Beetle Science Books for Kids

We’ve got lists about ants, honey bees, butterflies and moths, and insect-themed poetry. Let’s start a list of beetle science books for kids.

Of all the insect orders, the beetles have the largest number of species by a wide margin. Over 350,000 species have been recognized so far.

This list contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Beginning Readers

It’s a Good Thing There Are Ladybugs by Joanne Mattern

Along with some fun facts, this book also starts and ends with a list of reasons ladybugs are important in nature. Part of the Rookie Read-About Science series.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Childrens Pr (September 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 9780531228302
ISBN-13: 978-0531228302

Beetles by Colleen A. Sexton

Illustrated with colorful stock photographs, the text features controlled vocabulary and bold glossary words, plus short sentences perfect for beginning readers. A brief introduction to the wonderful world of beetles.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Bellwether Media (January 30, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1600140505
ISBN-13: 978-1600140501

 

Picture Books

Bonkers About Beetles by Owen Davey

Owen Davey is a freelance illustrator and his artistic skills make this book a visual treat. The accompanying text is fact-filled and fun, covering topics from beetle anatomy and identification to how to conserve beetles. For older readers than some of the other picture books featured here.

Age Range: 5 – 9 years
Publisher: Flying Eye Books (June 5, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1911171984
ISBN-13: 978-1911171980

A Ladybug’s Life by John Himmelman

Although named ladybugs, these insects are really beetles. Young readers learn about the lady beetle life cycle. Watercolor illustrations by the author.

Age Range: 5 – 6 years
Publisher: Childrens Pr (August 1, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0516263536
ISBN-13: 978-0516263533

A Beetle Is Shy by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by the fabulous Sylvia Long.

The beetle installment from this long-running author/illustrator collaboration is as lovely and beautifully written as the others in the series.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 5, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1452127123
ISBN-13: 978-1452127125

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

Another picture book in the Are you a… series that brings young readers into the book by making direct comparisons from humans to insects. These quality books are fun and full of age-appropriate information.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Kingfisher; 1 edition (May 16, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0753456036
ISBN-13: 978-0753456033

Ladybugs by Gail Gibbons

Gail Gibbons knows what questions kids ask, and she provides the answers in a clear and concise way. Illustrated by the author.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Holiday House; Reprint edition (January 7, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0823427609
ISBN-13: 978-0823427604

 

From Mealworm to Beetle: Following the Life Cycle (Amazing Science: Life Cycles) by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Jeff Yesh

Mealworms are grown for pet food and used as bait, but raising them is also a common science project. Learn more about insect metamorphosis by studying the life cycle of this beetle.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Picture Window Books (September 1, 2008)
ISBN-10: 1404849254
ISBN-13: 978-1404849259

Middle Grade

Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It (Scientists in the Field Series) by Loree Griffin Burns and illustrated by Ellen Harasimowicz

Asian longhorned beetles, Anoplophora glabripennis, were first noticed in 1996 in New York City. Because the beetles don’t move far from their emergence site, officials decided the best policy is to destroy all infested trees by cutting them down and chipping them in an effort to eradicate the insects. In her Author’s Note, Loree Griffin Burns admits that she questioned whether attempting to eradicate the beetles was going to be a successful tactic. In an effort to find out more, she gathered the materials that would eventually become the book.

This book is another wonderful addition to the award-winning Scientists in the Field series. Although written at the middle grade level, it will be a valuable resource for older readers, as well. If you live in eastern North America and are interested in nature and science, and particularly in trees, this book a must read.

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st Edition, 1st Printing edition (October 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0547792670
ISBN-13: 978-0547792675

 

Teacher’s Guides

If you can find a copy, Ladybugs by Jean C. Echols is a great resource for educators.

Series: Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley
Paperback: 100 pages
Publisher: Gems; Tch edition (September 1, 1999)
ISBN-10: 0924886196
ISBN-13: 978-0924886195

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Books about Pollinators for Kids

Just in time for National Pollinator Week we have a list of children’s books about the importance of pollinators and how to protect them.

Check out the links below to our lists of books about:

These posts contain Amazon Affiliate links.

Beginning Reader

Animal Pollinators by Jennifer Boothroyd

Emphasis is often put on the importance of insect pollinators like bees and butterflies, but learn how animals like hummingbirds, mice, and bats also help pollinate plants. Simple text is perfect for beginning readers.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (January 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1467760692
ISBN-13: 978-1467760690

 

Picture Books

No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart, Allen Young, and illustrated by Nicole Wong

Young readers learn that cacao trees need the help of a menagerie of rain forest critters to survive: a pollen-sucking midge (previous post at Growing with Science), an aphid-munching anole lizard, and brain-eating coffin fly maggots. Reviewed at Wrapped in Foil.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Charlesbridge; Reprint edition (July 3, 2018)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1580892884
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1580892889

POLLEN: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction by Darcy Pattison and illustrated by Peter Willis

Reveals how long it may take for science to find an answer to a problem. In 1862, naturalist Charles Darwin received a box of orchids. When he saw one of the flowers, the Madagascar star orchid, he wondered how insects could pollinate it, and he made some predictions that it was a moth.

Fast forward 130 years. In 1992, German entomologist, Lutz Thilo Wasserthal, Ph.D. traveled to Madagascar. By then, the moths were rare. He managed to capture two moths and released them in a cage with the orchid. Would they pollinate the orchid as Darwin had predicted?

