The most recommended books on tadpoles

Who picked these books? Meet our 7 experts.

7 authors created a book list connected to tadpoles, and here are their favorite tadpole books.
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Catching Tadpoles

By Ronnie Kasrils,

Book cover of Catching Tadpoles: Shaping of a Young Rebel

Marc Epprecht Author Of Hungochani: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in Southern Africa

From the list on social justice in Africa.

Who am I?

I first travelled to Zimbabwe in 1984, eager both to “build scientific socialism” but also to answer two big questions. How can people proclaim rage at certain injustices yet at the same time perpetuate them against certain other people? And, could I learn to be a better (more empathetic) man than my upbringing inclined me towards? Years of teaching in the rural areas, and then becoming a father taught me “yes” to the second question but for the first, I needed to continue to pursue that knowledge with colleagues, students, mentors, friends and family. Today, my big question is, how can we push together to get these monsters of capitalism, patriarchy, homophobia, racism, and ecocide off our backs?

Marc's book list on social justice in Africa

Why did Marc love this book?

This is no less than Kasril’s fourth memoir, and the one that resonates most with my own existential worries as a privileged white man. Why did a nice, working-class, Jewish boy from Johannesburg take up armed struggle against institutionalized racism? Become a cabinet minister in the country’s first democratic government devoted to expanding social welfare for Africans? Become a trenchant critic of the rot that subsequently set into the party he helped bring to power?

With profound humility and wit, Kasrils takes us through his boyhood years to reflect upon the often-humiliating process of acquiring political consciousness. He speaks to anyone with a leg up in a rigged system: it’s good to have existential doubts about your privileges. But you should still, and more importantly, you can still do the right thing.

By Ronnie Kasrils,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ronnie Kasrils's memoir reflects on compelling questions as to what turned a white youngster from a modest background into a life-long revolutionary of note. A tiny minority who abandoned a life of privilege were the antithesis of conventionality and toeing the line. What made those such as Kasrils break all the rules and confront white power with such courage, unbridled spirit and yearning for the truth?

This is a challenging and fascinating conundrum but Kasrils will claim he is no aberration of history. The answers to that question, which unravel through twenty years, will beguile readers as he peers back…

The Day War Came

By Nicola Davies, Rebecca Cobb (illustrator),

Book cover of The Day War Came

Tim Warnes Author Of Dangerous!

From the list on for teaching kids empathy.

Who am I?

I’m a writer, illustrator, and champion of children’s books, with approximately 90 titles published over the last 25 years. I use this experience to guide parents to quality picture books via my blog, Stories Worth Sharing, which aims to help parents nurture and connect with their kids through stories. I can trace this passion back to my childhood. Snuggled in my father’s arms, we’d explore fantastic places together – like One Hundred Acre Wood, Busy Town, and Zuckerman’s barn. Picture books are foundational in developing young minds. These selected titles put your child in someone else’s shoes and teach them to empathise with others.

Tim's book list on for teaching kids empathy

Why did Tim love this book?

Sadly, this powerful story feels more relevant than ever. Inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis, it confronts the reality of war head-on, putting the reader in the shoes of a little girl whose everyday routine is shattered. Because of the subject matter, this may be unsuitable for very young or sensitive kids – but it proves that picture books can be a potent way of speaking to older kids, too.

The unsophisticated language and naive illustrations provide children easy access to important discussions surrounding conflict and misplaced children. Poignant, thought-provoking, and ultimately uplifting, this story reminds us of the reality of war and that our children provide hope for a peaceful future.

By Nicola Davies, Rebecca Cobb (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A powerful and necessary picture book - the journey of a child forced to become a refugee when war destroys everything she has ever known.

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, war came. Imagine it turned your town to rubble. Imagine going on a long and difficult journey - all alone. Imagine finding no welcome at the end of it. Then imagine a child who gives you something small but very, very precious...

