Children’s Books about Water

Water is so important for life. Let’s start a growing list of children’s books about water science and the water cycle.


Note: this post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

Beginning Reader

National Geographic Readers: Water by Melissa Stewart

In this level 3 reader, kids will learn about the water cycle through leveled vocabulary. Illustrated with the gorgeous photography readers have come to expect from National Geographic.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (July 8, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1426314744
ISBN-13: 978-1426314742

Water Cycle (Pebble Plus: Earth and Space Science) by Craig Hammersmith

Introduces many important concepts and vocabulary words pertaining to the water cycle, such as evaporation, condensation and precipitation. Along with a glossary and an index, there are instructions for making a “mini-earth” in the form of a terrarium.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429671424
ISBN-13: 978-1429671422

Picture Books

This Raindrop: Has a Billion Stories to Tell by Linda Ragsdale and illustrated by Srimalie Bassani

This picture book…
Starts with a single raindrop that “has billions of stories to tell” then follows it through time and space at it cycles again and again. Readers will be thrilled as the words flow like water.

This picture book…
Has incredibly imaginative illustrations that play with perspective, zooming in and out up and down from spread to spread.

This picture book…
Has a little something extra. It features a lovely arlin paper cover with foil text enhancements, illustrated end papers, plus back matter including an explanation of the water cycle, the importance of water conservation, and resources for further reading.

This picture book…
Could help save the planet. As the sticker on the cover says, “Every Book [purchased] Plants a Tree.” What could be better than that?

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Flowerpot Press (April 7, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1486718175
ISBN-13: 978-1486718177

Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis

Catchy text and gorgeous illustrations caught the attention of judges and reviewers all over.  Both a  Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and an ALA Notable Children’s Book.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Neal Porter Books (March 26, 2019)
ISBN-10: 0823441555
ISBN-13: 978-0823441556

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre

Raindrops Roll features April Pulley Sayre’s fabulous and fresh photographs of wet plants and critters, accompanied by verb-rich, poetic text that captures the very essence of rain.

In the main text, the reader learns that raindrops reflect, magnify and cling. In the two-page spread in the backmatter, the reader can explore “A Splash of Science” to understand more about what they see.

Young children will want to come back to Raindrops Roll again and again. Have a copy handy to read the next time you are trapped inside on a rainy day!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books; 1 edition (January 6, 2015)
ISBN-10: 148142064X
ISBN-13: 978-1481420648

Water Can Be . . . (Millbrook Picture Books) by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta Dabija

At first glance, it might seem to be too lovely to be a serious science book.

Water can be a…

Thirst quencher
Kid drencher
Cloud fluffer
Fire snuffer

As you spend more time with the book, however, you begin to discover the depth Salas has incorporated into it. The back matter has “More About Water” with explanations for each phrase in the main text. In it Salas introduces children to such scientific vocabulary as “condense,” “water vapor” and “water cycle.” She explains how all living organisms need water to live, how it regulates temperature and how it can be a powerful natural force. It is sure to generate discussion and even more ideas about the importance of water.

Water Can Be… could be used to learn about the seasons, weather, the importance of water to living things, and even life cycles

Ages 5-8
Series: Millbrook Picture Books
Publisher: Millbrook Pr Trade (April 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1467705918
ISBN-13: 978-1467705912

Blue on Blue by Dianne White and illustrated by Beth Krommes

Explore the details of a New England rain storm through Diane White’s spare rhyme and the amazing watercolor and scatchboard illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Beth Krommes. (If you are put off by the cover linked here, check the Amazon look inside feature. It gives a clearer picture.)

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (December 9, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1442412674
ISBN-13: 978-1442412675

Water Rolls, Water Rises: El agua rueda, el agua sube by Pat Mora and illustrated by Meilo So


A lovely, lyrical description of fourteen places water can be found around the world:

“Blown by the wind, water sails high.”

Text is written in both English and Spanish.

Age Range: 6 – 11 years
Publisher: Children’s Book Press; Bilingual edition (October 1, 2014)
Language: English, Spanish
ISBN-10: 0892393254
ISBN-13: 978-0892393251

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Miranda Paul’s spare but engaging story arc goes from familiar (getting a glass of water) to less familiar (forms of water/weather) and then returns to drinking water again (familiar).