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 6 – 9 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Mims House; Illustrated edition (April 23, 2019)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1629441201
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1629441207

13 Ways to Eat a Fly by Sue Heavenrich and illustrated by David Clark

Although it is more about who and what eats flies, this book features some flies that pollinate plants (previous review).

Reading age : 4 – 8 years
Publisher : Charlesbridge (February 16, 2021)
ISBN-10 : 1580898904
ISBN-13 : 978-1580898904

Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate by Sara C. Levine and illustrated by Masha D’yans.

Narrated by the snarky purple cactus you see on the cover, Flower Talk explores why plants “talk” to animals via their flowers and how they entice the animals to carry their pollen from place to place. Levine goes into details about how the different flower colors attract different kinds of pollinators. She also notes that plants with green flowers, like grasses, “aren’t talking to anyone.” They are wind pollinated.

Masha D’yans’ amazing digitally-enhanced watercolor illustrations add just the right amount of fun to keep kids entranced.

Flower Talk is perfect for kids who love fiction as well as for kids who prefer nonfiction. Pick up a copy and find out what the “talk” is all about.

Age Range: 7 – 11 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press TM (March 5, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1541519280
ISBN-13: 978-1541519282

Bees, Bugs, and Butterflies: A Family Guide to Our Garden Heroes and Helpers by Ben Raskin

A fun mix of facts and activities.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Roost Books (March 13, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1611805538
ISBN-13: 978-1611805536

Flowers Are Calling by Rita Gray and illustrated by Kenard Pak

With lightly-humorous, rhyming text, the author encourages children to compare kinds of animals that are attracted to flowers and serve as pollinators with animals that are not likely to be pollinators. Is a snake a pollinator? “No, not a snake, for goodness sake!” For a full review of the book see Wrapped in Foil.

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 3, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0544340124
ISBN-13: 978-0544340121

 

What Is Pollination? by Bobbie Kalman

Shows not only how important pollination is, but also how pollinators are threatened.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Crabtree Publishing Company (October 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0778733068
ISBN-13: 978-0778733065

The Reason for a Flower: A Book About Flowers, Pollen, and Seeds (Explore!) by Ruth Heller

Written in rhyme and illustrated with Heller’s unique, vibrant art. Older, but enjoyable for kids of all ages.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Puffin Books; Reissue edition (February 15, 1999)
ISBN-10: 0698115597
ISBN-13: 978-0698115590

Middle Grade

Know Your Pollinators: 40 Common Pollinating Insects including Bees, Wasps, Flower Flies, Butterflies, Moths, & Beetles, with Appearance, Behavior, & How to Attract Them to Your Garden by Tim Harris

The title says it all. A series of two-page spreads featuring an eye-popping photograph of an insect (use the ‘look inside” feature on Amazon to see what I mean) and details of its behavior, distribution, etc. Includes 40 insect pollinators such as bees, butterflies, flower flies, beetles, moths, and wasps.

Note: If you are not familiar with the publisher, Old Pond Books specializes in books in the general area of agriculture.

Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Old Pond Books (March 17, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1912158558
ISBN-13: 978-1912158553

Pollinators: Animals Helping Plants Thrive (Team Earth) by Martha London

Visually appealing with large color photographs, this book explains the importance of pollination and discusses the specific animals that help pollinate. Includes activity suggestions.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Core Library (December 15, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1532191006
ISBN-13: 978-1532191008

The Clover & the Bee; A Book of Pollination by Anne Ophelia Dowden

This classic title is amazing in its details. It is like an easy-to-read college textbook about plants and insects in condensed form.

In addition, the illustrations by the author are fabulous.

Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (May 1, 1990)
ISBN-10: 0690046774
ISBN-13: 978-0690046779

+++++++

Bonus:

Check the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign for a free 126 page pollinator curriculum (download) for Grades 3-6.

Nonfiction Children’s Books About Dogs

Dogs are always popular, but we have even more reason to celebrate because 2018 is the Year of the Dog. It is a great time to share some nonfiction children’s books about our furry friends, dogs.

Note: Post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

 

Beginning Readers

Capstone’s Dogs, Dogs, Dogs series features a number of beginning reader titles about common dog breeds, like:

All about German Shepherds by Erika L. Shores

Featuring short sentences and controlled vocabulary, these informational books help young children learn about dogs while learning to read.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1429687258
ISBN-13: 978-1429687256

Picture Books

It’s a Puppy’s Life by Photographer Seth Casteel

As we would expect from National Geographic, the photographs are fantastic, funny and cute. The author/photographer of the wildly popular Underwater Dogs (see below), Seth Casteel obviously has a passion for his subjects. We see puppies playing, sniffing, making a mess, and sleeping.

Where’s the science? In the back matter are 32 thumbnails of the photographs used in the book with captions that identify each by breed. The puppies range from basset hounds to Yorkshire terriers, allowing readers to explore the concept of inheritance and variation of traits, a Next Generation Science standardOpens in a new window.

Even the most reluctant reader is going to enjoy It’s a Puppy’s Life. It is an obvious choice for anyone who is a dog enthusiast, plus would be a great choice to share for National Puppy Day, March 23.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (March 20, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1426330693
ISBN-13: 978-1426330698

Underwater Dogs by Photographer Seth Casteel

Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (October 23, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0316227706
ISBN-13: 978-0316227704

Middle Grade

Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Activities To Do With Your Canine Companion by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen and with photographs by Matthew Rakola

Jodi Wheeler-Toppen has come up with over 20 fun and appropriate hands-on science activities for kids to discover more about dog biology and behavior. For example, they can learn more about what colors dogs see by hiding different colored balls in a grassy lawn and watching how easy it is for the dog to find them.

