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In a world where TV and computer games steal the hearts of most young people (mine included) I thought it would be fun to look at how picture books can inspire kids to get outside and explore nature! We have some lovely Nature Picture Books that inspire our kids to be a wilderness enthusiast and venture outdoors! I’ve popped together lots of children’s books covering a variety of nature themes that I hope will inspire your family’s outdoor adventures. I hope you find a few new nature books your kids will enjoy.
Nature Picture Books to Inspire Kids to Get Outdoors!
Through gorgeous illustrations, Hughes introduces us to the hopes and frustrations of the littlest gardener. There is so much to love in this little story. It tells the tale of a little gardener and how his garden meant everything to him. He worked hard, very hard, but he was just too little (or at least he felt he was). It’s a tale that teaches us just how important it is to persist and try, no matter what the odds. Just like her other books, Hughes once again transports us to a world full of fantasy and wonder with her gorgeous illustrations.
Another book that has a moral of ‘small things can be powerful’. In this beautiful book that follows the seasons, a tiny seed flies along on the wind. It is too small to fall into the ocean and drown. It is too small to be seen by a bird and eaten. It is also too small to be gobbled by a mouse. It may be small, but it is patient and strong. It lies in the ground and takes its time and eventually becomes a flowering plant. The tiny seed grows and becomes a beautiful, strong flower. It has the tell tale illustrations of Eric Carle which are just as engaging as ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ and it has educational value as a great introduction to the life-cycle of flowering plants.
Books to inspire Young Environmentalists
This is a beautiful book with beautiful illustrations that would also make a great gift for a new baby or a christening. It Starts with a Seed from Quatro books features stunning illustrations and a pull out large back page – it’s a rhyme that tells the story of the birth of a tree. It is such a delightful poem all about how life starts with a seed which the reader follows as it lands on the ground and transforms to a sapling, then to a large tree that covers the entire page and is home to many creatures. This book teaches children about the life cycle of the tree as well as giving them a wider understanding of the creatures that make a tree their home. It will truly inspire you to want to plant a tree!
Earth Heroes by Lily Dyu from Nosy Crow is a great book for those wishing to learn about those who have contributed to changing the world. It’s an empowering read inspiring us with 20 stories of inspirational people from all over the world that transformed the world. It’s beautifully illustrated by Amy Blackwell, and this updated new gift edition features amazing additions such as Felix Finkbeiner and Charles and Perrine Herve-Gruyer, as well as Amelia Telford, Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, Bittu Sahgal, Chewang Norphel, David Attenborough among others! I love that it covers Earth Heroes from all over the globe and with from different cultures and traditions.
Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker
Greta and the Giants is inspired by Greta Thunberg’s stand to save the world. This would be a perfect gift for young planet lovers not least because a 3% donation is given to Greenpeace UK from the sale of this book and the paper is from sustainable resources. It’s a gentle story with beautiful, bold illustrations about how the giants are destroying the forest and making the animals unhappy, the animals ask Greta to help them, she feels so sad she comes up with an idea to try make the giants change their ways. It carries a real message for children because at the back of the book is a page with the inspiring headline “No one is too small to help”. It lists some ways we can all help Greta to fight the giants in the real world and lists some excellent websites for further education on the subject. We loved the sentence at the bottom stating “You might not think that it wont make a difference but if we all work together we can change the world”.
NATURE BOOKS TO ENCOURAGE EXPLORATION!
This is your very own nature scrapbook, packed with fascinating facts and brilliant activities. Doodle, draw and colour in leaves, butterflies, plants and much more. Find out how many different types of snowflakes are there, and how are leaves formed? Find out how to make your own leaf prints, twig sculptures and mini beast hotels. With eautiful, distinctive illustrations, explore the weird and wonderful nature things you can find all around you – whether you’re out in a park, in your back garden or sitting in your living room at home! This is a bumper packed nature book full of things to explore and make.
This is a beautiful hardback book from Nosy Crow for those that love to go outside but need some more inspiration and ideas for all year round nature activities. It’s fully illustrated guide and includes nature spotter guides, indoor and outdoor craft and activity ideas, seasonal recipes and celebrations of religious festivals and special events. A wonderful gift to treasure and explore over the coming year, this gorgeous almanac will encourage young readers to connect with nature and the world around and celebrate each season as it comes. You can buy it here.
The Hike – you can’t help but get swept along with these young explorers and share in their joy and wonder as they discover new things. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to hit the trail and find all these amazing plants and animals yourself or with some friends. It’s a lovely nature picture book that also teaches resilience and how to overcome your fears. I also love that there are no parents in the book and it encourages kids to be adventurous and independent. It took a couple read-throughs before the kids noticed that there was a chipmunk hidden in every picture, and that adds another layer of interest to the book. With beautiful green illustrations and a labels detailing what certain animals and plants are, this makes for a fantastic blend of fiction and non-fiction. This is a great book for nature-loving children and perfect for children who want to convince their parents to let them be more independent!
