It may be cold and gray outside, but inside you and your family can explore the green, buzzing world of nature through a book. FWBG | BRIT educators are always looking for great titles to share with readers of all ages—following is a selection of some of our favorites. They are all books that will plant seeds of literacy, STEM skills and love of the natural world. Most of these books are available from the Fort Worth Public Library.
Book recommendations for early child and elementary ages include the following:
How to Find a Bird by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Diana Sudyka. This book is described by the publisher as “A joyful and informative guide to birdwatching for budding young birders from an award-winning author-illustrator duo.”
Our experts say, “This book has been featured in the StoryWalk at FWBG | BRIT. We love it because it encourages families to use their five senses (we call them ‘scientific tools’) to observe nature closely to spot sometimes hard-to-find birds and wildlife, often noting their camouflage that blends them into the plants that make up their habitat.”
Plants Can‘t Sit Still by Rebecca E. Hirsch, illustrated by Mia Posada. The publisher says of this book, “Do plants really move? Absolutely! You might be surprised by all ways plants can move. Plants might not pick up their roots and walk away, but they definitely don’t sit still! Discover the many ways plants (and their seeds) move. Whether it’s a sunflower, a Venus flytrap, or an exotic plant like an exploding cucumber, this fascinating picture book shows just how excitingly active plants really are.”
Our staff say, “We love all the verbs and fun action words—great for building young vocabulary—used in this book to describe plants. They are used to describe children, too! We love to encourage healthy movement activities, and this book offers a lot of ideas to mimic plant movement.”
Senorita Mariposa by Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G), illustrated by Marcos Almada Rivero. This book is described as, “A captivating and child-friendly look at the extraordinary journey that monarch butterflies take each year from Canada to Mexico; with a text in both English and Spanish.”
Our staff say, “We love this bilingual book and featured it as a storytime during our Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations in October 2021. With rhyming prose—that is actually a song to sing—this is a great book to introduce young children to the monarch migrations that pass through our area.”
Green Green: A Community Gardening Story by Marie Lamba and Baldev Lamba, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez. The publisher says about this book, “Green grass is wide and fresh and clean for a family to play in, and brown dirt is perfect for digging a garden. But when gray buildings start to rise up and a whole city builds, can there be any room for green space? The neighborhood children think so, and they inspire the community to join together and build a garden for everyone to share in the middle of the city.”
FWBG | BRIT educators say, “We love to see a book that highlights an urban community coming together to connect to nature and its benefits. This book highlights community building, healthy strategies and conservation—all in the middle of the city. Nature and its benefits come in all shapes, sizes and locations!”
Bloom Boom! by April Pulley Sayre. The publisher writes, “Discover the magic—and the science—behind spring flower blooms with this companion to the celebrated Raindrops Roll, Best in Snow, and Full of Fall.”
Staff say of this book, “We love many books by April Pulley Sayre which feature intimate nature photographs partnered with age-appropriate rhyming vocabulary to describe seasonal plants and natural wonders. So often picture books are illustrated with beautiful drawings, so we love adding a book that uses high-quality photographs to inspire young explorers. Bright colors and close-up images get us excited for spring wildflowers in Bloom Boom!“
The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Lisa Falkenstein. The book description says, “Spectacular illustrations rendered in oil paint, and a rhyming text that describes a tree’s activities from its roots to its branches, introduce young readers to the amazing activities that go on in a tree. Acorns nibbled by chipmunks, ants scurrying across a trunk, a spider spinning a web, leaves ‘breathing out air for all to breathe in’—everything adds up to a ‘busy tree’ for all to ‘come and see.’
FWBG | BRIT educators say, “Trees may appear simple and quiet, but a closer look reveals they are as busy as can be! Squirrels scurrying, ants marching and spiders spinning are just a few of the ecosystem interactions readers will find within this book.”
Tidy by Emily Gravett. The publisher says of this book, “Pete the badger learns that being tidy isn’t always the best thing in this save-the-environment picture book from award-winning author and illustrator Emily Gravett.”
Our staff say, “What happens when we tidy up nature? Find out in this fun book about a badger who likes everything tidy! Readers will learn why a little mess in nature is exactly what nature needs to survive.”
Creekfinding: A True Story by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Claudia McGehee. The publisher’s description states, “Once upon a time a creek burbled up and tumbled across a prairie valley. It was filled with insects and brook trout that ate them, frogs that chirruped and birds watching for bugs and fish. This is a true story about a man named Mike who went looking for that creek long after it was buried under fields of corn. It is the story of how a creek can be brought back to life, and with it a whole world of nature.”
One staff member says, “I love this book because it mirrors the story of our own Rock Springs Garden, where the natural spring was lost due to the construction of I-30, but then revived, allowing the the native flora and fauna to return.”
On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole. The publisher describes this book as, “The perfect book for everyone who loves nature! On Meadowview Street celebrates the environment, ecosystems—and individual empowerment.”
Our staff say, “Are there meadows on Meadowview Street? Thanks to a young girl and her love for nature, Meadowview Street now lives up to its name. This story empowers young readers to conserve and protect nature right in their own home and inspires others to do the same.”
Our educators note that many of these books include information pages at the back to guide families in their nature explorations. They provide science facts, vocabulary, resources, ideas and inspiration to help parents further their child’s introduction to nature.
Look for more book recommendations, including suggestions for middle school and young adult readers, in the months to come!