Cultivating a Love of Nature with Children

The clouds are disappearing and the temperatures are warming, which means the summer months are just within reach in the Pacific Northwest! Take a book or two along as you and your kiddos head to the park or the beach. You’ll satisfy the curiosity of those little scientists and enhance your family’s appreciation for our astounding natural world. Just take care to keep those library books from falling into Puget Sound!

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak
Recommended for ages 2+
Revel in the warm glow of these stunning illustrations as you and your child read about summer’s gradual transition to autumn. The main character chats easily with the elements and creatures of the natural world, creating a sense of friendliness and compassion between humans and nature.

Where’s the Elephant? by Barroux
Recommended for ages 3+
Starting out as a colorful seek-and-find expedition for kids, this book transforms into a unique visual explanation of deforestation and its effects on wildlife as our main characters are forced to occupy smaller and smaller natural habitats.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad
Recommended for ages 4+
Dip your toe into some poetry this summer with this lyrical collection—a treat for any season. The bite-sized poems and charming illustrations will satisfy your cravings for beautiful language throughout the year. Here’s a taste: “if you want to be sure / that you are nothing more than small / stand at the edge of the ocean / looking out.”

Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story by Susanne Slade, illustrated by Jessica Lanan
Recommended for ages 5+
Anna Comstock was a trailblazer in the natural sciences during the late nineteenth century, a time when women didn’t become scientists and children were taught to dissociate themselves from the environment. She blended her passion for nature with artistic talent to produce detailed illustrations of flora and fauna, advocating for nature education for generations to come.

Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles by Philippe Cousteau & Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Meilo So
Recommended for ages 5+
Written by environmental activist Philippe Cousteau, the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, and acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson, this empowering story follows a young changemaker who sets out to educate her community about the local population of loggerhead turtles.

Planet Earth II (DVD)
Recommended for ages 6+
If you’re faced with a dreary afternoon this summer break, have no fear! Take some time inside to watch the BBC’s newest documentary installment, Planet Earth II. This breathtaking visual spectacle ventures into Earth’s remote habitats and explores the technological breakthroughs that made the series possible.

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
Recommended for ages 7+
Step out of the green, lush Pacific Northwest and into the arid, rocky landscape of the Grand Canyon. Learn about the magnificent biodiversity and resilience of the plants and animals that call this geologic wonder their home. Add this to the many other outstanding narrative nonfiction books by author and illustrator, Jason Chin.

Curious Kids Nature Guide: Explore the Amazing Outdoors of the Pacific Northwest by Fiona Cohen, illustrated by Marni Fylling
Recommended for ages 7+
As you enjoy the much-anticipated warmer months of the Pacific Northwest, cultivate your inner naturalist by learning about the unique habitats of this region: forest, beach, fresh water, and backyards and urban parks. The scientific illustrations are striking, as are the facts about our environment.

The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk by Jan Thornhill
Recommended for ages 7+
The Great Auk was a magnificent bird native to the North Atlantic that went extinct due to its struggles to evolve defenses against mounting challenges from predators, climate change, and unchecked human hunting. This fascinating, yet difficult story is infused with hope in that the extinction of the Great Auk spurred the modern conservation efforts that we know today.

~ posted by Ashley B.

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