The most recommended fungi books

Who picked these books? Meet our 43 experts.

43 authors created a book list connected to fungus, and here are their favorite fungi books.
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Book cover of Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web

Anna Hess Author Of The Ultimate Guide to Soil

From my list on for beyond-organic gardeners.

Who am I?

If I'm honest, I became a gardener because I like getting dirty. Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Tom Kitten is the story of my childhood (and my adulthood too, only now I don't have to pretend I'm going to stay clean). Of course, high-quality soil leads to high-quality produce, and I deeply adore the flavors of strawberries growing in deep, dark soil. Biting into a juicy, homegrown tomato still warm from the summer sun is bliss.

Anna's book list on for beyond-organic gardeners

Anna Hess Why did Anna love this book?

This is a different type of book than the ones listed above but is nonetheless essential for the gardener who wants to enrich rather than deplete their soil. Once you learn about the beneficial fungi, bacteria, and other critters that make up the soil food web, you'll think twice about tearing up their landscape with a rototiller.

By Jeff Lowenfels, Wayne Lewis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Smart gardeners know that soil is anything but an inert substance. Healthy soil is teeming with life not just earthworms and insects, but a staggering multitude of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. When we use chemical fertilizers, we injure the microbial life that sustains healthy plants, and thus become increasingly dependent on an arsenal of artificial, often toxic, substances. But there is an alternative to this vicious cycle. We can garden in a way that strengthens the soil food web the complex world of soil-dwelling organisms whose interactions create a nurturing environment for plants. "Teaming with Microbes" extols the benefits…


Book cover of Up Your Nose

Bethany Barton Author Of I'm Trying to Love Germs

From my list on children’s books about germs.

Who am I?

I have a confession: I became an award-winning science communicator for kids sort of by accident. Well, the science part wasn’t an accident… I just didn’t know what I was doing had a name: science communication. I only knew that I had questions! So I set out to approach my questions with facts, humor, empathy, and critical thinking; to interview professionals-in-the-field and to share what I learned from them with kids. For my germs book (I’m Trying To Love Germs), I spoke with professionals in the fields of virology, epidemiology, microbiology, and medicine, and read every kids' germ book I could get my hands on.

Bethany's book list on children’s books about germs

Bethany Barton Why did Bethany love this book?

This is the 4th STEM picture book from the Fishman/Greenberg duo and every one of them is worth a read.

Up Your Nose does a great job helping younger readers connect the invisible  world of microbes with things their grown-ups say: phrases like “Wash Your hands!”, “Take A  Bath!” and more. Playful illustration showcases the different types of microorganisms that live in, on, and around us, and even shows us where they like to hide (spoiler alert: it’s kinda everywhere.)

I especially like the part about the barriers our body uses to keep germs at bay:  stuff like our skin, tears, and even mucus!  

By Seth Fishman, Isabel Greenberg (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Up Your Nose 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?

What exactly are germs? And what do they do? The acclaimed and award-winning author and artist of A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars have created a timely—and funny!—introduction to germs and the human body’s natural response to the microscopic (sometimes) organisms. An informative and accessible choice for fans of Andrea Beatty’s Ada Twist, Scientist and Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes’s Loves Science series.

Did you know that there are quadrillions of germs in the world? And that hundreds of billions of germs may be in the room around you—and inside you as well?

Acclaimed creators Seth Fishman and Isabel Greenberg…


Book cover of Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Tami Lewis Brown Author Of Perkin's Perfect Purple: How a Boy Created Color with Chemistry

From my list on inspiring your young scientist.

Who am I?

From a girl who defied death to set nearly every aviation record in a rickety bi-plane, to a team of young women who literally invented computer coding with no guidance and very little credit, to a boy who revolutionized chemistry when he used the scientific method to create the color purple from coal tar, I write books about young people who followed their dreams to accomplish amazing things. There’s no reason to wait until you grow up to become a scientist. The books I’ve chosen will inspire your young scientist to explore and invent - right now!

Tami's book list on inspiring your young scientist

Tami Lewis Brown Why did Tami love this book?

We all know Beatrix Potter wrote and illustrated Peter Rabbit and other children’s books, but how many people are aware that young Beatrix was a groundbreaking mushroom scientist? In Beatrix Potter, Scientist, Metcalf unveils the secret scientific side of Beatrix Potter, long before her books became classics. Beatrix studied all sorts of fungi, discovering a mushroom known as the Old Man Of The Woods, but as a female she was prohibited from presenting a scientific paper to London’s Linean Society. I love one of this book’s underlying messages, that someone can be an artist AND a scientist; there’s no need to choose one or the other. There’s also a terrific author’s note and strong supporting end matter for further study.

