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10 Great Books for Kids to Learn About Animals

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 03, 2021

Raising Young Animal Advocates

There's a reason that animals turn up in lots of kids' books. Kids are fascinated by critters, from family pets to city-dwelling creatures to exotic species in far-flung locales. As we celebrate World Wildlife Day, we contemplate the glorious diversity of fauna residing on our planet. Here are ten books to educate and inspire kids about wildlife.

Picture Books

Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol
This gorgeous lullaby of a book depicts a rural winter night as animals from gentle deer, a great gray owl, a pair of snowshoe hares, a little fox, and a tiny mouse emerge in search of a midnight snack. The lyrical prose and the spare illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault capture the magic of a snowy night in the woods.

The Sea Book by Charlotte Milner
This cool book introduces a wealth of sea animals, including mammals, fish, invertebrates, and reptiles, exploring the underwater worlds of incredible marine life and their habitats. From icebergs to colorful coral reefs to underwater forests, it's sure to delight ocean-loving young'uns.

Wild City by Ben Hoare
Take an unforgettable world tour exploring how animals have adapted to live alongside humans in busy cities like New York, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, Stockholm, London, Alexandria, Singapore, and Mumbai. Meet the creatures that share our city spaces—from bears to bats, penguins to opossums.

Snow Birds by Kirsten Hall
You've heard of birds who migrate to warmer climates in the wintertime—but what about those who persevere through snowy weather and freezing temperatures? With elegant verse and striking illustrations, this beautiful volume salutes the brave and resourceful birds who can survive the coldest months.

Ayobami and the Names of the Animals, also available in Spanish, by Pilar López Ávila
This resonant, award-winning book is just as much about the value of education as it is about wildlife. The story features a determined African girl walking to school through a wild jungle. As she meets each animal, her promise to return and write down their name for them ensures her safe passage.

Middle Grade

A Wild Child's Guide to Endangered Animals by Millie Marotta
This attractive book highlights the plight of more than forty endangered species from around the world, including rare and well-known animals living in freshwater, oceans, forests, mountains, tundras, deserts, grasslands, and wetlands.

When the Whales Walked by Dougal Dixon
This beautifully illustrated guide explores some of the most incredible events in evolution with thirteen fascinating case studies. Through a mix of annotated illustrations, scenes, and family trees, evolution is explained here in a captivating style that will give young readers a whole new perspective on animals.

Ocean: A Visual Miscellany by Ricardo Henriques
Rich with information, this collection offers readers a beautiful tsunami of aquatic facts big and small. This beautiful book offers a deep dive into the subject of the sea, while reminding young readers that while much is known about this vast environment, much more remains a mystery.

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman
One of the first naturalists to observe live insects, Merian was also one of the first to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In this biography, richly illustrated with original paintings by Merian, a Newbery-winning author shares the story of one of the first female entomologists.

The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess
Young readers all over the world have enthusiastically embraced Burgess's classic nature books. In this volume, the fascinating subject of bird life is brilliantly realized in story form. Learn about their physical appearances, eating and nesting habits, and songs and calls.

World Wildlife Day is a day to celebrate the value that all of Earth's wildlife brings, and these volumes are ideal for helping kids learn about the many wonderful creatures who share the earth with us!

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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