The best water books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about water and why they recommend each book.

Soon, you will be able to filter by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to explore books.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

The Blue Whale

By Jenni Desmond,

Book cover of The Blue Whale

Awe, beauty, and a satisfying amount of information—The Blue Whale has it all. I love the curious child we follow through the book, as well as the visual comparisons that turn astonishing facts about the world’s largest living creature into subtly humorous images that I can relate to on a more personal level. In the final pages of the book, the child—our surrogate adventurer—falls asleep and dreams, amazed by a world that contains such tremendous creatures. 


Who am I?

I spent long days at the beach as a kid, and sharp bits of horseshoe crab shells in my sandcastles were a frequent annoyance. As an adult, I discovered a horseshoe crab lurching its way back to the water and wondered: What's the deal with this weird animal? To find out, I read books, talked with scientists, and assisted with horseshoe crab and shorebird research. What I discovered—about horseshoe crabs, other animals, and the water they live in—was too amazing to keep to myself. I hope my book encourages kids to go out and explore wild places, too!


I wrote...

High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs

By Lisa Kahn Schnell, Alan Marks (illustrator),

Book cover of High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs

What is my book about?

Every spring, millions of horseshoe crabs crawl to the shore to lay their eggs, just as they have since before dinosaurs roamed the earth. But they aren’t the only ones crowding the beaches! Flocks of shorebirds stop to feed on the horseshoe crab eggs. Scientists and tourists turn out to see the spectacle and learn more about the animals that call this habitat home for a few weeks. 

With layered text and in-depth back matter, High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs engages readers at multiple levels. Evocative watercolor paintings by Alan Marks bring young beach explorers down to the shoreline to observe this exciting annual event that interconnects species. Come join the frenzy!

Water

By Christy Mihaly, Mariona Cabassa (illustrator),

Book cover of Water: A Deep Dive of Discovery

As a young reader, I would have slipped into this book and lost myself for hours. While it’s not a picture book by most definitions, these gorgeously illustrated pages overflow with facts, stories, and cheerful art. Like its subject matter, Water: A Deep Dive of Discovery covers a lot of territory—from the many ways water affects the lives of all living creatures, to maps and diagrams, to simple experiments you can try at home. A lovely book that will hold up to repeated readings by curious minds.    


Who am I?

I spent long days at the beach as a kid, and sharp bits of horseshoe crab shells in my sandcastles were a frequent annoyance. As an adult, I discovered a horseshoe crab lurching its way back to the water and wondered: What's the deal with this weird animal? To find out, I read books, talked with scientists, and assisted with horseshoe crab and shorebird research. What I discovered—about horseshoe crabs, other animals, and the water they live in—was too amazing to keep to myself. I hope my book encourages kids to go out and explore wild places, too!


I wrote...

High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs

By Lisa Kahn Schnell, Alan Marks (illustrator),

Book cover of High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs

What is my book about?

Every spring, millions of horseshoe crabs crawl to the shore to lay their eggs, just as they have since before dinosaurs roamed the earth. But they aren’t the only ones crowding the beaches! Flocks of shorebirds stop to feed on the horseshoe crab eggs. Scientists and tourists turn out to see the spectacle and learn more about the animals that call this habitat home for a few weeks. 

With layered text and in-depth back matter, High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs engages readers at multiple levels. Evocative watercolor paintings by Alan Marks bring young beach explorers down to the shoreline to observe this exciting annual event that interconnects species. Come join the frenzy!

The Fourth Phase of Water

By Gerald H. Pollack,

Book cover of The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor

One of the best science books I know, at the same time profound, stimulating and accessible. Pollock describes discoveries made in his own laboratory and by others about a highly ordered state of liquid water that can be revealed in very simple experiments, that can lead to the generation of energy in new ways, and that plays a major role in all living cells. Pollack also opens extraordinary new areas for investigation through imaginative speculations, each with an “out on a limb” index to indicate how far it goes beyond established orthodoxy.


Who am I?

I am a biologist and I am also interested in spiritual explorations and sacred places. These books discuss some of the most interesting issues in science, and the nature of ultimate consciousness - the primary subject of theology, consciousness. I am also very interested in spiritual practices that have measurable effects, as discussed in my books Science and Spiritual Practices and Ways to Go Beyond and Why They Work.


I wrote...

The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry

By Rupert Sheldrake,

Book cover of The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry

What is my book about?

