When you can’t get out and about, there’s nothing better than escaping into a good book.
World Book Day was created by UNESCO in 1995 to celebrate books and encourage children to develop a love of reading. It is marked in over 100 countries around the globe.
From Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969) to Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963) , or Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea (1968) many of us remember classic stories from our childhood, or books we have read aloud to our own children.
Here are some of our favourite nature and wildlife books to inspire young readers this World Book Day.
1.Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright!: An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year
National Trust Poetry Collections – Hardback
by Fiona Waters (Author) and Britta Teckentrup (Illustrator)
This lavishly illustrated gift book treasury of 366 animal poems – one for every day of the year – ranges from unforgettable classics to contemporary works from around the world, including poetry in translation. The spectacular range of poems for children includes work by Roger McGough, William Blake, Dick King-Smith, Ted Hughes, Grace Nichols, Lewis Carroll, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson.
Britta Teckentrup’s breathtaking illustrations bring together all the richness and wonder of the animal kingdom, making this poetry anthology a perfect gift that will be treasured by generations. With sumptuous finishes including cloth binding, full colour illustrations throughout, textured paper jacket, ribbon marker, and head and tail bands. The perfect gift for any child or adult to treasure.
2.A Wild Child’s Guide to Endangered Animals
By Millie Marotta (Author)
What do the ingenious sea otter, the incredible shrinking reindeer, the tree-dwelling baby dragon or the Dodo’s long-lost cousin have in common? They are all at risk of disappearing from our world forever. This book is all about the amazing creatures that are now endangered around the globe, from oceans and forests to mountains and snow. Filled with beautiful beasts, glorious illustrations, facts and tales, it will make you fall in love with the animal kingdom – and maybe even try to save it.
3.This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate: 50 Ways to Cut Pollution, Speak Up and Protect Our Planet!
Isabel Thomas (Author) and Alex Paterson (Illustrator)
Discover how YOU can cut greenhouse gases and tread more lightly on the planet. Become an eco-warrior, not an eco-worrier, with 50 PRACTICAL TIPS to really make a difference!
Our planet is in peril and it needs your help! But the good news is that there are loads of easy ways that you can make a difference. From lift-sharing to switching body sprays, there are so many things you can do to help fight climate change. Complete with myth-busting boxes and counter arguments to put climate-deniers in their place, this is a one-stop guide to transform eco-worried kids into eco-activists. Funny, engaging, practical and timely, it’s the ideal book to help readers navigate the world in the greenest possible way, and to really make a difference.
4.Greta Thunberg – Little People, BIG DREAMS
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Author) and Anke Weckmann (Illustrator)
In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the inspiring true story of Greta Thunberg, the environmental activist.
When young Greta learned of the climate crisis, she stopped talking. She couldn’t understand why people in power were not doing anything to save our Earth. One day she started protesting outside the Swedish Parliament, creating the ‘School Strike for Climate’. Soon, lots more young people joined her in a global movement that shook adults and politicians alike. She had found her voice and uses it to inspire humans to action with her powerful message: “No one is too small to make a difference.” This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the climate activist’s life.
5. The Lost Spells
Robert Macfarlane (Author) and Jackie Morris (Author)
The unmissable sequel to bestselling, award-winning, multi-adaptation hit The Lost Words.
Kindred in spirit to The Lost Words but intriguingly new in form, pocket-sized gem The Lost Spells introduces another beautiful set of spell-poems and artwork by formidable creative duo Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.
As in The Lost Words, these “spells” take their subjects from relatively commonplace, and yet underappreciated, animals, birds, trees and flowers — from Barn Owl to Red Fox, Grey Seal to Silver Birch, Jay to Jackdaw. But they break out of the triptych format of The Lost Words, finding new shapes, new spaces and new voices with which to conjure.
Written to be read aloud, painted in brushstrokes that call to the forest, field, riverbank and also to the heart, The Lost Spells summons back what is often lost from sight and care, and inspires protection and action on behalf of the natural world. Above all, it celebrates a sense of wonder, bearing witness to nature’s power to amaze, console and bring joy.
