From the Wood Between The Worlds in Narnia, to the Forbidden Forrest at Hogwarts and Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Wood.
Inspire your kids to get outside with some of the most popular publications about the natural world. We’ve picked the 10 best nature books for children. There’s a mixture of retold classics, nature poetry and activity books, so there should be something to please everyone.
i-SPY Nature (Harper Collins)
There are 48 titles in this classic Harper Collins book series which has been around since the 1940s. The small size (it’s pocket size) and affordable price make them a perfect pocket money purchase.
Many of the titles focus on the natural world (birds, flowers, trees) but we suggest you start with the Nature book which covers the broadest range from clouds to trees, flowers, animals and weather. Each page is made up with bold graphics, pictures and a point system. Children can tick off each nature spot as they go, acquiring points and learning facts. There’s a huge range of natural phenomena from diverse landscapes so whether you are on moorland or by the sea you’ll find something to spot using this book.
Beware the similarly titled i-SPY In The Garden is not so natured focused and instead concentrates on things like trampolines and barbecues.
First Facts – Bugs (DK)
The classic DK styling of this book makes it instantly appealing with a clear layout on a white background a short clear pieces of text. Discover the answers to many burning questions about nature, such as, How many legs does a millipede have… What do dung beetles eat… Why do spiders build webs?
This is a short book with sturdy pages and simple facts, so is best suited to younger primary school children.
The Woodland Trust : Nature Explorers Woodland Activity & Sticker Book (Bloomsbury Activity Books)
It’s easy to see why this beautifully illustrated book is one of Amazon’s best-selling nature publications. Published in collaboration with The Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity, this book also helps raise funds for conservation and education. The book has a number of simple nature-themed activities that children can do (like making a leaf crown or a bird feeder) and over 250 stickers for them to complete simple book based activities too.
The Big Book Of The Blue by Yuval Zommer (Thames Hudson)
A large format beautifully illustrated book for fans of marine life. Divided into double-page sections focussing on different types of sea life from penguins to sharks it contains bitesize facts and quirky illustrations.
Yuval Zommer has written and illustrated several books in this range of which The Big Book Of The Blue is the latest. Best suited for 4-7 year-olds. The only downside to this book for me, is the fact that it is noticeably taller than other publications and didn’t fit our bookcase.
Why Do We Need Bees? (Usborne)
A lovely lift the flap book with colourful illustrations that explains the importance of bees by answering a series of questions. Lift the flap to find the answers to conundrums such as “How do bees spread pollen?” and “How long have bees been on earth?”. The flap design means children want to revisit this book over and over again and as the importance of bees is a hot topic this book makes a great addition to any home or classroom.
Charles’s Darwin’s Origin Of Species by Sabina Redeva (Puffin)
A beautifully and lavishly illustrated book which at times reminded me of William Morris wallpaper, this publication is the first ever picture-book retelling of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species. Retelling the work which revolutionised our understanding of evolution, this is an important and beautiful addition to any children’s library and the intricate designs will keep making you want to return to it for another look.
National Trust: 2019 Nature Month-By-Month: A Children’s Almanac (Nosy Crow Ltd)
A wonderful almanac for older primary children which is both easy to read and packed with information. This National Trust publication takes children on a month by month journey through the year including not just nature spotting but nature activities and crafts which can be done indoors and outdoors. This is my personal favourite on the list, though I’m frustrated that the inclusion of the year in the title will make it seem quickly out of date.
I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree by Fiona Waters (Nosy Crow Ltd)
Though not directly an educational book about nature this wonderful collection of poetry for children will inspire and enthral, with a poem for every day of the year. This book has won several awards including Red Magazine Big Book Award Children’s Illustrated Book of the Year 2019. A magical book for children and adults to enjoy together.
The Little Book of Garden Bird Songs (Fine Feather Press Ltd)
A really helpful book to help identify the most popular 12 bird songs in the garden. Whilst the illustrations inside the book appear a little old-fashioned, it’s full of useful information and the simple but effective button system for the bird’s songs makes this a really useful book which will be popular with both children and adults.
Animal Encyclopedia: 2,500 Animals with Photos, Maps, and More! (National Geographic)
This book is not new, having first been published in 2012, but it’s still National Geographic’s second best seller on Amazon. Featuring 2,500 species and packed with stunning colour photographs, amazing animal facts, maps, and more, the new National Geographic Kids Animal Encyclopaedia it’s easy to see why this book is so popular with children. With 304 pages of animal profiles, double page spreads about habitats and intriguing graphics this makes a wonderful gift for any nature loving child.