Taking Flight: Children’s Books About Bird Migration

Fall and spring are wonderful times to introduce children to the idea that birds migrate.


Pair some great nonfiction with fiction to celebrate the seasonal flights of birds.

(Note:  Linked titles go to Amazon for more information. Please see the disclaimer below).


Nonfiction Picture Books

Warbler Wave by April Pulley Sayre with contributions by Jeff Sayre

Photographer and award-winning author April Pulley Sayre and her husband Jeff Sayre have been observing warblers during their annual spring migration for years. Now they share their experiences with this gorgeous book for children.

Warblers are tiny and elusive birds, but the Sayres have captured many wonderful photographs to fill the pages of the book. As she explains on her website, they chose photographs of birds in action to give children the experience of viewing live warblers in nature, rather than choosing those that are simply posed well.

Warbler Wave is simply wonderful. It is likely to inspire children to take up birdwatching as a hobby or maybe even as a career!

Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (February 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1481448293
ISBN-13: 978-1481448291

How Do Birds Find Their Way? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Roma Gans and illustrated by Paul Mirocha

The Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series offers consistently high quality children’s science books. This title covers what starts birds on their migrations and some of the common migration pathways.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 18, 1996)
ISBN-10: 006445150X
ISBN-13: 978-0064451505

Red Knot: A Shorebird’s Incredible Journey by Nancy Carol Willis

red-knotAlthough the bird in this nonfiction book migrates long distances, one important stop on the way is Delaware Bay were it refuels on horseshoe crab eggs. Same type of bird that s featured in the middle grade book Moonbird (see below).

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Grade Level: 2 – 4
Publisher: Birdsong Books (May 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0966276159
ISBN-13: 978-0966276152

The Peregrine’s Journey: A Story of Migration by Madeleine Dunphy and illustrated by Kristin Kest

The-Peregrine's-JourneyFlying from Alaska to Argentina, the peregrine makes an 8,000 mile journey during its migration. Based on the flight of an actual bird followed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Publisher: Web of Life Children’s Books (January 28, 2008)
ISBN-10: 097775393X
ISBN-13: 978-0977753932

The Flight of the Snow Geese by Deborah King

snow-geeseDid you know that snow geese fly from their Arctic nesting ground to the New Mexico desert where they spend the winter?

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Orchard Books (NY) (September 1998)
ISBN-10: 0531300889
ISBN-13: 978-0531300886

The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit’s Amazing Migration by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Mia Posada

the-long-long-journeyFollow the flight of the bar-tailed godwit from Alaska to New Zealand. Some of the birds fly an amazing 7000 miles without stopping! Perfect nonfiction to pair with Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly below.

Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Pr Trade (January 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0761356231
ISBN-13: 978-0761356233


Middle Grade Nonfiction

Belle’s Journey: An Osprey Takes Flight by Rob Bierregaard and illustrated by Kate Garchinsky

Dr. Rob Bierregaard ( Dr. B. as he calls himself in the book) studies osprey migrations. One August he captured an osprey he named Belle on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. He fitted her with a radio transmitter. After he released her, the transmitter sent her location data to a computer so he could study where she went. That fall, Belle flew all the way to the rain forests of Brazil.

In the forward Dr. B. explains that “this is a mostly true story.” Belle really made the flight to Brazil and he knew her location at different times, but he used creative nonfiction techniques to fill in details about her experiences and the dangers she faced. His descriptions of her daily activities are lush and detailed. Readers learn a lot about all the places Belle visits.

Belle’s Journey is likely to appeal to youngsters who enjoy reading fiction as well as to those who want to find out more about ospreys and bird migration.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (May 15, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1580897924
ISBN-13: 978-1580897921

Snowy Owl Invasion!: Tracking an Unusual Migration by Sandra Markle

In 2013, large numbers of white owls started showing up in lower Canada and along the east coast of the United States where they weren’t normally seen. Why were snowy owls migrating to new places?

Sandra Markle used her research skills to track down experts and find the answers. What she discovered was that the snowy owls were experiencing an irruption, which means they migrating beyond their usual range, because their populations had swelled the previous summer. She also found out why, which I won’t reveal here. Like Belle in the story above, some of the scientists used GPS transmitters to follow the birds.

The book is filled with amazing photographs of beautiful snowy owls.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Millbrook Pr (January 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1512431060
ISBN-13: 978-1512431063

Flight of the Golden Plover: The Amazing Migration Between Hawaii and Alaska by Debbie S. Miller and illustrated by Daniel Van Zyle


An older book, it tells the story of the Pacific golden plover, which is a tiny shorebird that migrates from Alaska to Hawaii.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Alaska Northwest Books; First Edition edition (June 1, 1996)
ISBN-10: 0882404741
ISBN-13: 978-0882404745

On the Wing: American Birds in Migration by Carol Lerner


In addition to illustrations of birds flying, this book also includes colorful maps of migrations and ranges.

Age Range: 8 and up
Grade Level: 3 and up
Publisher: HarperCollins (June 5, 2001)
ISBN-10: 0688166490
ISBN-13: 978-0688166496


Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 (Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor (Awards)) by Phillip Hoose

The bird of the title or “Moonbird” is also known as B95 because that was the number he was banded with in South America in 1995. A male shorebird commonly called a red knot, he is called “Moonbird” because he has been documented to have flown an estimated 350,000 miles – over the distance to the moon and halfway back – in his lifetime!

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 4 – 8
Series: Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor (Awards)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (July 17, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0374304688
ISBN-13: 978-0374304683


The Man Who Flies With Birds (Israel) by Carole G. Vogel and Yossi Leshem

Yossi Leshem studied bird migrations over Israel, in part to prevent bird strikes on airplanes.

Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 and up
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing (September 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0822576430


Nonfiction Video



Winged Migration (2003)
Jacques Perrin (Actor), Philippe Labro (Actor), Jacques Perrin (Director), Jacques Cluzaud (Director) | Rated: G | Format: DVD

Amazing footage of geese and other birds flying through the air, filmed using ultralights that are moving right with the birds. If you like birds, this one shouldn’t be missed.

Fiction/Informational Fiction:

Waiting for a Warbler by Sneed B. Collard III and illustrated by Thomas Brooks

The story is told in two separate strands. The main text shows two children, Owen and his sister, as they watch for birds to return to their area. They particularly anticipate the arrival of the Cerulean warbler whom they had briefly spotted the year before.

The second strand follows a group of migrating birds as they take the harrowing journey north across the Gulf of Mexico. It is intense and fraught with danger.

The story switches back and forth between the two story lines before converging. Along the way, readers learn about the importance of providing habitat for birds.

Reading age : 6 – 8 years
Publisher : Tilbury House Publishers (February 2, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 0884488527
ISBN-13 : 978-0884488521

All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine and illustrated by Chiara Pasqualotto

In All Eyes on Alexandra, young Alexandra Crane is terrible at following her family in their flying Vee. She can’t help it that the world is so full of interesting distracting sights! When it’s time for the Cranes to migrate to Israel’s Hula Valley for the winter, Alexandra is excited but her family is worried. Will Alexandra stay with the group, and what happens if a dangerous situation should arise? Might Alexandra—and the rest of the flock—discover that a bad follower can sometimes make a great leader?

Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Publisher: Kar-Ben Pub (August 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1512444391
ISBN-13: 978-1512444391

Baba Didi and the Godwits Flyby Nicola Muir and illustrated by Annie Hayward with a foreword by Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark

godwitsBaba Didi of the title is the narrator and Isabella’s grandmother. When they discover brown shorebirds called bar-tailed godwits feeding on the beach near their home in New Zealand, Baba Didi explains how the birds make a migration flight all the way to Alaska each year. The reader soon learns Baba Didi made an equally perilous journey when she and her husband left Croatia when they were young and sailed all the way to New Zealand.

Series: Searchlight Books
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1467715522
ISBN-13: 978-1467715522

Flute’s Journey: The Life of a Wood Thrush by Lynne Cherry

flutes-journeyFlute is a wood thrush that migrates from Maryland to Costa Rica and back.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 2
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (February 15, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0152928537
ISBN-13: 978-0152928537

Welcome, Brown Bird by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Peter Sylvada


Also following a wood thrush, the story centers on a boy in New England and a boy in Central America, each of whom treasure their experiences with the same bird, but don’t know the other exists.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 1
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 1, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0152928634
ISBN-13: 978-0152928636

The Far-Flung Adventures of Homer the Hummer by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds and illustrated by Catherine McClung

homer-the-hummerJust one look at the cover, and you know this is a special children’s book. It follows a ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration from Michigan to Costa Rica.

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Ann Arbor Editions (August 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 158726269X
ISBN-13: 978-1587262692



Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the title links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.

Books About Bees For Kids

Bees are important insects because they pollinate many of our important food crops.



Let’s take a look at some wonderful children’s books about bees.

Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the title links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.


Beginning Reader

National Geographic Readers: Bees by Laura Marsh

Learn about bees in this level 2 reader. Illustrated with the high quality photographs you would expect from National Geographic.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ National Geographic Kids; Illustrated edition (January 12, 2016)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 142632281X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1426322815

Look Inside a Bee Hive (Pebble Plus: Look Inside Animal Homes) by Megan Nicole Cooley Peterson

Written for young children interested in learning more about honey bees. The book consists of two-page spreads with a full-page color photograph on the right and on the left are simple sentences with controlled vocabulary written at the first grade level. Children learn vocabulary words such as queen bee, worker bee, and comb.

Age Range: 4 and up
Series: Pebble Plus: Look Inside Animal Homes
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429660759
ISBN-13: 978-1429660754



How Bees Make Honey (First Facts: Big Picture: Food) by Louise A. Spilsbury

Discusses honey bees foraging, their dances and how they make honey, with large color photographs.

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Capstone Press (January 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429655364
ISBN-13: 978-1429655361




Bees by Rebecca Rissman

For the youngest set, combines large color photographs with simple rhyming text. “Do you hear that sound? Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! It’s a bee! Covered in black and yellow fuzz!”

The cover shows a bumble bee.

Reading Level: PreK-K
Publisher:  Raintree (2013)
ISBN:  9781410948021 / 1-4109-4802-1


Picture Books

Begin with a Bee by Liza Ketchum, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, and Phyllis Root, illustrated by Claudia McGehee

The three authors follow a single rusty-patched bumble bee queen through her life, starting with the bee overwintering in a hole under the ground.

“What else waits all winter under the ground?”

Seeds and roots of plants! By explaining that plants are also important for the bee’s survival by supplying food, young reader’s learn how different living things depend on each other.

Begin with a Bee is a picture book that will appeal to nature lovers of all ages. Investigate a copy today!

See related activity suggestions at Growing with Science blog.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 9 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Univ Of Minnesota Press (May 25, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1517908043
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1517908041

Honeybee Rescue: A Backyard Drama by Loree Burns and photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

Find out how a beekeeper removes wild honey bee hives from people’s homes. Photographs are detailed and close-up, so the reader feels like they are standing right there throughout the process.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Charlesbridge (May 10, 2022)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1623542391
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1623542399

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann

The concept of the book is straightforward enough, follow the life of a single adult worker honeybee from emergence from the pupal chamber, starting with:

One summer morning deep in the nest,
a brand-new honeybee
chews through the wax cap of her solitary cell and into…

Just because the story follows an adult, doesn’t mean that the life cycle is missing stages. The worker becomes a nurse bee and tends to the eggs and larvae, so the full life cycle is represented.

Eric Rohmann’s illustrations knock it out of the ballpark. The detailed close-ups make the reader feel like they are right in the hive with the bees. The gatefold-spread section of the honeybee going on her first flight is beyond breathtaking.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera is a multi-award winning book about these fascinating and important creatures. You don’t want to miss this one!

