The best narwhal books

Who picked these books? Meet our 9 experts.

9 authors created a book list connected to narwhals, and here are their favorite narwhal books.
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Book cover of Donut Feed the Squirrels

Lauren Stohler Author Of Gnome and Rat

From the list on early graphic novels with unique vibes.

Who am I?

I'm an author/illustrator of picture books and early graphic novels! I love stories that are immersive, transformative, and moody. Some of my favorite vibes come from: smelling freshly-shaved pencils in autumn, hearing a great song for the first time, and finding exactly the right book when you need it!

Lauren's book list on early graphic novels with unique vibes

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

Why did Lauren love this book?

The vibe is: a sunny Sunday in Central Park!

Donut Feed the Squirrels, like all of the books in the Norma and Belly series, is just plain beautiful. Illustrated entirely in loose ink-brush and watercolor, the art is soothing and lovely, which complements the gentle humor and friendly antics of its main characters.

This series is about the strivings of city-park critters (mostly squirrels) to acquire their latest delicious craving (and then get themselves out of the ensuing pickle)!

These books relax me like a good sit in the sun. The characters have sweetness and depth, cunning and naivety, all in wholesome combination. And did I mention it's gorgeous? (First in a series!)

By Mika Song,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two squirrel best friends meet their match: a donut food truck! This Eisner-nominated hilarious young graphic novel is perfect for fans of Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea and anyone who would do ANYTHING for a donut.

Norma and Belly would really really really really really like a donut.

With a burned breakfast and a cranky donut seller at the local food truck, they may be stuck with only nuts to eat . . . unless they can steal the biggest, most delicious donut of their tiny lives!

Mika Song gives readers something to laugh at as these squirrels try their…


By Ben Clanton,

Book cover of Narwhal

Jill Heinerth Author Of The Aquanaut

From the list on young explorers.

Who am I?

I'm a world-class underwater explorer, writer, photographer, speaker, and filmmaker. A pioneer of technical rebreather diving, I have led expeditions into icebergs in Antarctica, volcanic lava tubes, and submerged caves worldwide. As a child, these fanciful places were just a part of my wildest dreams. The Aquanaut tells the story of how I turned my imaginative journeys into reality and became a celebrated underwater explorer.

Jill's book list on young explorers

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

Why did Jill love this book?

A happy-go-lucky narwhal and non-nonsense jellyfish discover the depths of the ocean together. This joyful and silly graphic novel celebrates friendship, adventure, and collaboration. The simple illustrations are compelling and accessible, drawing kids into a series of books that will leave them giggling.

By Ben Clanton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.
A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever -- even though it doesn't have any words...or pictures!
Ben Clanton showcases the joys…

Let's Make Comics!

By Jess Smart Smiley,

Book cover of Let's Make Comics!: An Activity Book to Create, Write, and Draw Your Own Cartoons

Art Roche Author Of Art for Kids: Comic Strips, 3: Create Your Own Comic Strips from Start to Finish

From the list on for kids to learn about cartooning.

Who am I?

My name is Art Roche and I've been drawing cartoons and comic strips for over twenty-five years. I wish everyone drew comics! Comic strips are an amazing art form that has been around for thousands of years. With a simple pencil, pen, and paper the artist can tell thrilling stories, make hilarious jokes, or illustrate their own diaries. Once you learn the basic mechanics of how comics are designed and built, anyone can begin drawing them regardless of talent level or experience.

Art's book list on for kids to learn about cartooning

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

Why did Art love this book?

The author of this book is a working cartoonist and illustrator and that makes this one of the best books out there. The book packs an immense amount of practical information about how to draw cartoons into easy, fun worksheet-style activities. Different styles of writing, as well as complex concepts, are communicated in simple visually striking lessons. I have to admit if I was giving a young artist a book (and they already had both of mine) I would definitely give them this book. It’s comprehensive, fun, and simple. It also allows the young artist room to draw in their own style, instead of copying a given drawing. That’s one of my pet peeves!

By Jess Smart Smiley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A light-hearted interactive guide to comics and cartoon-making that uses an activity book format and creatively stimulating prompts to teach the fundamentals of cartooning in a fun and easy-to-follow fashion.

From a working cartoonist and comic book making instructor, this all-ages activity book uses humorous and informative one-page comics and exercise prompts to guide young readers (and readers who are young at heart) through easy-to-master lessons on the skills needed to make comics. The activities cover a range of essential comics-making tasks from creating expressions for characters to filling in blank panels to creating original characters and placing them in…

World of Wonders

By Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Fumi Nakamura (illustrator),

Book cover of World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

Matthew Gavin Frank Author Of Flight of the Diamond Smugglers: A Tale of Pigeons, Obsession, and Greed Along Coastal South Africa

From the list on nonfiction featuring amazing flying things.

Who am I?

Like many who carry over childish curiosity into adulthood, I'm attracted to forbidden places. I trespass. When I heard that a portion of South Africa’s coast was owned by the De Beers conglomerate and closed to the public for nearly 80 years, plunging the local communities into mysterious isolation, I became obsessed with visiting the place. Afterward, I began studying carrier pigeons—the amazing flying things that folks use to smuggle diamonds out of the mines. I wrote a book about this, Flight of the Diamond Smugglers. I'm also the author of nonfiction books about the first-ever photograph of the giant squid, working on a medical marijuana farm, and American food culture.

Matthew's book list on nonfiction featuring amazing flying things

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

Why did Matthew love this book?

