The best turtle books 📚

Browse the best books on turtles as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Always Remember

Always Remember

By Cece Meng, Jago

Why this book?

Some picture books about death spend the majority of their pages leading up to the death of a character, but in this colorfully illustrated and powerfully written story, Old Turtle dies on the first page. The remainder of the book is spent reflecting on all the ways Old Turtle impacted the ocean creatures around him: he helped a whale find her pod, he saved a starfish, and he rescued a manatee tangled in fishing net. 

Throughout the story, the reader is reminded that turtle “made his world a better place” and that each of these animals impacted by turtle will…

From the list:

The best picture books about death

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Book cover of Turtle Boy

Turtle Boy

By M. Evan Wolkenstein

Why this book?

This book is one of my favorite middle-grade novels. At first glance, it may not look like it’s about an environmentalist. Indeed, it is about many things. A boy with a medical condition that affects his chin and jaw. Bullying, grief, anxiety, drumming (!), bar mitzvah prep, coming out of one’s shell. And Will is not exactly modeling good conservation practices by taking turtles from the nearby marsh, caring for them in his bedroom, or gifting a Blanding’s turtle to a boy he visits in the hospital. But Will’s learning process about these turtles and their threatened habitat is a…
From the list:

The best middle grade novels featuring young environmentalists

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Book cover of The Windward Road: Adventures of a Naturalist on Remote Caribbean Shores

The Windward Road: Adventures of a Naturalist on Remote Caribbean Shores

By Archie Carr

Why this book?

The Windward Road is a whimsical yet eye-opening account of the lesser-explored communities who hunted and ate turtles along the Caribbean coast of Central America and islands in the Caribbean Sea. Although Archie Carr was a renowned herpetologist, he was also a superb storyteller. His adventures will undoubtedly make you laugh, squirm, and empathize with the turtles and the communities that hunted them.

From the list:

The best books for plunging into the maritime Caribbean

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Book cover of Turtle Diary

Turtle Diary

By Russell Hoban

Why this book?

Turtle Diary is one of my all-time favorite books. The intimate tone pulls the reader in immediately. Hoban alternates point of view between William and Neera, two lonely Londoners who accomplish a heroic feat and manage to rescue themselves in the process. The writing is spare and beautiful, peppered with delightful asides and observations: “She had a theatre programme in her hand, fresh air and perfume had come in with her. Her blonde hair and leopardskin coat looked as if they’d go out even if she stayed at home.”
From the list:

The best books on the ways that animals redeem us

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Book cover of One Tiny Turtle: Read and Wonder

One Tiny Turtle: Read and Wonder

By Nicola Davies, Jane Chapman

Why this book?

I love informational books that don’t just list interesting facts but instead have a narrative story with interesting facts woven throughout. (Many of the books listed above fall into that category). Books like this are called “informational fiction books” or “narrative nonfiction books.” I believe the use of narrative helps kids (and all people) to learn more easily. In this book, we follow the narrative of a single loggerhead turtle and we become invested in her journey. Throughout that journey, we learn about her species, how she survives the dangers surrounding her, and how she perpetuates the species.
From the list:

The best children’s books about ocean animals

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Book cover of Midnight in the Piazza

Midnight in the Piazza

By Tiffany Parks

Why this book?

I discovered this book through a podcast I love about living the expat life. Thirteen-year-old Beatrice has landed in Rome with her professor father, and she would rather not be there. But Rome is full of wonders and Beatrice becomes entranced by the turtle fountain in the piazza outside her apartment, especially when those turtles seem to vanish. The author lives in Rome and is very knowledgeable about the art and culture of Italy, so I learned a lot about art and history without realizing I was learning at all. Middle grade readers will love the mystery, and who would…

From the list:

The best books for middle grade kids traveling to Italy

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