Whether it’s the glory of a simple stick or a stargazing adventure overnight, children and nature can be one of the most harmonious and entertaining combos, ever. For the nature lover in your life, try one of these books for inspiration, activities, and the perfect take-along on your next trip.

photo: Greystone Kids

I Hear You, Forest

Forest bathing comes naturally to children and Kallie George’s new book reminds us all how the sounds of nature can be restorative to our minds and bodies. The forest has a lot to say if you listen. From the creaks of the trees to the nibbles of the squirrels, the forest is forever revealing secrets to those willing to listen. Read this book and head out for a hike. Carmen Mok’s illustrations are both whimsical and realistic, making you wish you were napping on a forest floor right now. Ages: 3-7

Buy it now, $18

photo: Candlewick Press

The Camping Trip

This sweet book from author-illustrator Jennifer K. Mann invites us along on Erenstine’s first-ever camping trip. She’s got her bags packed with all the things she thinks she’ll need but nothing prepares her for what it’s really like to be in the great outdoors. The author encourages kids to try new things and celebrate the beauty of the wild. Ages 3-7.

Buy it now, $15

photo: Big Picture Press

Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum 

Mushrooms are curious and fascinating life forms brought to the page by author and senior research leader at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, Ester Gaya. Fungi can be food, poison, and medicine —and sometimes all three. Thanks to Katie Scott’s artwork, this gorgeous book presents like the botanical specimens of old children’s book form and includes the common and the uncommon, what fungi are, and how important they are to the world’s ecosystem. It’s oversized (11.06 x 14.88 inches!) and hardcover, making it a great gift for little nature lovers who want to learn. Kids who love this will also love other books in the Welcome to the Museum series including Botanicum and Antatomicum. Ages 5-12 (and up!).

Buy your copy here, $30

photo: Beach Lane Books

Crossings: Extraordinary Structures for Extraordinary Animals

Katie S. Duffield’s forthcoming collaboration with Illustrator Mike Orodán celebrates nature through the wildlife crossings that exist around the world. From a bridge over a Canadian interstate to monkeys on rope bridges to bears under an overpass, Crossings teaches kids what happens when the non-natural world and the creatures of nature collide, celebrating both the ingenuity of animals and encouraging conservation and awareness. Ages 3-8.

Order your copy today, $15

photo: Cuento de Luz

A New Harvest: A Tale about Perseverance and Community

A devastating tornado leaves Rodrigo and his family homeless but through his community and a strong connection with nature, Rodrigo finds a way to build a new life. He begins a farm, where he can grow food to not only feed his family but others like him. The book is printed on the publisher Cuento de Luz’s signature stone paper, and all of author Cristina Expósito Escalona's income from royalties will be donated to the Homeless Garden Project. Illustrated Miguel Ángel Díez. Ages: 4-8

Preorder today, $17

photo: Chicago Review Press

Plantology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Plants

Budding botanists and curious collectors alike will adore Plantology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Plants by science educator and author Michael Elsohn Ross. From plant skeletons to prop roots and all the mosses in between, this super cool book will have your kids looking at the natural world in a whole new way. Ages 7 and up.

Buy it here, $16

photo: Penny Candy Press

H is for Haiku

Haiku, the shortest form of poetry, is rooted in embracing simplicity and nature. It asks the poet to take in all the senses around them and distill those down into just three lines, typically five-syllable/seven-syllable/five-syllable. Read this beautiful little book by author Sydell Rosenberg with your nature-loving kids and get inspired to write haiku celebrating the beauty of the world around you. Vibrantly illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi. Ages 5-11. 

Buy yours here, $17

photo: Prestel

Wildchild: Adventure Cooking with Kids 

What happens when you combine a James Beard Award-nominated author and family-friendly food with the great outdoors? An epic new cookbook by Sarah Glover that wil not only inspire you to cook over an open flame, it will make you want to forage in the woods and celebrate nature together. From bread baked on hot coals to saltwater kale and potatoes, Kat Parker’s photographs will have you drooling over the places and the food all at once. All ages (family).

Buy it now, $17

photo: What on Earth Books

Amazing Islands: 100 Places That Will Boggle Your Mind

From how an island is formed to islands that have contributed to some of the most diverse animal and plant life on earth, Amazing Islands is a beautifully illustrated guide to all things island. Travel around the world with author Sabrina Weiss and illustrator Kerry Hyndman and get your island fix from your armchair. Ages: 7-11

Buy yours here, $18

photo: Clarion Books

Talent for Trouble

Alice lives with her Aunt Patience, living a relatively quiet life since the death of Alice's mom. And then Aunt Patience sends Alice off to a boarding school in the wild Scottish Highlands, sending Alice on an adventure of a lifetime with her two new friends. Natasha Farrant's mischievous adventure story has a Harry Potter-ish element to the friendship and problem solving with the trio that includes meeting her biological father who lives on a remote Scottish island. Ages: 10-12

Find it here, $


—Amber Guetebier

featured photo: iStock


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