The Science Delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality. The fundamental questions are answered, leaving only the details to be filled in. In this book, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world's most innovative scientists, shows that science is being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. The 'scientific worldview' has become a belief system. All reality is material or physical. The world is a machine, made up of dead matter. Nature is purposeless. Consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain. Free will is an illusion. God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls.

Sheldrake examines these dogmas scientifically, and shows persuasively that science would be better off without them: freer, more interesting, and more fun.

Your Body's Many Cries for Water

By F. Batmanghelidj,

Book cover of Your Body's Many Cries for Water: You're Not Sick; You're Thirsty: Don't Treat Thirst with Medications

Not strictly speaking about food, but I decided it needs to be included here because good hydration is as foundational for health as a good diet - no matter how good your diet is, if you are chronically dehydrated, you won’t be well. Your Body’s Many Cries for Water describes why. The book’s subtitle sums it up: You're Not Sick; You're Thirsty: Don't Treat Thirst with Medications. Dr. Batmanghelidj’s fascinating exploration into the importance of proper hydration basically says that if people drank about 2.5 litres a day of clean water, we would be free of at least 50% of illnesses.

Who am I?

I am a naturopathic therapist, teacher, and writer working mainly with plant medicine since 1989. For decades, I’ve been teaching many aspects of natural healing and have written 5 books, published in 6 languages, on various aspects of my work. One of my favourite books is DEEPLY HOLISTIC, a Guide to Intuitive Self-Care, a synthesis of much of the advice I’ve given clients over my 30 years of practice.


I wrote...

Deeply Holistic: A Guide to Intuitive Self-Care--Know Your Body, Live Consciously, and Nurture Your Spirit

By Pip Waller,

Book cover of Deeply Holistic: A Guide to Intuitive Self-Care--Know Your Body, Live Consciously, and Nurture Your Spirit

What is my book about?

Natural medicine outcomes depend partly on helping people create a lifestyle which acts as the foundation for good health. Deeply Holistic is a smorgasbord of suggestions that you can help yourself to, to help yourself move more towards your optimum possible level of health, presented in the format of relevance to the various body systems.

Good eating is an essential foundational building block to feeling well. But what to eat, in the modern climate of often conflicting and contradictory advice? As I discuss in Deeply Holistic, there is no real one size fits all approach to diet, hence the emphasis on ‘intuitive’ self-care – increasing your ability to tune in and listen to what your body is asking for.k

Hello from Renn Lake

By Michele Weber Hurwitz,

Book cover of Hello from Renn Lake

Aside from the fun coincidence that I share my surname with the lake in this book, I fell in love on page one because one of the narrators is actually the lake! Chapters alternate between Renn Lake and 12-year-old Annalise, whose family owns lakeside cabins. Annalise has always felt a special connection to this water. When a toxic algae bloom threatens Renn Lake, she and her friends fight to save it. I grew up on a lake in Washington State that became clogged with Eurasian Milfoil, a highly invasive plant affecting water quality, fish, and other things. Remembering what it felt like to see my local lake transform, and how powerless I felt to help it, I rooted for Annalise and her friends and felt hope for this new generation of activists.


Who am I?

I live in a town near a wildlife refuge. I frequently encounter wildlife, including turtles, in my neighborhood. Trouble at Turtle Pond was inspired by volunteer work my son and I did with a local conservation group, fostering endangered Blanding’s turtles. Although my previous books were mysteries set in other countries, I have become interested in the mysteries we can find in our own back yards and in other community spaces we share with nature. I love eco-fiction about kids who love animals, who are “nature detectives,” who have strong opinions, and who are working for the environment, recognizing that every small step makes a difference.


I wrote...

Trouble at Turtle Pond

By Diana Renn,

Book cover of Trouble at Turtle Pond

What is my book about?

Eleven-year-old Miles has moved to a neighborhood near a wildlife refuge, where nesting turtles are on the move. His neighbor, Pia, convinces him to join the Backyard Rangers, who are working to protect them. Miles and Pia discover clues to crimes against endangered Blanding’s turtles. Worse, a pair of foster turtle hatchlings in Pia’s care go missing at a town event. Suspecting poachers, the Backyard Rangers investigate suspects in town. But when Miles becomes a suspect himself, he has to convince his new friends he’s not who they think he is and stop the turtle crimes before more turtles – and people – get hurt.

Trouble at Turtle Pond is a friendship-centered eco-mystery about community science, activist kids, and the power of paying attention.