Children’s Nature Themed Book Storage
With such a lovely selection of Nature Books for kids, many that will make beautiful gift ideas – they’ll need an equally beautiful place of storage. Although book cases keep things tidy – they don’t always inspire children to pick up the books and get reading! We love this GLTC wooden hedgehog book cart which is perfect for little ones to take their adventure inspiring books on an actual venture. If you’re kids are like mine, they’ll name it (Betsy) and want to take their Hedgehog Book Cart out and about with all their favourite books. It’s also great for tidying up on the go!
Children’s Books about enjoying the Great Outdoors
These books from Nosy Crow are a brilliant way to introduce children to nature. Franklin Frog and Cora Caterpillar by Emily Tranter take readers on a journey through the life of a frog; explaining all the details of how it lives. There are beautiful pictures which my 5 year old adores but these books work for older children too as they have an interesting but factual narrative, friendly characters, fascinating facts and graphic illustrations about life cycles. My 8 and 10 year olds also enjoyed the scientific aspects of the book. We all enjoyed the pictures of the life cycles at the end which make them easy to remember.
A Year in Nature is a beautiful look at the seasons. The book opens out into a stunning four-part carousel, revealing intricately detailed pop-up scenes of spring, summer, autumn and winter. You can follow a family of foxes as the tiny cubs grow up through the year, and explore the woodland scenes to discover animals, trees, plants and flowers in different seasons. The book can be used like a playset for kids to investigate the seasons and helps us to be grateful for the different weathers we have.
This is larger than the average picture book and is suitable for all ages to introduce your little ones to the wonders of wildlife. Nature’s Day helps children to discover the plants and animals on their doorstep using gorgeous, decorative illustrations. Starting in spring, nine different locations, including the farm, back garden and the woods are explored in all four seasons, highlighting the wildlife that can be found in each. This is the perfect book to spark an early interest in the natural world. Subtitled ‘Discover the world of wonder on your doorstep’, that’s exactly what Nature’s Day does. A beautiful exploration of nature, packed with interesting facts, and enriched by the lovely illustrations the pages are peppered with.
If you’re looking for a good non-fiction nature book to take on your adventures, then this series of ‘spot 50…..’ is perfect. Spot 50 Insects is a useful insect identification guide for kids aged 7+. Using colourful illustrations, fun facts and key information, kids can learn how to identify insect species. This is just one in a large series of ‘Spot 50 Books,’ Including ‘Spot 50 moths and butterflies’ and ‘Spot 50 birds.’
The Incredible World of Bugs is a fascinating book that I am sure all kids will love, it will leave them fascinated by creepy-crawlies and love to watch them slither, scuttle, and crawl about. This book showcases twenty-nine different types of bugs from Blue-Spotted Hawkers who are the fastest and most powerful flying insects to the Lantern Bug which may be colourful and look strange but given their name, they don’t even light up.
Each double-sided page gives you an interesting write up on each insect including their size, what food they eat and even their danger level. Once again there is a handy map showing the world and where each animal lives plus a ‘Did you Know?’ section too. This book also turns into a work of art just like the animal book, as you can remove the excess cardboard from around the insects to create your own die cut of insects on parade.
These books are part of the Paperscapes Series, which includes books on Space and Dinosaurs – they are lovely hardback which makes them very collectable!
This is a lovely educational book which explains how every year billions of animals migrate from one part of our planet to another. The book takes you travelling around the world to meet some of the masters of migration including maps and beautiful images. My kid’s favourite is the section on the Easter Island Red Crabs!
This book is an excellent source of expert wildlife information for all young nature lovers!
Nature Books to encourage Exploration!
The Brilliant Deep by Kate Messner
“It starts with one…”
This amazing picture book biography begins and ends with this empowering, yet simple sentence. Ken Nedimyer was a boy growing up in Southern Florida and watched as the coral reefs off the coast began to die. He decided to take action and established a foundation to restore corals to the reefs. The illustrations had me diving right in with this book! They’re gorgeous and immersive. This is a great book for kids because it shows how one person can make a difference and also shows how kids can make a difference. The story is interesting, both the biographical and nature aspects of it. And I really appreciated learning how people, including young people, can help save coral reefs. It’s inspiring. Buy it here.
Hope you can find a good nature book to inspire your kids to explore the big wide world around them!
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If you need further ideas for Nature Gift Ideas for Kids – there’s some lovely den making kits and other outdoor exploring goodies here. And here’s a stunning collection of some more beautiful picture books for kids that spark the imagination.
If you’d like to rekindle a muddy puddle jumping childhood with your kids – try our FREE Woodland Challenge below!