-loud, laugh-out-loud picture book from bestselling and beloved author Jory John, paired with rising star illustrator Erin Balzer, about that horrible nagging feeling that it just might not be…


By Dan Kainen, Carol Kaufmann,

Book cover of Polar: A Photicular Book

Alicia Klepeis Author Of Penguins & Polar Bears: A Pretty Cool Introduction to the Arctic and Antarctic

From the list on the polar regions for children.

Who am I?

I’m a geographer and the author of more than 170 (mostly nonfiction) books for kids. I began my career at the National Geographic Society and have worked on a variety of projects for them over the last three decades. I also taught middle-school geography for years. In addition to my featured book, I have written numerous magazine articles on topics related to polar regions—from Siberia’s Eveny people to climate change in the Arctic. I am the author of Living in the Arctic and several books on countries in the polar regions. I was recently interviewed by PBS Books for my book on Benjamin Franklin’s scientific work.

Alicia's book list on the polar regions for children

Discover why each book is one of Alicia's favorite books.

Why did Alicia love this book?

When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the Photicular movies. Getting a chance to watch the colorful lights of the auroras move was an exciting way to bring a scientific topic to life. As I made my way through the book, it was wonderful to get a chance to both read about then watch “movies” of all of the topics that were covered—from sled dogs on the move to walruses lumbering over the ice. Kaufmann’s writing style makes you feel like you are learning from a wise friend who’s taking you on an exciting journey to the polar regions. Young readers will enjoy her weaving in mentions of Harry Potter when talking about snowy owls or Santa’s sleigh when discussing reindeer. 

By Dan Kainen, Carol Kaufmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Seeing is believing: Photicular technology is a phenomenon. Three years - two titles, Safari and Ocean - and 723,000 copies in print. Through its innovative lenticular process, sliding lenses, and four-colour video imagery, readers discovered the magic of animals bounding and leaping, and then came face to face with creatures of the sea as they undulate and sway. Now Dan Kainen, the creator of the Photicular technology, takes us even further into places unknown by exploring the ends of the earth, the Arctic and Antarctic. Polar captures a land of extremes - remote, mysterious, and sparsely populated by creatures found…

A Father's Love

By Hannah Holt, Yee Von Chan (illustrator),

Book cover of A Father's Love

Natalee Creech Author Of Nothing: Nothing Can Separate You from God's Love!

From the list on children’s books about God’s love.

Who am I?

“I am loved and forgiven. What a wonderful thing! I’m adopted as God’s own. I’m a child of the King!” I am an author who wants to help parents write important truths on their children’s hearts. Nothing is a book I wish I had written sooner, and would have loved to have read with my own children when they were little enough to hold in my lap. I hope these book recommendations help you share God’s love with your little ones, so that when they grow up they are sure of the promise that nothing can ever separate them from God’s love.

Natalee's book list on children’s books about God’s love

Discover why each book is one of Natalee's favorite books.

Why did Natalee love this book?

A Father’s Love by Hannah Holt showcases animal fathers loving and taking care of their young. It culminates with a message of unconditional love on a spread with human fathers: A father’s love is always there. A father’s love is everywhere. Personally, I can’t help but love that she included some less obvious choices of animals such as a marmoset and emu, and that each stanza features a color. I also love the perfect meter, rich language, and the use of similes to describe a father’s love. But...weren’t these book recommendations supposed to be about God’s love? While this book is about “a father’s love,” it can also be used as a springboard to talk about the Father’s love!

By Hannah Holt, Yee Von Chan (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Father's Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Throughout the animal kingdom, in every part of the world, fathers love and care for their babies. This book takes readers around the globe and across the animal kingdom, showcasing the many ways fathers have of demonstrating their love. Whether it's a penguin papa snuggling with his baby in the frosty white snow, a lion dad playing with his cub in a yellow field, or a seahorse father protecting his young inside his pouch in the deep blue ocean, we see that a father's love comes in all shapes, sizes, and colours.

With beautiful art that brings all of the…


By Brian Jacques, Gary Chalk (illustrator),

Book cover of Redwall

J.S. Allen Author Of Remnants of Light

From the list on YA fantasy series to start with.

Who am I?