A Long Walk to Water

By Linda Sue Park,

Book cover of A Long Walk to Water

I love the way A Long Walk to Water follows two characters in two different timelines to reinforce the importance of water to survival. It’s an exciting combination of a true story and fictionalized one that intersect in an unexpected but wonderful way. Readers of any age, but especially younger ones, will be shocked by what one 11-year-old girl must do to obtain just a minimal daily amount of water for her family’s survival. They will also be inspired by how one 11-year-old boy, after barely surviving wartime experiences in his African homeland, returns years later to make a lasting impact on the lives of others. The double-pronged impact of these characters and their suspenseful stories will instantly engage readers, keep them enthralled to the final page, and leave a long-lasting impression.

This is more than a story, although it is a wonderful one. It is an eye-opener to the…


Who am I?

I have no wilderness survival skills and certainly no wish to be thrown into any of the scenarios in the books I’ve recommended. What I do have is great empathy for those who struggle to survive loss—in whatever form it might come—be it loss of home, or security, or family. I know what it is to struggle through darkness and survive what I would have previously thought “unsurvivable.” That’s why two of my middle grade books, but especially MacKenzie’s Last Run, are about speaking up when you’re hurting or frightened. Lost in the dark woods or lost in grief–it’s all ultimately about survival. 


I wrote...

MacKenzie's Last Run

By Gayle Rosengren,

Book cover of MacKenzie's Last Run

What is my book about?

Thirteen-year-old MacKenzie (Mac) Lawrence secretly blames himself for his father’s death in a mall shooting. In his grief and guilt, he has pulled away from everyone, even his twin sister Tessa. When their mother announces her plans to remarry barely two years after Dad’s death Mac is furious and runs away in an attempt to force her to break off the engagement.

Unfortunately, nothing goes as Mac plans. He ends up seriously injured, miles from home, unable to reach out for help, while clues he inadvertently left behind suggest he’s been kidnapped—possibly by Mom’s fiancé—and set his twin sister Tessa on a desperate search to find him.

Crossing the Next Meridian

By Charles F. Wilkinson,

Book cover of Crossing the Next Meridian: Land, Water, and the Future of the West

This classic furnishes the best foundation for understanding land, water, and wildlife issues in the American West—and that necessarily means the public lands. Charles Wilkinson tacks from the past to the present, from law to history to ecology, effortlessly. What makes Crossing the Next Meridian so valuable is Wilkinson showing how nineteenth-century laws—the “lords of yesterday” in his apt phrasing—continued to guide the policy and politics around public lands and resources through the twentieth century. Packed with scholarship, legal reasoning, and on-the-ground reporting, Crossing the Next Meridian laid out clearly why the West I have lived in my whole life looks the way it does. Whenever I have a question about the history or law, this is my first stop. (I would love for him to issue an updated edition.)  


Who am I?

I started studying public lands by accident in the 1990s for a class project before I really knew what they even were. Since then, I've published hundreds of thousands of words about them, including my latest book Making America’s Public Lands where I’ve brought together much of what I’ve learned. I’m convinced the national forests, parks, rangelands, and refuges are among the most interesting and important experiments in democracy we have. I'm a writer, historian, and former college professor who now calls the Skagit Valley of Washington home. As much as I enjoy studying the public lands, I've appreciated hiking, sleeping, teaching, and noticing things in them even more.


I wrote...

Making America's Public Lands: The Contested History of Conservation on Federal Lands

By Adam M. Sowards,

Book cover of Making America's Public Lands: The Contested History of Conservation on Federal Lands

What is my book about?

The federal government controls roughly 640 million acres in national forests, parks, rangelands, and wildlife refuges. Managing these lands has been an ongoing—and noisy—experiment in democracy and conservation. Making America’s Public Lands tells this history from the earliest years of the nation to recent controversies, along the way providing guideposts and explanations to help us understand the public’s land. The book shows the increasingly complex task land managers have faced as the public demanded more and more from the lands, from timber and beef to inspiration and ecosystem services. Meanwhile, the politics of it all has become ever more complicated as a more diverse set of constituents demanded their rightful seat at the table. 

