Adventure Is Out There: 34 Books and Little Gifts Celebrating Nature for Earth Day

After writing this Earth day book list last year and compiling some more favorites for this year,  I’ve realized that I’m a total sucker for books focused on the beauty and wonder of this place we all get to call home.  There’s something about books that delight in both the majesty of nature and learning all kinds of fascinating facts that get me every time.

This list includes a wide range of books for all ages, so please feel free to reach out if you’re wondering about any of them, along with some toys and gift type things that felt Earth Day suitable.  That being said, these are all much more about celebrating and learning, and as far as taking actual actions regarding Earth Day, please do seek out resources that are qualified!

This list of books and toys that I’m compiled have affiliate links, so thank you so much for using them or shopping small.

  • Robin Wall-Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass
    • I am currently reading and obsessing over this gem.  It’s the kind of book you want to linger over and that will make you all the more fascinated by nature.  I want to put this one in the hands of everyone!
  • Kyo Maclair’s and Chris Turnham’s Hello, Rain
    • This William Carlos Williams reminiscent picture book is so beautiful.  The joyful pictures and waxing poetic about the magic of rain fill me up every time we read this one together. Thank you to Chronicle for our copy!
  • Magnifying lens
    • And this one or this one for the aesthetically inclined.  I think a magnifying lens should be a necessity for getting to know nature a little better.  As soon as she was toddling around the yard, our daughter has found it fun to hold up a magnifying lens to the moss and flowers and bugs.  It’s a great way to explore your surroundings more deeply.
  • Juana Martinez-Neal’s Zonia’s Rain Forest
    • This evocative book takes you into the Amazon rain forest.  I’ve never come across a book like this one before and love how the reader is brought into what it would be like to live in such a vibrant, wonder-filled place.  Bonus: the back of the book has awesome resources about the wildlife and  information about the Asháninka community.  Thank you to Candlewick for our review copy!
  • Alison Farrell’s The Hike
    • This book is magical.  We can’t get enough of this beautiful depiction of three girls setting off on an adventure.  The details like Wren’s notebook pages and the animals on each page are immersive and inspiring and there’s something about the way this book unfolds that leaves you with such a warm feeling in your heart, not to mention the desire to get out and explore.  Do check this one out!
  • Patricia MacLachlan’s and Francesca Sanna’s My Friend Earth
    • I have had this book on many lists because it’s one of my favorites.  The richly detailed illustrations, some with intricate cut-outs, and joyous celebration of Earth’s beauty make it one that’s a pleasure to read every time.   Thank you to Chronicle for our review copy!
  • Georgina Wilson-Powell’s Is It Really Green?
    • If you’ve ever wondered about using the dishwasher versus handwashing or paper versus plastic, this is the book for you.
  • Wooden woodland animals
    • We love all of our Tender Leaf Toys and this set of wooden woodland animals is so cute and beautifully made. This farm set is great, too.
  • Ben Newman’s Turn Seek Find: Habitats
    • Our daughter spends a lot of time with this one.  It’s interactive (but no noise!) with your child using  a wheel to choose a color and a specific thing to look for and each page spread teaches about a different habitat around the world.  Thank you to Chronicle for our copy!
  • Lisa Congdon’s The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Elements: The Powers, The Uses, and Histories of Every Atom in the Universe
    • Be prepared to be blown away by this book. You may already be familiar with Lisa Congdon’s beautiful art and, if you are, I know you’re excited about seeing what she does to make the periodic table come alive.  This book is a visual delight and also so incredibly engaging.  I can see this book getting such a wide variety of use over many, many years and can’t say enough about how special it is, so do go give it a look. Thank you to Chronicle for our copy!
  • Jane Porter and Maddie Frost’s So You Want To Be An Owl
    • Another you may have heard me talking about before.  It’s a hoot (get it?) and also packed with information about owls that I’ve been whenever I get the chance to work it in because I find it so interesting.  This one is a big hit with everyone around here.  Thank you to Chronicle for our review copy!
  • Marc Martin’s Masters of Disguise: Camouflaging Creatures & Magnificent Mimics
    • Camouflage is fascinating, right?  This book is packed with information about 12 different animals along with seek-and-find pages for each of them, which makes for a wonderful blend of being both delightfully informative and playful. Thank you to Candlewick for our review copy!
  • Amy Rebecca Tan’s Summer at Meadow Wood 