I have been an ardent fantasy reader since I was very young, and have been a writer for nearly as long. The idea of being able to weave together an original narrative that can be entertaining, educational, and instructive at the same time is a concept that has fascinated me well into adulthood, and one that I continue to explore in my reading and writing to this day, whether short form or long; fiction or non.

J.S.'s book list on YA fantasy series to start with

Discover why each book is one of J.S.'s favorite books.

Why did J.S. love this book?

This is one book that truly qualifies as a “modern classic” of YA literature.

This is the book that launched what would go on to be a 22-book series spanning some 25 years. But really, this book is a perfectly good story all by itself. You need not read any other in the series to enjoy this tale of heroism and courage set in a richly adorned world of woodland creatures and villainous monsters.

The vivid imagery Jacques uses in his writing makes the whole world of Redwall really come to life. You might say, as Jacques himself said, that he was trying to “paint pictures with words.”

By Brian Jacques, Gary Chalk (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first book in the beloved, bestselling Redwall saga - soon to be a major Netflix movie!

Redwall Abbey, tranquil home to a community of peace-loving mice, is threatened by the evil, one-eyed rat warlord Cluny the Scourge and his battle-hardened horde of predators.

Cluny is certain that Redwall will fall easily to his fearsome army but he hasn't bargained for the courage and strength of the Redwall mice and their loyal woodland friends . . .

One of TIME magazine's 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time

'Not since Roald Dahl have children filled their shelves so compulsively' -…

The Bear Must Go on

By Dev Petty, Brandon Todd (illustrator),

Book cover of The Bear Must Go on

Lisa Tolin Author Of How to Be a Rock Star

From the list on children’s books for future rock stars.

Who am I?

I am not a rock star but I do play a mean (computer) keyboard. My debut picture book, How to Be a Rock Star, was inspired by my musical children and our endless hours jamming as a family band. I was always on the lookout for books to inspire my little rock star, and because they were hard to come by, I wrote one! These books will inspire your budding musician, or just help you embrace a spirit of creative play in any way they want to rock.

Lisa's book list on children’s books for future rock stars

Discover why each book is one of Lisa's favorite books.

Why did Lisa love this book?

If your rock star is a little shy about sharing her talents, she might relate to Bear. When it’s time to put on a show, Bear’s friends focus on making shiny tickets, sequined curtains, and very tall hats while Bear takes notes. As the title suggests, it’s up to Bear to actually figure out the show. As someone much more comfortable taking notes (and finding just the right pen and notebook first), I find Bear highly relatable.

By Dev Petty, Brandon Todd (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bear Must Go on as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this hilarious story of theatrical hijinks, plans go awry when four woodland friends stage a show--unless Bear can step up and save the day!

Bear and his woodland friends are putting on a show, and there are lots of plans to be made. Their curtains need sequins! Their hats must be very, very tall! And their tickets have to be shiny! (No one will come if the tickets are dull.)

Behind the scenes, shy Bear takes notes on every detail until his paws ache. But at least he won't have to go on stage. He could NEVER do that!…


By Peter Godfrey-Smith,

Book cover of Metazoa: Animal Minds and the Birth of Consciousness

Paul Pettitt Author Of Homo Sapiens Rediscovered: The Scientific Revolution Rewriting Our Origins

From the list on understanding the evolution of the human mind.

Who am I?

I went to university wanting to become a Roman specialist, but ended up going backwards in time until I landed with a bump on the hard flints of the Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age). I research aspects of the behaviour of the Pleistocene (Ice Age) indigenous Europeans – the Neanderthals – and the origins and evolution of our own species, Homo sapiens. I undertake fieldwork across Europe, and I’m particularly interested in the origins and early development of art – both on portable objects and cave walls – and the long-term evolution of our treatment of the dead. My scientific love is how we can try to get inside the mind of our most remote ancestors.

Paul's book list on understanding the evolution of the human mind

Discover why each book is one of Paul's favorite books.

Why did Paul love this book?

If you’re interested in the workings of the human imagination you have to start in our deep evolutionary past, and Metazoa does just this.

Godfrey Smith is an eminent philosopher of science, and brings his considerable experience under the ocean to understanding how the minds of shrimps, octopi, and fish probably conceive of the world.

With stunning evocations of the undersea world and his intimate encounters with these fascinating creatures, the author of Other Minds brings a battery of modern zoological and biological expertise to bear on revealing just how cognitively complex these supposedly simple creatures are. You’ll never look at them the same again.

