20 books directly related to butterflies 📚

All 20 butterfly books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Book cover of Butterfly Isles: A Summer in Search of Our Emperors and Admirals

Why this book?

This book is a classic natural history quest: Patrick Barkham tries to find all the butterfly species in Britain and Ireland in one summer. It explores our age-old relationship with these fantastic insects, the eccentricities of the butterfly watcher's world, and the author’s adventures along the way, all tied together by the challenge he’s set himself. This is a really entertaining book and brilliantly captures the butterfly obsession, offering an excellent portrayal of what makes butterfly watchers tick.

Butterfly Isles: A Summer in Search of Our Emperors and Admirals

By Patrick Barkham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Butterflies animate our summers but the 59 butterfly species of the British Isles can be surprisingly elusive. Some bask unseen at the top of trees in London parks; others lurk at the bottom of damp bogs in Scotland. A few survive for months while other ephemeral creatures only fly for three days. Several are virtually extinct. This bewitching book charts Patrick Barkham's quest to find all 59 - from the Adonis Blue to the Dingy Skipper - in one unforgettable summer. Barkham brings alive the extraordinary physical beauty and amusingly diverse character of our butterflies. He witnesses a swarming invasion…

Book cover of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Why this book?

A beloved classic picture book about a very hungry caterpillar who (spoiler alert) nourishes his way to becoming a beautiful butterfly. It’s a simple but compelling story of transformation, told with elegance and humour  - and a total joy for very young children. The very specific list of food (apple, pears, plums, strawberries, oranges, chocolate cake, cherry pie) makes it an immersive close-up experience. From the very start ("In the light of the moon, a little egg sat on a leaf.") its words and pictures are vivid and enchanting. A read-aloud delight full of texture, variety, and colour. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

By Eric Carle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

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

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

Butterfly House

By Eve Bunting, Greg Shed (illustrator),

Book cover of Butterfly House

Why this book?

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

Butterfly House

By Eve Bunting, Greg Shed (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

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

The Butterfly Garden

By Dot Hutchison,

Book cover of The Butterfly Garden

Why this book?

The Butterfly Garden was creepy, and I questioned whether the main character was a victim or if perhaps she was involved in the garden. The author did a great job describing the Butterfly Garden's details. It came alive. This book may be too much for some people as it does involve torture from the captor. But I enjoyed the story. It was twisted and fascinating. 

The Butterfly Garden

By Dot Hutchison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

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

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

Book cover of Chronicles: Volume One

Why this book?

A tender meditation on all the disparate threads, sounds, loves, conversations, and lessons that meld together to create an artist. Watching Bob trying to throw off the accolades and labels that want to pin him down like butterfly and explore whatever takes his fancy is my favorite part of this trip, weaving through all the stolen records and ghosts and signposts and colored lights beckoning. 

Chronicles: Volume One

By Bob Dylan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Building on the success of Bob Dylan in His Own Words, an autobiographical portrait of the acclaimed musical performer recounts personal and professional experiences and features black-and-white photography. 250,000 first printing.

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

Why 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.

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

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.

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…

Pioneer Species

By Ross Thurber,

Book cover of Pioneer Species

Why this book?

Pioneer Species is a book of poems by friend and farmer-poet Ross Thurber. A small vineyard I work with in southern Vermont, my own agricultural essay and investigation on a sense of place different than my own, is part of Ross’s Lilac Ridge Farm. Like Mary Oliver, Ross is intensely bound to the natural and cultivated world of his farm in which he lives and his poems capture a language that brings forward the light, the shadow, the fog, the till, the butterfly, the flower, the cow. I am constantly inspired by his poems to be out in my own fields and to contemplate and communicate my own place in them. A delicious collection about a deeply personal and lyrical view of farm life.

