The most recommended books about threatened species

Who picked these books? Meet our 26 experts.

26 authors created a book list connected to threatened species, and here are their favorite threatened species books.
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Book cover of One Small Hop

Laura Shovan Author Of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

From my list on to inspire kid activists.

Who am I?

When I was a kid, I often felt powerless. I felt like adults made the decisions and children were often told to be “seen and not heard.” Then, when I was in high school, I went to a United Nations-sponsored summer camp where I met teens from around the world. My friends were refugees who had escaped from wars. They came from cities like Belfast, where they lived under the threat of political violence. Their experiences were so different from my own that their stories made a lasting impression on me. Ever since, I have loved reading and writing stories–real and fictional–about kids who are working to repair our world.

Laura's book list on to inspire kid activists

Laura Shovan Why did Laura love this book?

This middle-grade satire was one of my favorite reads of 2021! In the not-too-distant future, seventh-grader Ahab and his friends discover what just might be the last living bullfrog in the United States. Hoping to save the species, they decide not to give Alph the frog to authorities. Instead, the crew takes off on a not-quite legal bike trip to find a mate for Alph. In the process, author Madelyn Rosenberg shows us the world as it might be, if we don’t make an effort to save the climate. A bumbling environmental police force and indoor theme park/recreation center had me giggling, even as I got the message of this brilliant climate fiction novel.

By Madelyn Rosenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Small Hop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Carl Hiaasen's classic Hoot, this humorous adventure story set in a not-so-distant future celebrates the important differences we can make with small, brave acts.

When Ahab and his friends find a bullfrog in their town -- a real, live bullfrog, possibly the last bullfrog in North America -- they have several options:A. Report it to the Environmental Police Force. Too bad everyone knows the agency is a joke.B. Leave it be. They're just a bunch of kids -- what if they hurt it by moving it?C. Find another real, live bullfrog on the black market. Convince…


Book cover of American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West

Keith Heyer Meldahl Author Of Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains

From Keith's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Geologist Professor Outdoors-person Musician Nature-lover

Keith's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Keith Heyer Meldahl Why did Keith love this book?

As an avid outdoors person and nature-lover, I found this gripping tale of Yellowstone wolves to be informative, inspiring, and sad all at the same time. 

The book combines fascinating biology about wolves and ecosystems with stories about the scientists and volunteers who work to protect them. I found myself empathizing with individual wolves almost like people; each has such a distinct personality. 

There’s a palpable tension throughout the book due to hunters’ guns bristling outside of Yellowstone’s protective borders. Ultimately, that begets tragedy.  

By Nate Blakeslee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New Statesman Book of the Year

The wolf stands at the forefront of the debate about our impact on the natural world. In one of the most celebrated successes of modern conservation, it has been reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park.

What unfolds is a riveting multi-generational saga, at the centre of which is O-Six, a charismatic alpha female beloved by park rangers and amateur spotters alike. As elk numbers decline and the wolf population rises, those committed to restoring an iconic landscape clash with those fighting for a vanishing way of life; hunters stalk the park fringes and O-Six's…


Book cover of Rare Birds

Tricia Springstubb Author Of The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe

From my list on middle grade fiction about The Thing with Feathers.

Who am I?

I’ve written books for kids of all ages, and always there were birds. Sparrows singing on windowsills, cardinals arrowing across yards, cormorants diving into Lake Erie, pigeons poking beneath park benches. Those things with feathers make my own heart sing!  Slowly it dawned on me that I wanted to write a book where birds didn’t just flit across the pages but nested at the story’s heart. I had to do a lot of bird research for Perfect. What I learned about the precious, fragile bonds among all Earth’s creatures became one of the book’s themes: big and small, bound by gravity or able to defy it, we are all deeply connected. 

Tricia's book list on middle grade fiction about The Thing with Feathers

Tricia Springstubb Why did Tricia love this book?

Because…the ending is amazing! Well, not only the ending, but wow, the ending.

Many middle grade novels deal with loss and grief, but none better than this one, with a catharsis that’s totally organic and fully earned. Inspired by Miller’s experience of his own mother’s heart transplant, this coming-of-age story follows Graham in his quest to spot the Snail Kite, an elusive bird his ill mother has always wanted to see.

Family and friendship are at the heart of the story, but along the way, readers learn lots of tantalizing truths about birds, those symbols of hope and promise.  

By Jeff Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rare Birds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Jeff Miller's heartbreaking, coming-of-age middle-grade novel-inspired by his personal experience living through his own parent's heart transplant-invites readers into the world of a twelve-year-old birdwatcher looking for a place to call home and a way to save his mother, even if it means venturing deep into Florida swampland.

