The most recommended books about the conservation movement

Who picked these books? Meet our 18 experts.

18 authors created a book list connected to the conservation movement, and here are their favorite conservation movement books.
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Book cover of Soul of a Lion: One Woman's Quest to Rescue Africa's Wildlife Refugees

Britt Collins Author Of Strays: The True Story of a Lost Cat, a Homeless Man, and Their Journey Across America

From my list on non-fiction for cat lovers.

Who am I?

I am an international bestselling author of Strays and a London-based journalist for The Guardian, The Observer, The Sunday Times, and other publications. I've written about animals, conservation, and volunteered at sanctuaries around the world, from tending big cats and baboons in Namibia to wild mustangs in Nevada—a labour of love that has inspired features for The Guardian, The Independent, and Condé Nast Traveller. I've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for many charities through my investigative animal-cruelty stories; as an activist, I helped shut down controversial breeders of laboratory animals in the UK. I also created Catfestlondon, a sell-out boutique festival that rescues and rehomes Moroccan street kittens in the UK.

Britt's book list on non-fiction for cat lovers

Britt Collins Why did Britt love this book?

A beautifully told story about a Namibian family who created a real-life Noah’s Ark in the desert. Marieta van der Merwe and her late husband Nick turned their cattle ranch into a refuge for thousands of wounded or orphaned animals who can’t make it on their own in the wild. This book, full of wonder and gentle souls, has special meaning for me. I met Barbara Bennett, a North Carolina University literature professor, when I was sent to Namibia to write a story about Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary for the Guardian and we were both volunteering. Afterward, I introduced her to my New York literary agent who sold the book. It’s so vividly written that it allowed me to relive my experiences of daily mischief of the baboons, walking full-grown lions in the desert, sleeping with cheetahs under the stars, and watching the giant thunderstorms on the porch with a menagerie…

By Barbara Bennett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It chronicles the unique Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Namibia, where Marieta van der Merwe and her family, former wealthy cattle farmers, have sold land to buy and care for embattled wildlife.

Book cover of Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story

Evadeen Brickwood Author Of The Rhino Whisperer

From my list on Southern Africa with wild life.

Who am I?

I moved from Germany to Botswana when I was a fledgling translator, and then on to South Africa 2 years later. I fell in love with this part of Africa that had a hand in making me the person I am today. Since I used to travel a lot, not all of my books are set in Southern Africa, but I have a passion for sharing my African stories with the world, and in a few of my novels, I include African wildlife in the storyline. Being a translator, I also translate books into German/English, and four of my own books - so far - are also available in German.

Evadeen's book list on Southern Africa with wild life

Evadeen Brickwood Why did Evadeen love this book?

Daphne Sheldrick has written this memoir to give us an insight into her life, saving and raising young elephants and numerous other wild animals with her husband in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya. Her book is hugely inspiring and, although Kenya is strictly speaking not in Southern Africa. South African and East African wildlife are very similar and her description of an orphan sanctuary inspired me to write about such a sanctuary in my own book.

By Daphne Jenkins Sheldrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. Her deep empathy and understanding, her years of observing Kenya's rich variety of wildlife, and her pioneering work in perfecting the right husbandry and milk formula have saved countless elephants, rhinos, and other baby animals from certain death.

In this heartwarming and poignant memoir, Daphne shares her amazing relationships with a host of orphans, including her first love, Bushy, a liquid-eyed antelope; Rickey-Tickey-Tavey, the little dwarf mongoose; Gregory Peck, the busy buffalo weaver bird; Huppety, the mischievous…

Book cover of The Unsung Heroes

Poppy Frances

From Poppy's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Reader Nature lover Cat servant Analytical Campaigner

Poppy's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Poppy Frances Why did Poppy love this book?

This was my Christmas treat to myself in 2022, a collection of lovely stories of baby elephant rescues, the locals who rescued them, and the keepers who raise them, all with incredible colour photos of Kenya and elephants. I love how a baby elephant used to trumpet up a keeper’s shirt when she wanted a bottle in the middle of the night.

This is a book of people who step up and help, do so in a practical way and, on occasion, put themselves at risk. When it arrived, I read it cover to cover in a couple of days; now, I keep it in its packing box to keep it nice and pull it out to read a story at a time when I need a pick-me-up.

By Daphne Sheldrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Unsung Heroes

A collection of previously untold stories about orphaned elephants in the care of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and their heroic rescuers. The Orphans celebrated in this book come from many different corners of Kenya, showcasing the country's varied and beautiful landscape. Produced by Angela Sheldrick and with an introduction from Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick, The Unsung Heroes is must-have piece of conservation history.

Produced by wildlife conservation organisation The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the pioneers in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned baby elephants, The Unsung Heroes features more than 200 pages of untold stories -…

Book cover of The Kaiju Preservation Society

Brandon Crilly Author Of Catalyst

From Brandon's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Educator Games writer Conference organizer

Brandon's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Brandon Crilly Why did Brandon love this book?