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Neal Porter Books (February 4, 2020)
ISBN-10: 0823442853
ISBN-13: 978-0823442850

Some older picture books:




The Life and Times of the Honeybee by Charles Micucci

Written and illustrated by Micucci, this lovely book gets high marks for both accuracy and ability to hold the reader’s interest. Covers many aspects of bees, including their life cycle and behavior.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (August 25, 1997)
ISBN-10: 039586139X
ISBN-13: 978-0395861394



The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons

Also illustrated by the author, this text highlights honey production and beekeeping. Gail Gibbons books are uniformly high quality and children enjoy them immensely.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 5, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0688175317
ISBN-13: 978-0688175313


Are You a Bee? (Backyard Books) by Judy Allen check illustrator: Tudor Humphries

Are you a Bee? is an intriguing book that compares humans and honey bees in an informative and gently humorous way.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Kingfisher; Reprint edition (May 13, 2004)
ISBN-10: 9780753458044
ISBN-13: 978-0753458044



Brilliant Bees by Linda Glaser and illustrated by Gay Holland conveys information about the honey bee life cycle and concepts like pollination using a few well-chosen words. The back matter has questions for deeper understanding.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Millbrook Press (September 3, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0761326707
ISBN-13: 978-0761326700


The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne

This lovely layered picture book follows a simple story in bold typeface, with sidebars of facts in regular font on some pages. There are also ideas for encouraging bees in the back matter.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; Reprint edition (July 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 1570913633
ISBN-13: 978-1570913631


Honey in a Hive (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by S. D. Schindler

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4
Series: Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2
Publisher: HarperCollins (May 3, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0064452042
ISBN-13: 978-0064452045


The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive
by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Scholastic; Reprint edition (January 1, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0590257218
ISBN-13: 978-0590257213



The Bee: Friend of the Flowers (Animal Close-Ups) (Animal Close-Ups)by Paul Starosta has excellent full-color photographs. As well as important facts about honey bees, it also wasps, bumble bees and carpenter bees.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; Tra edition (June 2005)
ISBN-10: 1570916292
ISBN-13: 978-1570916298



Middle Grade

The Beekeepers: How Humans Changed the World of Bumble Bees by Dana L. Church

After briefly describing the history of studying and keeping bumble bees, Church discusses the business of selling bumble bees to pollinate plants in greenhouses. She explains that the bumble bee you see in your yard may be a native one or may be an import that has escaped from a nearby tomato-growing operation.

Later chapters explore some marvels of bumble bee behavior, before revealing how some species of bumble bees are waning in numbers and on the brink of disappearing. The last chapter summarizes some of the things that are being done to protect and encourage bumble bees.

If you are looking for a book about bumbles bees that the whole family might enjoy, check out the middle grade title, The Beekeepers: How Humans Changed the World of Bumble Bees by Dana L. Church.

Reading age : 8 – 12 years
Publisher : Scholastic Focus (March 2, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 1338565540
ISBN-13 : 978-1338565546

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe (Scientists in the Field Series) By Loree Griffin Burns and photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz.

This book examines colony collapse disorder or CCD – the problem with honey bees disappearing that has been in the news – by going right to the beekeeper who first noticed missing bees. Dave Hackenberg runs a large company, Hackenberg Apiaries. He moves thousands of hives around the country. When he found 400 empty hives in Florida, he knew something big had gone wrong and he sounded the alarm. Burns then introduces us to four bee scientists who are at the front lines of CCD research, and explains their roles in the investigation.

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 16, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0544003268
ISBN-13: 978-0544003262

My Review



The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery
by Sandra Markle is a fabulous new book about the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honey bees. Organized in a beautifully logical way, Markle introduces honey bees and why we should care about them. She then presents the case for different causes of the disorder, revealing how complicated it all might be. The visual lay out of the book is also appealing. It adds bold interest without overwhelming the text. Some of the close-up photographs are astonishing.

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1467705926
ISBN-13: 978-1467705929


Nonfiction appropriate for Young Adults



Honey Bees: Letters from the Hive by Stephen Buchmann

A noted expert on bees, Buchmann is a passionate and informed author. He does, however, write using complex sentences and vocabulary. If in doubt whether it is age appropriate, check the excerpt on the Amazon page for idea of the reading level.

Age Range: 11 and up
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 038573770X




Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose by Naomi Shihab Nye

Using honey bee metaphors to explore various aspects of living.

Age Range: 8 and up
Publisher: Greenwillow Books; First Edition edition (February 26, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0060853905
ISBN-13: 978-0060853907

UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings, by Douglas Florian

This collection of poems goes into more scientific detail than some of Florian’s other books of poetry. The reader comes away with an appreciation of bees and how they live.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Beach Lane Books; Illustrated edition (March 6, 2012)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1442426527
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1442426528

Lessons Featuring Honey Bees


Buzzing A Hive (Old Edition) by Jean C. Echols, illustrated by Lisa Haderlie Baker. Published by Great Explorations in Math and Science, University of California, Berkeley. 1987.Great ideas for hands on activities for young children.

Paperback: 146 pages
Publisher: GEMS-Regents of the Univ of CA (March 1996)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0912511125
ISBN-13: 978-0912511122


Be sure to also visit our growing list of children’s books about pollination.


Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the title links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.


Children’s Books About Spiders

Looking for books for a unit on spiders? Wanting something to read to put your children in the mood for Halloween? Then you’ve come to the right place.



Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the title links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.



Beginning Readers



Tarantulas (Pebble Plus) by Jeni Wittrock will help young readers learn more about the anatomy, life cycle and behaviors of tarantulas. With carefully controlled vocabulary and short sentences, the child can gain confidence reading while at the same time increasing their understanding of the natural world.

Review and related activities at Growing with Science.

Reading Level: K-1
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1476524580
ISBN-13: 978-1476524580


National Geographic Readers: Spiders by Laura Marsh

All these National Geographic readers feature amazing color photographs, and age-appropriate facts and concepts. For example, in this title, readers learn where spiders make their homes and that there are many different kinds.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (August 23, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1426308515
ISBN-13: 978-1426308512

Super Spiders (Read Me!: Walk on the Wild Side) by Charlotte Guillain

Read to find out what spiders look like, what they eat, and how they spin their webs. Colorful photographs show close-ups of many different kinds of spiders. Life cycle information included.

Reading Level:  1-3
Series: Read Me!: Walk on the Wild Side
Publisher: Raintree (August 14, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1406260886
ISBN-13: 978-1406260885


Picture Books

Scurry! The Truth About Spiders by Annette Whipple and illustrated by Juanbjuan Oliver and Franco Rivolli

Have you ever wondered how spiders make silk, why they are so hairy, or what they eat? Scurry! has all the answers. After explaining what characteristics a spider has and introducing a few common types, Annette Whipple delves into their life cycles, behavior, and answers to common questions.

The books in Reycraft’s Truth About … series are visually exciting. They are illustrated with high-quality stock photographs. This title has an added feature of a cartoon sidebar on the right of each spread with additional tips and information. Fun!

In the back is a hands-on challenge to create a spider web, a longer list of different types of spiders, and a glossary.

Overall, Scurry! is a wonderful introduction to the world of spiders.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 6 – 11 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Reycraft Books (September 30, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1478870230
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1478870234

Spiders!: Strange and Wonderful by Laurence Pringle and illustrated by Meryl Learnihan Henderson

Setting the stage with, “As you read these words, there is probably a spider nearby,” Pringle does an excellent job of introducing young readers to all the many different kinds of spiders.

Henderson’s watercolor and pencil illustrations are beautifully done and tie the book together in a way stock photographs can not. Lovely!

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (October 10, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1629793213
ISBN-13: 978-1629793214

Nefertiti, the Spidernaut: The Jumping Spider Who Learned to Hunt in Space by Darcy Pattison and illustrated by Valeria Tisnes

| 2017 NSTA CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book

No one knew what to expect when a jumping spider was sent to the International Space Station. If it jumped for its food like it did on Earth, would it float away?

The good news is the little spider learned to adapt, and survived for the trip back to Earth.

Age Range: 6 – 12 years
Publisher: Mims House (September 15, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1629440604
ISBN-13: 978-1629440606


A House Spider’s Life (Nature Upclose) by John Himmelman

John Himmelman’s larger-than-life illustrations make this description of the life cycle of a house spider worth a second look.

Age Range: 5 and up
Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
Series: Nature Upclose
Publisher: Children’s Press(CT) (March 1, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0516265369
ISBN-13: 978-0516265360



Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders  by Jim Arnosky

Jim Arnosky is a naturalist, a writer, and an artist. He has written many nonfiction children’s books about animals and the natural world. His illustrations include real size silhouettes.

Reading level: Ages 6 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (April 3, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1402777663
ISBN-13: 978-1402777660


Sneaky, Spinning Baby Spiders by Sandra Markle

As you can tell from the cover, this book has fantastic close up photographs. It covers spiders from throughout the world. Look for my in depth review at Wrapped in Foil,  Bouncing Baby Spiders

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Walker Childrens (October 28, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0802796974
ISBN-13: 978-0802796974


Up, Up, and Away by Ginger Wadsworth and Patricia J. Wynne (Illustrator)

This beautifully-illustrated book describes the life cycle of a type of garden spider. It has a totally different feel from Baby Spiders, although it covers a similar topic.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; 1st edition (July 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1580892213
ISBN-13: 978-1580892216

Time For Kids: Spiders! (Time for Kids Science Scoops)
by Editors of Time for Kids

Covers the basics of spider biology. Illustrated with high quality photographs.

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (January 4, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0060576340
ISBN-13: 978-0060576349

Are You a Spider? (Backyard Books)
by Tudor Humphries

These books are always wonderful, and I love how she brings the child into the story by comparing what humans do to what spiders do.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Series: Backyard Books
Publisher: Kingfisher; Reprint edition (May 16, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0753456095
ISBN-13: 978-0753456095


Spinning Spiders (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Melvin Berger and S. D. Schindler

How do spiders spin such intricate webs? Spiders produce special silk that can stretch from branch to branch. In this book the reader will learn about the silk spiders produce, the webs they spin, and the prey they capture. Even learn how to make a web of your own!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Series: Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (May 6, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0064452077
ISBN-13: 978-0064452076


The Magic School Bus Spins A Web: A Book About Spiders by Joanna Cole, Jim Durk (Illustrator), Bruce Degan (Illustrator)

Those familiar with the Magic School Bus series will recognize how Cole manages to walk the line between fiction and nonfiction and engage children in an unique learning adventure each time.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (November 1, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0590922343
ISBN-13: 978-0590922340


Spiders by Gail Gibbons

Gail Gibbons is the queen of children’s nonfiction. You can’t go wrong with any of her books.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Holiday House (April 1, 1994)
ISBN-10: 0823410811
ISBN-13: 978-0823410811


Nic Bishop Spiders (Sibert Honor Book) by Nic Bishop

Nic Bishop is an award-winning photographer and his passion for his subjects shines through.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction; First Edition edition (September 1, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0439877563
ISBN-13: 978-0439877565



A Spider’s Life (Science Slam: Animal Diaries: Life Cycles) by Ellen Lawrence

A young child follows a jumping spider, recording how it hunts, feeds, and its mating activities in her diary.The narrator also observes the jumping spider’s life cycle, including the development from eggs to babies through molting and becoming an adult spider.