By Lindsay H. Metcalf, Junyi Wu (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Friends of American Writers Chicago Winner 2021 Young People's Literature Award

Beatrix Potter was a writer, an artist, and a scientist too, and she strove to find a place in the world for her talents.

Everyone knows Beatrix Potter as the creator of the Peter Rabbit stories. But before that, she was a girl of science. As a child, Beatrix collected nature specimens; as a young adult, she was an amateur mycologist presenting her research on mushrooms and other fungi to England's foremost experts. Like many women of her time, she remained unacknowledged by the scientific community, but her keen…


Book cover of All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms

Becky Selengut Author Of Shroom: Mind-Bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms

From my list on a journey into the fantastic world of fungi.

Who am I?

My first favorite food was a mushroom and as a budding young chef, my first dish, made at 6, was a terrible take on mushrooms on toast points made with Wonder Bread, margarine, and a sad can of mushrooms. My father pretended to eat it. For his sake, I’m glad he didn’t. Things have improved for me since then and I turned my passion for mushrooms into a lifelong love of cooking them which led to my book Shroom, a cookbook for both mushroom lovers and avowed fungiphobes. Mushrooms have distinct culinary personalities and the diversity in edible mushrooms is as vast as that between a salinic, ocean-kissed oyster and a smoky, meaty grilled ribeye. 

Becky's book list on a journey into the fantastic world of fungi

Becky Selengut Why did Becky love this book?

For starters, what’s not to like with a poetic title and a quirky, nerdy, tux-beclad mushroom expert on the front holding a trumpet (the horn, not the mushroom) and a mushroom haul? David Aurora is the mushroom god’s mushroom god and has cheerfully guided thousands if not millions of fungiphiles on their forest quests in search of both edible and nonedible mushrooms. His larger book Mushrooms Demystified is truly the bible, but this smaller Western guide which easily fits in a back pocket is the one I’ve carried with me for years. It’s where I cut my teeth when I first ventured out as a new forager, but it’s continued to guide me as I learn new mushrooms to add to my basket. Color photos, key features, notes on where to find the mushroom, and notes on edibility are listed for each type of mushroom in the book such as:…

By David Arora,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All That the Rain Promises and More as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“[All That the Rain Promises and More] is certainly the best guide to fungi, and may in fact be a long lasting masterpiece in guide writing for all subjects.”—Roger McKnight, The New York Times

Mushrooms appeal to all kinds of people—and so will this handy pocket guide, which includes key information for more than 200 Western mushrooms

Over 200 edible and poisonous mushrooms are depicted with simple checklists of their identifying features, as David Arora celebrates the fun in fungi with the same engaging bend of wit and wisdom, fact and fancy, that has made his comprehensive guide, Mushrooms Demystified,…


Book cover of The Soil and Health: A Study of Organic Agriculture

Charles Dowding Author Of No Dig: Nurture Your Soil to Grow Better Veg with Less Effort

From my list on to help you grow your garden on your own.

Who am I?

Since 1979 the life of soil and plants, and how they link to our own lives and health, has fascinated me. In the 1980s I was a maverick because as an organic market gardener, my work was mostly seen as irrelevant to society, producing food that was expensive and for only a few people. That changed from 1988 when the BBC filmed my garden, and green consciousness developed. Since then I have gone from being zero to hero and especially with regard to soil because since 1982 I've been gardening with the no dig method. My experience allows me to direct you towards these gems, which I'm sure you will find useful and enjoyable.

Charles' book list on to help you grow your garden on your own

Charles Dowding Why did Charles love this book?

Howard helped me to understand and appreciate the life in soil. How soil is more than an assemblage of chemical nutrients for plants, which was a predominant view when I started farming. 

He wrote: "The agriculturalist must obey Nature's rules,” which was radical in the 1940s! He started as an agricultural chemist but came to distrust synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. He valued and explains the importance of compost and mycorrhizal fungi, and coined a phrase that has become a mantra: ”Feed the soil not the plant”. I value his sincerity which shines throughout his books – they read as well now as when published, because these truths are universal.

By Albert Howard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Soil and Health, a classic of organic farming, is an essential introduction to organic gardening and farming.


"The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible." - Albert Howard.


At the turn of the twentieth century, chemical fertilizers seemed to offer limitless potential in agriculture. However, when British agriculturalist Albert Howard travelled to India as Imperial Economic Botanist to the Government of India, he observed Vedic agriculture as practiced by India peasant farmers, and noted the health benefits to plants, animals and humans from what we now call organic agriculture. Albert Howard, Rudolph Steiner and Lady…


Book cover of The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America

Becky Selengut Author Of Shroom: Mind-Bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms

From my list on a journey into the fantastic world of fungi.