By Peter Godfrey-Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The follow-up to the BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week Other Minds A Times and Sunday Times Book of the Year A Waterstones Best Book of 2020

The scuba-diving philosopher explores the origins of animal consciousness.

Dip below the ocean's surface and you are soon confronted by forms of life that could not seem more foreign to our own: sea sponges, soft corals and flower-like worms, whose rooted bodies and intricate geometry are more reminiscent of plant life than anything recognisably animal. Yet these creatures are our cousins. As fellow members of the animal kingdom - the Metazoa -…

The Wild Robot

By Peter Brown,

Book cover of The Wild Robot

Amy Herrick Author Of The Tiltersmith

From the list on fantasy that keeps Earth the center of the story.

Who am I?

As a kid, being shy and often scared witless of monsters under the bed, books were my refuge. I especially loved fantasy and great story-telling, which, at first, just took my mind off of things. Then, sneakily, the stories began to teach me how to find courage when facing monsters, as well as to value hopefulness, invention, and the study of science and nature. The earth is in a pickle now. There are monsters under the bed. We need science to help us find the right tools. We need stories to fire our inventiveness and our courage. Here are some great books for that. They will suit young readers and beyond.

Amy's book list on fantasy that keeps Earth the center of the story

Discover why each book is one of Amy's favorite books.

Why did Amy love this book?

I am fascinated by stories of robots evolving into sentient beings. For a change, in this one, the robots do not rise up to destroy their masters. Instead, we are invited into a funny, tender, and exciting tale about a robot who finds herself castaway on a wilderness island and must learn what her purpose is and how to survive. As she and the animals who live there grow closer and closer together, she begins to find a home in the wilderness. A rich story that works on many levels at once. It is a tale about the interdependence of all things in nature, as well as about the perils and possibilities that technology is bringing to us. Best of all, it’s about kindness. 

By Peter Brown,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Wild Robot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An engaging tale that explores many important themes. We can only hope that Roz serves as the template for all future robots. Peter Brown's illustrations are as marvellous as ever!' Coralie Bickford-Smith, author of THE FOX AND THE STAR

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is - but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a fierce storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realises that her only hope for survival…


By Jennifer Lynn Alvarez,

Book cover of Starfire

Sydney Scrogham Author Of Chase

From the list on for horse crazy kids.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a horse-crazy girl (going on nearly 20 years now)! Horses are excellent teachers and even better friends. They never lie, and they always treat you fairly. I’ve been teaching lessons for the past five years as a PATH Intl. certified instructor, and it’s been such a joy to share my love of horses with others. Here’s to all the great real-life horses in the world that inspire such great books.

Sydney's book list on for horse crazy kids

Discover why each book is one of Sydney's favorite books.

Why did Sydney love this book?

The pegasi characters in this story are a lot like humans, but they’re also a lot like horses. Their personalities are as unique as their names! I love how this highlights a young animal’s life in a really relatable, playful way that adults can enjoy, too. This book reminded me of the joy of horse foals in real life, but it also made me think a lot about what it means to be true to yourself and your calling.

By Jennifer Lynn Alvarez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first book in a gripping new tween fantasy series about winged horses-perfect for fans of the Warriors, Survivors, and Guardians of Ga'Hoole series. This paperback edition contains bonus content-a short story about Star's beloved friend, Grasswing! Once every hundred years, a black foal is born, prophesied to either unite or destroy the five herds of flying horses that live in Anok-fated to become the most powerful pegasus in all of the land. Star is this black foal. Even though Star has malformed wings that make him unable to fly, the leaders of each herd will take no risks and…

Armadillo Tattletale

By Helen Ketteman, Keith Graves (illustrator),

Book cover of Armadillo Tattletale

Gail Reichlin Author Of The Pocket Parent

From the list on motivate kids to manage their own behaviors and feelings.

Who am I?

As an internationally respected discipline expert, I guide parents in how to get more compliance than defiance from their little ones. I coined the phrase “The Dance of Non-Compliance” between parent and child. In order to change the dance, the parent will usually have to change his/her dance step first. It is often impossible during the heat of the moment, to teach ‘the lesson’ to the child due to the agitated emotional state of both parent and child. A well-executed picture book, appropriately written and illustrated for young children's developmental thinking ability, can open the door for a meaningful discussion regarding their misbehavior and feelings.

