The most recommended books about wetlands

Who picked these books? Meet our 6 experts.

6 authors created a book list connected to wetlands, and here are their favorite wetlands books.
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Book cover of The Floating Girls

Virginia Watts Author Of Echoes from The Hocker House

From my list on leaving you spellbound.

Who am I?

I was an unusual child. My favorite stories were fairytales, no tale was too tall for me. On Christmas Eve, my father always read a story called “Giant Grummer’s Christmas” because it was my favorite. Giant Grummer lived in a huge castle made of limburger cheese. He threatened to reach his long arm down chimneys to steal the presents Santa left but Santa saved the day by giving Giant Grummer presents too. Folklore, legends, and magic are important. We need to believe more in the “make believe.” Everyone should read stories about ghosts and witches and cheese-eating giants, anything fantastical to open their worlds and set their imaginations free.

Virginia's book list on leaving you spellbound

Virginia Watts Why did Virginia love this book?

I spent a good amount of time as a child visiting my grandparents who lived in a remote location in the Endless Mountains of northern Pennsylvania. I didn’t like it there very much. I felt isolated from the world. It was too quiet and too dark at night.

I immediately related to Kay Whitaker who lives in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors in the interior wetlands of coastal Georgia. When she meets a boy her age while she’s exploring those wetlands, something she’s not supposed to do, I cheered for her to make a friend and find a way out of the poverty and the dysfunctional family she lived with.

Kay is a great character because she is smart and funny and feisty. This book includes a murder mystery and lots of secrets for the reader to discover along the way. All families have buried secrets they want…

By Lo Patrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A masterly achievement." – Publishers Weekly STARRED review

"Many readers are looking for the next Where the Crawdads Sing, and will find The Floating Girls…is a close cousin." – Augusta Chronicle

Fierce 12-year-old Kay can't ignore the problems surfacing in her troubled home―or the mysterious marsh outside. It will take all of her courage and perseverance to survive her family drama as their dark secrets come to life in the wake of a small-town murder.

One hot, sticky summer in Bledsoe, Georgia, twelve-year-old Kay Whitaker stumbles across a stilt house in a neighboring marsh and upon Andy Webber, a boy…


Book cover of Beavers

Janet Lawler Author Of Walrus Song

From my list on interesting animals.

Who am I?

I am an award-winning children’s author who has always been fascinated by the natural world. My many published children’s books include ones about animals and ocean life. Scholastic Book Clubs and the Children’s Book of the Month Club have featured my work, and translations of my fiction and nonfiction titles can be found in several languages, including Spanish, Japanese, and Hebrew. My National Geographic title Ocean Counting was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers Association and Walrus Song has been named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.

Janet's book list on interesting animals

Janet Lawler Why did Janet love this book?

In a Magic-School-Bus sort of way, Gail Gibbons presents a ton of information in this book about beavers and their families. The main storyline text is supplemented by multiple “factoid” insets and side-view illustrations. The sum total is a book that matches this mammal’s personality—busy and fascinating!  We see beavers and their world, above and below the waterline of the ponds they inhabit and the streams they dam up to create them. I learned exactly how a beaver den is constructed, and what the cozy inside of one looks like (thanks to a great cross-section illustration).

By Gail Gibbons,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beavers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Beavers are fascinating animals. They build their own homes and live in family groups. They keep busy with their sharp teeth, powerful tails, and big webbed feet. Their work helps to preserve wetlands. Gibbons explores where they live, what they eat, how they raise their young, and much more.


Book cover of Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge

Kristin Ohlson Author Of Sweet in Tooth and Claw: Stories of Generosity and Cooperation in the Natural World

From my list on interconnection in nature.

Who am I?

I grew up in a small agricultural town in California’s Sacramento Valley, and my parents didn’t even consider worrying if I was bored or lonely when I wasn’t at school. Consequently, I spent hours in a nearby vacant lot riddled with anthills watching the ants hustle back and forth and, occasionally, inserting myself in their lives with handfuls of sugar or sticks to block their paths. Pretty sure this is where my interest in science and nature began—and maybe even my interest in cooperation.

Kristin's book list on interconnection in nature

Kristin Ohlson Why did Kristin love this book?

Whenever I fly across country, I love looking out the window of the plane to watch how water has sculpted the landscape below—especially in undeveloped expanses, where I often see dozens of squiggles from rivers that have changed course.

Erica Gies’s fascinating book gave me an expanded view of the relationship between water and land, even in our modern cities, and introduced me to people who are figuring out new ways of living respectfully with this mighty and essential force.

By Erica Gies,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A hopeful journey around the world and across time, illuminating better ways to live with water. 

Nearly every human endeavor on the planet was conceived and constructed with a relatively stable climate in mind. But as new climate disasters remind us every day, our world is not stable—and it is changing in ways that expose the deep dysfunction of our relationship with water. Increasingly severe and frequent floods and droughts inevitably spur calls for higher levees, bigger drains, and longer aqueducts. But as we grapple with extreme weather, a hard truth is emerging: our development, including concrete infrastructure designed to…


Book cover of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter

Sharon Levy Author Of The Marsh Builders: The Fight for Clean Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife

From my list on how humanity fouled water and why we need wetlands.

Who am I?

I fell in love with the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary thirty years ago, when I first moved to town. At the time, I was working as a field biologist, and I loved to hang out at the marsh and birdwatch—I’d see everything from pelicans to peregrine falcons. Later I shifted from field biology to science writing, and some of my first articles were about how the Arcata Marsh serves both as a wildlife habitat and a means of treating the city’s sewage. I learned about the grassroots movement that created the marsh, and the global history of wetlands loss. I’ve been hooked on wetlands ever since.