Scalzi has this remarkable way of developing banter between characters that feels like watching a perfectly paced office dramedy.

You've got this alternate world populated by massive kaiju and a workplace that's fundamentally dangerous because of them, but the real draw of this book is the interplay between the characters working to protect them and how they deal with obstacles like bureaucratic overreach and, eventually, outside intruders trying to use these kaiju for dangerous means.

It's very Jurassic Park in its setup and payoffs. Plus, it was a perfect read for me at the time since I was writing a sci-fi office dramedy of my own and realized, "Oh, this is how you do that sort of pacing."

By John Scalzi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi's first standalone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times bestselling Interdependency trilogy.

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn't tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here…

Book cover of In Search of One Last Song: Britain'S Disappearing Birds and the People Trying to Save Them

Mark Avery Author Of Reflections: What Wildlife Needs and How to Provide it

From my list on UK nature conservation.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by wildlife since the age of 5, and 60 years later I’m still addicted. I worked as a research scientist on bats and birds and then morphed into a nature conservationist. I worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for 25 years – 13 years as the Conservation Director. I’ve written books about wildlife and its conservation and regularly review such books on my blog.  I hope that my work has made a difference and that my books, and other authors’ books, can move things on a bit quicker too.

Mark's book list on UK nature conservation

Mark Avery Why did Mark love this book?

This a cracking read – I read it in just over a day, and it wasn’t a chore. So I read it again, immediately!

A book about 10 declining birds in the United Kingdom; Corncrake, Kittiwake, Capercaillie, Turtle Dove, Lapwing, Black Grouse, Bittern, Hen Harrier, Grey Partridge, and Nightingale. He talks to people who like them, study them, and/or conserve them. 

The author is an exceptional talent in that few could write so well about the species, the places, the people, the history of it all, and throw in poems, songs, and insights into shooting, farming, cookery, and eating too. There are some great conversations and a wide range of characters from a good spread of perspectives. I went away enriched and I keep returning to this book.

By Patrick Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Search of One Last Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Wonderful and enriching' Adam Nicolson 'The best book on conservation and the countryside I have read in years' John Lewis-Stempel 'A modern pastoral written with intelligence, wit and lyricism' Cal Flyn

Our wild places and wildlife are disappearing at a terrifying rate. This is a story about going in search of the people who are trying to save our birds, as well as confronting the enormity of what losing them would really mean.

In this beautiful and thought-provoking blend of nature and travel writing Patrick Galbraith sets off across Britain on a journey that may well be his last chance…

Book cover of The Lorax

Jessica Arnold Author Of Nobody Can Take My Happy Away

From my list on imagination and the places it takes you.

Who am I?

I often turned to my imagination when I was a child. Nobody Can Take My Happy Away was inspired by the times I was bullied. My peers teased me about my clothes, my teeth, my home, and how I talked. I wanted to hide from everyone, so I had fewer opportunities to make friends. Because I lived in my own head, I found acceptance in the world of make-believe. I read books about strange worlds with characters that thrived in their surroundings. Eventually, it didn’t matter if someone teased me at school. Reading these books helped me be myself. I found strength in being the odd one out.

Jessica's book list on imagination and the places it takes you

Jessica Arnold Why did Jessica love this book?

I love the colorful illustrations and the silliness of Dr. Seuss books. This book delivers a positive message about our natural resources in a way all can understand. The message is taking responsibility for the problems we create. The seed represents hope for the future.

When I was a child, I went to see an outdoor screening of The Lorax at a local festival. I won a copy of the book and it’s been special to me ever since. I think it reinforced the idea that no matter how old you are, you can change things for the better. I also wanted to share something positive through my books.

I use color in the illustrations in my books because when I was a kid, I loved picture books and they were helpful when I was having difficulty with my learning disabilities and how others perceived me. I was ten years…

By Dr. Seuss,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Lorax as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

The Lorax is the original eco warrior and his message still rings loud today in this fable about the dangers of destroying our forests, told in the trademark rhyme of the irrepressible Dr. Seuss.

"Mister! He said with a sawdusty sneeze, I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees."

The Lorax is a hilarious and timeless story with the trademark humour and silly rhymes of Dr. Seuss, that packs a punch with its ecological message without feeling heavy-handed or worthy. The Lorax is the original eco warrior as he tries to save the Truffula trees from the greedy once-ler's…

Book cover of The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection

Emma Loewe Author Of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us

From my list on connecting to nature no matter where you live.

Who am I?

As a journalist who explores the intersection of human health and planet health, I've long been fascinated by how stepping outside into a healthy environment can boost our well-being. I also believe that we are more likely to take positive climate actions when we have a rich connection to the natural world around us, so a lot of my work focuses on helping people get out into nature—whatever that looks like for them.

Emma's book list on connecting to nature no matter where you live

Emma Loewe Why did Emma love this book?