Gail's book list on motivate kids to manage their own behaviors and feelings

Discover why each book is one of Gail's favorite books.

Why did Gail love this book?

This is a wonderful tale about an armadillo, who loves to hide and spy on other animals and tell tall tales (lies) about what he hears. Cute fable of sorts on why the armadillo has such small ears. The book claims he started with very tall ears and every time he eavesdropped in other’s conversations, his ears got smaller. As a preschool teacher and grandmother, I encourage the children to “tell” us adults what is happening to get someone OUT of trouble, rather than to “tattle” on someone to get them IN trouble, which is not helpful. Through lyrical text and vivid illustrations, children learn that it is important to respect the privacy of others and avoid telling lies that hurt feelings.

By Helen Ketteman, Keith Graves (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What happens when your ears are too big for your head? Helen Ketteman's endearing tale of how the Armadillo came to have small ears reminds youngsters and oldsters alike to listen with care. With memorably quirky illustrations by Keith Graves.

The Lost Words

By Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris (illustrator),

Book cover of The Lost Words

C.C. Harrington Author Of Wildoak

From the list on inspiring young readers to engage with the natural world.

Who am I?

I fell in love with reading as a child and have carried that sense of magic and possibility with me ever since. As an adult and a writer, I believe passionately in the power of story to foster empathy, understanding, and greater human connection – and I still turn to children’s literature whenever I need reminding of all that we are capable of becoming and doing as human beings. This list has a strong environmental bent to it – partly because Wildoak is a book about caring for the natural world, and partly because I believe that stories shape our sense of purpose. 

C.C.'s book list on inspiring young readers to engage with the natural world

Discover why each book is one of C.C.'s favorite books.

Why did C.C. love this book?

This book is by one of my favourite nature writers of all time, Robert Macfarlane. It’s a picture book that is for humans of all ages, truly. His poetry makes for a beautiful read aloud, the illustrations by Jackie Morris are stunning and the size of it makes for an immersive experience. I absolutely loved reading it with my kids when they were a little younger and we all piled into my bed. I also believe that it works… the poems are ‘spells’ designed to bring certain words back into use since they were cut from the Junior Oxford English Dictionary. Words like acornkingfisher, and otter…. Please read and share this book!

By Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Lost Words as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Penguin presents the CD edition of The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane, read by Edith Bowman, Guy Garvey, Cerys Matthews and Benjamin Zephaniah.

All over the country, there are words disappearing from children's lives. Words like Dandelion, Otter, Bramble, Acorn and Lark represent the natural world of childhood, a rich landscape of discovery and imagination that is fading from children's minds.

The Lost Words stands against the disappearance of wild childhood. It is a joyful celebration of the poetry of nature words and the living glory of our distinctive, British countryside. With acrostic spell-poems by peerless wordsmith Robert Macfarlane this…


By Melissa Stewart, Sarah S. Brannen (illustrator),

Book cover of Seashells: More Than a Home

Cindy Jenson-Elliott Author Of Weeds Find a Way

From the list on to get kids outside and exploring nature.

Who am I?

I’ve been getting kids out into nature as an environmental education professional for over 30 years, in the garden, in the mountains, at the seashore, and in nearby nature. My life’s work, whether I am writing or teaching, is to help people experience the wonder of the natural world. I believe that children and adults need access to nature to grow and thrive, to find peace in a busy world, and to connect with each other. I know that, just like weeds, we can find a way to navigate the challenges in our lives when we connect with nature’s sustaining goodness wherever we find it.

Cindy's book list on to get kids outside and exploring nature

Discover why each book is one of Cindy's favorite books.

Why did Cindy love this book?

The seashore is a place to explore nature close to home for many children on coasts around the world, and seashells are a place to start that exploration, even for children who are land bound. This book uses lyrical and expository language to explore the ways creatures create and use shells, as well as the structure and function of shells. Use this book to begin an exploration of the ocean and seashore ecosystems.

By Melissa Stewart, Sarah S. Brannen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Award-winning nonfiction author Melissa Stewart reveals the surprising ways seashells provide more than shelter to the mollusks that inhabit them.