Publisher: Bearport Publishing (January 2012)
ISBN-10: 1617724149
ISBN-13: 978-1617724145


Middle Grade


Spi-ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs by Leslie Bulion and illustrated by Robert Meganck

Author Leslie Bulion has a subtly playful approach to spiders.

All spiders are arachnids
But some arachnids
mite not be spiders.

If you like that kind of word play, you are in for a real treat.

Illustrator Robert Meganck also has a subtle sense of humor. For example, in the front endpapers he shows a fly near a spider web. The back endpapers shows the same spider with a small webbed up package. He leaves it up to the reader to figure out what happened to the fly.

Intermingled between poems of different forms — in spite of the title, not all are haiku — is detailed information about spiders, from what they eat to how they build webs. If the text isn’t enough, there’s extensive back matter as well.

Reading age : 8 – 12 years
Publisher : Peachtree Publishing Company; Illustrated edition (March 1, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 1682631923
ISBN-13 : 978-1682631928




Jumping Spiders: An Augmented Reality Experience by Sandra Markle

Sandra Markle knows her spiders. This updated series contains “augmented reality” in the form of digital enhancements. Illustrated with big, colorful photos. You can preview a few pages at the Lerner website.

Reading age : 8 – 12 years
Publisher : Lerner Publications ™ (January 1, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 1728402697
ISBN-13 : 978-1728402697



Orb Weavers: Hungry Spinners (Arachnid World) by Sandra Markle

Overview of what makes orb weavers unique from other spiders. Includes information on anatomy, life cycles, and about their webs. Sandra Markle has written a number of books about spiders and her passion for them shows through. Just the right amount of information to keep the reader interested.

Age Range:  9 and up
Publisher: Lerner Pub Group (T) (March 2011)
ISBN-10: 0761350392
ISBN-13: 978-0761350392

Uncover a Tarantula: Take a Three-Dimensional Look Inside a Tarantula! (Uncover Books) by David George Gordon

The books in the Uncover series contain a plastic model of whatever organism is being studied right in the middle of the book. As the reader turns the pages, he or she delves deeper inside the tarantula (in this case), like viewing a dissection. Around the central model is an explanation of the inner organs that are displayed at that page, and also detailed information about the biology of tarantulas and spiders in general.


Age Range: 8 and up
Board book: 16 pages
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books (September 29, 2004)
ISBN-10: 159223237X
ISBN-13: 978-1592232376


Stronger Than Steel: Spider Silk DNA and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures, and Parachute Rope (Scientists in the Field Series) by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Andy Comins

This book highlights scientist Randy Lewis’ quest to find a better way to obtain large quantities of spider silk for innovative new products.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil blog.

Age Range: 10 and up
Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (February 26, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0547681267
ISBN-13: 978-0547681269


Silk and Venom: Searching for a Dangerous Spider by Kathryn Lasky and her husband, photographer Christopher G. Knight

This is a biography of arachnologist Greta Binford. It follows Binford on her journey to the Caribbean to find a certain species of brown recluse spider.  She is looking into how spiders of the genus Loxosceles, the brown spiders, may have migrated and evolved.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil blog.

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (February 22, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0763642223
ISBN-13: 978-0763642228

Adults can find a few good books on spiders, too.

Biology of Spiders, 2nd Edition by Rainer F. Foelix


Spider-related Fiction

The Weaver by Qian Shi

Stanley the spider collects things and stores them in his web. What will he do when a storm comes and his collection is washed away? He comes up with a clever solution.

The Weaver Promo – Collector from Qian Shi on Vimeo.


Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Andersen Pr USA (April 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1541514548
ISBN-13: 978-1541514546


Bear’s Scare by Jacob Grant

Bear is very neat and tidy. He is beyond bothered when a spider begins building webs everywhere. That is, until the spider shows a hidden talent for fixing things.

Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (June 12, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1681197200
ISBN-13: 978-1681197203


Fatima and the Clementine Thieves by Mireille Messier and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

Living in Morocco, Fatima’s family has an orchard of clementine oranges. Right before harvest, someone or something destroys some of the crop and breaks the trees. What happened? What can Fatima and her grandfather do to stop it?

At first glance doesn’t the type of children’s picture book that belongs in a list about spiders. However, spiders play an important positive role in the story. See a full review, and suggestions for accompanying math and art activities at our sister blog, Wrapped in Foil and related hands on spider science activities at Growing with Science blog.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Red Deer Press; 1 edition (June 30, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0889955298
ISBN-13: 978-0889955295


Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks

In this cute picture book, spider wants to be a family pet. Will it work out?

Check it out for yourself in this video:


Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 3, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0618737510
ISBN-13: 978-0618737512



Charlotte’s Web (Trophy Newbery) by E. B. White

Features probably the most popular spider ever, Charlotte.

Age Range: 8 and up
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (December 14, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0064400557
ISBN-13: 978-0064400558

Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Harry Bliss

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 8, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0062233009
ISBN-13: 978-0062233004

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

This classic tale is still popular with the preschool set.



Children’s Books About Seeds

Looking for books to teach children about seeds and plants? This list of books emphasizes the role of seeds and describes plant life cycles.


Do you have any favorite books about seeds for kids? We’d love to hear your suggestions.

Note: Linked titles go to Amazon for further information and reviews. Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.

Edit:  You also might be interested in our new list of children’s books about gardening and plant science.

Updated 8/2019



Beginning Reader


Seeds (Plant Parts series) by Vijaya Khisty Bodach

Simple text and photographs present the seeds of plants, how they grow, and their uses.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Capstone Press; 1st edition (January 1, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0736896236
ISBN-13: 978-0736896238



Pumpkins (First Step Nonfiction: Plant Life Cycles) by Robin Nelson

Perfect book to guide the beginning reader through the life-cycle of the pumpkin plant. Illustrated with close-up color photographs, this title takes the cycle to completion by showing the seeds in a ripe pumpkin at the end. It also has facts about pumpkins in the back.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Lerner Classroom (September 2008)
ISBN-10: 076134117X
ISBN-13: 978-0761341178



From Seed to Plant (Rookie Read-About Science) by Allan Fowler

Short sentences and controlled vocabulary make this a perfect choice for the beginning reader.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Childrens Pr (July 2001)
ISBN-10: 0516273078
ISBN-13: 978-0516273075



From Seed to Pumpkin (Welcome Books: How Things Grow) by Jan Kottke

Guides the beginning reader through the life-cycle of the pumpkin plant. Illustrated with close-up color photographs, the text consists of short sentences and controlled vocabulary. Lack some of the features of Pumpkins by Robin Nelson (above), but very similar.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Children’s Press (CT) (September 2000)
ISBN-10: 0516235095
ISBN-13: 978-0516235097


One Bean by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Megan Halsey

Discusses the life cycle of a bean plant. Use it to accompany germinating and growing bean seed activities.

Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Publisher: Walker Childrens (April 1, 1999)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0802775721
ISBN-13: 978-0802775726

Picture Books

A Seed is the Start by Melissa Stewart

Although the word “start” in the title and the pictures of sunflowers germinating on the cover suggests this books is about plant life cycles, with exception of a corn kernel germinating on pages 4-5 and an apple seed growing on pages 30-31, this book is about much more. In fact it is mainly about seed dispersal. Whether it is by wind, water, or animal taxi, author Melissa Stewart reveals the many, many ways seeds get around.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (February 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1426329776
ISBN-13: 978-1426329777


Seeds Move by Robin Page

Written in the increasingly popular two-level text, Seeds Move! explores many of the ways seeds move or disperse. The simpler, “story” text repeats rhythmically from page to page. A paragraph of denser, detailed text explains the specific examples shown in each illustration.

And what beautiful illustrations they are. It is easy to see why Robin Page received a Caldecott Honor in 2004 for What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?

If you are looking for a nonfiction picture book about seed dispersal, look no further than Seeds Move! Young readers will plant themselves in their chairs when they open this book.

Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (March 19, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1534409157
ISBN-13: 978-1534409156


Pumpkins by Ken Robbins

A photo-essay tour of the life cycle of a pumpkin, with a carving activity included.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (August 8, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596431849



Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson and photographs by Shmuel Thaler

Poetic text accompanies gorgeous photographs showing the life cycle of a pumpkin. I love this book because it isn’t afraid to show rot. See related activities at the book website.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Tricycle Press (August 7, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1582460787
ISBN-13: 978-1582460789



From Seed to Pumpkin (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1) (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)  by Wendy Pfeffer and illustrated by James Graham Hale

The Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series is wonderful nonfiction for children. This title includes information about what a pumpkin needs to grow and simple activity suggestions.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (August 17, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0064451909



Flip, Float, Fly!: Seeds on the Move by JoAnn Early Macken and illustrated by Pam Paparone

As the title suggests, lively action verbs describe how seeds get from place to to place. In the back is a two page visual glossary of age-appropriate botany terms and some notes about why and how seeds move, as well as illustrations of some common seeds.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Holiday House (March 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0823420434
ISBN-13: 978-0823420438


A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

This absolutely gorgeous and well-researched book could be considered to be a coffee table at book if it weren’t for children.

Age Range: 5 – 10 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 5
Lexile Measure: 750L (What’s this?)
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition (March 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0811855201
ISBN-13: 978-0811855204


From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons

Gail Gibbons is the queen of picture book nonfiction. She has a keen sense of what children need to know and how to say it so they will understand.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Holiday House; Reprint edition (March 1, 1993)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0823410250
ISBN-13: 978-0823410255



How a Seed Grows (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Helene J. Jordan and illustrated by Loretta Krupinski

Another in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, this one reveals how seeds grow into common plants.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition (January 26, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0064451070
ISBN-13: 978-0064451079



The Dandelion Seed  by Joseph P. Anthony and illustrated by Cris Arbo

The story in this book about the seed not wanting to let go is in the realm of fiction, but the details of the life cycle of the dandelion are vivid.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Dawn Pubns (September 1, 1997)
ISBN-10: 188322067X
ISBN-13: 978-1883220679


A Dandelion’s Life (Nature Upclose) by John Himmelman

Dandelions are so accessible and children love them. They are a perfect plant for children to study life cycles. This book has beautiful illustrations and spot on text.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Children’s Press (CT) (March 1999)
ISBN-10: 0516264028
ISBN-13: 978-0516264028



How a Plant Grows (Crabapples) by Bobbie Kalman

Be prepared for a factual, scientific description of seeds and plants, including the parts of plants and stages of the life cycle. It is illustrated with a mixture of color photographs and drawings. Text is probably for 2nd -3rd – 4th graders, with vocabulary words such as photosynthesis, chlorophyll and glucose.  Suggestions for hands-on activities in the back.

Series: Crabapples
Publisher: Crabtree Publishing Company (March 15, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0865057281
ISBN-13: 978-0865057289


Seeds by Ken Robbins

Visually-appealing guide to different seeds and how they disperse. The illustrations are photographs shot with a white background (the cover gives you an idea).

Age Range: 6 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (January 6, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0689850417
ISBN-13: 978-0689850417


The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow by Patricia Relf and illustrated by John Speirs,based on series by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degan

Walking the line between fiction and nonfiction, the Magic School Bus takes Ms. Frizzle’s class deep into the world of seeds.



Oh Say Can You Seed?: All About Flowering Plants (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library) by Bonnie Worth and illustrated by Aristides Ruiz

The Cat in the Hat might not be the first book/character that comes into mind when you think of science, but it should be. Take a look at Random House’s The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library® and you will find a whole new way to introduce science to preschoolers and beginning readers.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Lexile Measure: 530L (What’s this?)
Series: Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 27, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375810951
ISBN-13: 978-0375810954


Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith and illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin

Planting the Wild Garden is a lively picture book that would work equally well as a read aloud for a group or a quiet cuddle in a chair. This book is a wonderful, gentle introduction to the topic of seed dispersal.