This book exposes the troubling roots of the American conservation movement and explores how racism continues to keep people out of our public spaces. I’d consider it an illuminating must-read for anyone who loves this planet and its people and wants to usher us into a more inclusive era of outdoor exploration.

By Dorceta E. Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rise of the American Conservation Movement as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sweeping social history Dorceta E. Taylor examines the emergence and rise of the multifaceted U.S. conservation movement from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. She shows how race, class, and gender influenced every aspect of the movement, including the establishment of parks; campaigns to protect wild game, birds, and fish; forest conservation; outdoor recreation; and the movement's links to nineteenth-century ideologies. Initially led by white urban elites-whose early efforts discriminated against the lower class and were often tied up with slavery and the appropriation of Native lands-the movement benefited from contributions to policy making, knowledge about the…

Book cover of Tiger-Wallahs: Encounters With the Men Who Tried to Save the Greatest of the Great Cats

K. Ullas Karanth Author Of Among Tigers: Fighting to Bring Back Asia's Big Cats

From my list on the world’s most popular wild animal.

Who am I?

This is a unique tale of exciting personal encounters with wild tigers as well my hard science that revealed their mysterious world. Readers will experience the conflicts, violence, and corruption, inherent to struggle to recover the charismatic, dangerous predator. Among Tigers is not the usual doomsday prophecy, but a clear roadmap for how we can grow tiger populations to new levels of abundance. While it does not gloss over the very real challenges, overall, it delivers a message of reasonable hope to nature lovers worldwide. I have scientifically researched tigers and, fought passionately to save them, making me uniquely qualified to tell this story like no one else can. 

K.'s book list on the world’s most popular wild animal

K. Ullas Karanth Why did K. love this book?

Geoff is an eminent Historian having scripted many classics such as the Civil War TV series and, Diane, is a former Newsweek journalist who has reported on environmental issues. Both are tiger-keen aficionados’ who are—for some unfathomable reason—also morbidly fascinated by generations of gritty, grimy, and aggravatingly stubborn conservationists in India, who have fought to save India’s wild tigers through the colonial and post-colonial eras. They also write in an engaging, witty style focusing on tiger-obsessed humans rather than the magnificent cat. As one of their ‘subjects’ I believe this book provides the appropriate social and historical contexts for my own book.  

By Geoffrey C. Ward, Diane Raines Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Describes efforts to save the Indian tiger from extinction, and why those efforts seemed doomed to failure

Book cover of A Boy and a Jaguar

Karlin Gray Author Of Anne and Her Tower of Giraffes

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

Who am I?

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’m a cat person (please don’t tell my dog). Therefore I was naturally drawn to a book by Dr. Alan Rabinowitz—a zoologist who dedicated his life to protecting the world’s wild cat species. But while young readers might pick up this book because they are cat lovers or intrigued by jaguars, they’ll discover so much more. This is the true story about a boy with a stutter and how he finds his voice by talking to jaguars. Later, he returns the favor by using his voice to advocate for big-cat conservation. Beautifully illustrated by Catia Chien, this memoir shows what it means to keep a promise and how pursuing your passion can help you overcome obstacles. The back matter includes an interesting Q&A with Dr. Rabinowitz.

By Alan Rabinowitz, Catia Chien (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Boy and a Jaguar 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?

2015 Schneider Family Book Award Winner
* "A candid and deeply resonant account of a hard-fought battle against societal stigma, and an embrace of one's true talent and calling." —Publisher's Weekly, starred review

Speaking for the animals he loves gives one boy’s life hope, purpose, and truth in this gorgeous picture book autobiography.

Alan loves animals, but the great cat house at the Bronx Zoo makes him sad. Why are they all alone in empty cages? Are they being punished? More than anything, he wants to be their champion—their voice—but he stutters uncontrollably.

Except when he talks to animals…then he…

Book cover of The Conservationist

Lewis DeSoto Author Of A Blade of Grass

From my list on about life, literature and South Africa.

Who am I?

I grew up during the apartheid era of racial segregation and oppression. A Blade of Grass was written with a sense of exile and regret, but also with love. It is not overtly about South Africa and apartheid. It asks a fundamental question: Where is home, and how shall we live there?

Lewis' book list on about life, literature and South Africa

Lewis DeSoto Why did Lewis love this book?

I read this novel in university in a course taught brilliantly by the scholar WH New. It was the first time I understood the complexity of layers in great literature. Ostensibly about a businessman who buys a farm, it encompasses race relations, power in all its guises, sexuality, relationships to nature, and how character influences personal destiny. Written with outrage and compassion.

I kept The Conservationist in mind when I wrote my own book as an example of what a novel could be, but more than that, it taught me how to think about the world in a new way.

By Nadine Gordimer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mehring is rich. He has all the privileges and possessions that South Africa has to offer, but his possessions refuse to remain objects. His wife, son, and mistress leave him; his foreman and workers become increasingly indifferent to his stewardship; even the land rises up, as drought, then flood, destroy his farm.