Who am I?

My first favorite food was a mushroom and as a budding young chef, my first dish, made at 6, was a terrible take on mushrooms on toast points made with Wonder Bread, margarine, and a sad can of mushrooms. My father pretended to eat it. For his sake, I’m glad he didn’t. Things have improved for me since then and I turned my passion for mushrooms into a lifelong love of cooking them which led to my book Shroom, a cookbook for both mushroom lovers and avowed fungiphobes. Mushrooms have distinct culinary personalities and the diversity in edible mushrooms is as vast as that between a salinic, ocean-kissed oyster and a smoky, meaty grilled ribeye. 

Becky's book list on a journey into the fantastic world of fungi

Becky Selengut Why did Becky love this book?

Full disclosure, the author Langdon Cook is a friend of mine based out of Seattle where I live and we’ve foraged together, taught classes together, and made a spectacularly crappy batch of blackberry wine together but that’s not why I’m recommending his excellent book The Mushroom Hunters. Langdon takes the reader on a rollicking ride to places we didn’t at first think we wanted to go and then leaves us wanting more when he moves on. He skillfully teases apart the myths versus facts behind historical turf wars and gun violence in matsutake patches in one chapter and shadows Doug, a self-described redneck, throughout the book as he traverses the changing demographics of pickers and buyers, now firmly in the hands of many in the Southeast Asian community. The characters that frame his book, the pickers, buyers, and chefs that occupy the universe of wild and foraged foods are…

By Langdon Cook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A beautifully written portrait of the people who collect and distribute wild mushrooms . . . food and nature writing at its finest.”—Eugenia Bone, author of Mycophilia
 
“A rollicking narrative . . . Cook [delivers] vivid and cinematic scenes on every page.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
In the dark corners of America’s forests grow culinary treasures. Chefs pay top dollar to showcase these elusive and beguiling ingredients on their menus. Whether dressing up a filet mignon with smoky morels or shaving luxurious white truffles over pasta, the most elegant restaurants across the country now feature one of nature’s last truly wild…


Book cover of Mushroom Rain

Lisa Rogers Author Of Beautiful Noise: The Music of John Cage

From Lisa's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Poetic writer Artist Runner Dog rescuer Natural world observer

Lisa's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Lisa Rogers Why did Lisa love this book?

I’ve always been intrigued by how quickly mushrooms pop up in my yard and nearby forest, and now I’m fascinated at the science behind that, thanks to this picture book!

The energetic text combined with the gorgeous, large-scale illustrations immediately pulled me in, and made the world of fungi dramatic and exciting. We even get a look at how mushrooms spread underground. And I learned that there actually is such a thing as mushroom rain!

This is a fabulous book to share with kids–or anyone. You’ll definitely want to take a closer look at mushrooms during your next nature walk!

By Laura K Zimmerman, Jamie Green (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mushroom Rain 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?

What can smell like bubble gum, glow neon green at night, be poisonous and yet still eaten by humans, and even help create rain? The answer is mushrooms! From their hidden networks underground to the fruiting body above, mushrooms can do incredible things. But don't call them plants--mushrooms are fungi. They're more closely related to animals like you! Through lyrical text and colorful, detailed artwork, the wonderful, mysterious, and sometimes bizarre world of mushrooms is explored. Back matter includes a glossary, additional mushroom facts, and a science activity.


Book cover of Fantastic Fungi: How Mushrooms Can Heal, Shift Consciousness, and Save the Planet

Vincent Doumeizel Author Of The Seaweed Revolution: How Seaweed Has Shaped Our Past and Can Save Our Future

From my list on the world is getting better and the best is yet to come.

Who am I?

As an optimistic citizen of the world, I travelled the globe to witness famine in Africa and seaweed farming in Asia. Having worked on food systems for twenty-five years and being the father of three children, I was looking for solutions to feed the coming generation with hopes instead of fears! That’s how I ended up working for a visionary charity (Lloyd’s Register Foundation) and leading a “Seaweed Revolution” for United Nations Global Compact as well as writing book to spread the gospel of neglected Ocean Based Solutions. The books I have recommended here all give hope through examples from the past and present and provide readers with practical toolkits for creating positive change.

Vincent's book list on the world is getting better and the best is yet to come

Vincent Doumeizel Why did Vincent love this book?

I chose this amazing book because fungi are the “other” greatest untapped resource that can help save the world.