Young naturalists discover thirteen seashells in this elegant introduction to the remarkable versatility of shells. Dual-layered text highlights how shells provide more than a protective home in this expository nonfiction exploration. The informative secondary text underscores characteristics specific to each shell. Elegant watercolor illustrations create a scrapbook feel, depicting children from around the world observing and sketching seashells across shores.

The Song that Sings Us

By Nicola Davies,

Book cover of The Song that Sings Us

Linda Newbery Author Of This Book Is Cruelty Free: Animals and Us

From the list on animals and us.

Who am I?

I'm mainly known as an author of fiction for young readers, but animal awareness is an important part of my life and I decided to write about it.  I’ve been vegetarian for many years, and vegan for the last four: I decided long ago that no animal was going to die so that I could eat it. From early childhood, I loved animal stories, and as I grew older it baffled me that we care for our pets while thinking of other creatures as food. I spend a lot of my time campaigning for animals – for better treatment of farm animals, against bloodsports like fox-hunting and shooting, and for better awareness of the natural world and how we must look after it. 

Linda's book list on animals and us

Discover why each book is one of Linda's favorite books.

Why did Linda love this book?

This is an epic adventure story with a strong environmental theme, set in an alternative world. A harsh government, the Automators, trains citizens to think of the whole natural world – animals, plants, everything – as theirs to use and exploit. Set against them is a group of specially gifted people, the Listeners, who can tune in to animal minds and share their thoughts. But this ability is a dangerous one, as anyone found to be a Listener can be imprisoned and brainwashed. Harlon, Ash, Zeno, and their mother are part of a resistance group called Green Thorn, which tunes into an unseen network that connects all living things. This is an exciting story that’s also moving and poetic – and the story will continue!

By Nicola Davies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Song that Sings Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When animals talk, it's time humans listened: Harlon has been raised to protect her younger siblings, twins Ash and Xeno, and their outlawed power of communicating with animals. But when the sinister Automators attack their mountain home they must flee for their lives. Xeno is kidnapped and Harlon and Ash are separated. In a thrilling and dangerous adventure they must all journey alone through the ice fields, forests and oceans of Rumyc to try to rescue each other and fulfil a mysterious promise about a lost island made to their mother. A stunning environmental epic with cover and chapter illustrations…

I Want a Dog

By Jon Agee,

Book cover of I Want a Dog

Erin McGill Author Of If You Want a Friend in Washington: Wacky, Wild & Wonderful Presidential Pets

From the list on pet books for kids who want pets.

Who am I?

As a child, I desperately wanted a pet. Even if it maybe wasn’t a “real pet” like a rock or an egg. I used my imagination for pet possibilities. When I was researching If You Want A Friend In Washington I was constantly in awe of the strange and unusual pets of the White House. I wanted this list of pet books to be as diverse and unusual as the Presidential Pets. Maybe a Glacier is the perfect pet for you?

Erin's book list on pet books for kids who want pets

Discover why each book is one of Erin's favorite books.

Why did Erin love this book?

So maybe you want a dog, but have you considered other pets? The main character visits an animal shelter in search of a dog, but a persistent shelter manager urges her to consider other options. Join her in this humorous search for the perfect pet. What will it be? It may open reader's eyes to endless unexpected pet possibilities.

By Jon Agee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Want a Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A girl seeks her perfect pet at a wonderfully unusual animal shelter in this comical read-aloud by the award-winning creator of Life on Mars

The Copley County Animal Shelter has an aardvark, a lizard, a goose, a weasel, and plenty more. But do they have a puppy? The girl with her wagon is ready to adopt a dog--not an aardvark, lizard, or goose! Can the shelter manager help her to find her perfect pet?

Wildlife Ranger Action Guide

By Mary Kay Carson,

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

Patricia Newman Author Of Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean

From the list on nature to WOW! kids and teens.

Who am I?

I’m a Sibert Honor author and write books for kids and teens about nature. Part biography, part science adventure, my books introduce readers to real scientists and the unexpected twists and turns of their discoveries. The more I research the more I discover hidden connections to our natural world that humble me and fill me with gratitude. I do my best to share these connections with readers in an accurate, truthful way to help them find their own “ah-ha” moments in life. I want them to say, “I can do this, too!”

Patricia's book list on nature to WOW! kids and teens

Discover why each book is one of Patricia's favorite books.

Why did Patricia love 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.