Award-winning author and illustrator Jason Chin’s paintings of children doing everyday activities help bring the young reader in, as well.

A two-page spread in the backmatter  helps children learn “More About Water.” In this case, the pages explain the vocabulary of the water cycle, from evaporation to seepage.

Pick up a copy of Water is Water to share with children ready to learn the basics of the water cycle. Perfect for young readers who prefer their nonfiction to look and sound like fiction.

Age Range: 6 – 10 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (May 26, 2015)
ISBN-10: 159643984X
ISBN-13: 978-1596439849

All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Katherine Tillotson

The pitch-perfect rhymes are meant to be read aloud. Great for story times. but not a deep explanation of the water cycle.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books (March 22, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1416971300

A Drop Around the World by Barbara McKinney and illustrated by Michael S. Maydak

This denser explanation of the water cycle would pair well with the All the Water above to give the more detailed explanations some older students crave.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Dawn Pubns (April 1, 1998)
ISBN-10: 1883220726
ISBN-13: 978-1883220723

Middle Grade

Water Runs Through This Book by Nancy Bo Flood



Mixing stories, poems, quotations, and informational text, author Flood explores all aspects of water and its impact on our world. The topics are wide ranging, from the chemistry of water molecules to the geopolitics of water conservation. It reads somewhat like a folder of fascinating tidbits about water put together into a coherent collage.

The illustrations are color photographs by Jan Sonnenmair, supplemented with stock photographs and some diagrams.

Water Runs Through This Book would be a useful reference text to have on hand for a wide range of topics. It also would work well for young adults and even adults, as well as middle grades.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing (August 25, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1936218135
ISBN-13: 978-1936218134

Science Books for Middle Grade: Scientists in the Field Series

Middle grade readers can get to know what real scientists do every day in the award-winning Scientists in the Field series. How many have you read?




Note:  Books are roughly listed by publication date, from most recent to older.

Amazon Adventure: How Tiny Fish Are Saving the World’s Largest Rainforest by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Keith Ellenbogen

Go on a trip to the Amazon with conservation biologist Scott Dowd to learn about how fish like tiny cardinal tetras are important to the ecosystem.

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (July 4, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0544352998
ISBN-13: 978-0544352995

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


The Octopus Scientists (Scientists in the Field Series) by Sy Montgomery and illustrated by Keith Ellenbogen

The Octopus Scientists:  Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk follows four octopus researchers from very different backgrounds as they look for octopuses around the island of Moorea in the Pacific Ocean. Canadian Jennifer Mather wanted to study marine biology, but found resistance in what was perceived as a “man’s” field. Instead she became a psychology professor and then applied her studies to octopuses. American David Scheel studied lions for his doctorate degree, but when he couldn’t find a job working with lions, switched to marine biology. Tatiana Leite is a professor of marine ecology in Brazil. Keely Langford works at the Vancouver Aquarium.

If you have ever wanted to don a wet suit and search the ocean floor for octopuses, The Octopus Scientists is the book for you. If not, reading it might just make you want to give it a try.

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (May 26, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0544232704
ISBN-13: 978-0544232709


Beetle Busters by Loree Griffin Burns and illustrated by Ellen Harasimowicz


Beetle Busters reveals how researchers are tackling a destructive insect, the Asian longhorned beetle, that is eating hardwood trees in New England. It contains information about the life cycle of the beetle, the history of its introduction to North America, details about how scientists are studying the insects, and a in-depth explanation how concerned citizens can get involved. Burns also reveals some information about how cutting down trees changes habitats and some evidence that ecosystems can recover eventually through succession.

Full review at Growing with Science

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st Edition, 1st Printing edition (October 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0547792670
ISBN-13: 978-0547792675


The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans by Elizabeth Rusch

The Next Wave introduces young readers to an exciting new technology that will capture the energy of waves and convert it to useful electrical energy. Rusch starts the book with a description of the power of waves. She then delves into the early lives of two engineers who are working on converting wave energy into electricity. This section about the “Two Mikes” gives examples of young scientists of similar age or only slightly older than the target reader, drawing them into the story. She follows with an overview of the research of several competing groups, showing the progress and setbacks of this interesting field.