6. Sky Dancer
Gill Lewis (Author)
Joe has always loved the moorlands above his home: the wildness, the freedom, the peace. But since his father died, everything has changed, and the moors are no longer a place of refuge. Now the whole community is divided over the fate of the hen harriers that nest up there in the heather – and Joe is stuck right in the middle, with a choice to make, and a huge secret to keep. Joe can’t do what’s right for everyone. But can he find the strength to fight for what he really believes in? Expert storyteller Gill Lewis presents a beautiful tale of loss, expectation, and change – with an important and thought-provoking environmental message.
7. Funny Bums, Freaky Beaks: and Other Incredible Creature Features
Alex Morss (Author), Sean Taylor (Author) and Sarah Edmonds (Illustrator)
A delightful compendium of all the most unusual and unexpected features in the animal kingdom, from puzzling toes to weird ears, and all the other body parts in between! These creatures have strange features – but they all serve a very useful purpose!
This charming and visually appealing book carries the underlying message that everybody and everything is strange and wonderful in its own way – difference should be celebrated!
8. The Last Bear
Hannah Gold (Author) and Levi Pinfold (Illustrator)
There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that’s what April’s father tells her when his scientific research takes them to this remote Arctic outpost for six months. But one endless summer night, April meets one. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life…
This moving story will win the hearts of children the world over and show them that no one is too young or insignificant to make a difference. The Last Bear is a celebration of the love between a child and an animal, a battle cry for our world and an irresistible adventure with a heart as big as a bear’s.
Imagine making friends with a polar bear… The Last Bear is perfect for readers of 8+, beautifully illustrated throughout by Levi Pinfold – winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and illustrator of Harry Potter 20th anniversary edition covers.
9. Diary of a Young Naturalist
Dara McAnulty (Author)
Diary of a Young Naturalist chronicles the turning of 15-year-old Dara McAnulty’s world. From spring and through a year in his home patch in Northern Ireland, Dara spent the seasons writing. These vivid, evocative and moving diary entries about his connection to wildlife and the way he sees the world are raw in their telling.
“I was diagnosed with Asperger’s/autism aged five … By age seven I knew I was very different, I had got used to the isolation, my inability to break through into the world of talking about football or Minecraft was not tolerated. Then came the bullying. Nature became so much more than an escape; it became a life-support system.”
Diary of a Young Naturalist portrays Dara’s intense connection to the natural world, and his perspective as a teenager juggling exams and friendships alongside a life of campaigning. “In writing this book,” Dara explains, “I have experienced challenges but also felt incredible joy, wonder, curiosity and excitement. In sharing this journey my hope is that people of all generations will not only understand autism a little more but also appreciate a child’s eye view on our delicate and changing biosphere.”
10. A First Book of Nature
Nicola Davies (Author) and Mark Hearld (Illustrator)
An exquisite book that evokes a child’s first experience of nature.
From beachcombing to stargazing, from watching squirrels, ducks and worms to making berry crumble or a winter bird feast, this is a remarkable book – part poetry, part scrapbook of recipes, facts and fragments – and a glorious reminder that the natural world is on our doorstep waiting to be discovered.
Mark Hearld’s pictures beautifully reproduce the colours of the seasons on woodfree paper, and Nicola Davies’ lyrical words capture the simple loveliness that is everywhere, if only we can look.
Emily Gravett (Author)
From the creator of Meerkat Mail and Dogs, comes a very funny rhyming woodland story about the perils of being too tidy.
Pete the badger likes everything to be neat and tidy at all times, but what starts as the collecting of one fallen leaf escalates and ends with the complete destruction of the forest! Will Pete realise the error of his ways and set things right?
Lush foliage and delightful characters abound in this cautionary tale of overenthusiastic neatness that delivers its message of environmental preservation with subtlety and humour. The freshness of the illustrations and the many comic details make this a very special book. Once you enter this forest, you’ll never want to leave.
Emily Gravett’s engaging woodland creatures will appeal to fans of such classics as The Animals of Farthing Wood and The Wind in the Willows and the rhythmic, rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud.
Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski (Authors)
Explore the world with this lavish book of maps. This collection of 52 highly illustrated maps details not only geographical features and political borders, but also places of interest, iconic personalities, native animals and plants, local peoples, cultural events, and many more fascinating facts associated with each region.
This book is a celebration of the world, from its immense mountains to its tiny insects – and everything in between!
Book listings and cover images as provided by the publisher.