Age Range: 6 and up
Grade Level: 1 and up
Lexile Measure: 490L (What’s this?)
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers; 1 edition (April 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1561455636
ISBN-13: 978-1561455638

How Does a Seed Sprout?: And Other Questions About Plants (Good Question!) by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Carol Schwartz

Melissa Stewart is a prolific author of children’s nonfiction, and she does a great job with this newer title. It is written in a question-and-answer format that is great for reluctant readers or for those last minute research projects. If you’d like to learn more, see our full review at Wrapped in Foil blog.

Age Range: 7 and up
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (January 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1454906715
ISBN-13: 978-1454906711

Activity Books


Junior Scientists: Experiment With Seeds (Science Explorer Junior) by Susan Heinrichs Gray

Briefly discusses the scientific method and then gives instructions for three experiments:

  1. Do seeds need air to germinate?
  2. Exploring the seed coat.
  3. Which way do roots grow?

The book also encourages children to come up with their own experiments.

Age Range: 7 and up
Publisher: Cherry Lake Publishing (August 2010)
ISBN-10: 1602798354
ISBN-13: 978-1602798359


Middle Grade




The Seed Vault by Bonnie Juettner


Learn about how seed banks are being set up around the world to help protect plant diversity and our food crops.

Lexile Measure: 860L (What’s this?)
Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Norwood House Press Classroom (August 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603570756
ISBN-13: 978-1603570756


Wordless Book


The Giant Seed (Stories Without Words) by Arthur Geisert

Geisert’s wordless books follow the adventures of a community of cartoon pigs. In this version the pigs are threatened by the eruption of a volcano. The arrival of a giant dandelion just might save the day. Can you guess how?

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Series: Stories Without Words
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books (May 8, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1592701159
ISBN-13: 978-1592701155



Fiction Picture Book


Anno’s Magic Seeds (Paperstar Book) by Mitsumasa Anno

Gardening requires math skills. As with many of his books, Anno walks the line between fiction and nonfiction when he intertwines a story about a wizard giving Jack some seeds with math challenges.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Puffin Books (June 21, 1999)
ISBN-10: 0698116186
ISBN-13: 978-0698116184

The Carrot Seed 60th Anniversary Edition by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Crockett Johnson

Will the carrot seed the boy planted ever grow? This classic picture book was first published in 1945!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (December 28, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0064432106
ISBN-13: 978-0064432108


Sunflower House by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

After planting sunflower seeds in a large circle in his yard, a young boy gets to experience the life cycle of the plants. Once the plants grow up, he and his friends play games inspired by their sunflower fort. One day, however, the sunflowers start to tip over. Is the house gone forever? Fictional story with many facts about seeds and plants.


Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st Voyager Books Ed edition (April 19, 1999)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0152019529
ISBN-13: 978-0152019525


Dandelion Adventures (Holiday Crafts for Kids) by L. Patricia Kite

Illustrated with delicate watercolors, the story follows what happens to seven dandelion seeds after they are scattered by the wind.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Millbrook Press (April 1, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0761300376
ISBN-13: 978-0761300373


The Empty Pot (An Owlet Book) by Demi

In this lovely picture book, the Emperor is having a competition to find who can grow the seeds he gives them. Can Ping make the seeds grow in time?


Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (September 15, 1996)
ISBN-10: 0805049002
ISBN-13: 978-0805049008




Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler

Miss Maple gathers up seeds that haven’t found a place a grow and keeps them safe over the winter. In the spring she sends the seeds out to meet their destinies.

Miss Maple’s Seeds has all the ingredients to become a classic children’s book. It has a message about growing up that will resonate both with children and the adults who read to them, saying the biggest of trees come from small seeds. It also subtly incorporates the changes of the seasons to reinforce the theme.

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books (April 4, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399257926
ISBN-13: 978-0399257926



Moth and Butterfly Books for Kids

Originally compiled in honor of National Moth Week, this list of children’s books about moths and butterflies has been growing steadily. The books are organized by genre and by reading level.

Why celebrate moths as well as butterflies? Because, as the website mentions, moths are numerous, diverse and successful, yet often ignored.



Board Books

The Butterfly Garden by Laura Weston

For the youngest reader, this lift-the-flap book has colorful life stages of the monarch butterfly hidden among black-and-white images of milkweed plants (contrast catches the eye of the youngest set). Lift the flap and discover the insect. It is very simple with only a few words.

Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Board book: 12 pages
Publisher: Big Picture Press; Reissue edition (April 11, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0763693170
ISBN-13: 978-0763693176


Beginning Readers:


National Geographic Readers: Caterpillar to Butterfly by Laura Marsh
Published in April 10, 2012, this book for 4 to 6-year-olds explains how a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly.  It also includes some information about poisonous caterpillars, which is something children should be aware of. As to be expected of a book published by National Geographic, it is illustrated with large, high quality color photographs. There are a few activities in the back to reinforce learning.



Moths (Bugs Bugs Bugs)
by Fran Howard

Big color photographs are accompanied by simple, controlled-vocabulary text.

Reading Level: K-1
ISBN:  9780736836449 / 0-7368-3644-6
Publisher:  Capstone Press – Pebble Plus (2005)


Moths (Insects) by Helen Frost

An introduction to some of the features of moths, including their colors, what their wings look like, and how they scare predators.

Reading Level: K-1
ISBN:  9780736808521 / 0-7368-0852-3
Publisher:  Capstone Press- Pebble (2001)


Picture Books:


The perfect picture book to accompany National Moth Week is You’re Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect Celebration by Loree Burns and photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz.

Come meet some of the more than 150,000 species of moths by having a party. However, the party needs to be after dark, so you will have to stay up later than usual. Learn how to make a moth bait that will attract more buggy guests (recipe included). Or you can attract more moths by hanging a sheet over a line with a light shining through (instructions included). Then wait for the guests to arrive!

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Charlesbridge; Illustrated edition (April 7, 2020)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1580896863
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1580896863

Jerry Pallotta’s Not a Butterfly Alphabet Book: It’s About Time Moths Had Their Own Book!, illustrated by Shennen Bersani.

Don’t let the name “alphabet book” dissuade you. Although they are wryly humorous (as you can tell from the title) and full of quirky facts, these are serious nonfiction books that use the alphabet as a way to organize information. This one highlights 26 different species of moths, from the giant Atlas moth to the gorgeous zigzag moth (you’ll see immediately how it got it’s name). Along the way readers learn about aspects of moth biology, such as facts about their mouthparts, wing scales, and life cycles.

Shennen Bersani’s amazing illustrations explode the myth that moths are drab or boring. You are likely to say, “Wow!” with every page turn. They are gorgeous. Seriously!

Not a Butterfly Alphabet Book will thrill budding entomologists and artists alike. Pick up a copy and find out why moths deserve their day in the sun.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (November 5, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1580896898
ISBN-13: 978-1580896894


Why include Not a Bean by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez and illustrated by Laura Gonzalez in a list of books about moths and butterflies?

It might be clearer when you find out the bean in question is a Mexican jumping bean. Still not clear? The Mexican jumping bean moves around because there is a tiny moth larva (caterpillar) inside.

Claudia Guadalupe Martínez starts the story with the plant that produces the bean and explains how the larva gets inside. Next she shows how the caterpillar within the bean behaves under natural conditions. When children find the bean, they use it for a simple racing game. After the bean stops jumping (because the caterpillar has pupated), the children abandon it. Later a moth emerges and the life cycle continues. Throughout she includes Spanish vocabulary words.

Because Not a Bean is multifaceted, it could be used either for a lesson on Spanish language and Mexican culture, or for a science unit on insects (or both!) Plus, who isn’t intrigued by a bean that jumps? Investigate a copy today!

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (November 5, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1580898157
ISBN-13: 978-1580898157

Night Life of the Yucca: The Story of a Flower and a Moth

by Katherine B. Hauth and illustrated by Kay Sather

An older book which may be hard to find, but the story of the relationship between the yucca and the yucca moth is fascinating. See Gardening for Moths for an introduction to yucca moths.

Luna Moths: Masters of Change (Insect World)
by Sandra Markle

Reading level: Ages 7 and up
Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Lerner Classroom (September 1, 2007)


A Luna Moth’s Life (Nature Upclose) by John Himmelman

Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Children’s Press(CT) (September 1, 1998)


Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing Butterflies and Moths
by Jim Arnosky

Ages: 5-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing; 1st edition (May 1, 1996)



A Butterfly Is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long

The team of Aston and Long have written and illustrated other award-winning books, such as An Egg is Quiet and A Seed is Sleepy. This new addition is even better, if that is possible. How do you top perfection? They found a way.

Start with the front endpapers, a collection of vibrant caterpillars with names like “Moonlight Jewel” and “Hieroglyphic Flat.” Skip to the back endpapers and you will find equally vibrant illustrations of the butterflies that come from those caterpillars. You can spend hours studying the endpapers alone.

Although it is beautiful, it is not lightweight. Aston has obviously done her research. She packs some hard science into the text, using words such as pollination, camouflage, predator, and migration.

At one point, the author writes, “A butterfly is spectacular!” The reader will immediately want to echo, “This book is spectacular, too!”

My full review at Wrapped in Foil blog

Related Science activities


Nic Bishop: Butterflies and Moths by Nic Bishop

Nic Bishop is an award-winning photographer and his books are a visual treat. The information is accurate and well written.

Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction (March 1, 2009)



What’s the Difference Between a Butterfly and a Moth? (What’s the Difference? (Capstone))by Robin Michal Koontz and Bandelin-Dacey

This is a beautifully-illustrated picture book describes the differences between butterflies and moths clearly. (Google books has a preview). It also would be useful for units on life cycles.

Reading level: Ages 7 and up (really grades K-3)
Library Binding: 24 pages
Publisher: Picture Window Books (August 1, 2009)


Wings of Light: The Migration of the Yellow Butterfly
by Stephen R. Swinburne and illustrated by Bruce Hiscock

We all know about the migration of the monarch butterfly, but there are other butterflies and moths that disperse or migrate over long distances. This particular book follows the migration of cloudless sulfur butterfly from the rainforests of Central America into the U.S. Long distance flight by such fragile creatures is amazing.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Grade Level: 1 – 4
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (March 3, 2006)
ISBN-10: 1590780825
ISBN-13: 978-1590780824


From Caterpillar to Butterfly (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1) by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by Bari Weissman

This book is an account of a classroom caterpillar that undergoes metamorphosis into a beautiful painted lady butterfly. The Let’s Read and Find Out Science books are uniformly high quality and this title was named as a NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition (August 4, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0062381830
ISBN-13: 978-0062381835



Are You a Butterfly? (Backyard Books)
by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries

Part of Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries’ wonderful nonfiction series, asking the question “Are you…?” Are You a Butterfly? Are You a Grasshopper? Are You an Ant? All are beautifully done and well-researched books. The child is brought into the story in a creative way.

Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Paperback: 28 pages
Publisher: Kingfisher (May 16, 2003)


My, Oh My–A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)
by Tish Rabe and illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu

Done in rhyme, these Cat in the Hat science books are very informative and fun to read.

Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 27, 2007)



Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert

This picture book for the youngest set is bright, bold and beautifully done. It traces the life cycle of a butterfly very simply, and then has a bit more in depth information about butterflies and flowers at the end. There’s even a page of information about butterfly gardening.