The book will definitely inspire young readers who enjoy STEM and want explore waves and oceans. It is also a great resource for adults who want to learn more about research on this potential new source of energy.


Reviewed at Wrapped in Foil blog

Related activity suggestions at Growing with Science

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


Sea Turtle Scientist (Scientists in the Field Series) by Stephen R. Swinburne


Sea Turtle Scientist reveals Dr. Kimberly Stewart’s efforts to investigate and conserve sea turtles on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts. As with others of the series, it reveals what it is like to work as a scientist, trudging through sand in the middle of the night or taking samples from poached sea turtles. Sea Turtle Scientist will make you want to jump on a plane and become a sea turtle scientist, too.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Related activities and information about sea turtles at Growing with Science

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (January 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0547367554
ISBN-13: 978-0547367552


Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cat (Scientists in the Field Series) by Sy Montgomery and photographs Nic Bishop

Chasing Cheetahs highlights the work of Dr. Lauren Marker and her colleagues with cheetahs in Namibia. Sadly, the numbers of cheetahs have fallen to fewer than 10,000 in the world. To do something concrete to prevent cheetahs from going extinct, Dr. Marker has started the Cheetah Conservation Fund. This organization not only rescues injured and orphaned cheetahs, but also helps educate and work with the local farmers to increase chances of cheetah survival.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0547815492
ISBN-13: 978-0547815497

Park Scientists: Gila Monsters, Geysers, and Grizzly Bears in America’s Own Backyard (Scientists in the Field Series) by Mary Kay Carson with photographs by Tom Uhlman

When you think of national parks, you may think of hiking, wildlife and getting away from it all, but probably you probably don’t think of science. This title goes a long ways toward remedying that omission. The authors catch a reader’s attention with everything from geysers and grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park to salamanders and fire flies in the Great Smoky Mountains, and they have also chosen a range of people to focus on, from geologist park rangers to citizen scientist high school students.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (May 13, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0547792689
ISBN-13: 978-0547792682

The Dolphins of Shark Bay (Scientists in the Field Series) by Pamela S. Turner

This outstanding book encapsulates over twenty-five years of research into dolphin intelligence by scientist Janet Mann and her colleagues working at Shark Bay in Australia. It reveals how science is done in the field, plus gives loads of information about wild bottlenose dolphins. It also asks some hard questions about whether these highly-intelligent animals should be kept in captivity solely for our enjoyment.

Full Review at Growing with Science

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (November 5, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0547716389
ISBN-13: 978-0547716381

Wild Horse Scientists (Scientists in the Field Series) by Kay Frydenborg

Right away, a warning: this is not a picture book! It would probably be best from mature readers, ages 12 and up. The books contains large, full color photographs of dead, decaying horses, and a discussion of a birth control program developed for horses. That said, for older readers interested in science, and particularly horses, this book is a must have.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Horse-related activities to accompany the book at Growing with Science

Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (November 6, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0547518315
ISBN-13: 978-0547518312

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

Loree Griffin Burns starts the book with a visit to beekeeper Mary Duane’s backyard. Mary calmly works the bees as she explains many aspects of honey bee biology and the culture techniques she uses. The author moves next to colony collapse disorder or CCD – the problem with honey bees disappearing that has been in the news- and introduces us to four bee scientists who are at the front lines of CCD research. Finally, Burns wraps up by taking us back to Mary Duane’s beeyard for a lesson about gathering and processing honey.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Related science activities at Growing With Science

Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (April 16, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0544003268
ISBN-13: 978-0544003262

The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal by Sy Montgomery and photographs by Nic Bishop

The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal features the work of scientist Patricia Medici and her team in the Pantanal region of Brazil. What are tapirs and why study them? Tapirs are unusual-looking animals with long noses that we know little about. There are four different kinds in the world: Malayan, Bairds’s, mountain and lowland. This book concentrates on the lowland tapir that lives both in grasslands and rainforests of Brazil. Because they eat large quantities of fruit, these elusive creatures move seeds from place to place, serving an important role in the ecosystem.