Safety is first with all these activities. The author remind kids to watch for signs the dog is upset or uncomfortable, and to quit the activity if the dog is unhappy. Also, make sure the dog has access to water and plan lots of breaks even if the dog is enjoying himself.

The bottom line is that Dog Science Unleashed is a great choice for dog lovers, as well as budding zoologists and veterinarians.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (August 7, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1426331533
ISBN-13: 978-1426331534

Inside of a Dog — Young Readers Edition: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz and illustrated by Sean Vidal Edgerton

A guide to how dogs perceive the world written by an animal behaviorist and dog lover. Get to know how dogs’ unique sense of smell changes their world.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (March 21, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1481450948
ISBN-13: 978-1481450942

 

Dog Days of History: The Incredible Story of Our Best Friends (Animals) by Sarah Albee

Albee starts with a discussion of where dogs might have come from. Progressing in chronological order, the following chapters explore the relations of people and dogs in the ancient world, middle ages, etc., through modern times. Albee features famous dogs through history, like Lewis and Clark’s dog, Seaman. The final chapter wraps up with the role of dogs in modern culture and a glimpse of the future of dogs.

The back matter is extensive, including “A Note About the Research,” which explains that many stories about dogs seen on the Internet may be exaggerated or fabricated. She includes a fun list of the words used in various languages to represent the sounds dogs make, from “arf-arf” or “bow-wow” in English to “wff-wff” in Welsh. As appropriate for a history book, there is an extensive three-page “Bibliodography” (too cute), plus references for all the quotes.

Dog Days of History will thrill both dog lovers and history buffs. It is a handy reference young readers are likely to return to again and again.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (March 27, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1426329717
ISBN-13: 978-1426329715

How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language by Aline Alexander Newman and‎ Gary Weitzman

With the lively photographs we have come to expect from National Geographic, this books helps kids understand their dog’s behaviors, both sound communication and body language. Cool!

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (September 10, 2013)
ISBN-10: 142631373X
ISBN-13: 978-1426313738

Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World by Nancy Castaldo

With their great noses, dogs have been trained to help with everything from alerting people to medical issues to helping scientists find rare animals. Shows where dog lovers and science intersect.

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (July 11, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0544932595
ISBN-13: 978-0544932593

Children’s Science Books About the Moon and The Lunar Landing

Young children often go through a phase when they are fascinated by the moon. You’ll want to have these books ready to satisfy their scientific curiosity.

And see our related lists of children’s books about:

Note:  Post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Nonfiction

Beginning Readers

The Moon (Space) by Martha E. H. Rustad

This book contains focused science vocabulary and short sentences to explain basic facts about the moon. Test accompanied by carefully chosen photographs and illustrations.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Capstone Press; Reprint edition (January 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 149148327X
ISBN-13: 978-1491483275

 

Picture Books about the Moon

Moon! Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Stevie Lewis.

Although the sweet Moon face on the cover and the fact Moon! is narrated by the Moon (in first person) might make you think this picture book is for the youngest reader, in fact it is for older children.

Inside you will find some big numbers and complex scientific concepts. For example,

Average distance between Earth and me: 238,855 miles.

There’s also a summary or the most recent ideas about how the moon formed when a planet-like rock the size of Mars crashed into the Earth.

Moon! is for serious young readers who enjoy learning science facts. However, it might also be a good choice for older reluctant readers who will be sucked in by the less serious aspects.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (June 11, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1250199344
ISBN-13: 978-1250199348

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

Combining spare, imaginative text on one level 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.

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

 

The Moon Seems to Change (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
by Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by Barbara & Ed Emberley

This explanation of the phases of the moon incorporates a demonstration using an orange and a flashlight right in the text. It is all young readers will need to explore this concept in enough different ways to gain understanding.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition (July 24, 1987)
ISBN-10: 0064450651
ISBN-13: 978-0064450652

 

What the Moon is Like (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) by Franklyn M. Branley and illustrated by True Kelley

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Ill edition (May 3, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0064451852
ISBN-13: 978-0064451857

 

The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons

Gail Gibbons has an incredible knack for knowing exactly what young children want to learn and how to explain it to them. Includes explanations of solar and lunar eclipses.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: National Geographic School Pub (January 1, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0823413640
ISBN-13: 978-0823413645

Now available in a new and updated version!
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Holiday House; New, Updated edition (May 14, 2019)
ISBN-10: 082344323X
ISBN-13: 978-0823443239

Middle Grade Books About the Moon

Luna: The Science and Stories of Our Moon by David A. Aguilar

Beginning with how the moon is thought to have come about and how the moon compares with Earth, Aguilar then takes the reader on a ride through other moons, as well as moon myths and hoaxes, before settling down for a detailed discussion of moon features. Perfect for lunar landing anniversaries is a section about what the Apollo astronauts discovered.

The pluses:  The book is filled with fantastic illustrations by David A. Agulilar. Also there are three hands-on activities in the back: making a 3D model of lunar craters with Plaster of Paris, using a small telescope to explore the moon, and directions for drawing the moon.

Explore a copy today!