Butterfly or Moth?: How Do You Know? (Which Animal Is Which?) by Melissa Stewart (2011) uses color photographs to explore whether an insect is a butterfly or moth.  For example, by asking, “Knobs or no knobs?” Stewart points out that butterflies often have knobs on the tips of their antennae, whereas moths often have feathery antennae.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Enslow Elementary (July 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1598452355
ISBN-13: 978-1598452358


It’s a Butterfly’s Life by Irene Kelly.

This nonfiction book has many lovely illustrations. If you are looking for a book for beginning reader, be aware that the font looks like hand lettering and the sentences wave up and down across the page, almost like the pattern of a butterfly flying. This looks lovely, but may be hard for a struggling reader to read. It has many interesting facts, and covers the butterfly life cycle in detail.

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Holiday House (April 15, 2007)


Where Butterflies Grow (Picture Puffins) by Joanne Ryder and illustrated by Lynne Cherry

This older book follows the life cycle of a black swallowtail butterfly step by step. Includes suggestions for growing a butterfly garden.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3
Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (June 1, 1996)
ISBN-10: 0140558586
ISBN-13: 978-0140558586


Newer picture books:

Butterflies in Room 6: See How They Grow by Caroline Arnold

Follow along with the children in Mrs. Best’s kindergarten class as they hatch painted lady caterpillars from eggs, feed them a special diet, and wait patiently for the butterflies to emerge from their chrysalids.

Caroline Arnold is both the author and photographer for the book and she has captured some fun and incredible images of both the insects and the children.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (March 12, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1580898947
ISBN-13: 978-1580898942

Life Story of a Butterfly (Animal Life Stories) by Charlotte Guillain explores the life stages of the monarch butterfly with bright, colorful close-up photographs. The reader will learn what the parts of a butterfly are called, how the young are different from the adults, how long they live, and where they go in the winter.

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: Heinemann (July 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1484604873
ISBN-13: 978-1484604878


When Butterflies Cross the Sky: The Monarch Butterfly Migration (Extraordinary Migrations) by Sharon Katz Cooper and beautifully illustrated by Joshua S Brunet looks and reads like a fiction picture book. Don’t be fooled though, because it is filled with concepts and facts, especially relating to the migration of a female monarch south and back again.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Grade Level: 2 – 3
Publisher: Picture Window Books (February 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1479561045
ISBN-13: 978-1479561049


Handle With Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey (Junior Library Guild Selection) by Loree Griffin Burns and with photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz is a lovely book for youngsters that will surely inspire a trip to a butterfly exhibit. It explains that the tropical butterflies seen in local butterfly exhibits come from butterfly farms, and then visit such a farm in Costa Rica. You will want to use it to accompany units on life cycles, farming, and insects. Read it and watch children’s imaginations take flight!

Full review and suggested activities at Growing with Science

Age Range: 6 – 10
Series: Junior Library Guild Selection (Millbrook Press)
Publisher: Millbrook Pr Trade (January 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0761393420
ISBN-13: 978-0761393429

How Does a Caterpillar Become a Butterfly?: And Other Questions about Butterflies (Good Question!) by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Annie Patterson

Formulated in a question and answer format, the reader can quickly find information to write a report or satisfy curiosity. For example, do you know why the larval stage of a butterfly or moth is called a caterpillar? As Stewart points out, the word caterpillar comes from French words meaning “hairy cat.” Isn’t that so much more poetic than some other scientific terms?

Also, Stewart includes detailed information about how a butterfly is different than a moth on page 24, with a gorgeous photograph of a luna moth to accompany it.

Age Range: 7 and up
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (January 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1454906669
ISBN-13: 978-1454906667


Middle Grade

The Monarchs Are Missing: A Butterfly Mystery by Rebecca E. Hirsch.

Illustrated with large color photographs and clever illustrations, this book delves into all the reasons that monarch butterfly populations have been on the decline. Hirsch goes beyond the loss of habitat in the monarchs’ overwintering sites in Mexico.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Millbrook Pr (January 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1512452505
ISBN-13: 978-1512452501
face-to-face-with-caterpillars face-to-face-with-butterflies

Face to Face with Caterpillars (Face to Face with Animals)(2009) and Face to Face with Butterflies (Face to Face with Animals)(2010) by Darlyne Murawski

Darlyne Murawski is an award-winning photographer, as well as writer and biologist. Her expertise is evident in the bright full-color photographs in both these books from National Geographic’s Children’s Books. The caterpillar book starts with a close-up photograph of an Australian caterpillar eating an ant larva. Then we see a photograph of the author laying down under a sheet of plexiglass taking the shot. The book covers where to find caterpillars, their life-cycles, defenses, and a brief discussion of the differences between butterflies and moths.


DK Eyewitness Books: Butterfly and Mothby Paul Whalley

Filled with awesome illustrations and just enough information, it is all you’ve come to expect from DK Books.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Hardcover: 72 pages
Publisher: DK Publishing (2012)


Hands-On Activity Books (For Mixed Ages):

Butterfly Papercrafts: 21 Indoor Projects for Outdoor Learning by Sal Levinson and illustrated by Danielle Levinson.

This book introduces children to both art and science in an integrated way. Topics covered include the differences between butterflies and moths, butterfly life cycles, butterfly gardening, puddling behavior, migration, camouflage and more. To explore these topics, children make finger puppets, flip books, paper airplanes, and even a butterfly-shaped kite.

The layout consists of a series of two-page spreads with instructions and information about a given butterfly-related topic on the left page and the reproducible template for the craft to make on the right hand page. Also included are black and white photographs of completed projects or activity suggestions. What a wonderful way to learn about butterflies and moths!

Butterfly Papercrafts would be a great resource to have on hand for STEAM festivals, units on insects, to accompany a trip to a butterfly house, or for a rainy day craft project at home. A must have for children who love butterflies.

Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 7, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1508695377
ISBN-13: 978-1508695370

Caterpillarology (Backyard Buddies)

by Michael Elsohn Ross and illustrated by Darren Erickson and Brian Grogan is for children who are interested in science and doing science experiments with caterpillars. This book (and the others in the “-ology” series) are chock full of great information and fun activities. Although they are older, these books are truly unique and worth picking up.

Age Range: 7 and up
Grade Level: 2 and up
Library Binding: 48 pages
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (November 1997)
ISBN-10: 1575050552
ISBN-13: 978-1575050553


The Family Butterfly Bookby Rick Mikula

Very popular book with projects and activities to do.

Reading level: Gr 5 up
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (October 11, 2000)
ISBN-10: 158017292X
ISBN-13: 978-1580172929


Field Guide/ Family suggestions:


The Life Cycles of Butterflies: From Egg to Maturity, a Visual Guide to 23 Common Garden Butterflies by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards

Too many times books concentrate on adult insects and forget about all the other stages an insect goes through. This book remedies that by giving the the full life cycles of 23 different butterflies. Illustrated with photographs of each stage, this book is truly unique.

Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (April 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 1580176178
ISBN-13: 978-1580176170

Caterpillars of Eastern North America: A Guide to Identification and Natural History (Princeton Field Guides) by David L. Wagner

Series: Princeton Field Guides
Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1St Edition edition (August 14, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0691121443
ISBN-13: 978-0691121444



Caterpillars in the Field and Garden: A Field Guide to the Butterfly Caterpillars of North America (Butterflies [Or Other] Through Binoculars) by Thomas J. Allen, James P. Brock, and Jeffrey Glassberg

Series: Butterflies [Or Other] Through Binoculars
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (June 2, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0195149874
ISBN-13: 978-0195149876



Peterson First Guide to Caterpillars of North America by Amy Bartlett Wright and edited by Roger Tory Peterson

Age Range: 11 and up
Grade Level: 6 and up
Series: Peterson First Guide
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2nd edition (May 15, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0395911842
ISBN-13: 978-0395911846

Butterflies in Your Backyard downloadable .pdf from NC State University (link is in the bottom of text)


Related Fiction for Children:

Hurry and the Monarch by Antoine O Flatharta and illustrated by Meilo So

Hurry the tortoise lives in Wichita Falls, Texas. One fall, Monarch stops for a moment on his back. Hurry learns all about the migration of monarch butterflies when Monarch returns in the spring.

Meilo So’s illustrations are absolutely amazing. They are beyond delightful. If you go to Amazon, be sure take a look inside the book.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Reprint edition (February 10, 2009)
ISBN-10: 038573719X
ISBN-13: 978-0385737197


Gotta Go! Gotta Go! (Sunburst Book) by Sam Swope and illustrated by Sue Riddle

The “creepy-crawly bug” is impatient to go to Mexico, but how?

Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (March 1, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0374427860
ISBN-13: 978-0374427863


Inch by Inch
by Leo Lionni

It is an adorable tale of an inchworm that escapes from some hungry birds in a clever way. A classic, it won a Caldecott Honor. This book could also be useful as an introduction to measuring.



The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars: a twelfth-century tale from Japan adapted by Jean Merrill and illustrated by Floyd Cooper.

It is hard not to love a book that is so beautifully written and illustrated. The overall tale is of a lovely young Japanese girl who defies the traditions of her time. She prefers caterpillars and centipedes to butterflies, and collects and raises them. This story is incredibly complex, and even makes adults who read it think deeply about it. One issue is the fact that the story is probably only the first chapter of a much longer tale, but the rest has been lost. Some people may wonder why the author didn’t construct her own ending. Rather than detracting from the book however, for me it only made it more interesting.

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Grade Level: 1 – 5
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Philomel; 1st edition (October 21, 1992)
ISBN-10: 0399218718
ISBN-13: 978-0399218712



Project Mulberry
by Linda Sue Park is a fiction chapter book about two children who decide to raise silkworms for a state fair project. Although the story about silkworms is already compelling, the main character and the author also have chats on the side throughout the book that reveal how writing works. Ages 9+

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Yearling; Reissue edition (January 23, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0440421632
ISBN-13: 978-0440421634


Young Adults:


A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter (Author)

First published in 1909, this classic book is about Elnora Comstock, a girl who comes up with a plan to fund her college education by selling moths and other natural objects.

Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: Porter Press (October 23, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619492008
ISBN-13: 978-1619492004


Note: Linked titles go to Amazon for further information and reviews. Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.

Poetry Books for Kids: Insects and Spiders Theme

Let’s take a look at poetry books that explore insects and spiders. Poems about insects? It turns out that there are quite a few by some extraordinary children’s poets.



Why science poetry? What a fantastic opportunity to introduce the poetry fans to science and the science fans to poetry. It’s win-win!

Our newest offering is The Bug Book by Sue Fliess, which starts with a bit of text that really reflects the best way to teach science to kids:

“Grab a bucket. Check your guide.
Let’s go find some bugs outside!

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (February 23, 2016)
ISBN-10: 044848935X
ISBN-13: 978-0448489353

Next we have Face Bug by the Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Kelly Murphy and with photographs by Fred Siskind. This amazing book features close-up photographs of the “faces” of bugs in the “Face Bug Museum.” As a counterpoint to the poems by Lewis, Murphy’s illustrations create the story of two beetle friends visiting the museum. Obviously, there is a lot to explore here, so you’ll want to come back to the museum again and again.


Reading Level:  6-10 years
Publisher:  Wordsong (March 1, 2013)
ISBN-10:  1590789253
ISBN-13:  978-1590789254




Bug Off!: Creepy, Crawly Poems by Jane Yolen with photographs by her son Jason Stemple is also published by Wordsong. In a series of two-page spreads we find a close-up photograph, a poem about the featured insect or arachnid, and an informative paragraph to add fun facts and details.

Yolen reveals in her “A Note from the Author” right up front that in the past she wasn’t all that fond of insects. After spending time with her son’s photographs, however, she changed her mind. The “beauty” and “mystery” of insects inspired her to write poems about them.