There’s this rumor that poets look longer and harder at the ornaments of the world than do anyone else.  They keep looking, and looking, and looking, after most everyone else has long ago looked away, moved on. Here, in the wonderful world of poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s first book of nonfiction, whimsy and reverence twine like the DNA helices of the flora and fauna she examines. In her essay on the firefly, I adore the part when the insects “…lose their light rhythm for a few minutes after a single car’s headlights pass. Sometimes it takes hours for them to recalibrate their blinking patterns.”

By Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Fumi Nakamura (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Hands-down one of the most beautiful books of the year." -NPR

From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction-a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.

As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted-no matter how awkward the fit…

The Voyage of the Narwhal

By Andrea Barrett,

Book cover of The Voyage of the Narwhal

Laura Mason Author Of The Last Revolutionaries: The Conspiracy Trial of Gracchus Babeuf and the Equals

From the list on giving human faces to history.

Who am I?

I’m a historian whose love of the subject was first nourished by my mother. She treated historical events as a source of good stories, discussed historical figures as if talking about people we knew personally, and introduced me to historical fictions that immersed me in vanished worlds. I still read historical fiction, to which I’ve added mountains of history proper. The nonfiction histories I most love insist that the past matters, and they make visible how seemingly abstract events touched the lives of ordinary people.

Laura's book list on giving human faces to history

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

Why did Laura love this book?

This novel reimagines the traditional polar exploration narrative to consider how friendship and delusion, and privileges of wealth, gender, and ethnicity inflect supposedly high-minded searches for scientific knowledge. As quickly becomes clear, explorer Zecheriah Voorhees sees Erasmus Darwin Wells and Alexandra Copeland as supporting players in the story of his daring life. But Barrett places Wells and Copeland at the center of her novel, suggesting that their more modest, generous, and painstaking efforts enable them to appreciate the complexities of the vast world in which they share. Seen from their perspective, men like Voorhees are supporting players rendered dangerous by their self-regarding search for celebrity.

By Andrea Barrett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Capturing a crucial moment in the history of exploration-the mid-nineteenth century romance with the Arctic-Andrea Barrett's compelling novel tells the story of a fateful expedition. Through the eyes of the ship's scholar-naturalist, Erasmus Darwin Wells, we encounter the Narwhal's crew, its commander, and the far-north culture of the Esquimaux. In counterpoint, we meet the women left behind in Philadelphia, explorers only in imagination. Together, those who travel and those who stay weave a web of myth and mystery, finally discovering what they had not sought, the secrets of their own hearts.

The Lore of the Unicorn

By Odell Shepard,

Book cover of The Lore of the Unicorn

Joseph Nigg Author Of The Book of Fabulous Beasts: A Treasury of Writings from Ancient Times to the Present

From the list on following mythical beasts through time.

Who am I?

Ancient mythical animals are all around us in words and images. Following the transformations of such animals through literature and art across millennia has been my passion since the early ’80s. It was then, after years of writing and teaching, that I became intrigued by a winged and fishtailed lion figure on an antique oil lamp hanging in my study. That hybrid creature led me to the eagle-lion griffin and my first published book, The Book of Gryphons. I have followed a host of mythical beasts ever since. My most recent book, The Phoenix: An Unnatural Biography of a Mythical Beast, was published in a 2021 Chinese translation.

Joseph's book list on following mythical beasts through time

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

Why did Joseph love this book?

The unicorn and the dragon are still the two most ubiquitous animals to emerge from the host of fantastic creatures that began spreading through popular books, art, and film in the late 1970s. Years before the unicorn’s commercial popularity, Odell Shepard’s classic book, The Lore of the Unicorn, traced the millennia-long cultural transformations of the mysterious animal, beginning with an early traveler’s tale of the wild asses of India. 

I admire Shepard’s blending of personal voice with wide-ranging research and commentary. He opens his introduction with, “On the table before me, there lies a long straight wand of ivory,” a walking stick made of narwhal tusk, which for centuries had been accepted as unicorn horn.

By Odell Shepard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This work, created in the early 20th century by Odell Shepard, is one of the better works made through time to craft mythology (and cryptozoology of a fashion) together with more modern historical treatments of its subject matter. It is the unicorn (or alicorn) here which concerns the text- and related material ranging from the quite antiquated, to the medieval, and the then-modern as anthropology and adventure made its way further into the outlands of Africa, India, and Tibet.

Here, of note, is an extensive treatment of the purported healing and anti-poison properties of unicorn horn, medieval medicine processing the…

Ice! Poems About Polar Life

By Douglas Florian,

Book cover of Ice! Poems About Polar Life

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?

“Fish and penguins, squids and seals,

All find krill make splendid meals.”

So begins Douglas Florian’s poem about krill. Writing nonfiction poetry is no small feat and this book is a masterpiece of that artform. Each two-page spread focuses on an area or a creature related to the polar regions and features a poem, illustration, and short chunk of expository writing to give the reader more information on the subject. It covers subjects including ptarmigans, narwhals, musk ox, and many more. This book is funny, clever, and a joy to read aloud. Readers will love this one!

By Douglas Florian,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Funny poems paired with intriguing facts introduce young readers to the fascinating creatures that live in Earth's polar regions.

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year!

The remote North and South Poles-- which poet Douglas Florian calls our "Earth refrigerator"-- are home to a wide variety of unusual, rarely-seen creatures including caribou, penguins, ptarmigans, narwhals, and many more! Young readers will love learning about these polar denizens and the ways they've adapted to their cold, windy, frozen environments.

Whimsical, colorful art and humorous poems introduce more than a dozen polar animals, and touch on the unique characteristics of the…