Pioneer Species

By Ross Thurber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This collection of poems from Vermont farmer Ross Thurber is divided into four sections: "Green Popplewood," "Sunburnt Juniper," "Stag Horn Sumac," and "Snow Melt, Black Brook." Each section represents a seasonal form of succession that is both literal and abstract. Ultimately the poems in this manuscript have been winnowed to represent a narrative that echoes the idea that, like a lyric poem, stability is only a moment in time―one to be cherished.


By The River

By Steven Herrick,

Book cover of By The River

Why this book?

This story’s protagonist is a caring, trustworthy, thoughtful young man. Harry’s life holds its share of loss. His loving dad is raising two boys alone because their mother has died. My heart both bled and soared as I watched Harry, a deep-thinking soul, make sense of the world. His tale holds timeless flavours of the past sprinkled with plenty of honesty.

Free verse delivers so much story in very few words. Each verse is a poem that stands alone and, besides reading from start to finish, I often dip into it in random places to enjoy glimpses into the heart of a wonderful male role model. It’s no wonder that the United States Board on Books for Young People placed it on their Outstanding International Book List.

By The River

By Steven Herrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

HONOUR BOOK: CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers, 2005The big river rolls past our town, takes a slow look and rolls away.Life for Harry means swimming in Pearce Swamp, eating chunks of watermelon with his brother and his dad, surviving schoolyard battles, and racing through butterflies in Cowpers Paddock. In his town there's Linda, who brings him the sweetest-ever orange cake, and Johnny, whose lightning fists draw blood in a blur, and there's a mystery that Harry needs to solve before he can find a way outBy the river is about the feeling the undercurrents, finding solid ground and…

Book cover of Amazing Matilda: A Monarch's Tale

Why this book?

This is a brilliant tale about a little egg that becomes a caterpillar and transforms into a beautiful Monarch.

I love animal stories, so I would always recommend this story to anyone.

He is asking his friends eating away on juice leaves, the sparrow, the toat, and the rabbit how he could get wings. He wanted desperately to fly.

The answer was: Just have patience and follow your instincts.

Matilda was doing so until she ate so many leaves that she changed once more and fell asleep. Waking up, she was amazed to see that she had wings. But they wouldn’t work, she had to keep flapping them until, finally, she flew off.

Matilda is not only a little butterfly story, it shows you that whatever you are going to do, have patience, follow your dream or instincts, and never give up.

Amazing Matilda: A Monarch's Tale

By Bette A. Stevens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Inspire the Kids with an Award-winning (Excellence in Children's Literature) Monarch Butterfly Tale.
In this age of instant gratification, there's an award-winning children's picture book out that teaches kids that patience and hard work really do pay off.

'AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch's Tale' is a timely tale that follows MATILDA, a tiny monarch caterpillar, from the time she hatches from her egg on a giant milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. The story provides challenges and adventure at every turn.

Grandparents, parents and teachers will find that AMAZING MATILDA is a book that kids will want to…

Asher

By Carian Cole,

Book cover of Asher

Why this book?

I love Carian Cole’s books. She writes the most beautifully emotional rock star romances, and the final book in her Ashes and Embers series is an unapologetic tear-jerker. This book asks the question: if two soulmates meet and fall in love, and then tragedy fundamentally changes one of them, are they still soul mates? The answer Carian Cole provides is a breathtakingly romantic story that will make you believe in true love that lasts forever. The fact that Asher is a sexy rockstar who could make anyone swoon is absolutely the icing on the cake.

Asher

By Carian Cole,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Carian Cole unapologetically pulls out all the feels in this romance! Reading this book will have you asking yourself if you would stay committed to your spouse in the face of unspeakable tragedy. And would they stay committed to you?

I should have died.
I should have been forgotten.
But I didn’t, and I wasn’t.

Living the life most women only dream about, I was madly in love with my soulmate—Asher Valentine—amazing husband, loving father, and rock’s favorite kick-ass frontman. A man who loved me every day, in every way, since we first met as teens. We were blessed with…

Mists of the Serengeti

By Leylah Attar,

Book cover of Mists of the Serengeti

Why this book?