Reading level:  5 and up
Publisher:  Wordsong (April 1, 2012)
ISBN-10:  1590788621
ISBN-13:  978-1590788622



Douglas Florian’s insectlopedia has long been a favorite of our family. Douglas Florian was formerly a cartoonist, and his fun, silly side comes through in his poetry books. Florian painted his quirky illustrations with watercolors on brown paper bags. It gives them an informal look that is appealing and kid-friendly.

Reading Level:  Although the age range is listed as 5 – 8 years, as with many poetry books, this one is sophisticated enough to work for a variety of ages.

Publisher:  HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 1, 2002)
ISBN-10:  0152163352
ISBN-13:  978-0152163358


UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings, a newer book by Douglas Florian (2012), goes into more scientific detail than some of his other books of poetry. The reader comes away with an appreciation of bees and how they live.




Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Eric Beddows is a classic that everyone should experience. The depth, the accuracy and the amazing rhythm of the poems for two voices, it is simply made to be shared. Some of my favorite poems of all time are in this little book.

Publisher:  HarperCollins; First Edition edition (December 28, 2004)
ISBN-10:  0064460932
ISBN-13:  978-0064460934



If you discover you enjoy poems for two voices, Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More!: Poems for Two Voices by Carole Gerber and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin just came out in February (2013). Although it is centered more on plants, it features a number of insects and other creatures as well. Listen to what they have to say.



Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (Caldecott Honor Book, BCCB Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award) by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beckie Prange encompasses the change of seasons at a pond. Not just about insects, it is about the pond as a habitat.



Hey There, Stink Bug! by Leslie Bulion and illustrated by Leslie Evans is for the older reader (probably 8+) who doesn’t mind a bit of gore and mayhem. It also contains up-to-date factual information about insects and notes about the poetic forms. The illustrations are very clean, crisp and bright. I was impressed that the author had obviously spent time reading the work of the late great entomologist, Thomas Eisner.

Hope you decide to try some of this fabulous poetry books about insects. Do you have a favorite? Any suggestions for books to add to the list? We’d love to hear from you.


Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with covers and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Ocean Science-Themed Books for Kids

It is summer and thoughts turn to the beach. Why not read some ocean science-themed books for children? We have something for almost all ages and interests.

Note:  Because of the number of books in this category, we’ve created a separate but related list of books about beach and tide pool animals.


Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the title links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.


We start with books for the youngest reader.

Counting Books:

Ocean Counting (National Geographic Little Kids) 
by Janet Lawler and photographs by Brian Skerry.

With fabulous National Geographic photographs and snippets of information about each featured creature, this is a counting concept book and more.

Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (May 14, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1426311168
ISBN-13: 978-1426311161


Wordless Books:

Flotsam by David Wiesner is a wordless fictional picture book about what a young boy discovers at the beach, including a very special camera. Use it to open discussions about floating and sinking, as well as life underwater.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books (September 4, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0618194576
ISBN-13: 978-0618194575

Beginning Readers:

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean by Catherine D. Hughes

National Geographic Kids First Big Book of the Ocean includes both high-interest animals, such as dolphins, sharks, sea otters, and penguins, as well as some lesser-known creatures.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books; (October 8, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1426313683
ISBN-13: 978-1426313684


Oceans (Wonder Readers) by Elizabeth Moore is a beginning reader that is just the right size and vocabulary-level for children ages 4-8. Using bright photographs to illustrate points, it reveals what the ocean is and what lives there.

Reading level: PreK-1
Library Binding: 24 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 147650038X
ISBN-13: 978-1476500386


Picture Books:

Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill by Matt Lilley and illustrated by Dan Tavis

Krill are shrimp-like crustaceans that live in the ocean. They are incredibly important as an integral link in ocean food webs.

As the punchline of this humorous picture book says,

…krill are really good at eating and krill are really good eatin’.

Matt Lilley spells out the complex metamorphosis of one species, the Antarctic krill, Euphasia superba. We learn about all the unusual developmental stages — some discovered not that long ago — and also about how krill can glow, shrink if there isn’t enough food, and live for a relatively long time for their size (if they aren’t eaten).

Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill is likely to inspire budding oceanographers and marine biologists. It is a perfect read to accompany a trip to an aquarium or to the ocean. Delve into a copy today!

See full review at Growing with Science

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 6 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Tilbury House Publishers (January 11, 2022)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0884488675
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0884488675

Ocean! Waves for All by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by David Litchfield is narrated in the first person. The tone is lighthearted and conversational, including words like ‘bro’ and “righteous’.

Dude, I am Ocean.

David Litchfield’s illustrations are as big and vibrant as the ocean itself. They are packed full of emotion and creativity. To coincide with the first person voice, the ocean has a floating face with eyes, nose, and mouth.

The back matter includes a note from the author, a discussion about how the ocean is really global — the names don’t reflect real boundaries, “Ocean by the Numbers,” a Q-and-A with Ocean, a list ways to be a friend to Ocean, and “Sources.”

Overall, Ocean! represents a new “wave” of picture books that push the boundary between fiction and nonfiction in interesting ways. Get on board and check out a copy today!

Reading age : 4 – 8 years
Publisher : Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); Illustrated edition (May 5, 2020)
ISBN-10 : 1250108098
ISBN-13 : 978-1250108098


Sometimes you don’t know why a particular book strikes you, but The Big Book of the Blue by Yuval Zommer is a beautiful picture book I am thrilled to look at every time I see it.

First thing you notice is the beautiful blue color and the oversized dimensions, perfect for a book about the huge, expansive ocean. Then you pop it open and you see the playful, lively illustrations. You can imagine the fish swimming and the jellyfish bobbing. Delightful!

The Big Book of the Blue is the type of book that begs to be shared. Grab a copy, find a quiet corner, and spend time with it. Children will love it.

Nominated for a 2018 Cybils and reviewed at Wrapped in Foil.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1 edition (June 5, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0500651191
ISBN-13: 978-0500651193

Ocean Emporium: A Compilation of Creatures by Susie Brooks and illustrated by Dawn Cooper

What is an emporium? By definition it is a large store that carries a diversity of items, like a department store. In the book it is used in the sense of a place where you can see a collection of many diverse animals.

The first spread introduces readers to an ocean food web and all the different groups that are featured in the rest of the book.

“Deep, mysterious oceans sweep across our planet, making up 99 percent of the living space on Earth. Beneath their rolling waves lies a web of life that ties together creatures great and small.”

Turn the pages to find collections of related animals, from hermit crabs to sharks. Dive into a copy today.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (March 5, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1580898289
ISBN-13: 978-1580898287


Giant Squid by Candace Fleming and illustrated Eric Rohmann is a finalist for a Cybils award in the elementary/juvenile nonfiction category in 2016. The book explores the mysterious and elusive deep sea creature.

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (September 27, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1596435992
ISBN-13: 978-1596435995

As with other titles in the About… series, About Marine Mammals: A Guide for Children features Cathryn Sill’s clear, uncomplicated language and John Sill’s gorgeous watercolor illustrations.

Planning a trip to the beach? About Marine Mammals would be a perfect book to get children inspired about ocean creatures before the trip, learn more about what they see during the trip, and reinforce memories and learning after the trip. Not traveling? It would also be a wonderful way to take a trip to distant, cool places in your imagination.

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (August 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1561459062
ISBN-13: 978-1561459063

Wandering Whale Sharks written and illustrated by Susumu Shingu is a gentle book for younger children that follows the largest fish in the world, the whale shark. It was originally published in Japan in 1991, and has recently be translated and republished by Owlkids Books Inc.

The illustrations largely feature black and blue, giving the feeling of being completely under water. The images are incredibly peaceful and the text lyrical, making the book a lovely choice for reading aloud to a group of children.

Wandering Whale Sharks is the type of informational picture book that is likely to appeal to a variety of audiences. Highly recommended!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Owlkids Books (March 17, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1771471301
ISBN-13: 978-1771471305

Amazing Giant Sea Creatures by DK introduces young readers to giant sea creatures via lift-up flaps and slide-out pages.

Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Hardcover: 16 pages
Publisher: DK Children; Ltf edition (June 16, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1465419012
ISBN-13: 978-1465419019


Here Come the Humpbacks! by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jamie Hogan follows the migration of a mother humpback and her baby from the Caribbean Sea to the New England coast and back. During the trip the reader learns about the lives of whales and the challenges they face. Growing with Science has related science activities.

Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1580894062
ISBN-13: 978-1580894067



Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas written by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm and illustrated by Molly Bang, is a Bankstreet Children’s Nonfiction finalist. It celebrates ocean habitats and food chains. This book is the combination of the talents of Penny Chisholm, who is a MIT professor and expert on oceans, and Molly Bang, who is a Caldecott award winner.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: The Blue Sky Press (May 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0545273226
ISBN-13: 978-0545273220



Water Sings Blue by Kate Coombs expands the reader’s experiences by mixing poetry with lavish illustrations. (As of today, the Amazon link offers an audio snippet of a couple of the poems). Poetry and art encourage children to observe their world closely, a skill that is also useful for science.

Reading level:  4-8 years
Publisher:  Chronicle Books (March 14, 2012)
ISBN-10:  9780811872843
ISBN-13:  978-0811872843


Middle Grade Books:

The Great Shark Rescue: Saving the Whale Sharks by Sandra Markle explains whale sharks are not only the biggest fish in the world, but also the coolest sharks because they feed by vacuuming up tons of the smallest creatures in the water (see pages 18-19). Unfortunately, along with many other fascinating creatures, their numbers are plummeting and they have recently become endangered.

Markle gives numbers and explicit reasons why the populations are in decline. Sometimes the sharks are caught is nets during legal fishing ,while at other times they are killed by people who fish for sharks illegally. Climate change is also a factor. Scientists want to try to help the sharks, but they know little about them. It is a race to learn about whale sharks before they disappear.

The Great Shark Rescue will thrill budding marine biologists as well as those interested in conserving endangered species.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Series: Sandra Markle’s Science Discoveries
Publisher: Millbrook Press TM (October 1, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1541510410
ISBN-13: 978-1541510418

You really need to pick up a copy of The Ultimate Book of Sharks (National Geographic Kids) by Brian Skerry to feel the true impact of it.

Starting out with the cover of this large-scale book, you notice the huge shark at the top with gaping jaws that almost jumps out of the page. Whoa! Underneath, the words Ultimate and Sharks in the title are in silver reflective letters that grab your eye. Inside, chapter one hooks your further with some cool information. Did you know some sharks have organs that glow in the dark? Freaky!

The rest of the chapters mix the amazing photographs we’ve come to expect from National Geographic with sidebars and other bite-sized chunks of stories and facts about sharks from around the world.

The Ultimate Book of Sharks will thrill both young readers and educators alike. It will entice the most reluctant of readers, but it also has the factual underpinnings to serve as a go-to reference book. Capture a copy today!

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books; edition edition (May 15, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781426330711
ISBN-13: 978-1426330711
ASIN: 1426330715

Another title in the amazing Scientists in the Field Series, The Orca Scientists by Kim Perez Valice and photographs by Andy Comins

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (July 24, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0544898265
ISBN-13: 978-0544898264

Marine Science for Kids: Exploring and Protecting Our Watery World, Includes Cool Careers and 21 Activities by Bethanie Hestermann and Josh Hestermann, with a foreword by Stephanie Arne

If you only can afford one book about oceans, this is the one to pick. Filled with information about marine science, mini-biographies of marine scientists, and hands-on activities to reinforce learning.