Sustaining Lake Superior

By Nancy Langston,

Book cover of Sustaining Lake Superior: An Extraordinary Lake in a Changing World

This is the story of the world’s biggest freshwater lake from its origin up to today. Most of it focuses on the last two centuries, when Lake Superior changed fast under the impact of deforestation, mining, and industrialization around its shorelines. In the last 50 years or so, environmental regulation in the U.S. and Canada has substantially improved Lake Superior’s water quality, although new threats connected to climate change will require new conservation efforts. Langston lives on the shores of Lake Superior, and writes about it with intimate knowledge and boundless affection.


Who am I?

I’ve been reading and writing environmental history since I was trapped indoors on a rainy afternoon nearly 40 years ago and by chance pulled Alfred Crosby’s The Columbian Exchange off a bookshelf. I read it in one gulp (it’s a short book and the rain lingered) and I’ve never been the same since. I regard the environmental as the most fundamental sort of history, because it places humankind and our history in its full context. I love to learn about how humans and their environments affect one another and to read histories that treat both together—because in reality they have always been, and always will be, intertwined.  


I wrote...

Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World

By John Robert McNeill,

Book cover of Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World

What is my book about?

This is the kind of environmental history that describes changes to the world’s forests, fields, soils, lakes, rivers, water quality, air quality, wildlife, and cities—and tries to explain why those changes happened. It argues that the middle of the twentieth century marked a turning point in global environmental history because the scale, scope, and pace of environmental change accelerated markedly. The key reasons for that acceleration lay in the world’s energy system with fossil fuels at its center, in a sudden surge in population growth, in a relentlessly competitive international system, and in the resistance of economic management to ecological thinking. Even though the Times of London listed it among the best science books ever written, it’s a history book.  

The Dead Wander in the Desert

By Rollan Seisenbayev, John Farndon (translator), Olga Nakston (translator)

Book cover of The Dead Wander in the Desert

The shrinking of the Aral Sea is arguably the greatest manmade environmental disaster of the 20th century. Kazakh writer Rollan Seisenbayev uses the catastrophe as the backdrop for his novel, exploring the impact on local people through the eyes of a fisherman and his son who are confronted not only with the vanishing sea but as a result also the disappearance of their livelihood and future. The Dead Wander in the Desert was long-listed for the PEN Translation Prize and deserves to be much more widely read. 


Who am I?

When I first visited Central Asia in 2008, little did I know that it would become the focus of my life and work. I now advise the World Bank and national governments on economic development, with a particular focus on tourism, and I’m the Chairman of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. I am Uzbekistan’s Ambassador for Tourism, a co-founder of the Silk Road Literary Festival, and I’ve written and updated guidebooks to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and the Silk Road.


I wrote...

Uzbekistan

By Sophie Ibbotson,

Book cover of Uzbekistan

What is my book about?

Bradt Travel Guides’ Uzbekistan is the best-selling English-language guidebook to Uzbekistan: The Heart of the Silk Road. Now in its 3rd edition, this guide covers not only the country’s rich history and cultural heritage, but also all you need to know about the fast-developing tourism sector. 

Time for Bed, Fred!

By Yasmeen Ismail,

Book cover of Time for Bed, Fred!

When bedtime arrives, where is Fred? A big, fluffy dog, he’s busying himself with everything else, except getting ready for bed. He runs through flower beds and mud, needs a bath, plays hide-and-seek, and finally ask for one more story. Mirroring behavior of any toddler avoiding bedtime, Fred finally gets ready for a good night sleep. Drawn loosely in ink and watercolor, Fred will run away with your heart as well.


Who am I?

I am a librarian and a picture book author/illustrator – it’s a perfect combination as I get to spend lots of time around books. I’m also a huge animal lover, with a special fondness for dogs. I can’t resist a picture book about dogs, and it’s no surprise that my first picture book was based on a true story about one very brave little dog. It is not easy to recommend only 5 books, but these are certainly my top favorites both in text and art. Happy reading!


I wrote...

Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic

By Mônica Carnesi,

Book cover of Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic

What is my book about?

On a cold winter day, a curious dog wandered onto a frozen river, and before he knew it he was traveling fast on a sheet of ice. Many people tried to help, but the dog could not be reached. Finally, after two nights and seventy-five miles, the little dog was saved by a ship out in the Baltic Sea.

The gallant rescue of the little dog nicknamed Baltic made international news. Mônica Carnesi's simple text and charming watercolor illustrations convey all the drama of Baltic's journey. His story, with its happy ending, will warm readers' hearts. An author's note and map are included.

Or, view all 12 books about water

New book lists related to water

All book lists related to water

Bookshelves related to water