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (June 11, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1426333226
ISBN-13: 978-1426333224

The Moon by Hannah Pang and illustrated by Thomas Hegbrook

 

Discover the history of mankind’s relationship with the Moon: the science, the myths, the facts, the fiction, and how it affects our everyday lives and the world around us.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Tiger Tales (April 1, 2019)
ISBN-10: 194453024X
ISBN-13: 978-1944530242

 

Beginning Reader about the Lunar Landing

DK Readers L3: Spacebusters: The Race to the Moon by Philip Wilkinson

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Publisher: DK Children (January 30, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0756690846
ISBN-13: 978-0756690847

 

Picture books About the Lunar Landing:

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The True Story of Alan Bean by Dean Robbins and illustrated by Sean Rubin

Pete Conrad and Alan Bean were the third and fourth people to walk on the moon, but they aren’t the household names their predecessors Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are. This picture book helps correct that omission and bring Alan Bean’s story to the next generation of readers.

As to be expected, the illustrations are amazing. They combine the look of Alan Bean’s art with Sean Rubin’s skillful images. The highlight is a wordless two-page spread of the surface of the moon with the shadows of the two astronauts in the foreground and the blue, spherical Earth in the distance. Wow!

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon will thrill budding astronauts and artists alike.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Orchard Books (May 28, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1338259539
ISBN-13: 978-1338259537

Footprints on the Moon by Alexandra Siy

Illustrated with stunning photographs, this book documents the human quest to walk on the moon. It covers both history, starting with Galileo and Robert Goddard, and takes the reader through the Apollo missions.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (February 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 1570914095
ISBN-13: 978-1570914096

 

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca is an extraordinary book. You can tell the minute you open it and see the front endpapers, which have exquisite, detailed illustrations of Apollo 11.

The story itself begins with a well-grounded view of the moon from the earth. Simple, poetic words start you on your journey, a journey like no other. The first trip to the moon.

Following the astronauts as they get ready, you hear the clicks of their equipment as the pieces snap into place. Before long the earth is shaking, as the rocket takes off. The pace, the number of words and the energy all accelerate as the Eagle is about to land. Wow!

Age Range: 4 – 10 years
Series: Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover)
Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books (April 7, 2009)
ISBN-10: 141695046X
ISBN-13: 978-1416950462

 

One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Mike Wimmer

In yet another book to commemorate the 40th anniversary lunar landing, One Giant Leap gives a lyrical, imaginative description of the landing itself.

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Publisher: Philomel (April 2, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0399238832
ISBN-13: 978-0399238833

 

Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin and illustrated by Wendell Minor is remarkable because it is much more than merely an account by the second human being to touch the surface of the moon. Dr. Aldrin shows us how this incredible accomplishment is part of a long history of discoveries and advancements, and how it may lead to many more new things in the future.

Full review at Wrapped in Foil

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (May 14, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0399247211
ISBN-13: 978-0399247217

Middle Grade

Apollo 11 Moon Landing: An Interactive Space Exploration Adventure (You Choose: Space) by Thomas K. Adamson

Although it sounds complicated, it is actually simply very well organized. After reading it, you will wonder why more books aren’t organized this way.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 4
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1491481374
ISBN-13: 978-1491481370

 

Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11’s Third Man by Alex Irvine and illustrated by Ben Bishop

This is a unique book for two reasons. First of all, it is presented in a graphic novel style, which may appeal to a different range of readers. Secondly, it’s about astronaut Michael Collins, who commanded the lunar orbiter while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. His story isn’t mentioned as often.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers; 1 edition (March 28, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0884484521
ISBN-13: 978-0884484523

Science Project Ideas About the Moon by Robert Gardner

This older title contains background information about the moon and a number of detailed experiments, such as watching the moon (observation), building models, and making a simple reflecting telescope. It contains all the instructions the reader will need and no frills.

The illustrations are straightforward and effective line drawings.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Enslow Pub Inc (October 1, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0894908448
ISBN-13: 978-0894908446

 

Young Adult

Earthrise: My Adventures as an Apollo 14 Astronaut by Edgar Mitchell, Ellen Mahoney, and with a foreword by Dr. Brian Cox

Fast-paced autobiography of Dr. Edgar Mitchell, who went to the moon in 1971 on Apollo 14. Although obviously a must-have resource for future astronauts, Earthrise is also likely to appeal to those interested in history, science, engineering, and aviation. It is a revealing look at how one man’s sense of adventure took him places that the rest of us can only imagine.

Full review at Growing with Science.

Age Range: 12 and up
Publisher: Chicago Review Press (April 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1613749015
ISBN-13: 978-1613749012

Fiction Picture Book

Maya Moon by Marianne Mitchell

Our family enjoyed this delightful folktale about the phases of the moon.

Paperback: 28 pages
Publisher: Sundance Publishing (June 1, 1995)
ISBN-10: 1568017944
ISBN-13: 978-1568017945

Children’s Books About Frogs and Toads

Frogs and toads are amphibians. Summer is a great time to find out more about them by reading some good books organized by reading level. Related activities can be found at Growing with Science blog.

Note: Post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

Nonfiction

Beginning /Easy Reader

Beginning readers feature short sentences and controlled, age-appropriate vocabulary.

DK Readers L0: Frogs & Toads by Camilla Gersh and DK

DK books are known for their high quality photographs and well-researched information.

Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Publisher: DK Children (May 19, 2014)
ISBN-10: 146542010X
ISBN-13: 978-1465420107

Scholastic Reader Level 1: From Tadpole to Frog by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

Watch a tiny tadpole grow into an adult frog in this book full of facts and photographs. Learn what tadpoles eat, how they survive, and how they transform into frogs.

