Eleven new children’s books on the theme of Birdy and nature

Storybooks transport us and help us appreciate the world in a new way at any age. These recent illustrated children’s books on birds, plants and natural systems will bring the wonders of the outdoors to life for children and parents.

Many of these stories share big ideas in accessible ways, like neighborhoods coming together to create a welcoming habitat for birds, or people coming together to protect water resources. Others take readers on exciting adventures across the globe, from the journey of a dandelion seed across continents to the grueling migration of a ruby-throated hummingbird. All are sure to entertain and inform young readers while taking them on new adventures.

Monty and Rose Nest in Montrose

By Tamima Itani / Illustrated by Anna-Maria Crum

(Tamima Itani, Monty and Rose, LLC, 2021; 32 pages; 2 to 8 years)

This imaginary story about a pair of Windy City nesting birds takes readers on the couple’s journey to parenthood. Author Tamima Itani was inspired by two real-life piping plovers who rose to fame in 2019 when they nestled in Montrose Harbor in Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan. It was the first time that a pair of near-endangered species successfully nested in the city in seven decades. The event inspired a documentary, numerous articles, a loyal following and, now, a children’s book. Itani names the birds in his story Monty and Rose after their breeding grounds, and depicts both struggles and successes in a sweet story that will captivate a younger generation of bird watchers.

Buy it from Plovermother.

Lali’s feather

By Farhana Zia / Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

(Peachtree, 2020; 32 pages; ages 3 to 6)

A found object can be a miraculous thing. In this picture book illustrated with eye-catching pinks, yellows and greens, a lost feather sends Lali, a little girl from an Indian village, on a journey to find the bird to which she belongs. Does the feathered rooster belong? of the peacock? Crows? Lali asks three birds about their feathers, then shows three others what her own can do. Peacock feathers make it chic, crow feathers make it fast. Meanwhile, Lali shows the wild and domestic birds she encounters how she can write in the sand, sweep the ground, and stir up a fire. The mystery of the feather holds Lali’s attention until it flies away. But don’t worry: she soon finds another interesting item on the floor and sets out on another quest.

Buy it on Bookshop.org.

The little dandelion sows the world

By Julia Richardson / Illustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell

(Sleeping Bear Press, 2021; 40 pages; ages 3 to 6)

How far can the seeds of a flower travel? Everywhere, according to this charming book of tales about dandelions. A seed blown by a little girl travels across Africa, drifting from continent to continent in this story of breezes, birds and mammals that help carry the seeds. The dandelion flutters, tumbles and sails to the ground before “taking root” and “sending a shoot”, phrases repeated throughout the story. The iconic animals of each new place and the rhythmic language of the story will make readers want to turn the page. Plus, the story is based on a true premise: The abundant dandelion flower has found its way all over the world, including on South Georgia Island, near Antarctica.

Buy it on Bookshop.org.

We are water protectors

By Carole Lindstrom / Illustrated by Michaela Goade

(Roaring Brook Press, 2020; 40 pages; ages 3 to 6)

Water is a sacred resource that runs through us all, as the blue-hued illustrations in this award-winning book by Caldecott show us. A Native American story tells the story of a black snake that will threaten the water that gives us life. This creature from a long-ago prophecy is interpreted as the Dakota Access Pipeline in this tale written by Carole Lindstrom of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, and beautifully illustrated by Michaela Goade, a member of the Central Council of the Tlingit Indian Tribes. and Haida. from Alaska. The people who fought to keep the pipeline from crossing the Missouri River are still here, the book explains, and this story captures the minds of those who continue to stand up for nature.

Buy it on Bookshop.org.

Outside in

By Deborah Underwood / Illustrated by Cindy Derby

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020; 40 pages; ages 4 to 7)

“Outside” is her own character in this story about the irresistible attraction of the natural world. A little girl in a red shirt struggles with the inside, until Outside reminds her that he’s still there, waiting with treasures. Just through the girl’s window, butterflies flash in their vivid colors, birds, chirps and tapping, and smells float in the air, scenes illustrated with whimsical watercolors. And the creatures that live outside sometimes come in, seeking shelter or riding our food. The interplay between the two worlds on the pages is sure to intrigue young readers, helping them see how one setting relates to the other.

Buy it on Bookshop.org.