Age Range: 9 and up 
Grade Level: 4 and up
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (June 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1613735367
ISBN-13: 978-1613735367


Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands 
by Katherine Roy

Great white sharks are fierce predators and this book reflects reality. Right up front, the cover sets the tone for this book, showing a shark with something in its mouth and a suggestion of red blood in the water. Some of the illustrations within the book show the sharks grabbing and eating seals. Certain children are going to find this thrilling and others are probably not. As with any book with potentially disturbing images, it is a good idea to prepare young readers in advance and let them choose whether they want to continue.

That is not to say that this book is about gratuitous violence. In fact, it contains a number of fascinating scientific illustrations detailing the body of the shark, how its blood circulates to help heat up this cold-blooded fish, how its eyes work, how its teeth work, and what makes its jaws unique. Learning facts about any animal definitely helps make it less fearsome.

Neighborhood Sharks has won many awards and honors, including:

Age Range: 7 – 11 years
Publisher: David Macaulay Studio (September 30, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1596438746
ISBN-13: 978-1596438743

The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans (Scientists in the Field Series) by Elizabeth Rusch introduces us to a number of scientists who are working hard to convert the mechanical energy of ocean waves into electrical energy.

Rusch starts the book with a description of the power of waves, including an example of a cruise ship caught in a powerful storm. She then delves into the early lives of two engineers who are working on converting wave energy into electricity. This part about the “Two Mikes” is perfect for young readers, giving examples of young scientists of similar age or only slightly older and drawing the reader into the story. Rusch then introduces Oregon State University professor Annette von Jouanne and her work. She follows with an overview of the research of several competing groups, showing the progress and setbacks of this interesting field.

See a full review at  Wrapped in Foil.

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 14, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0544099990
ISBN-13: 978-0544099999



Seymour Simon’s Extreme Oceans by Seymour Simon is for middle grade readers. It has smaller illustrations and deeper text than Coral Reefs, covering topics ranging from extreme ocean animals to extreme ocean weather events. Simon even covers the weather events driven by ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean, called El Niño and La Niña. He also mentions coral reefs. Most amazing fact? I thought it was the pinky-nail-sized Australian jellyfish that can deliver a mammoth-sized amount of pain.

Age Range: 9 and up
Hardcover: 60 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 2, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1452108331
ISBN-13: 978-1452108339



Alien Deep: Revealing the Mysterious Living World at the Bottom of the Ocean by Bradley Hague has been named a 2013 Outstanding Science Trade Book by the NSTA. It calls on the full resources of National Geographic to chronicle the amazing field of deep water oceanography,

Age Range: 8 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (September 11, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1426310676
ISBN-13: 978-1426310676



Diving to a Deep-Sea Volcano (Scientists in the Field Series) by Kenneth Mallory tells the story of marine biologist Rich Lutz as he investigates the odd creatures that have been recently discovered around hydrothermal vents.

Age Range: 10 and up
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (October 2, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0618332057
ISBN-13: 978-0618332052



Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion (Scientists in the Field Series) by Loree Griffin Burns is about Dr. Curt Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer who studies the huge streams of water flowing through the ocean, called currents. Dr. Ebbesmeyer discovered that by tracking how fast and how far floating items spilled from ship accidents (like sneakers and floating toys) moved, he and other scientists could map the direction and speed of the ocean currents.

See related science experiments and activities at Growing With Science.

Age Range: 10 and up
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 5, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0547328605
ISBN-13: 978-0547328607

Journey Into the Deep: Discovering New Ocean Creatures (Junior Library Guild Selection) by Rebecca L. Johnson allows readers learn about cutting edge science, view glorious full-color photographs of creatures never seen before, and get glimpses into the lives of scientists at work. It is so appropriate for kids at an age where they are getting ready to explore their world, as well as starting to think about their career options. This book is sure to inspire everyone to want to study marine biology.

Reading level: Young Adult
Library Binding: 64 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Press (September 2010)
ISBN-10: 076134148X
ISBN-13: 978-0761341482


Oceans: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9 by Nancy F. Castaldo encourages the reader to explore concepts about the ocean using hands-on activities and crafts. Activities range from creating a jellyfish mobile to learning how whales stay warm in cold Arctic waters.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2002)
ISBN-10: 1556524439
ISBN-13: 978-1556524431

Poetry Books for Kids: Space Theme

What is more inspiring than space?


If you are doing a science theme about space or astronomy and are looking for books for children, don’t forget to include some books of STEM poems.


If You Were the Moon by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Jaime Kim

Combining spare, imaginative text with denser scientific explanations, this book has potential for a multitude of uses. It can be a lovely bedtime book, the basis for a language arts lesson, or a great accompaniment to a lesson on the solar system.

Salas must inspire her illustrators to greatness, because Jaime Kim’s art positively shines.

If You Were the Moon is a must have for budding astronomers and poets everywhere.

Visit Laurie Purdie Salas’s website for downloadable teaching guides (long and short versions) and other goodies.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press (March 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 146778009X
ISBN-13: 978-1467780094

Night Wonders by Jane Ann Peddicord won the 2006 International Reading Association Children’s Book Award. It combines poems about space with stunning photographs and artist’s renderings of space. Peddicord also includes some informational text to fill in and emphasize the facts revealed in the poems.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (February 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1570918783
ISBN-13: 978-1570918780


A Rocketful of Space Poems chosen by John Foster and illustrated by Korky Paul is a collection that features poems from the likes of J. Patrick Lewis, Eric Finney, and Judith Nicholls. Many of the poems are not particularly serious, since they feature monsters, witches, magicians and aliens. They allow the reader to “fly into space, drive to the moon, meet an asteroid dog and a flurb blurp, and then play intergalactic Squibble-Ball.” As you can see, the featured poems are highly imaginative but have a science-based foundation underneath.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Bks (February 15, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1847804861
ISBN-13: 978-1847804860



When my son was small, we discovered Blast Off: Poems About Space (I Can Read), compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (1995). The book features the poem “Children of the Sun” by Brod Bagert, which starts:

“Mercury’s small
Almost nothing at all.
Venus is bright and near…”

It was a wonderful way to memorize both a poem and the names of the planets. Of course it is slightly out of date because Pluto is no longer a planet, but many of the others in the collection are still ring true and clear.

As of today, the poems from Blast Off are available for reading on the Internet.


Out of This World: Poems and Facts about Space by Amy Sklansky and illustrated by Stacey Schuett (2012) really lives up to its name. The poems are fun, creative and absolutely perfect for kids. For example, in the poem “Zero Gravity” some of the lines are flipped over. How creative!

Each poem is accompanied by a black sidebar labeled “Fact” that explains scientific concepts or fills in the history of events that are mentioned.


You could teach a robust unit on STEM poetry with just Douglas Florian’s fabulous books. Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings (2007) is probably the one most geared to older children.

Personally, I love Florian’s playful style and fun-filled illustrations. In this book there are cut out circles in some of the pages that move images from one page to another, some playing with changes in scale while doing so. For example, the planet Mercury is a cut out that reveals the much larger Venus on the page behind it.



And Then There Were Eight: Poems about Space (Poetry) (A+ Books: Poetry) by Laura Purdie Salas (2008) is fresh and lively. Salas is devoted to her craft, and presents poems in different forms, and then explains each in the backmatter. This book would work well for a unit on poetry as it does for a unit on space.



Sky Magic (2009) compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Mariusz Stawarski presents the sun, stars and moon from an interesting, earthbound perspective. Hopkins has collected poems from a variety of poets and organized them to flow from sunrise to sunset. A wonderful celebration both the skies and poetry.
The Universe Verse by James Lu Dunbar is for middle grade readers.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: James and Kenneth Publishers; First edition (November 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1888047259
ISBN-13: 978-1888047257


Although not a collection of poems, the rhyming couplets in Roaring Rockets (Amazing Machines) by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker (2000) are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.


Are you ready to try science poetry now? Do you have any favorite poetry books about space that aren’t on the list? We’d love to hear about them!

You might also want to try our related lists:

30 Space and Astronomy Books for Kids

Children’s Books about Galaxies and Stars

Children’s Books about Planets and The Solar System

Related activity: Exploring Space Without a Spacesuit.


Bird Books for Kids

Bird watching is a popular hobby and a great way to introduce children to science and nature.

The linked titles go to Amazon. Please see the disclosure below.

Board Books

Baby’s First Book of Birds & Colors by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes

Cleverly allows youngsters to learn their birds and colors at the same time.

Grade Level: Preschool and up
Publisher: Charlesbridge; Brdbk edition (May 2, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1580897428
ISBN-13: 978-1580897426

Bring On the Birds by Susan Stockdale

This brightly colored board book explores 21 species of birds from around the world.

Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (February 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1561455601
ISBN-13: 978-1561455607

 Beginning/Emerging Readers

Who Is Singing? by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Chrissy Chabot

Learn the sounds made by twelve common birds, from cardinals to robins in a fun Q and A format.

For each bird, the first page asks who is making the particular sound?

The answer is on the next page.

The format “Take a bow (name)” and  the words for the songs repeat for each bird species. This is important because repetition helps young readers figure out letters and words, eventually helping them learn to read fluently.

Visit Wrapped in Foil blog for a list of activity suggestions.

Ages:  3-6
Publisher ‏:   ‎ Pen It! Publications, LLC (July 21, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1954868375
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1954868373

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Birds by Catherine D. Hughes

Illustrated with gorgeous photographs, this book introduces young readers to birds both common and not so common.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (July 12, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1426324324
ISBN-13: 978-1426324321


Great Horned Owls by Melissa Hill and Gail Saunders-Smith, PhD (Consultant Editor) is part of a new series that feature common species of owls. Early readers explore where owls live, what they eat, and their life cycle, while learning new vocabulary words. Did you know that owls do not build their own nests?

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 1
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1491460539
ISBN-13: 978-1491460535

Burrowing Owls by Melissa Hill and Gail Saunders-Smith, PhD (Consultant Editor) is another title from the new Owls series. Burrowing owls are small owls that live in tunnels in the ground. They are commonly found in the desert.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1491460466
ISBN-13: 978-1491460467

Peregrine Falcons by Melissa Hill and Gail Saunders-Smith, PhD, Consultant Editor

Did you know that peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on the planet? They can reach speeds of over 200 mph when diving. They are found throughout the world, except at temperature extremes (hot tropics and coldest polar regions). Learn more about these incredibly fascinating birds with informational titles in the Birds of Prey series for beginning readers.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1491423102
ISBN-13: 978-1491423103

Can You Find These Birds? (All about Nature) by Carmen Bredeson and Lindsey Cousins

This guide to birds for the beginner reader features a controlled vocabulary and short sentences, but still manages to pack in a lot of information about birds. Check out the preview at the Enslow website.

Reading Level: Ages 3-6
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Enslow Elementary (July 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1464400725
ISBN-13: 978-1464400728

Why Do Owls and Other Birds Have Feathers? (Animal Body Coverings) by Holly Beaumont is new title that explains how owls and other birds use their feathers to keep warm and to fly, among other things.

Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1484625382
ISBN-13: 978-1484625385


Picture Books



In the first part of Swoop and Soar: How Science Rescued Two Osprey Orphans and Found Them A New Family In The Wild by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp, we hold our breaths following the perilous journey of two newly-hatched osprey chicks. One night a storm destroys Swoop and Soar’s nest and the chicks fall to the ground. Nearby, another osprey family has lost their offspring, but still come back to their nest. With a little help from Jane, will the new family adopt the homeless chicks?

What comes after is not so much back matter as a second fascinating book about ospreys and how biologist Jane Veltkamp works hard to rescue them.