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; 1.2.2011 edition (February 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0545273374
ISBN-13: 978-0545273374

National Geographic Readers: Frogs by Elizabeth Carney

Another reader full of gorgeous color photographs, this time from the cameras of National Geographic. Are we seeing a trend here? This one describes the different kinds of frogs, from tiny rain forest frogs to huge bullfrogs.

Age Range: 4 – 6 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (2009)
ISBN-10: 1426303920
ISBN-13: 978-1426303920

Frog (Watch Me Grow) by DK Publishing

DK books are known for their high quality illustrations. This title emphasizes frog development through the life cycle. Appropriate for preschoolers.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: DK Preschool; 1st edition (August 4, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0789496291
ISBN-13: 978-0789496294

 

Picture Books

A Frog’s Life by Irene Kelly and illustrated by Margherita Borin

When you pick up the book, the first things that catch your eye are the brightly colored frogs on the cover. Margherita Borin’s watercolor, pen and pencil illustrations leap off the page. They are both marvelously accurate and cleverly put together in ways that will make young readers smile.

The text takes readers on a journey into the world of frogs. They will learn what frogs are, where frogs live (their habitats), compare the biggest to the smallest, and find out about their life cycles.

A Frog’s Life will delight young readers interested in nature, animals, and particularly in frogs. Hop on over to your local library or book store, and pick up a copy today!

See our full review and activity suggestions at Growing With Science.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Holiday House (May 8, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0823426017
ISBN-13: 978-0823426010

The Hidden Life of a Toad by Doug Wechsler

As you can see from this list, toads often get ignored. This title by biologist and photographer Doug Wechsler helps bring attention to these neglected creatures.

The main text concentrates on life cycle information illustrated with gorgeous photographs by the author. Back matter is filled with more detailed information, including a glossary, toad facts, and suggestions for helping toads..

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (March 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 158089738X
ISBN-13: 978-1580897389

 

Frog Song by Brenda Z. Guiberson and illustrated by Gennady Spirin

Lushly illustrated double-page spreads highlight 11 different species of frogs from around the world.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (February 5, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0805092544
ISBN-13: 978-0805092547

A Place for Frogs by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond

Excellent introduction to frogs from an award-winning children’s science author. Includes an ecological perspective.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.; Revised Edition edition (April 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 156145902X
ISBN-13: 978-1561459025

 

See-Thru Frogs (See-Thru Books) by Sherry Gerstein

This spiral bound book has see-through pages that lets the reader see the interior anatomy of frogs. Check out how their skeletons are different from ours.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press; Spi edition (September 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 160684587X
ISBN-13: 978-1606845875

Face to Face with Frogs (Face to Face with Animals) by Mark Moffett

Mark Moffett is one of my favorite nature photographers. His work is often seen in National Geographic, which published this book. He’s also a top notch biologist with a passion for frogs. It’s a winning combination.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (March 9, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1426306261
ISBN-13: 978-1426306266

From Tadpole to Frog (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Wendy Pfeffer and illustrated by Holly Keller

Appropriate for younger readers, this book emphasizes the life cycle of the frog with a bit more information about different types of frogs at the end. The books in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series are always high quality.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition (August 4, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0062381865
ISBN-13: 978-0062381866

Frogs by Gail Gibbons, a prolific and award-winning author

Although this older book may be hard to find, Gail Gibbons knows exactly what children want to read about.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Holiday House; Reprint edition (January 1, 1993)
ISBN-10: 0823411346
ISBN-13: 978-0823411344

 

 

Upper Elementary/Middle Grade

Amazing Amphibians: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring Frogs, Toads, Salamanders, and More by Lisa J. Amstutz

If you’ve never experienced one of the Young Naturalists series books from Chicago Review Press, you are in for a real treat. These books are designed not only for children who are independent researchers interested in a topic — in this case amphibians — but also for educators who need information and age-appropriate activity ideas for science lessons.

Lisa Amstutz’s text covers everything readers will want to know:

  • What an amphibian is
  • What animals belong to the different families
  • Amphibian anatomy
  • What amphibians eat
  • Their life cycles
  • Some of the threats to amphibians
  • And much more!

The activities (30 of them!) will keep young scientists engaged for hours. They range from making fake frog eggs from water beads to making your yard more toad friendly.

The bottom line is Amazing Amphibians is an exceptionally well organized and well written introduction to a fascinating group of animals. It is perfect for young naturalists and scientists. It is also a must-have resource for educators. Investigate a copy today!

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Publisher: Chicago Review Press; First edition (January 7, 2020)
ISBN-10: 1641600721
ISBN-13: 978-1641600729

Frogs!: Strange and Wonderful by Laurence Pringle and illustrated by Meryl Henderson

Although officially for early elementary readers, because it has denser text, higher-level vocabulary, and deeper information this title is perfect for older students who want to learn about frogs in depth.  Camouflage, kinds of frogs, anatomy, and life cycle, this book covers it all.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (April 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1590783719
ISBN-13: 978-1590783719

Living Wild: Frogs by Melissa Gish

Although probably not for everyone, this title covers frogs from a unique global perspective. It is illustrated with large, colorful stock photographs.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: Creative Paperbacks (April 1, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0898128404
ISBN-13: 978-0898128406

The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle

Why are the golden frogs of Panama dying? Follow the scientists as they search for clues.