When the government refused to allow 3000 child refugees to enter this country in 2016, Nicola Davies was so angry she wrote a poem. It started a…

The Home Place

By J. Drew Lanham,

Book cover of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature

Jack E. Davis Author Of The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea

From the list on placed-based nature writing.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and professor of environmental history who divides his time between two “villes,” Gainesville, Florida, and Harrisville, New Hampshire. On April 16, 2018, while in my campus office excoriating a graduate student for his sloppy writing, I learned that my book The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea won the Pulitzer Prize in History. The chastened student subsequently revised his work and turned in a perfect paper, and I’ve been trying to live up to the distinction of the prize ever since. My first effort to do so will appear in the form of my latest book, The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird.

Jack's book list on placed-based nature writing

Why did Jack love this book?

Like Rachel Carson, Lanham is a scientist who avoids the stilted style of his profession. His book was also a finalist for the John Burroughs Medal, and like Janisse Ray, he published with Milkweed Editions, a powerhouse publisher in environmental literature. As a black man and lover of nature, Lanham describes himself as an “unusually colored fish out of water.” Growing up in rural South Carolina, he was surrounded by woods and wetlands that beckoned his curiosity on solitary wanderings. Everything captivated him: insects, reptiles, rocks, plants, and, especially, birds. When baptized in his grandmother’s authoritarian religious faith, he questioned the ritual but not the algae and “little black commas of tadpoles” in the devotional waters. Sometime after, he came to believe in Nature’s worthiness for worship, a faith that forms the heart of this elegant book. 

By J. Drew Lanham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. All of these hues are me; I am, in the deepest sense, colored." From these fertile soils of love, land, identity, family, and race emerges The Home Place, a big-hearted, unforgettable memoir by ornithologist and professor of ecology J. Drew Lanham.

Dating back to slavery, Edgefield County, South Carolina-a place "easy to pass by on the way somewhere else"-has been home to generations of Lanhams. In The Home Place, readers meet these extraordinary people, including Drew himself, who over the course…


By Juan Felipe Herrera, Lauren Castillo (illustrator),

Book cover of Imagine

Lisa Rogers Author Of 16 Words: William Carlos Williams and the Red Wheelbarrow

From the list on biographies to inspire young poets.

Who am I?

I love sharing poetry with children! I became inspired to write poetic picture books during my 20-year career as an elementary school librarian. In class, we often read aloud, discussed, and performed poems. My students considered word choices, identified alliteration, metaphor, and simile, and developed a sophisticated vocabulary of “beautiful” words. They delighted in using their senses to write about special places and moments and did research to create and illustrate fact-based poems about people and animals. In exploring poetry and biographies of poets, students found inspiration and used their authentic voices to craft their own funny, engaging, and thoughtful poetry.

Lisa's book list on biographies to inspire young poets

Why did Lisa love this book?

I love books in which children can imagine themselves in the story. This gorgeous book, with its perfect match of gentle text and engaging illustrations, asks readers to imagine a child picking flowers, playing in a stream, moving with his migrant worker family, learning how to speak English, and beginning to write. As the child grows and changes, readers will delight in discovering that the narrator is actually Herrera, a U.S. poet laureate, writing about his own path to finding his voice and becoming a poet. Herrera points to his own journey as a way for children to imagine the wonderful possibilities that lie ahead of them. 

By Juan Felipe Herrera, Lauren Castillo (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A buoyant, breathtaking poem from Juan Felipe Herrera — brilliantly illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Lauren Castillo — speaks to every dreaming heart.

Have you ever imagined what you might be when you grow up? When he was very young, Juan Felipe Herrera picked chamomile flowers in windy fields and let tadpoles swim across his hands in a creek. He slept outside and learned to say good-bye to his amiguitoseach time his family moved to a new town. He went to school and taught himself to read and write English and filled paper pads with rivers of ink as he walked…

The Mysterious Tadpole

By Steven Kellogg,

Book cover of The Mysterious Tadpole

Vikki VanSickle Author Of If I Had a Gryphon

From the list on non-dragon and unicorn magical creatures.

Who am I?