Full Review at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (July 23, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0547815484
ISBN-13: 978-0547815480



Stronger Than Steel: Spider Silk DNA and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures, and Parachute Rope by Bridget Heos with illustrations by Andy Comins

Stronger Than Steel highlights scientist Randy Lewis’ quest to find a better way to obtain large quantities of spider silk for innovative new products through genetic engineering, specifically incorporating the spider silk gene into goats.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (February 26, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0547681267
ISBN-13: 978-0547681269

Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Tom Uhlman

This book follows the experiences of USGS volcanologist John Pallister and his team from of the Cascades Volcano Observatory as they participate in VDAP or the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program. VDAP is an international effort to provide assistance to any country impacted by volcanoes that asks for help in monitoring and predicting eruptions. The program was formed after the deadly eruption of Colombia’s Nevado del Ruiz in 1985.

Exciting and well-written, this book is a must for budding volcanologists and geologists. It would also be great to accompany units on volcanoes, earth science and for investigating how scientists do their jobs.

Review and related activities at Growing With Science blog

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (June 18, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0547503504
ISBN-13: 978-0547503509



The Manatee Scientists: Saving Vulnerable Species by Peter Lourie

The Manatee Scientists follows scientists from around the world trying to learn more about manatees in a race protect them from extinction. Peter Lourie documents the techniques the scientists use and the problems they encounter. In the Amazon River basin, the author accompanies Fernando Rosas on a boat trip to follow radio-tagged manatees that have been released from captivity.  He flies with John Reynolds, who does an aerial count of manatees in warm Florida waters, and shows researcher Lucy Keith rescuing West African manatees trapped behind a dam in Senegal.

Full Review at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 28, 2011)
ISBN-10: 054715254X
ISBN-13: 978-0547152547

The Elephant Scientist (Scientists in the Field Series)
by Caitlin O’Connell and Donna M. Jackson with photographs by the first author and her husband, Timothy Rodwell

Unlike other books in the series, the scientist in the spotlight in The Elephant Scientist is one of the co-authors, Dr. Caitlin O’Connell. It follows Dr. O’Connell as she studies elephant social life and communication and at the same time works on ways to prevent elephants from ruining crops planted by local people. She discovers that elephants communicate to one another over long distances by detecting vibrations in the ground with their feet and trunks.

Summary review at Wrapped in Foil

Related science activities at Growing with Science

Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (July 11, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0547053444
ISBN-13: 978-0547053448

The Frog Scientist by Pamela S. Turner and illustrated by Andy Comins

Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 13, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0547576986
ISBN-13: 978-0547576985


The Bat Scientists by Mary Kay Carson and photographs by her husband, Tom Uhlman


Author Carson accompanies bat scientist Merlin Tuttle into a cave in Texas to find out what studying bats in like. Immediately the reader learns that this field is not for the squeamish. Why would anyone wade through bat guano teeming with insects while breathing through a respirator in a smelly cave at temperatures of 100° F? They do it because it turns out that bats are pretty important in the scheme of things. By learning more about them, hopefully we can protect these fragile and misunderstood little creatures before it is too late.

Reviewed at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (September 28, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0547199562
ISBN-13: 978-0547199566


Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot (Scientists in the Field Series) by Sy Montgomery with photographs by Nic Bishop

With the team of experienced nature writer Sy Montgomery and and fabulous photographer Nic Bishop, you know this book is going to be high quality. What really tips this book into another category is their obvious passion for the topic. You can tell these two are thrilled to be freezing and wet on a remote island near Antartica chasing the kakapo story to share with us. In addition, the kakapos are so endearing that you won’t be able to put the book down.

Kakapo Rescue won the Sibert Award.

Reviewed at Wrapped in Foil


Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (May 24, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0618494170
ISBN-13: 978-0618494170

Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion (Scientists in the Field Series) by Loree Griffin Burns

This title is about Dr. Curt Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer who studies the huge streams of water flowing through the ocean, called currents. He finds clues to ocean water movement by looking at trash that comes up on the beach after spills in the ocean. It is really a fascinating book.

Summary and related activities at Growing With Science

Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 5, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0547328605
ISBN-13: 978-0547328607

Project Seahorse by Pamela S. Turner and illustrated by Scott Tuason

Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (July 28, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0547207131
ISBN-13: 978-0547207131

The Snake Scientist by Sy Montgomery and photographs by Nic Bishop

Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (February 26, 2001)
ISBN-10: 0618111190
ISBN-13: 978-0618111190

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



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