Twelve-year-old Graham Dodds is no stranger to hospital waiting rooms. Sometimes, he feels like his entire life is one big waiting room. Waiting for the next doctor to tell them what's wrong with his mom. Waiting to find out what city they're moving to next. Waiting to see if they will finally…


Book cover of A Solitude of Wolverines

Pamela Beason Author Of Endangered

From my list on women sleuths in wild places.

Who am I?

Nature is my passion. As an avid hiker, kayaker, snowshoer, and occasional scuba diver, nothing thrills me more than observing wild species in their native environments. Freedom from the constant noise of civilization helps maintain my sanity. I want to share my passion for the endless fascination and solace of nature with my readers, and I also enjoy using my ten years of experience as a private investigator to craft each mystery. And last but never least, I relish strong characters who must rely on their own ingenuity to solve problems, so using a setting where 911 cannot immediately deliver help is a key element in many of my stories. 

Pamela's book list on women sleuths in wild places

Pamela Beason Why did Pamela love this book?

Alice Henderson is a new author in the environmental mystery subgenre, and this book is the first of a series. It’s clear from the novel’s start that wildlife biologist Alex Carter is not welcome in the rural Montana area, and the spooky setting of a remote lodge occupied only by the biologist seems almost reminiscent of The Shining at times. But for me, that creepiness is offset by interesting descriptions of the wild areas and the work of a wildlife biologist studying reclusive wolverines. A few details in the pursuit scene near the book’s conclusion strike me as a bit over the top, but overall, I enjoy this thrilling adventure in the wild, and I look forward to reading Henderson’s next book. 

By Alice Henderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Both a mystery and a survival story, here is a novel written with a naturalist's eye for detail and an unrelenting pace. It reminded me of the best of Nevada Barr." -James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Last Odyssey

The first book in a thrilling series featuring an intrepid wildlife biologist who's dedicated to saving endangered species...and relies on her superior survival skills to thwart those who aim to stop her.


While studying wolverines on a wildlife sanctuary in Montana, biologist Alex Carter is run off the road and threatened by locals determined to force her…


Book cover of The Tourist Trail

Midge Raymond Author Of My Last Continent

From my list on saving animals.

Who am I?

When I first visited Antarctica, I not only fell in love with penguins but saw firsthand how high the stakes are regarding climate change—not only for humans but especially for animals, who are suffering horribly due to our actions. Being in Antarctica, the most rapidly warming place on earth, highlighted how important it is to tackle climate change, which includes protecting animals. When we lose one species, the entire ecosystem changes. I’ve embraced protecting domestic animals as well, from companion animals to farmed animals, having learned just how much human and non-human animals have in common—so much more than you’d think! And I love reading and writing about the ways in which we’re all connected.

Midge's book list on saving animals

Midge Raymond Why did Midge love 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 mystery but a compassionate and heartfelt ode to our oceanic animals who need saving.

By John Yunker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A literary thriller about endangered species in the world's most remote areas, and those who put their lives on the line to protect them.

Biologist Angela Haynes is accustomed to dark, lonely nights as one of the few humans at a penguin research station in Patagonia. She has grown used to the cries of penguins before dawn, to meager supplies and housing, to spending most of her days in one of the most remote regions on earth. What she isn't used to is strange men washing ashore, which happens one day on her watch.

The man won't tell her his…


Book cover of Half-Earth

Dave Goulson Author Of The Garden Jungle

From my list on rewilding and the biodiversity crisis.

Who am I?

I have loved insects and other wildlife for all of my life. I am now a professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, UK, specializing in bee ecology. I have published more than 400 scientific articles on the ecology and conservation of bumblebees and other insects, plus seven books, including the Sunday Times bestsellers A Sting in the Tale (2013), The Garden Jungle (2019), and Silent Earth (2021). They’ve been translated into 20 languages and sold over half a million copies. I also founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006, a charity that has grown to 12,000 members. 

Dave's book list on rewilding and the biodiversity crisis

Dave Goulson Why did Dave love this book?

EO Wilson died just a few weeks ago, at the age of 92. It was a sad day for me, as he has always been one of my great heroes. “E.O.” was a fantastic scientist, a world authority on ants, and sometimes known as the “father of biodiversity”. In this book, he argues that we have no right to drive millions of species extinct and that our own future depends upon setting aside half the Earth for nature.    

By Edward O. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Half-Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

History is not a prerogative of the human species, Edward O. Wilson declares in Half-Earth. Demonstrating that we blindly ignore the histories of millions of other species, Wilson warns us that a point of no return is imminent. Refusing to believe that our extinction is predetermined, Wilson has written Half-Earth as a cri de coeur, proposing that the only solution to our impending "Sixth Extinction" is to increase the area of natural reserves to half the surface of the earth. Half-Earth is a resounding conclusion to the best-selling trilogy begun by the "splendid" (Financial Times) The Social Conquest of Earth…


Book cover of Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story about Looking at People Looking at Animals in America

Deb Vanasse Author Of Roar of the Sea: Treachery, Obsession, and Alaska's Most Valuable Wildlife

From my list on how nature talks to us.