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Publisher: Millbrook Pr (October 2011)
ISBN-10: 0761351086
ISBN-13: 978-0761351085

 

Fiction

Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury: 4 Complete Stories in 1 Volume! (I Can Read Level 2) by Arnold Lobel

 

These classic stories will inspire young readers to want to learn more about frogs and toads.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (December 23, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0062292587
ISBN-13: 978-0062292582

Growing List of Children’s Books About Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal animals are active at night and we never see many of them during the day. Discover all the fascinating creatures you have been missing by reading a great book.

Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the image or 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.

Nonfiction

Beginning Reader

 

Nocturnal Animals by Abbie Dunne

An introduction to animals that are active a night. Features short sentences, controlled vocabulary, and big, enticing photographs. The back matter includes an activity suggestion.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1515709787
ISBN-13: 978-1515709787

Many beginning reader books focus on one particular type of nocturnal animal, such as the following:

Porcupines (Nocturnal Animals) by Mary R. Dunn

Did you know that one reason we rarely see porcupines is because they are nocturnal?

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Series: Nocturnal Animals
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429661933
ISBN-13: 978-1429661935

 

Fireflies (Nocturnal Animals) by Mary R. Dunn

Fireflies are beetles that light up the night with their ability to glow.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Series: Nocturnal Animals
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429671203
ISBN-13: 978-1429671200

 

Raccoons (Nocturnal Animals) by J. Angelique Johnson

Raccoons are nocturnal animals.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1429661941
ISBN-13: 978-1429661942

 

Picture Books

 

Night Creatures: Animals That Swoop, Crawl, and Creep While You Sleep by Rebecca E. Hirsch and illustrated by Sonia Possentini

As the sun sets, night creatures awaken. While camping out in their rural backyard, a parent and child watch bats flap, bobcats pounce, and rabbits race. Gorgeous  illustrations bring the nocturnal world to life in this lyrical and informative picture book.

Be sure to check out the incredible free activity guide to accompany the book. It is perfect for any unit on nocturnal animals. Rebecca has instructions for taking a night hike, as well as activities that reflect how your senses change in the dark. What might you touch and feel? How might your color vision change? What might you hear? What might you smell?

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 – 10 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Millbrook Press ™ (September 7, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1541581296
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1541581296

You’re Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect Celebration by Loree Burns and photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

What is a moth ball? It is a nighttime party to attract moths to your yard. Learn how to make a moth bait that will attract  buggy guests (recipe included). Or you can entice moths by hanging a sheet over a line with a light shining through (instructions included). Then wait for the guests to arrive!

The book is illustrated with lovely photographs taken at an actual moth party. They look like so much fun.

See more and activity suggestions at Growing with Science.

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

Night Creepers by Linda Stanek and illustrated by Shennen Bersani

 

The simple, lovely text makes it shine. The detailed sidebars and extensive back matter sends it to another level of usefulness for educators.

Direct link to extensive .pdf teaching guide

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing (September 10, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1607183234
ISBN-13: 978-1607183235

Nocturnal Animals (Learn about Animal Behavior) by Kelli L. Hicks and  Bernd Heinrich (Consultant Editor)

 

This title is an informational book for children in first and second grade.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1429693126
ISBN-13: 978-1429693127

In his newest picture book, The Bat Book illustrated by Nate Jensen and Tristan Jensen, Conrad Storad uses a story within a story format to engage young readers. He also throws lots of science into the mix.

In the book Little Boy Bat, the main character who lives under the famous Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, decides to write a book to help humans learn bats are not frightening. The result is both enlightening and fun.

Ages: 5-10
Publisher: Sunbelt Publications (March 25, 2015)
ISBN-10: 189179566X
ISBN-13: 978-1891795664

 

Where Are the Night Animals? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Mary Ann Fraser

Although older, the books in this series are uniformly excellent.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (December 12, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0064451763
ISBN-13: 978-0064451765

 

Sounds of the Wild: Nighttime (Pledger Sounds) by Maurice Pledger

What could be more fun than a pop-up book that also makes the sounds of nocturnal animals around the world?

Nightime emphasizes how many animals that are active at night communicate via sound.

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books; Pop edition (October 28, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1592234712
ISBN-13: 978-1592234714

 

Out of Sight Till Tonight!: All About Nocturnal Animals (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)
by Tish Rabe

Told in romping rhyme, the books in the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library series reveal serious, well-researched facts.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 24, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0375870768
ISBN-13: 978-0375870767

 

Moonlight Animals (Lightbeam Books) by Elizabeth Golding and illustrated by Ali Lodge

Another interactive picture book, Moonlight Animals allows children to “light up” nighttime animals, no battery required. (No “magic” required either).

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Running Press Kids; Nov edition (August 30, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0762443162
ISBN-13: 978-0762443161

Middle Grade

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

Fiction

 

Night Animals by Gianna Marino

Preschoolers will enjoy this book that is likely to soothe those anxious about the dark and at the same time teach about nocturnal animals.

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (July 14, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0451469542
ISBN-13: 978-0451469540

Do you have any suggestions for our list of children’s books about nocturnal animals? We’d love to hear them.

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Books about Beaches and Tide Pools for Kids

Summer is a great time to go to the beach. While you are there, learn some science by exploring the creatures that live on the beach and in tide pools.

Disclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the image or 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.

Nonfiction

Beginning Reader

Life in a Tide Pool (Rookie Read-About Science) by Allan Fowler

Simple, straightforward informational nonfiction that covers the tide pool habitat.

