The best books about endangered species

2 authors have picked their favorite books about endangered species and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of The Tourist Trail

The Tourist Trail

By John Yunker,

Why this book?

The Tourist Trail is an eco-thriller featuring an unlikely but thoroughly entertaining cast of characters—among them a whale rescuer, a penguin researcher, an FBI agent, a computer tech, and an animal-rights activist—whose lives come together in the wild and dangerous waters of the Southern Ocean. All of these characters have secrets that are slowly revealed, and the alternating points of view pull readers toward a cinematic ending. The Tourist Trail is about endangered species and oceans at risk, but most of all, it’s about animals and the human heroes who devote their lives toward saving them—it’s not only an unputdownable…

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Book cover of Gator Aide (Rachel Porter Mysteries)

Gator Aide (Rachel Porter Mysteries)

By Jessica Speart,

Why this book?

The Rachel Porter Mysteries by Jessica Speart are not well known, but they deserve to be. These books are available now only as Kindle ebooks and used mass-market paperbacks. Based on years of experience as an investigative journalist focusing on wildlife law enforcement and endangered species issues, the author created protagonist Rachel Porter, a new wildlife agent who is determined to protect animals wherever she is assigned, no matter what dangers and challenges may erupt from the environment, the local citizens, or her own bosses, who typically believe that she doesn’t belong in the field. Speart writes amazing scenes that…

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Book cover of Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction

Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction

By Michelle Nijhuis,

Why this book?

Michelle Nijhuis tells the history of conservation over the last three hundred years with compelling narrative and fascinating detail. She shines a new light on the context and stories of familiar as well as lesser-known, pioneering conservationists. I loved it and learnt so much.

Beloved Beasts explores different perspectives of an increasingly desperate human story. Cutting to the underlying narrative… "people are still killing too many animals and destroying too much habitat" Nijui urges that as our societies become ever more connected, perhaps there is hope that we humans can sort ourselves (and our planet…) out. Let’s hope so.

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Book cover of Saving Sun Bears: One man's quest to save a species

Saving Sun Bears: One man's quest to save a species

By Sarah R. Pye,

Why this book?

I am inspired by Dr. Wong Siew Te’s dedication and commitment to the lives of this little-known bear species. Author Dr. Sarah Pye tells Dr. Wong's personal story, interwoven with her own seven year journey to learn about the sun bears in Borneo threatened by a cruel wildlife trade. 

Adult sun bears are hunted for illegal trade in their parts from gallbladders to their paws. Their abandoned young are snatched for the illegal pet trade and wherever he can, Dr. Wong rescues these tiny cubs from life confined to a cage. His unique sun bear conservation centre in Borneo sets…

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Book cover of Sea Turtles: A Complete Guide to Their Biology, Behavior, and Conservation

Sea Turtles: A Complete Guide to Their Biology, Behavior, and Conservation

By James R. Spotila,

Why this book?

This coffee table book is a glorious pictorial celebration. Since embarking on the steep learning curve of becoming an International Sea Turtle Campaigner for Greenpeace International many years ago, I have been in awe of these extraordinary, endangered creatures.

From ancient lineage to migrational journeys, in-depth biology, and inspirational advocators, American biologist James Spotila explores the journeys of these ‘seven swimmers’. His book is both a plea for their conservation and a detailed explanation of biology and behaviour. Turn its pages slowly, to capture the detail of their gentle ocean lives.   

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Book cover of A Wild Child's Guide to Endangered Animals

A Wild Child's Guide to Endangered Animals

By Millie Marotta,

Why this book?

Illuminating text describes 43 endangered species from around the world. The book is organized by habitat—ocean, forest, mountains, grasslands, arctic tundra—and relates the stories of a wide range of animals, from recycling beetles, to desert fish, to the odd axolotl and wide-ranging wandering albatross. You’ll also find a map detailing where each species lives, and ideas on how you might aid in their conservation.

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Book cover of Watching Giants: The Secret Lives of Whales

Watching Giants: The Secret Lives of Whales

By Elin Kelsey, Doc White (photographer), Francois Gohier (photographer)

Why this book?

Kelsey is a mother, a scientist, and a writer and her revelations of the lives of whales, are woven expertly between these critical roles. Watching Giants is an intimate story, immersing readers in a mysterious watery world. Kelsey dives deep, sharing knowledge and detailed observations of these vulnerable species. 

I read Watching Giants whilst researching my own picture books and her experiences have stayed with me. Her gentle words and scientific insights reveal new perspectives on the lives of these ever gentle giants.

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Book cover of Against Extinction: The Story of Conservation

Against Extinction: The Story of Conservation

By William Bill Adams,

Why this book?

A conservation classic, Against Extinction is a comprehensive and absorbing story of conservation over the last hundred years. Bill Adams explores the history, context, and legacy of conservation. Often quoted as the ‘UK voice of conservation’ Bill Adams, Professor of Conservation and Development in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge, is an authoritative writer on this critical global tale. 

Meeting Professor Adams in discussion for my own research has been both insightful and deeply interesting. His reflections on this evolving movement are poignant and for me, so helpful in framing and distilling the words of my picture…

From the list:

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Book cover of Friends of Interpretable Objects

Friends of Interpretable Objects

By Miguel Tamen,

Why this book?

Unable to finish a manuscript? This delicious book came about (I’m told) by accident, when its author, struggling with his vast magnum opus, decided to put it down, almost randomly, into a little book of startling essays. The result is an eye-opening study of how “things” need “persons” to speak on their behalf, becoming personable. Includes amazing insights into iconoclasm, ecological litigation, and the legal fight of Abolitionists. And teaches how to write less, cut more, and edit with creative abandon.

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Book cover of Steve the Dung Beetle on a Roll

Steve the Dung Beetle on a Roll

By Susan Stoltz, Melissa Bailey (illustrator),

Why this book?

Who doesn’t love a book about poop... Steve the Dung Beetle rolls this ball of dung past all the animals on the Savanah and along the way he teaches them why the dung beetle is so important to the environment. The illustrations are just fabulous and zookeepers write about the more endangered animals mentioned in the book. But I think the biggest plus are the poop jokes on the back of the book. Guaranteed laughs...

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