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60+ wildlife and nature books for children and teenagers

Reading nature books with children is a great way to encourage an interest in wildlife. Books can introduce new species, places, words and concepts, and it's a great way to spend time together as a family.

Father and daughter reading in bedroom. © MoMo Productions/Getty

From picture books about bats or microscopic species, to guides about climate change and celebrating environmentalists, there’s a wide range of amazing titles being published for children.

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As discussed by Chae Strathie in his feature, animals are synonymous with children’s literature. “I’m far from alone in being introduced to both books and animals from a very early age – and more often than not the two go hand in paw,” he says. “Along with cuddly toys and family pets, books are often a child’s first introduction to wildlife. ”

If you’re looking for more reviews, check out our guides to books on mental health, mindfulness and connecting with nature, gifts for nature lovers, the best wildlife-themed games, and podcasts on wildlife and nature.


Wild City

By Ben Hoare, illustrated by Lucy Rose. Published by Pan Macmillan.

  • Published: 2020
  • Formats: Hardback (£12.99), and paperback due out in September 2021 (£12.99)
  • Age range: 7-11 years

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Wild City cover

Did you know that moose are on the loose in Anchorage, Alaska or that giant orca live along the coast in Vancouver, Canada? We naturally think about towns as places for people but many animals are happy to live close to our doorsteps, too. Wild City introduces some of the magnificent wildlife among us every single day.

Wild City spread

Interesting facts give explanations of how different urban settings help animals thrive – you’ll find out why Cape Town’s weather attracts lots of sea life, and where reptiles like to hang out in Bangkok – while detailed illustrations will leave you with an impression of what these global cities feel like overall. The countryside is welcoming for its own finds, but Wild City shows us that you don’t have to leave town to discover the cool wildlife around.

Reviewed by Zakiya Mckenzie, writer


The Lost Spells

By Robert Macfarlane. Illustrated by Jackie Morris. Published by Hamish Hamilton.

  • Published: 2020
  • Formats: Hardback (£14.99)
  • Age range: 5 years and above

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The Lost Spells cover

Take a deep well of love for the more-than-human world, throw in sorrow at what we have lost, fury at what we might yet lose, and stir well. The magic that conjured up The Lost Words three years ago is back, this time in pocket- sized form. Many publishers have tried to replicate the feel of that beautiful bestseller, but once again, Macfarlane’s impish wordplay and Morris’s sensuous paintings prove to be a class apart – a match made in heaven.

The Lost Spells artwork

With their chanting rhythms and tongue-twistery, the 21 new nature poems (or ‘spells’) demand to be read aloud and shared, entrancing young children as surely as grown-ups. Some fill a spread, while others dance and sing over eight pages, all bookended by beguiling, gilded scenes… shape-shifting foxes, fluttering moths, slippery seals, life-giving silver birches. This book is bound to appear under many Christmas trees, for both children and adults.

Reviewed by Ben Hoare, editorial consultant, BBC Wildlife Magazine


The Brilliant Book of Animal Bones

By Anna Claybourne. Published by Hatchette.

  • Published: 2020
  • Formats: Hardback (£12.99), and paperback due out in October 2021 (£8.99)
  • Age range: 8-11 years

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The Brilliant Book of Animal Bones cover

Take a peek inside the bodies of humans and other animals in this fascinating guide to skeletons. Beginning with an introduction to what exactly bones are, and the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates, this book takes a look at a range of species, the differences between them, and how their skeletons are adapted for their lives. For example, did you know that despite having such a long neck, giraffes have only seven neck bones, the same number as humans, and most other mammals? Though they are, of course, much larger – up to 25cm!