Age Range: 6 and up
Series: Rookie Read-About Science
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Children’s Press (CT) (September 1996)
ISBN-10: 0516200313
ISBN-13: 978-0516200316

Picture Books

Seashells: More Than a Home by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

This title really stands out because it does so much more than describe or identify shells a child might find on the beach. Instead, it breathes life into the creatures that inhabit different seashells by showing how all the various sizes, shapes, and colors help the members of the Phylum Mollusca — or mollusks — survive.

Seashells: More Than a Home is a wonderful resource for studies on ocean or beach habitats. It would also make a great gift for nature lovers, especially before a trip to the beach. Discover a copy today!

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (April 2, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1580898106
ISBN-13: 978-1580898102

The Crab Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Tom Leonard

Jerry Pallotta’s books combine humor with amazingly detailed information. Although organized alphabetically, these texts are way beyond simple ABC concept books. Always be prepared for surprises, too.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Charlesbridge (February 12, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1570911444
ISBN-13: 978-1570911446

How to Hide an Octopus and Other Sea Creatures (Reading Railroad) by Ruth Heller

Ruth Heller’s books about camouflage are delightful, with rhyming text and colorful illustration. Highly recommended!

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (April 29, 1992)
ISBN-10: 0448404788
ISBN-13: 978-0448404783

Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars: Take-Along Guide (Take Along Guides) by Christiane Kump Tibbitts and illustrated by Linda Garrow

Introduces children to common tide pool animals, with tips for identifying 15 different kinds of seashells, 5 kinds of crabs and 7 kinds of sea stars. Suggestions for activities included.

Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Cooper Square Publishing Llc (January 1, 1999)
ISBN-10: 1559716754
ISBN-13: 978-1559716758

What Lives in a Shell? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld and illustrated by Helen K. Davie

Learn about how snails, turtles, crabs, and clams have shells that act as their homes and protect them from harm. An older title, but the books in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series are always high quality.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (April 22, 1994)
ISBN-10: 0064451240
ISBN-13: 978-0064451246

What’s in the Tide Pool? by Anne Hunter

The books in this series are small (approximately 5 inches x 5 inches). Each describe a few common animals in a given habitat.

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (August 28, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0618015108
ISBN-13: 978-0618015108

In One Tidepool: Crabs, Snails, and Salty Tails by Anthony D. Fredericks and illustrated by Jennifer Dirubbio

This book includes rhyming text of the “house-that-Jack-built” format.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Dawn Pubns; 1 edition (August 1, 2002)
ISBN-10: 1584690380
ISBN-13: 978-1584690382

 

 

There are a number of books about a single group of invertebrates for young children:

Crab (Welcome Books: Ocean Life) by Lloyd G. Douglas

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Children’s Press(CT) (September 2005)
ISBN-10: 0516237403
ISBN-13: 978-0516237404

Sea Stars (Ocean Life) by Lola M. Schaefer

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (July 1, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0736882219
ISBN-13: 978-0736882217

 

Fiction

A House for Hermit Crab (The World of Eric Carle) by Eric Carle

Growing and having to move are themes in this classic book about a hermit crab looking for a new shell to live in.

Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Simon Spotlight; Reissue edition (May 13, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1481409158
ISBN-13: 978-1481409155

Do you have any suggestions for our list of children’s books about beaches and tide pools? We’d love to hear them.

 

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Growing List of Children’s Books About Fish

Summer means trips to the beach and time near the water. What better time to study fish?

science-books-for-kids-fishDisclaimer: Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the image or 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.

Nonfiction

Beginning Readers

 

Fish Body Parts by Clare Lewis

Learning body parts is important for identification and for understanding function. This series emphasizes what different parts look like and what they are for.

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: Heinemann (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1484625633

National Geographic Readers: Swim Fish!: Explore the Coral Reef by Susan B. Neuman

Straightforward sentences help readers learn about ocean creatures, not just fish.

Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (May 13, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1426315104
ISBN-13: 978-1426315107

Picture Books

What’s It Like to Be a Fish? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Wendy Pfeffer and illustrated by Holly Keller

Award-winning book discusses the life of fish, including how they eat and breathe underwater.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition (August 4, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0062381997
ISBN-13: 978-0062381996

About Fish: A Guide For Children by Cathryn P. Sill and illustrated by John Sill

Simple introduction to fish with lovely watercolor illustrations

Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (March 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1561453358
ISBN-13: 978-1561453351

Sea Horse: Read and Wonder: The Shyest Fish in the Sea by Chris Butterworth and illustrated by John Lawrence

Learn all about the life cycle of seahorses.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (March 24, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0763641405
ISBN-13: 978-0763641405

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

Middle Grade

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

DK Eyewitness Books: Fish by Steve Parker

Although written at the middle grade level, the brightly-colored photographs can hold the attention of readers of a range of ages.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: DK Children; Rev ed. edition (April 11, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0756610737
ISBN-13: 978-0756610739

 

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

Picture Book Fiction

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna

Written in rhyme, this is a wildly-popular book for preschoolers. Look for others in the series, too.

Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (August 6, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0374360979
ISBN-13: 978-0374360979

Swimmy by Leo Leoni

A classic book about facing fears and overcoming danger by working together.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Reissue edition (April 12, 1973)
ISBN-10: 0394826205
ISBN-13: 978-0394826202

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister and translated by J Alison James

Follow Rainbow Fish as he learns about making friends. Try any of the Rainbow Fish books.