When I worked at a children’s bookstore I noticed there were tons of books about dragons and unicorns, but not a lot of picture books about other kinds of mythological creatures. I thought this was strange, especially since Harry Potter was so popular and those books were full of magical creatures. I have always loved pets and mythology, so I thought maybe I could write a primer on magical pet care. I also noticed how much the kids at storytime loved rhyming books, so I put all of these things together and If I Had a Gryphon was born!

Vikki's book list on non-dragon and unicorn magical creatures

Why did Vikki love this book?

Tadpoles aren’t known for being very exciting pets…unless they’re from Lock Ness, the most mysterious lake in Scotland! A little gift turns into a big surprise when a family discovers they may be harbouring a baby Loch Ness monster. I love how the family must come up with practical but inventive solutions to house their growing monster, which was an approach I also used with the pet care in If I Had a Gryphon.

By Steven Kellogg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's Louis's birthday and Uncle McAllister has brought him a very special gift&150a tadpole all the way from Scotland! Louis can hardly wait for Alphonse to grow into a frog. But it soon becomes clear that Alphonse is not turning into any ordinary frog. First Alphonse outgrows his jar, then the sink, and then the bathtub! This new edition of The Mysterious Tadpole boasts reimagined story twists and entirely new illustrations. The lovable giant of a tadpole has grown into something even more wonderful!

On Purpose

By Dav Pilkey, Dav Pilkey (illustrator),

Book cover of On Purpose

Heather DiAngelis Author Of Speech and Debacles

From Heather's 8-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Animal rescuer Endo sufferer Audiobook fanatic

Heather's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Heather's 8-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Heather's 8-year-old love this book?

I like this book because it’s so funny and the comics are ridiculous. The character personalities are thought out so well. The characters are really funny, and they make me laugh.

The pictures are interesting. This is the best Cat Kid Comic Club book, and I can’t wait for Book #5 to come out!

By Dav Pilkey, Dav Pilkey (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The perfect present for Dog Man fans - starring some
of your favourite characters from the series!

The Cat Kid Comic Club is deep in discovery in the newest graphic
novel in the hilarious and heartwarming worldwide bestselling
series by Dav Pilkey, the author and illustrator of Dog Man.

The comic club is going in all different directions! Naomi, Melvin,
and siblings are each trying to find their purpose. Naomi has
an idea to get rich quick that causes a lot of commotion
and emotion. And when faced with rejections, the friends try and
try again to stay true to…

The Pond

By Nicola Davies, Cathy Fisher (illustrator),

Book cover of The Pond

Nancy Bo Flood Author Of Walking Grandma Home

From the list on loss, grief, and healing.

Who am I?

Nancy Bo Flood earned her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology and Child Development at the University of Minnesota and has authored a variety of award-winning booksWalking Grandma Home came from her own experience as a child, as a counselor, and as a daughter. She has lived and taught on the Pacific island of Saipan, where she worked with teachers and parents to create resources and programs for students with disabilities, and for the past twenty years, she has taught in the Navajo Nation. With Native educators, she co-founded an early-literacy nonprofit, Read at Home, which encourages parents to read regularly with their children.

Nancy's book list on loss, grief, and healing

Why did Nancy love this book?

A family moves through the darkness and isolation of depression and anger, two emotions that are part of their grieving the father’s death. Images and words of the natural world show the sadness and confusion of their feelings.  Finally the moment arrives when anger is fiercely expressed – why did you die, Dad?

Anger as part of grieving is often hidden – because how can one be angry at someone for dying?  All this pent-up emotion comes out in negative ways.  In The Pond, Nicola Davies effectively uses the metaphor of a pond as that well of anger – a dirty, dead, ugly, lifeless, and stinky pond.  Slowly the pond changes as family members pause, reflect, and express feelings.  The pond begins to fill with new life, even with tadpoles that Dad had once imagined.  Now the pond offers discovery, peace, and beauty, a place and a way for…

By Nicola Davies, Cathy Fisher (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A touching picture book for children about a young boy and his family overcoming the loss of his father. This colorful, emotional book is filled with natural imagery, centering on a small pond in the garden, and will teach children not only about death and loss, but the importance of the natural world.