Picture Books That Celebrate Nature

Whether you're surrounded by trees or you live in a concrete jungle, I think we can all agree that it's important to teach children to respect, explore, and appreciate nature. I love when I come across picture books that touch on these values. So I thought I'd share some great ones (in no particular order) that were published in the last five years.

If you click on my recommendations below, you'll be directed to the purchasing page for each one through Skylight Books in Los Angeles. I recently visited this unique indie bookstore and thought it would be nice to give them a shoutout. And no, I don't work for them. I'm just one of their many fans.

Finding Wild written by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Illustrated by Abigail Halpin is beautiful story about two kids who leave their cityscape in order to discover natural beauty. The book's cover gives you a taste of its vibrant visuals. Megan Wagner Lloyd does an excellent job taking the reader on a captivating journey, helping us pause to appreciate the little natural wonders that are far from home as well as those in our own backyard. The concept is relatable and this story is likely to stay with readers young and old.

I love the lyrical language in My Busy Green Garden, which was written by prolific author and former Montessori teacher Terry Pierce. She skillfully uses repetition, rhyme, and advanced vocabulary to entice and educate children. Pierce describes the art of finding a ladybug and a honeybee by saying:

This is a ladybug dawdling so

Near the surprise, in clever disguise

That hangs in my busy green garden.

This is a honeybee buzzing below The red spotted ladybug dawdling so, Near the surprise, in clever disguise, That hangs in my busy green garden.

Carol Schwartz's beautiful illustrations will have children excitedly pointing out each insect and flower and it's definitely the kind of book they will want to read again and again.

Both Sweep Up the Sun and Step Gently Out combine photography and poetry, creating picture books that are just as much for adults as they are for children. Helen Frost's poetic lines make you feel like you are right next to insects and birds, watching their careful movements and appreciating all they do.

In Step Gently Out Frost encourages children to recognize who they share the world with by saying "In song and dance and stillness, they share the world with you." Rick Lieder's incredible up-close photography gives us the kind of visual treats that make us want to examine these creatures --- the same ones many of us often glance at without a second thought. Luckily, at the end of each book there are some interesting facts to help us appreciate them even more.

Parents and teachers often push children to go play outside and use their imagination. Outside gives kids that nudge in a clever and creative way. Written and Illustrated by Deirdre Gill, this dreamlike picture book tells the story of a child who explores the snowy outdoors while his older brother is glued to his computer screen. It encourages creative play yet says so much with so few words, enticing young readers at a graceful pace rather than cramming information onto every page. By the end, children will be dazzled by the possibilities tied to fresh air and imagination.

#nature #imagination #outdoors #outside #poetry #photography #animals #insects #garden

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