Sharing picture books about nature gets kids talking about their experiences outdoors and encourages them to try new ones. There are so many great topics to explore and connections to learning standards too! Here are some picture books about nature worth checking out for your classroom collection.
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1. If I Were a Tree by Andrea Zimmerman
What would you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell if you were a tree? Get kids wondering with this fun five-senses-themed title.
Buy it: If I Were a Tree at Amazon
2. Stick by Irene Dickson
There’s nothing better than spending time outdoors and finding a “good stick” along the way. Encourage kids’ imaginations to roam along with the boy in this story about all the fun a simple stick can provide.
Buy it: Stick at Amazon
3. Wonder Walkers by Micha Archer
This is one of the best picture books about nature to jump-start a no-prep outdoor learning adventure. The kids in this story pose curious questions about everything they see as they walk. Read it and head outside for a class “wonder walk.”
Buy it: Wonder Walkers at Amazon
4. What’s in Your Pocket? Collecting Nature’s Treasures by Heather L. Montgomery
We all know (or were!) a kid who loves to stuff their pockets full of nature items. This engaging nonfiction title introduces famous scientists who got their start doing just that. Great for introducing habits of scientists.
Buy it: What’s in Your Pocket? Collecting Nature’s Treasures at Amazon
5. The Hike by Alison Farrell
Three adventurous kids are off on a hike, each with their own style. Hattie leads the way, Wren documents everything in her sketchbook, and El brings the cheerful energy. Add this to your picture books about enjoying nature in your own way.
Buy it: The Hike at Amazon
6. If You Find a Leaf by Aimée Sicuro
Give us all the picture books about nature that celebrate fall, please. In this gorgeous title, a child imagines everything a leaf could be, from a hat to a hot-air balloon to a superhero’s cape. So many fun art-project possibilities.
Buy it: If You Find a Leaf at Amazon
7. Over and Under Series by Kate Messner
We’ve loved this unique and fascinating series since its first titles, Over and Under the Snow and Over and Under the Pond. Paddle across—and dive into—the ocean in the newest title.
Buy it: Over and Under the Waves at Amazon
8. Uncle John’s City Garden by Bernette G. Ford
Kids from the suburbs help their uncle build a community garden on an abandoned city lot. Add this to your picture books about nature in urban settings. The illustrations are stunning!
Buy it: Uncle John’s City Garden at Amazon
9. Home: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup
The artful Peek-Through Picture Book series offers some of our longtime favorite picture books about nature for reading aloud—especially to small groups of kids, so they can get up close to marvel over all the cut-out pages. This newest title stars a bear family walking through the forest, noticing animal homes throughout the seasons.
Buy it: Home: A Peek-Through Picture Book at Amazon
10. How To Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside by Kari Percival
Let’s teach kids how to notice and appreciate little details outdoors. This trip through the gardening season with an enthusiastic group of kiddos can spark so many conversations about how your students can be safe and have fun while observing and interacting with nature in your schoolyard.
Buy it: How To Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside at Amazon
11. Nature Is an Artist by Jennifer Lavallee
Oooh! Picture books about nature that directly lead to student art projects are the best. Each spread shows an example of how nature creates art: “painting” the sunrise, creating a “collage” of fallen leaves, “sculpting” with sand, and more.
Buy it: Nature Is an Artist at Amazon
12. The Night Walk by Marie Dorléans
The best picture books about nature have the power to take our breath away. A family wakes up in the middle of the night and hikes through town, and then the sleeping forest. Where are they going? The ending is one of nature’s best daily surprises: the dawn of a new day.
(Psst: Pair this with the classic winter nature walk title Owl Moon by Jane Yolen for a perfect compare-and-contrast lesson!)
Buy it: The Night Walk at Amazon
13. Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know: Niibing, dgwaagig, bboong, mnookmig dbaadjigaade maanpii mzin’igning / A Book About the Seasons by Brittany Luby
How do you know each new season is here? This bilingual story-poem celebrates the Ojibwe language and seasonal observations of plants, animals, and weather in the Great Lakes region. It’s repeating lines are ideal for inspiring a class book about signs of the seasons in nature where you live.
Buy it: Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know at Amazon
14. Berry Song by Michaela Goade
This is one of the most gorgeous picture books about nature we’ve seen. A girl and her grandmother pick berries across different seasons. They find joy in each other, nature, and honoring Tlingit traditions.
Buy it: Berry Song at Amazon
15. The Mystery of the Monarchs by Barb Rosenstock
Fred Urquhart asked as a kid, “Where do monarchs go in the winter?” He made it his life’s work to find out. Use this captivating narrative nonfiction to introduce kids to citizen science and build appreciation for this endangered species.
Buy it: The Mystery of the Monarchs at Amazon
16. Copycat: Nature-Inspired Design Around the World by Christy Hale
Did you know road reflectors were inspired by cat eyes in the dark? Introduce kids to the fascinating concept of biomimicry, design that imitates nature. Tanka poems, wow-worthy photos, and interesting back matter provide tons of info. Find lots of follow-up activities on the author’s website too.
Buy it: Copycat: Nature-Inspired Design Around the World at Amazon
17. Celia Planted a Garden: The Story of Celia Thaxter and Her Island Garden by Phyllis Root and Gary D. Schmidt
The connection between nature and creativity is so powerful. This biography introduces kids to writer, painter, and gardener Celia Thaxter. Melissa Sweet’s unique illustrations are some of our favorites.
Buy it: Celia Planted a Garden at Amazon
18. Headstrong Hallie! The Story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the First Female “Fire Guard” by Aimée Bissonette
This biography profiles an unsung hero who dedicated her life to protecting nature. Hallie Daggett broke gender barriers to become the first woman to work as a forest fire lookout for the US Forest Service in the late 1800s.
Buy it: Headstrong Hallie! The Story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the First Female “Fire Guard” at Amazon
19. The Secret Signs of Nature: How To Uncover Hidden Clues in the Sky, Water, Plants, Animals, and Weather by Craig Caudill
Do you know how to decipher the color of the ocean or forecast the weather by watching a butterfly, or even a herd of sheep? Kids and adults will both learn lots of cool facts about everything nature can tell us if we pause and look. This is a good one for teaching main idea and supporting details too.
Buy it: The Secret Signs of Nature at Amazon
20. The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
We love this story about community, stewardship, and spreading joy.
Buy it: The Curious Garden at Amazon
21. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
This classic never fails to inspire us to “do something to make the world more beautiful.”
Buy it: Miss Rumphius at Amazon
22. The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry
Raise students’ awareness about the perils of deforestation and give them hope that one voice can make a difference.
Buy it: The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rainforest at Amazon
23. A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History by Lynne Cherry
This detailed history of the Nashua River in Massachusetts has so many directions to explore.
Buy it: A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History at Amazon
24. Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg
A dream shows kids the terrible possibilities if we don’t take care of our planet. This is a great classroom conversation starter.
Buy it: Just a Dream at Amazon