Once in Africa, I got my @ss handed to me by a king…” That’s a direct quote from my review, and it will make a lot more sense once you’ve read the book. Jack is the epitome of the tortured hero—angry, terse, godawful at times—but you accept it because, Oh my God! Think of what he’s suffered! And then you get to that part where said hero begins to soften toward the heroine and shut up! This book absolutely gutted me, and the pain was physical. No, seriously. My chest and stomach literally ached. I felt tingly, overheated, exhausted, and drained. And that was just from the prologue! 

Mists of the Serengeti

By Leylah Attar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Leylah Attar, comes a compelling, emotionally resonant novel, set against the lush backdrop of the Serengeti.

An Indie Reader Discovery Award Winner

Once in Africa, I kissed a king…

“And just like that, in an old red barn at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, I discovered the elusive magic I had only ever glimpsed between the pages of great love stories. It fluttered around me like a newborn butterfly and settled in a corner of my heart. I held my breath, afraid to exhale for fear it would slip out,…

Wemberly Worried

By Kevin Henkes,

Book cover of Wemberly Worried

Why this book?

Anxiety is a tricky thing, and Wemberly Worried illustrates all its various peculiarities. For instance, Wemberly, a world-class worrier, worries that there will be too many butterflies in the neighborhood parade. But then, when it turns out she’s the only butterfly in the neighborhood parade, she worries about that. The only thing that seems to steady her nerves is her adorable toy rabbit, Petal. When Wemberly shows up on her first day of school, her worries lessen when she meets another little girl mouse who has a toy just like Petal. 

While Wemberly is a mouse, this story is very relatable for little boy and girl worriers everywhere. It’s absolutely perfect for those first day of school jitters.

Wemberly Worried

By Kevin Henkes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A back-to-school favorite Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. "Worry, worry, worry," her family said. "Too much worry." And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!

Maybe Tomorrow? (A Story about Loss, Healing, and Friendship)

By Charlotte Agell, Ana Ramírez González (illustrator),

Book cover of Maybe Tomorrow? (A Story about Loss, Healing, and Friendship)

Why this book?

Elba drags a dark, heavy block everywhere she goes. Later we learn Elba has lost a friend, and carries that loss like a weight. Her friend Norris, who is always surrounded by butterflies, tries to help. Maybe Tomorrow? is a metaphorical story about how friendship can help lighten the darkness of grief and sadness. Having experienced my share of grief, this book struck so many emotional chords. It speaks with truth and compassion, and is a wonderful resource for kids who are struggling with their emotions, especially grief. 

“I’ll always have this block, you know,” said Elba. 

“Yes, maybe you will,” said Norris. “But I will help you carry it sometimes.” 

Wow. Just wow.

Maybe Tomorrow? (A Story about Loss, Healing, and Friendship)

By Charlotte Agell, Ana Ramírez González (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maybe Tomorrow? (A Story about Loss, Healing, and Friendship) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elba has a black block. She's been dragging it around for a long time. Norris is always surrounded by a happy cloud of butterflies. Can Norris and his butterflies help ease Elba's sadness?This
tender exploration of loss will resonate with anyone who has experienced hardship or grief, from
the death of a loved one or a pet, to a friend moving away, or the
transition to a new home or family situation.

Book cover of Consciousness Explained Better: Towards an Integral Understanding of the Multifaceted Nature of Consciousness

Why this book?

I have only recently become acquainted with Allan Combs, and consider myself very fortunate to be in correspondence with him regarding my book. As a serious student of synchronicity, I had read his book by that title (written with Mark Holland) and knew him to be a delightful writer and deep thinker on topics dear to my heart. Consciousness Explained Better, which demonstrates Allan’s depth and scope as a teacher of consciousness studies, contributed the perfect excerpt needed to support a concept at the very core of my book.