Age Range: 3 – 10 years
Publisher: North-South Books; First Edition edition (January 27, 1999)
ISBN-10: 1558580093
ISBN-13: 978-1558580091

Do you have any suggestions for this list? Please let us know.

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List of Children’s Books About Decomposition and Composting

Help your children understand the process of decomposition and the nutrient cycle by starting with a good book.

compost-booksNote: this post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

 

Board Books

The Little Composter (Teenie Greenies) by Jan Gerardi

A lift-the-flap book that teaches preschoolers about composting with age-appropriate rhyming text. Would be appropriate for young beginning readers, as well.

Age Range: 2 – 3 years
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; Ltf Brdbk edition (March 8, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0375854126
ISBN-13: 978-0375854125

 

Picture Books

 

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolff

This unique alphabet book is actually a rousing call to compost written in rhyming text. The collage illustrations are also made from recycled materials.

Books in Bloom has a 16-page lesson plan to accompany this book (link to .pdf download)

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Reprint edition (October 14, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0385755384
ISBN-13: 978-0385755382

Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow: A Compost Story by Linda Glaser with photographs by Shelley Rotner

Table scraps that normally go into the garbage can be used to make compost for the garden. Linda Glaser describes how and Shelley Rotner inspires us to go out and compost.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press (January 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0761349111
ISBN-13: 978-0761349112

 

Composting: Nature’s Recyclers (Amazing Science) by Robin Koontz and illustrated by Matthew Harrad

This picture book introduces children to the bacteria, fungi and critters that help turn plant materials into compost.

Age Range: 5 – 10 years
Publisher: Picture Window Books (September 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 1404822003
ISBN-13: 978-1404822009

Grubs, Bugs, and Worms: Invertebrates of the Underground (Underground Safari) by Jody S. Rake

Each two-page spread contains information about a different group of animals that live in the soil and potentially compost, such as earthworms and cicada grubs. A “Dig-in” sidebar gives a memorial fact or two. A glossary is also included in each spread. The text is clear and succinct.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Capstone Press (August 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1491450614
ISBN-13: 978-1491450611

 

A Pill Bug’s Life (Nature Upclose) by John Himmelman

Himmelman both writes and illustrates this lovely book that introduce children to the lives of “rolypolies.”

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Children’s Press(CT) (March 1, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0516267981
ISBN-13: 978-0516267982

An Earthworm’s Life (Nature Upclose) by John Himmelman

Once again, John Himmelman’s watercolor illustrations make this book about earthworms special.

 

Age Range: 5 and up
Publisher: Childrens Pr (April 2001)
ISBN-10: 0516265350
ISBN-13: 978-0516265353

 

Wiggling Worms at Work (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Wendy Pfeffer and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

You can’t go wrong with any of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science books. The collage illustrations are Steve Jenkins’s trademark. They may or may not work for a science book.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (December 23, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0064451992
ISBN-13: 978-0064451994

Rotten-pumpkin
Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices by David M. Schwartz and with photographs by Dwight Kuhn

I’ll let you know right up front that this book is not for the highly squeamish. If the thought of fly vomit makes you quiver, then you might not find the book as delightful as I did. Photographer Kuhn spares nothing as he follows the decomposition meltdown of a carved Halloween pumpkin. takes you down and dirty with close-ups of molds, slime molds and yeasts, as well as other organisms, to show how nutrients get recycled and organic matter added to the soil. Remember that kids, however, might enjoy all that goo and ooze. Plus, the team of David M. Schwartz and Dwight Kuhn have worked on a number of projects together and their expertise shows.

Age Range: 4 – 12 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 7
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Creston Books (July 23, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1939547032
ISBN-13: 978-1939547033

 

Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser

A classic, this older book has stood the test of time. The illustrations are lovely. The back matter is a two-page spread with facts about earthworms in a question-and-answer format.

Age Range: 4 and up
Publisher: Millbrook Press; Reprint edition (March 1, 1994)
ISBN-10: 1562947303
ISBN-13: 978-1562947309

Magic School Bus Meets the Rot Squad : A Book about Decomposition by Joanna Cole  and illustrated by Carolyn Bracken and Bruce Degen

Truly unique, it is also worth picking up this older book. It delves into decomposition like no other children’s book.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Scholastic (January 1, 1995)
ISBN-10: 0590400231
ISBN-13: 978-0590400237

Middle Grade

 

Leaf Litter Critters by Leslie Bulion and illustrated by Robert Meganck

Written as a series of poems and with cartoon-like illustrations, this serious text might just entice some readers who prefer fiction to explore a less-than-glamorous ecosystem.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (March 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 156145950X
ISBN-13: 978-1561459506

Compost Critters by Bianca Lavies

Although this book is older, it is really worth trying to get your hands on it. The photographs lead the reader into the miniature life of the compost heap. The author also shows her passion for compost in the detailed text.

Age Range: 9 and up
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition (May 1, 1993)
ISBN-10: 0525447636
ISBN-13: 978-0525447634

Michael Elsohn Ross has a wonderful “-ology” series of science books for middle grade children that cover critters found in compost heaps. Gives life cycles and simple kid-friendly experiments to do.

Age Range: 7 and up
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (February 1996)
ISBN-10: 0876149379
ISBN-13: 978-0876149379

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.

Children's-Books-About-Water

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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

 

WaterRuns

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