Sharon's book list on how humanity fouled water and why we need wetlands

Sharon Levy Why did Sharon love this book?

Long before I learned anything about their ecology, I was fascinated by beavers and their flair for building. Beaver dams change the courses of streams and create habitat for willows, fish, frogs, songbirds, even elk and wolves. Goldfarb’s book tells the story of the beavers’ destruction by fur hunters, the way their loss changed the way water flowed through all of North America, and the ways people are working to bring them back.

By Ben Goldfarb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER of the 2019 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

Washington Post "50 Notable Works of Nonfiction"

Science News "Favorite Science Books of 2018"

Booklist "Top Ten Science/Technology Book of 2018"

"A marvelously humor-laced page-turner about the science of semi-aquatic rodents.... A masterpiece of a treatise on the natural world."-The Washington Post

In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America's lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were…


Book cover of One Day at Teton Marsh

Kristin Ohlson Author Of Sweet in Tooth and Claw: Stories of Generosity and Cooperation in the Natural World

From my list on interconnection in nature.

Who am I?

I grew up in a small agricultural town in California’s Sacramento Valley, and my parents didn’t even consider worrying if I was bored or lonely when I wasn’t at school. Consequently, I spent hours in a nearby vacant lot riddled with anthills watching the ants hustle back and forth and, occasionally, inserting myself in their lives with handfuls of sugar or sticks to block their paths. Pretty sure this is where my interest in science and nature began—and maybe even my interest in cooperation.

Kristin's book list on interconnection in nature

Kristin Ohlson Why did Kristin love this book?

Published in 1957, this book is hard to find—but it’s a gem, especially for anyone who likes tromping around wetlands as much as I do.

Carrighar shows how disruption cascades through a pond ecosystem when a storm damages a beaver dam and how all the creatures living there struggle to adapt. Her careful observations of nature and scientific research allow her to show these creatures as real characters—not Disney-like humans with fur or scales, but living beings with will, curiosity, and cleverness. 

By Sally Carrighar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Day at Teton Marsh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The setting for this writing is an actual marsh in the valley of Teton Valley and every creature that is mentioned, every plant, can be seen by anyone visiting Jackson Hole. In the background are lively movements of more than fifty minor characters. Some are an otter, trout, hare, merganser, moose, leech, and snail and beaver. There are 9 fullpage pictures that are sketched.


Book cover of Nature Obscura: A City's Hidden Natural World

Kristin Poling Author Of Germany’s Urban Frontiers: Nature and History on the Edge of the Nineteenth-Century City

From my list on nature in the city.

Who am I?

I have always been both a nature lover and committed urbanite, and those twin passions have shaped my approach to history. My very first published writing (when I was ten years old) was an essay about a willow tree in an urban park I loved in Minneapolis, MN. Now, as a historian, I have written about guerrilla gardening in the shadow of the Berlin wall, forestry outside Detroit, and working-class foraging practices in the nineteenth century. My interest in urban nature remains not just academic, but personal. On weekends, you’ll find me mapping native and invasive species with my ten-year-old son along the River Rouge in Dearborn, MI.

Kristin's book list on nature in the city

Kristin Poling Why did Kristin love this book?

From microscopic tardigrades in the moss on her roof to a cacophony of crows in an Ikea parking lot, Brenner finds teeming nonhuman life in the most overlooked urban spaces of her Seattle hometown. Her pocket-sized safaris combine personal discovery and well-researched investigations into history, science, and policy. Most importantly, by shifting our vision to see all the non-human life that is already here, Brenner gives her readers an accessible, everyday antidote to the supposed “nature deficit” of cities.

By Kelly Brenner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

2021 PNBA Book Awards finalist
2021 Washington State Book Awards finalist
With wonder and a sense of humor, Nature Obscura author Kelly Brenner aims to help us rediscover our connection to the natural world that is just outside our front door--we just need to know where to look.

Through explorations of a rich and varied urban landscape, Brenner reveals the complex micro-habitats and surprising nature found in the middle of a city. In her hometown of Seattle, which has plowed down hills, cut through the land to connect fresh- and saltwater, and paved over much of the rest, she exposes…


Book cover of Nightlights

Stephanie Cooke Author Of Paranorthern: And the Chaos Bunny A-Hop-Calypse

From my list on magical middle-grade graphic novels.

Who am I?

As a kid, I was obsessed with the fantastical, especially when it came to books. I was constantly trying to find my own door to Narnia to go off on an incredible adventure. While I never found a door that led to another world, I found that books offered me a similar experience…and all from the comfort of my fave places to read. Magic is still something I’m enthralled with and love exploring in books I read as well as the ones I write. And these are some of my favorite magical graphic novels.

Stephanie's book list on magical middle-grade graphic novels

Stephanie Cooke Why did Stephanie love this book?

This story plays more on our own insecurities and how that can take on a form of its own that torments us. Young people don’t always have the experience to put to words the things they’re feeling but not knowing if we’re good enough and the anxiety that stems from that is very relatable and universal. Lorena Alvarez does an incredible job of telling a story that weaves that in while presenting stunning, jaw-dropping art to her audience.

By Lorena Alvarez,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nightlights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Every night, tiny stars appear out of the darkness in Sandy's bedroom.
Sandy catches them and creates wonderful creatures to play with until she falls asleep, and in the morning brings them back to life in the whimsical drawings that cover her room. One day, a mysterious pale girl called Morfie appears at school and is fascinated by Sandy's drawings in a way that no one else has been before. But there is a price to pay for this new friendship...