Who am I?

Much of what Deb knows about writing, nature, and life she learned in Alaska, where she also mastered the art of hauling water and cooking ptarmigan. She loves characters who tug at the heart and stories that grab you from the opening line and never let go. Deb is the co-founder of Alaska’s 49 Writers, and she has been invited to join the faculty at several writers’ conferences. After 36 years in Alaska, she now lives on Oregon’s north coast, where you’ll find her strolling the beaches and forests with her husband and boxer dog.

Deb's book list on how nature talks to us

Deb Vanasse Why did Deb love this book?

While researching my most recent book I wanted to explore the various ways people have interacted with wildlife throughout history. Mooellam’s book proved exactly what I was looking for. Fun and readable, it was a pleasant counterbalance to some of the hefty tomes I consulted, and yet it left me with much to think about.

By Jon Mooallem,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Intelligent and highly nuanced... This book may bring tears to your eyes." -- San Francisco Chronicle

Journalist Jon Mooallem has watched his little daughter's world overflow with animals butterfly pajamas, appliqued owls-while the actual world she's inheriting slides into a great storm of extinction. Half of all species could disappear by the end of the century, and scientists now concede that most of America's endangered animals will survive only if conservationists keep rigging the world around them in their favor. So Mooallem ventures into the field, often taking his daughter with him, to move beyond childlike fascination and make those…


Book cover of Last Chance to See

Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling Author Of A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town

From my list on stranger – and funnier – than fiction.

Who am I?

As a journalist, I’ve often been frustrated at the sense that I am preaching to the choir – those who take the time to read about a serious topic don’t need to, and those who need to, won’t. I’ve learned to spread awareness by packaging serious information inside a “Trojan Horse," one so fun to read that it reaches people who can actually benefit from the educational bits. These brilliant books, and many others, show that a spoonful of sugar can help us easily swallow information about social justice, endangered species, the U.S. military, and American history. I happily make these books Christmas gifts, knowing they are joys, not obligations.

Matthew's book list on stranger – and funnier – than fiction

Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling Why did Matthew love this book?

Douglas Adams didn’t leave us enough books before he died, and so I find it strange that many Adams fans have somehow overlooked this gem, in which he applies his famously quirky wit to a real-life environmental cause. I’m recommending this one now because it perfectly exemplifies the idea that, in order to be truly sad about the plight of an endangered creature, you first must have a good long laugh at the creature’s expense. Adams makes me feel as if a Komodo Dragon is, not just majestic, but a friend that I’ve gone pub crawling with. 

By Douglas Adams, Mark Carwardine,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Last Chance to See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Descriptive writing of a high order... this is an extremely intelligent book' The Times

Join Douglas Adams, bestselling and beloved author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and zoologist Mark Carwardine on an adventure in search of the world's most endangered and exotic creatures.

In this book, Adams' self-proclaimed favourite of his own works, the pair encounter animals in imminent peril: the giant Komodo dragon of Indonesia, the lovable kakapo of New Zealand, the blind river dolphins of China, the white rhinos of Zaire, the rare birds of Mauritius island in the Indian Ocean and the alien-like aye-aye of…


Book cover of Rebirding: Winner of the Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation: Restoring Britain's Wildlife

Dave Goulson Author Of The Garden Jungle

From my list on rewilding and the biodiversity crisis.

Who am I?

I have loved insects and other wildlife for all of my life. I am now a professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, UK, specializing in bee ecology. I have published more than 400 scientific articles on the ecology and conservation of bumblebees and other insects, plus seven books, including the Sunday Times bestsellers A Sting in the Tale (2013), The Garden Jungle (2019), and Silent Earth (2021). They’ve been translated into 20 languages and sold over half a million copies. I also founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006, a charity that has grown to 12,000 members. 

Dave's book list on rewilding and the biodiversity crisis

Dave Goulson Why did Dave love this book?

This is a wonderfully imaginative book. It examines how Britain, a nation of nature lovers with over 1 million members of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, has become one of the most damaged and denuded countries on the planet. Although depressing in parts when looking at the depths of our global biodiversity crisis, this book explains how we can turn this around, heal our land, bring back wildlife, and ensure vibrant rural communities. 

By Benedict MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize

'splendid' -Guardian

'visionary' -New Statesman

Britain has all the space it needs for an epic return of its wildlife. Only six percent of our country is built upon. Contrary to popular myth, large areas of our countryside are not productively farmed but remain deserts of opportunity for both wildlife and jobs. It is time to turn things around. Praised as 'visionary' by conservationists and landowners alike, Rebirding sets out a compelling manifesto for restoring Britain's wildlife, rewilding its species and restoring rural jobs - to the benefit…


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