By Mary Kay Carson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wildlife Ranger Action Guide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kids can make the world better for wild animals, starting right in their own backyards! With hands-on activities, from a Wildlife Spotting Fort to a Sand Print Track Trap, along with habitat projects and wildlife field guides, this book teaches young nature observers how identify which animals live nearby. DIY projects such as making a Frog Pond out of a kiddie pool, planting a pollinator garden for bees, painting a bat house, and building a lodge for lizards help kids create a welcome haven for animal friends. Throughout the book, habitat maps and fun facts profile 84 North American wildlife…

Book cover of How to Help a Pumpkin Grow

Jacqueline Rogers Author Of Goblin Moon

From the list on Halloween illustrated.

Who am I?

I grew up next to a cemetery, and being an avid young artist, I loved to draw all kinds of monsters and spooky themes. Halloween books are a perfect way to express my creepy…but not too creepy side. When I look at Halloween picture books, I'm immediately focused on the pictures, long before I read the story. What medium did the artist use? How do they depict night scenes? Are they realistic or stylized? How interesting are their characters? Halloween picture books are a perfect way to create moody and somewhat scary scenes that balance the creepy with the not-so-creepy. Kids love to be scared, but we don’t want to give them nightmares! 

Jacqueline's book list on Halloween illustrated

Discover why each book is one of Jacqueline's favorite books.

Why did Jacqueline love this book?

What I loved most about Ashley Wolff’s How to Help a Pumpkin Grow was her color! This luscious book is filled with gorgeous, intense full-spectrum color! Wolff’s wet on wet washes flow seamlessly into each other as a base layer. I am guessing, there may be some smooth pastel added to enhance the color in places. Wolff’s adept painting skill brings out details with multi-colored painted line work on top of the washes. 

Unusual touches like the addition of saturated royal blue to highlight the black coat of the dog and crow feathers add an interesting pop of color. The great asset of acrylic gouache is that it can be both transparent or opaque, enabling Wolff to add light line work on top of dark washes.

Gorgeous work, Ashley Wolff!

By Ashley Wolff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Help a Pumpkin Grow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What does it take to help a pumpkin grow? Find out in this warm, rhyming tale of gardening and unexpected friendship.

Dog is planting a garden, doing all he can to help his pumpkins grow: protecting them from snow, weeding and watering their patch, and keeping them safe from barnyard creatures who might eat the sprouts! But are Crow, Rabbit, Duck, and Goat really out to destroy the garden? Or are they be new friends hoping to pitch in and help the pumpkins thrive?

Book cover of The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals

Becky Crew Author Of Creatura: Strange Behaviours and Special Adaptations

From the list on bizarre animal adventures.

Who am I?

I’ve always had a love for weird and wonderful animals. As a kid, I used to collect lizards, snails, beetles, and caterpillars. When I was 15, I hid a family of white mice under the house so my parents wouldn’t find them. We bred guinea pigs and rats for a time. It was almost inevitable that I would end up writing about animals. As a science communicator, I tell stories about how strange yet relatable so many of the creatures living among us can be. I also love an adventure, and I hope these books capture your imagination as they did mine! 

Becky's book list on bizarre animal adventures

Discover why each book is one of Becky's favorite books.

Why did Becky love this book?

Why should fluffy, cute and beautiful animals get all the attention? What about the fleshy, bulbous, beady-eyed monstrosities whose bodies favour function over form?

If you’re a weird animal enthusiast like me, this illustrated compendium features the usual suspects, such as the naked mole-rat and southern elephant seal. But it’s also got some obscure surprises, including the (honestly quite attractive) maleo, and the monkey slug caterpillar, also known as the hag moth (both of which are suitable monikers for this shaggy mess of a thing).

It just goes to show that no matter how extensive your knowledge about animals is, there will always be a new species to discover and perhaps even fall in love with. If that happens to be the blobfish, well, each to their own, I guess.

By Sami Bayly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?





Marvel as you enter the fascinating hidden world of ugly animals in this encyclopaedia of the animal kingdom's most unusual and beauty-challenged species. It's time for ugly animals to shine!

With more than sixty ugly animals to explore, this compendium of the unusual celebrates the beauty in 'ugliness'. Children and adults alike will pore over the breathtaking scientific illustrations of unusual animals, debating their…