With Swoop and Soar, get hooked by the nail-biting story of the chicks, then stick around for some amazing information. Highly recommended!

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 – 13 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Persnickety Press (September 5, 2022)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1943978565
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1943978564

Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls by Annette Whipple

Featuring gorgeous color photographs with text in a question and answer format, this book engages readers. You will find out what owl’s eat, how they hunt, whether they sleep during the day, where they live, and what’s up with owl pellets. My favorite questions was whether owls can spin their heads around. Do you know the answer?

The back matter is extensive. There’s a section on how to help owls, explanation of owl anatomy, owl pellet dissection discussion, and a glossary.

Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls is nonfiction at its best. It will obviously appeal to young birdwatchers and nature lovers, but also to anyone interested in the world around them. Reading it will make you wiser <wink>.

Reading ages : 6 – 10 years
Publisher : Reycraft Books (September 30, 2020)
ISBN-13 : 978-1478869627
ISBN-10 : 1478869623

Secrets of the Loon by Laura Purdie Salas and Charles Dayton

Loons are water birds that live in lakes in northern North America in the summer where they dive under the water to catch fish and other small swimming animals. They are known for their haunting calls that travel great distances over the water, and for their striking black and white plumage.

Secrets of the Loon
is a must-read for budding ornithologists, especially ones who live near lakes where loons swim. It is also a treat for the rest of us who wish we could visit a cold lake and listen to these fascinating birds. Dive into the book today!

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press (April 28, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1681341581
ISBN-13: 978-1681341583


The Big Book of Birds by Yuval Zommer

The big size and the complex, engaging illustrations give the reader much to discover. There’s also a challenge to find an egg illustration 15 times throughout the book, just the sort of thing that can bring a young reader back to a book again and again.

The text is interesting and informative. The overviews, such as a spread about bird migration, mix well with zoomed-in discussions of specific types of birds, such as parrots or owls.

The Big Book of Birds is the type of book that begs to be shared. Grab a copy, find a quiet corner, and spend time with a young reader delving into each and every page.  They will be glad you did.

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1 edition (June 4, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0500651515
ISBN-13: 978-0500651513

On Gull Beach by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall follows a young boy as he explores a Massachusetts beach. Along the way, he spots a sea star. Before he can reach it, however, a seagull picks it up and flies away. Find out what he discovers as he chases the gull along the beach.

Jane Yolen’s simple, but expertly-crafted rhyming text and Bob Marstall’s exceptional illustrations make a delightful combination. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a bird book published by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

It is a beautiful picture book!

Age Range: 4 – 11 years
Publisher: Cornell Lab Publishing Group (March 27, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1943645183
ISBN-13: 978-1943645183

Two earlier titles in the On Bird Hill and Beyond series:


In On Bird Hill (2016) by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall, a boy and his dog find the bird in a nest on a hill.


On Duck Pond (2017) by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall follows the same boy and his dog as they visit a serene pond that is filled with birds, frogs, turtles and other creatures. Their arrival causes quite a stir.


Woodpecker Wham! by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

What better way to learn about woodpeckers then via Sayre staccato-burst prose? Six pages of back matter richly supplement the verb-laden text. Steve Jenkins’ cut and torn-paper collage illustrations aren’t too shabby, either.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (May 12, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0805088423
ISBN-13: 978-0805088427

The Wolf-Birds by Willow Dawson

Why are ravens called wolf-birds? Dawson reveals there is a complex relationship between ravens and gray wolves, particularly in areas with cold, harsh winters. Note:  a book about predators necessarily shows the death of a few animals, but it is tastefully done.

Overall, The Wolf-Birds is perfect for young readers interested in science and nature, particularly animals. It is also likely to appeal to those readers who think they prefer fiction. It is one of those versatile books to pull it out for units on birds, winter, animal behavior, and even art.

Longer review at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Owlkids Books (September 15, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1771470542
ISBN-13: 978-1771470544

On the Wing by David Elliott and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander

Head over to the poetry section to find this beautiful picture book. Each poem is sure to inspire readers to want to find out more about the fascinating birds inside.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Candlewick (September 9, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0763653241
ISBN-13: 978-0763653248


Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

What is there to learn about bird feathers? It turns out there is a wealth of information. You might already be familiar with how feathers help birds fly or how they keep water birds dry, but Melissa Stewart has found at least 16 different ways birds use their feathers. To make it easy for children to relate to and remember, she compares the uses to common human-made objects with similar purposes, like sunscreen and jewelry.

The text with dual-layer format, with the easy-to-read main text in a large font, and sidebars on each page to fill in the informational details. The watercolor illustrations look like you should be able to pluck them from the page. Nature lovers are going to want this for the illustrations alone.

Look for a complete review and activities to extend the book at Growing with Science blog.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Grade Level: 1 – 4
Publisher: Charlesbridge (February 25, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1580894305
ISBN-13: 978-1580894302

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore and illustrated by Susan L. Roth is a lovely new picture book. What catches your eye right away are the mixed-media collage parrots on the cover. What holds your attention is the fascinating story of the history of the Puerto Rican parrot, tied in a unique way with the history of the island of Puerto Rico.

You need to have this book on hand because it can be used in so many ways. Obviously it is perfect to accompany art lessons on collage in an art class. Pick it up for units on birds in science class, or for discussions of environmental issues and conservation. It also has an important place in units on U. S. history, because the history of Puerto Rico is also covered in detail. Add darling parrots and an ongoing drama of whether they are going to survive, and it is a real winner.

Ages 6 to 11
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (September 15, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1620140047
ISBN-13: 978-1620140048


Bird Talk: What Birds Are Saying and Why by Lita Judge

Birds make a lot of different sounds and you may have wondered what they are saying. This lovely picture book will give you an introduction to bird communication. The illustrations are amazing. Note:  Some of the calls are about attracting mates, and Judge does not shy away from this topic.

Reading level: Ages 6 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Flash Point (March 13, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1596436468
ISBN-13: 978-159643646

Birds of a Feather by Bernadette Gervais and Francesco Pittau

All about birds with more than 40 lift-the-flaps and pop-ups. Harder to find now, but worth the search.

Hardcover: 18 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books; Pop edition (September 26, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1452110662
ISBN-13: 978-1452110660

For the Birds: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson
by Peggy Thomas and illustrated by Laura Jacques

Inspiring biography of naturalist Roger Tory Peterson, of Peterson Field Guides fame.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (October 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1590787641
ISBN-13: 978-1590787649

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95
by Phillip Hoose

The Moonbird is a tiny bird who has flown an estimated 350,000 miles – over the distance to the moon and halfway back – in his lifetime! Pair with bird-related citizen science projects that are child friendly, such as the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Reading level: Ages 10 and up
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (July 17, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0374304688
ISBN-13: 978-0374304683

My review

Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird: A True Story by Stephanie Spinner

The title character of this book is an African gray parrot named Avian Learning Experiment. It turns out that Alex lives up to his clever name. His owner finds out that birds are capable of much more complex behavior than originally thought.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 9, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0375868461
ISBN-13: 978-0375868467




Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf
by Olivia Bouler

Written by Olivia when she was eleven, this book shows children what they can accomplish if they put their mind to it. See an interview with Olivia at Archimedes Notebook.

Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Sterling; First Edition (April 5, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1402786654
ISBN-13: 978-1402786655

Bird Books with Hands-on Activities Included

Bird-acious (Science with Stuff) by Melissa Stewart.

First of all, the book itself is a fun and educational introduction to birds for young readers. It contains big color photographs and interesting facts. It covers everything from feathers and flying to beaks and eating. There’s even a two-page spread that features photographs of cool bird tongues and describes what the various structures are used for.

But this book offers even more. In the cover image above, do you see the brown mass in the yellow oval to the right, just under the title? That is an actual owl pellet for kids to dissect. A bird book with its own hands-on activity included, how cool is that?

Age Range: 8 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Nov edition (December 10, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1935703900
ISBN-13: 978-1935703907

Look and Learn Birds (PBS Kids) by Sarah Parvis and PBS KIDS (Editor)

Perfect to accompany a citizen science project like The Great Backyard Bird Watch, this kit comes with a 64-page book, simple-to-use binoculars, a laminated identification sheet with pictures of common birds, and an activity poster. What a great way to encourage the next generation of bird watchers.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Box Pck Pa edition (August 30, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1941367291
ISBN-13: 978-1941367292

Middle Grade

Woodpeckers: Drilling Holes and Bagging Bugs by Sneed B. Collard III.

If you’ve never read a book by acclaimed science author Sneed B. Collard III, reading Woodpeckers will send you searching for more of his titles. First of all, he and his son (at fourteen years old!) traveled around North America and took the majority of the stunning color photographs in the book. That alone shows their knowledge about and passion for their subjects. Add the fun, conversational tone of the text, sprinkled with quotes from woodpecker experts and you have one amazing book!

Good for Middle Grade ages on up.

(Check out Fire Birds below, by the same author)

Ages: 9-12
Publisher: Bucking Horse Books (April 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0984446095
ISBN-13: 978-0984446094

Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc

In an attempt to overcome the “whatever” attitude of the modern child, LeBlanc adopts a conversational style and cartoon illustrations that are sure to attract some new interest in giving birdwatching a try.

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (March 12, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0763645613
ISBN-13: 978-0763645618



National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America: The Best Birding Book for Kids from National Geographic’s Bird Experts by Jonathan Alderfer

It may seem like hype to call yourself the best, but this book really does takes kid-friendly bird guides to a whole new level. The book features National Geographic quality photographs and artwork. Plus, it wouldn’t be National Geographic with really nice maps of where many of the birds are found (sneak in a geography lesson here?) Now add a lot of good tips for identification and easily-digestible facts about the different birds. Stir in a few bird-related activities, and you have a fantastic bird guide for kids.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (March 12, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1426310943
ISBN-13: 978-1426310942

Older children will enjoy reading about Fire Birds by Sneed B. Collard III.

Fire Birds reveals the work of biology professor Dick Hutto, who has been investigating what happens to bird species after a forest fire. He found that some kinds of birds increase in number due to increased nest sites and food. He has come up with a list of 15 species that are closely associated with recently burned forests, which he calls “Fire Birds.” Can you guess what they might be?

(This title was previously reviewed at Wrapped in Foil.)

Ages: 8+
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Bucking Horse Books (December 10, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0984446079
ISBN-13: 978-0984446070

Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird by Pamela S. Turner and photographs by Andy Comins


Written with light humor (one of the crows is named “Crow we never got around to naming”) and illustrated with birds-eye-view photographs (like the one on the cover). Whether you have read all of books in the Scientists in the Field series or none of them, you are going to want to pick up this one. Perfect for anyone interested in learning, tool use and birds, including budding animal behaviorists, ornithologists, psychologists and educators.

Full review at Growing With Science.

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (August 2, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0544416198
ISBN-13: 978-0544416192

Birdology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Birds (Young Naturalists) by Monica Russo and with photographs by Kevin Byron

Birdology gives an introduction to many aspects of bird biology, such as their anatomy and special characteristics, where to look for them, what they eat, bird migratory behavior, etc. In the final section it explores common careers that involve working with birds. Each section reveals information about a topic, such as feathers, and then provides suggestions for hands-on activities to reinforce learning.

The author is very careful to point out that it is illegal to collect or possess feathers, nests or eggs of wild birds. All the activity suggestions keep this important consideration in mind.

(Full review and activities at Growing with Science blog)

Age Range: 7 and up
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (January 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 161374949X
ISBN-13: 978-1613749494


Be sure to check our recent list of children’s books about bird migrations, too.

Do you have a book to add to this list? We’d love to hear from you.



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