I was approached by fungi specialists after releasing the French edition of The Seaweed Revolution because there are quite a lot of similarities and expectations around those two forgotten resources that encompass an incredibly wide range of organisms.

While there is much we still don’t know about fungi, it is a fundamental part of our ecosystem. Edited by the fungi “guru”, Paul Stamets, the book explains how fungi create a network that covers the entire planet that are crucial for land and the life forms that depend on it to exist.

This network shows astonishing similarities to the Internet, to the neural arrangement of our brain, and even to the structure of the entire universe. It is a spiritual and remarkable book, which also introduces a wide range of beneficial applications,…

By Paul Stamets (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

2020 IBPA Awards Winner!

“Louie Schwartzberg’s lightly informative, delightfully kooky documentary, “Fantastic Fungi,” offers nothing less than a model for planetary survival.” –Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“Gorgeous photography! Time-lapse sequences of mushrooms blossoming forth could pass for studies of exotic flowers growing on another planet.”  –Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

The Life-Affirming, Mind-Bending Companion Book to the Smash Hit Documentary FANTASTIC FUNGI 

Viewed in over 100 countries and selling hundreds of thousands of tickets on the way to finishing 2019 with a rare 100% Tomato meter rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Schwartzberg’s documentary Fantastic Fungi has brought the…


Book cover of Virus: An Illustrated Guide to 101 Incredible Microbes

Nicholas P. Money Author Of The Rise of Yeast: How the Sugar Fungus Shaped Civilization

From my list on microbes and their amazing world.

Who am I?

Microorganisms have bewitched me since childhood when I remember seeing floating dust particles glinting in sunbeams and wondering what they were and if they were alive. Decades later, my research has included experiments on the amazing mechanisms that shoot fungal spores into the air to form part of that dust, which is one of several odd coincidences in my life. As an educator (Miami University in Ohio) and science writer my interests in biology go beyond the fungi, but I never stray too far from my obsession with the smallest organisms. Microbes are everywhere and will outlive us by an eternity.

Nicholas' book list on microbes and their amazing world

Nicholas P. Money Why did Nicholas love this book?

Viruses are infectious particles containing small sets of genes. They reproduce by penetrating and destroying cells. Marilyn Roossinck’s book introduces the subject of virology with succinct descriptions and superb illustrations. The tininess and beauty of viruses belie their power to ruin our lives, which is something that everyone can appreciate at this time.              

By Marilyn J. Roossinck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This stunningly illustrated book provides a rare window into the amazing, varied, and often beautiful world of viruses. Contrary to popular belief, not all viruses are bad for you. In fact, several are beneficial to their hosts, and many are crucial to the health of our planet. Virus offers an unprecedented look at 101 incredible microbes that infect all branches of life on Earth--from humans and other animals to insects, plants, fungi, and bacteria. Featuring hundreds of breathtaking color images throughout, this guide begins with a lively and informative introduction to virology. Here readers can learn about the history of…


Book cover of The Annual Migration Of Clouds

Michael J. DeLuca Author Of Night Roll

From my list on community-building amid the ruins of capitalism.

Who am I?

I've been in love with ecological writing, the effort to communicate love for and grief over the destruction of the profound beauty of the natural world, since I wrote my first play about rainforest clear-cutting in fifth grade—if not before. In 2016, I started Reckoning, a nonprofit journal of creative writing about environmental justice, because I wanted to encourage others doing this work, to provide an independent platform for it in ways profit-driven traditional publishing wasn't, and to build a community where those writers could share and inspire each other. Seven years later, that community defines me; it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

Michael's book list on community-building amid the ruins of capitalism

Michael J. DeLuca Why did Michael love this book?

Another short novel about people forging community in a world rendered almost unrecognizable by climate collapse and the devastating consequences of environmental injustice, this one provides a close focus on what it's like to be young, lost, and angry in the ruins of choices made before you were born. Nobody trying to live forward in these uncertain times should be without that perspective. As a parent struggling to come to terms with sending a kid out to grow up in this world, I know I've been desperate for it, and Mohamed's intensely close point of view makes it impossible not to inhabit. It's scary, but essential.

By Premee Mohamed,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A novella set in post–climate disaster Alberta; a woman infected with a mysterious parasite must choose whether to pursue a rare opportunity far from home or stay and help rebuild her community


The world is nothing like it once was: climate disasters have wracked the continent, causing food shortages, ending industry, and leaving little behind. Then came Cad, mysterious mind-altering fungi that invade the bodies of the now scattered citizenry. Reid, a young woman who carries this parasite, has been given a chance to get away — to move to one of the last remnants of pre-disaster society — but…