    • Another one that’s on so many lists of mine because I love it so much.  Read more about this delightful middle grade book in my post here, pick it up for celebrating nature because of the wonderful way that gardening features, and then be prepared to want to just keep hugging it even after you’ve finished reading it.
  • Stephanie Babin’s Do You Know?: Oceans and Marine Life
    • This book got our daughter very into indexes, a nerd win in our book.  This book is accessible for a wide variety of ages and packed with information that’s bound to start wonderful conversations.  Thank you to Chronicle for our copy!
  • Embroidered patches
    • Lately I’ve been very into the idea of making bags a little more special with some personality-expressing patches a la the sticker water bottle trend.  I love this not all who wander are lost one,  happy camper one, sunflower one, bear one…the possibilities are pretty endless.
  • Mary Lyn Ray and E.B. Goodale’s The House of Grass and Sky
    • When I saw this picture book was both by a favorite author and illustrator, I couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.  The story is centered around a home and the memories it holds over time.  Haunting wistfulness and sweet nostalgia abound.  The illustrations fill me with awe each time, and the lovely idea of a home cherishing the family who belongs there will make you feel all the feels. Thank you to Candlewick for our review copy!
  • Silicone straws
    • There’s something satisfying about being able to drink out of a straw.  Here’s a way to do it sustainably if you don’t have some already. Ours make me feel happy every time I use them.
  • Martin Jenkins’ A World of Plants
    • This comprehensive picture book is a stunner.  It’s coffee table quality and brimful of the most fascinating information from topics like pollination to photosynthesis to Victorian plant hunting.  I am obsessed with this one and think it belongs on the shelves/tables of anyone who wants to learn more about plants.  Thank you to Candlewick for our review copy!
  • Kirsten Hall’s and Aki’s How Big Is Baby?
    • Maybe human births aren’t what you have in mind for Earth day, but, I mean, it is the life cycle and also this book uses the seasons and produce as its guide in a lovely way. Our daughter is fascinated by it- I’ll often find her flipping through it on her own and asking me questions about where I currently am in my pregnancy.  I definitely recommend it for kids becoming big brothers or sisters or any kid who loves babies- it’s a great blend of sweet and informative. Thank you to Chronicle for our review copy!
  • Backpack for exploring essentials
    • This one comes in cute patterns, or I love these solid ones.  Basically, the key is to get something that will make your kid excited about packing up a backpack with whatever they think is necessary for their next outdoor adventure.
  • Elizabeth Rusch’s and  Will Hillenbrand’s Zee Grows a Tree
    • Growing up on a Christmas tree farm sounds pretty darn idyllic to me and I know our daughter likes the idea a lot, too, since we’ve read this one many, many times.  The plot follows Zee growing up and, alongside her, the fir tree that was planted when she was born.  It’s a very sweet take on the friendship that develops between the two, accompanied by interesting information about the Douglas fir grows.  I can see a lot of you loving this one.  Thank you to Candlewick for our copy!
  • Mary Oliver’s New and Selected Poems
    • Mary Oliver never fails to make me sigh in delight.  This is my favorite of her books.
  • Kate Messner’s and Christopher Silas Neal’s Over and Under the Rainforest
    • If you’ve yet to pick up any of the books in this Over and Under series, do change that.  They’re so beautifully evocative and informative.  Each book brings you along on a wonderful adventure and also includes extra information about all the animals you meet at the end of the book.  One for your collection, for sure.  Thank you to Chronicle for our  copy!
  • Camilla de la Bedoyere’s and Britta Teckentrup’s Reptiles Everywhere
    • Admittedly, I am less likely to ooh and ahh over reptiles than other animals, BUT they are super interesting. This book has such absorbing details and lovely illustrations that are bound to be pored over excitedly by both kids and adults.  Thank you to Candlewick for our copy!
  • Richard Haynes’ and Stephanie Laberis’s Orangutan Hats and Other Tools Animals Use
    • From the title, you know this is going to be interesting.  Crows sledding? Elephant sunscreen?  Yeah.  I believe books like these encourage kids to think in such wonderful ways about their lives and the environment around them and definitely encourage you to pick this up.  Thank you to Candlewick for our copy!
  • Derick Lugo’s The Unlikely Thru-Hiker
    • Added to my list as soon as I stumbled on it because I love reading about experiences like Bill Bryson’s in A Walk in the Woods and this one, written by a NYC comedian who had never been hiking before and then decided to hike the Appalachian Trail, sounds absolutely wonderful.

Have you read any of these? What are your favorite books that celebrate nature?

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