Now that we’re all stuck at home and the days are getting longer, sunnier, and warmer, the outdoors are looking more attractive than ever (even for us Indoor People). And for kids, that longing is probably even more pronounced. If you’re looking for something to share with kids that’ll inspire some real time exploration and activity, we’ve gathered eight picture books about nature that’ll inspire you to dive into the natural world.
Flowers Are Calling by Rita Gray and Kenard Pak
This book is all about different pollinators, with flowers calling out for different animals and insects to drink them. Kenard Pak’s digital watercolors are beautiful, Rita Gray’s prose is simple and rhythmic, and this makes for a tranquil and informative read for little ones who want to know more about the life cycle of plant life.
Little Turtle and the Changing Sea by Becky Davies and Jenny Poh
This cute book is about a little turtle in love with the vibrant and beautiful ocean who grows up and begins to realize that her beloved home is beginning to change, and so too is her journey through it. Now tainted by garbage and full of plastic, little turtle is in danger of being entangled if not for the help of humans who are working to return the oceans to their original splendor. This is a great book for budding environmentalists and ocean lovers.
The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers
Eric and Terry Fan’s beautiful classic is an excellent book for young nature lovers. In a humdrum neighborhood where no one seems to be very happy, the mood changes entirely with the arrival of a night gardener who constructs beautiful topiaries in the shapes of different animals. His gift to the neighborhood, which is passed down to a young boy, changes the neighborhood for good and forever in this sweet and beautiful story about appreciating nature.
Outside In by Deborah Underwood and Cindy Derby
Even when we’re inside, the outside is always there, and with it, are a host of possibilities. Deborah Underwood’s new picture book is a love letter to nature and what it offers us and the connection we have with it always, even from inside our houses, especially welcome at a time when a lot of are inside our houses.
Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal
This book explores an entire ecosystem of a pond in the Adirondacks. On top of the water, a woman and her son float in a canoe. Beneath the waterline are minnow, catfish, beavers, and more who all coexist in a world entirely different from our own. Messner and Neal also have other books in this series, including Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt and Over and Under the Snow.
A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek
This simply written and gorgeously illustrated picture book invites kids to explore the wilderness, collecting keepsakes, singing to birds, and letting their imaginations run wild. With its charming illustrations, this is definitely one that will inspire kids to go into the backyard or visit the park.
We are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines and Kids and Juliana Swaney
This picture book from Joanna Gaines and her kids is great for little ones who want to get into gardening at home. With sweet illustrations, kids are taken through the process of planting for the first time and developing their own gardens with some relatable mistakes along the way (plants die, animals sometimes come and eat all your hard work), encouraging kids to keep going and create the gardens of their dreams.
We are the Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade
For budding activists, this book is both educational and empowering as it draws upon the water protection movements led by indigenous communities, specifically the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. Illustrated in bold watercolors and written in poetic prose, this book encourages kids to take action and protect Earth’s most precious resource.