Consciousness Explained Better: Towards an Integral Understanding of the Multifaceted Nature of Consciousness

By Allan Combs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Consciousness Explained Better is a unique contribution. This compact volume represents thousands of years of humanity's struggle to understand consciousness from a wide variety of perspectives. It is an up-to-date digest of the search in bite-sized chapters. Allan Combs has managed to encapsulate and synthesize vast bodies of thought and research without dilution. He has made even the most mind-twisting arguments and questions comprehensible, and he has brought forward scholarship and rigorous inquiry in language that speaks to the heart as well as the head. This book satisfies with its comprehensiveness yet intrigues with all that still remains enigmatic. It…


Papillon

By Henri Charriere,

Book cover of Papillon

Why this book?

Charriere’s story of his escape from a penal colony in French Guiana in 1931, where he was serving a life sentence for murder, is utterly engrossing. The reader quickly becomes immersed in a fantastical world of survival, betrayal, luck, and daring, as the author – nicknamed ‘Papillon’ as a result of the butterfly tattoo on his chest – describes his exploits in the darkest depths of prison, the untamed jungles of South America and the unforgiving tropical seas. The knowledge that Charriere himself later said that the book was “only 75% true” and an amalgam of his story with those of other inmates he knew and met, does nothing to diminish the book's impact and unrelenting entertainment value.

Papillon

By Henri Charriere,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An immediate sensation upon its publication in 1969, Papillon is a vivid memoir of brutal penal colonies, daring prison breaks and heroic adventure on shark-infested seas.

Condemned for a murder he did not commit, Henri Charriere, nicknamed Papillon, was sent to the penal colony of French Guiana. Forty-two days after his arrival he made his first break for freedom, travelling a thousand gruelling miles in an open boat. He was recaptured and put into solitary confinement but his spirit remained untamed: over thirteen years he made nine incredible escapes, including from the notorious penal colony on Devil's Island.

This edition…


The Stolen Bicycle

By Ming-Yi Wu, Darryl Sterk (translator),

Book cover of The Stolen Bicycle

Why this book?

There is a scene in this book where one of the characters finds himself diving among the bodies of dead veterans in the flooded basement of a building. Is it real? Is it a dream? The uncanniness and careful sense of loneliness and history in the scene not only intrigued my imagination, but touched my heart too. In talking about the search for a bicycle, this Booker International Prize-nominated novel encompasses so much more—archive, history, memory, war, colonialism, butterflies. This is a surprising and expansive book by one of Taiwan’s best contemporary writers.

The Stolen Bicycle

By Ming-Yi Wu, Darryl Sterk (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A writer embarks on an epic quest in search of his missing father’s stolen bicycle and soon finds himself ensnared in the strangely intertwined stories of Lin Wang, the oldest elephant who ever lived, the soldiers who fought in the jungles of South-East Asia during World War II, and the secret world of butterfly handicraft makers in Taiwan. The result is both a majestic historical novel and a profound, startlingly intimate meditation on memory, family and home. Wu’s writing has been compared to that of Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami, W.G. Sebald and Yann Martel.

Book cover of Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution

Why this book?

Plants and insects make up most of the species on earth, and they have spent millions of years interacting and coevolving with each other. In this book, Anurag Agrawal weaves together what scientists have learned about one of the most charismatic of these interactions, those between milkweeds and monarch butterflies. He explores why the evolution of these interactions never ceases, but he also shows us just how difficult it can be to sort out how particular species coevolve. The book is a window into why the interactions between plants and insects may be the most diverse interactions that have ever evolved between complex organisms. Agrawal is a leading researcher on the evolution of interactions between plants and insects, and, fortunately, he is also an absorbing writer. 

Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution

By Anurag Agrawal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The fascinating and complex evolutionary relationship of the monarch butterfly and the milkweed plant Monarch butterflies are one of nature's most recognizable creatures, known for their bright colors and epic annual migration from the United States and Canada to Mexico. Yet there is much more to the monarch than its distinctive presence and mythic journeying. In Monarchs and Milkweed, Anurag Agrawal presents a vivid investigation into how the monarch butterfly has evolved closely alongside the milkweed--a toxic plant named for the sticky white substance emitted when its leaves are damaged--and how this inextricable and intimate relationship has been like an…

A Sound of Thunder

By Ray Bradbury,

Book cover of A Sound of Thunder

Why this book?

Whilst technically a short story rather than a full novel, this thing was written all the way back in 1952, but set in the year 2055. Yet somehow…it reads as if it could have been written in the 80s. It involves an agency that allows the rich to travel back in time and hunt prehistoric animals for kicks. Horrid, right? Well, yes. But the hook here is the caveat: Don’t deviate from the path laid out by the event organisers.

This story blew my mind as a kid and my own series wouldn't exist without it. It’ll teach you everything you need to know in order to understand the history of the butterfly effect.

It had such an impact on my imagination that I just had to include an easter egg in my own series entitled The Flutterby Effect. This story has influenced so much more than you realise too, in terms of mainstream time travel related media. Everything from Back to The Future to The Simpsons have all riffed off it. See where it all began by reading this hidden gem.

It also led to a movie in 2005. But…we don’t talk about Bruno.

A sound of thunder. Hear the T-Rex roar….

A Sound of Thunder

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In "A Sound of Thunder", Time Safari, Inc. offers the greatest hunting trips ever--any year, any animal. But they don't guarantee you'll come back, or what you'll find if you do. And in "Night Call, Collect", who is harassing Emil Barton, the last man in the universe? After decades of waiting on Mars, these twisted phone calls could kill him! Winner of a Peabody Award.

Book cover of The Heyday of Natural History, 1820-1870

Why this book?

I found this delightful, well-written account of great interest and reference. It covers the widespread passion for all aspects of natural history during the Victorian era, how the collectors of ferns, seashells, birds’ eggs, and skins, butterflies, beetles, orchids, and all manner of curiosities from the natural world, pursued their hobbies. This general acceptance by society led to the formation of clubs, articles, and even specialist journals and popular lectures by amateurs and scientists.

Beautifully illustrated, this book, even though constrained in its timeframe, provides a wonderful introduction to the topic. Since I cover many of the people and motives included here, I much enjoyed another writer’s perspective on them.

The Heyday of Natural History, 1820-1870

By Lynn Barber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heyday of Natural History, 1820-1870 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First American Edition. "Generously illustrated and impeccably researched, "The Heyday of Natural History" is a highly informative look at a fascinating slice of Victorian culture and scientific history, and the scholars of the Victorian period will find it illuminating. . .Lynn Barber writes primarily for the general reader, and no one can fail to enjoy her witty style, and the rich gallery of eccentrics she describes."

The Adventuress

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Book cover of The Adventuress

Why this book?

This book will lead you on a dark adventure of unexpected horror and amusement. For example: an alchemist creates a woman who is later entrapped, turns into a moth, and eventually gives birth to a cat–fathered by Napoleon, of course. All of this and more are illustrated in gorgeous labor-intensive aquatints that make you feel like you are observing these scenes through the murky waters of a magical puddle. 

The Adventuress

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author of the New York Times bestseller The Time Traveler's Wife returns with another evocative "novel in pictures," the much-anticipated follow-up to 2005's The Three Incestuous Sisters. The Adventuress follows the dreamlike journey of an alchemist's daughter. After she is kidnapped by a lascivious baron, she turns herself into a moth and flees to the garden of a charming butterfly collector named Napoleon Bonaparte. The story of how the two become lovers, and how their affair ends in tragedy and transcendence, is told through Niffenegger's spare prose and haunting aquatint etchings. With a stunning and distinctive visual style reminiscent…