A garden to save birds

By Wendy McClure / Illustrated by Beatriz Mayumi

(Albert Whitman, 2021; 32 pages; ages 4 to 8)

Children can influence change, and this informative story about a family’s efforts to help birds is sure to inspire children to take action in real life. In A garden to save birds, Emmy and Callum hear a bird flying in their window. Fortunately, he is unharmed, but their mother tells them that many birds are not so lucky. Inspired, the siblings set out to transform their neighborhood into a bird paradise. They turn off their lights at night to avoid disturbing migrating birds, make a bird feeder with a pumpkin, and even convince a neighbor to keep their cat inside. Over the months, they find that their work also helps insects and plants. Eventually, the whole community comes together and the neighborhood becomes a certified wildlife habitat filled with birdbaths, feeders and brush piles that invite birds to come and nest.

Buy it on Bookshop.org.

bird boy

By Matthew Burgess / Illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani

(Knopf Books for Young Adults, 2021; 32 pages; ages 4 to 8)

Going to a new school can be scary, but being creative and kind can help us trust ourselves, a lesson from Matthew Burgess bird boy teaches readers. Nico, the new kid, first moves away from the children huddled and whispering in the playground. Instead, he decides to sit in the grass with the sun on his face, and he befriends the birds around him. This earned Nico the nickname Bird Boy, a nickname he embraces. Soon he imagines himself as a diving penguin, a soaring pelican and a calling macaw at dusk. He makes a friend, then another, who appreciates Nico’s boundless imagination and joins him in all the fun that bird watching offers.

Buy it on Bookshop.org.

Blue floats away

By Travis Jonker / Illustrated by Grant Snider

(Harry N. Abrams, 2021; 40 pages; ages 4 to 8)

Little Blue, an iceberg, one day separates from his parents unexpectedly. As he travels across the ocean, he sees new things, like sailboats and a lighthouse, and discovers the wind and currents that will help him get home. Before he gets there, however, he melts, transforming from his old self into something entirely different. Although he is different, he is not gone. Through the Little Blue experience, told simply with illustrations of vivid blues and contrasting oranges reminiscent of the artwork of the late Eric Carle, readers learn how the water cycle works. Through the adventures of Little Blue, readers develop an appreciation for how water changes as it moves through the environment.

Buy it on Bookshop.org.


By Andrea Wang / Illustrated by Jason Chin

(Neal Porter Books, 2021; 32 pages; ages 4 to 8)

What could researching plants tell us about our history? In this story, inspired by the childhood experiences of author Andrea Wang, the answer is: “A lot.

At first, when a family stops to pick wild watercress by a roadside in Ohio, their children are embarrassed. Children wonder why they help their parents collect plants that grow in the mud that crushes their toes instead of going to the grocery store. Later, when the family cooks the watercress with garlic and sprinkles it with sesame seeds, the little girl does not want to eat the unfamiliar food. But then her mother shares memories of the Great Famine in China, when the family relied on anything they could find, and it still wasn’t enough. The story makes the little girl feel differently about what she has on her plate and together her family creates a new memory. Illustrated with pastels painted with Chinese and Western brushes, this book will inspire readers to consider the plants that grow around us and the food cultures that help shape our identities.

Buy it on Bookshop.org.

The great spaces of Fatima

By Ambreen Tariq / Illustrated by Stevie Lewis

(Kokila, 2021; 40 pages, 4 to 8 years old)

Fatima has had a rough week at school: her classmates wrinkle her noses when she eats her lunch and tease her about the way she says certain words. But her family’s weekend camping trip to a state park turns out to be the perfect antidote. Fatima helps her father set up the tent and the family tells stories about India around the campfire. Wwritten by Ambreen Tariq, founder of Brown People Camping, a group that promotes diversity in the outdoors, The great spaces of Fatima is an inspiring reminder that parks are for everyone and that being outdoors can help us build the confidence to overcome our fears.

Buy it on Bookshop.org.

Tiny Bird: the incredible journey of a hummingbird

By Robert Burleigh / Illustrated by Wendell Minor

(Henry Holt and Company, 2020; 40 pages; ages 5 to 9)

Bird migration is dangerous, and this fictional tale of Tiny Bird, a ruby-throated hummingbird, shows us just how dangerous the 1,500 mile journey can be. Written in poetic prose, the story weaves together facts about the species while detailing the perilous and thrilling journeys of a bird. As summer turns into fall, Tiny Bird sips nectar from the flowers, preparing for its journey northeast, through the Gulf of Mexico, and to its final winter destination: the rainforests of Central America. It evades stares high in the sky, eats insects, and escapes a hunting falcon. Crossing the gulf, it escapes hungry fish and survives storms. Will he succeed? You will be cheering on Tiny Bird to the end.

Buy it on Bookshop.org.

About Karren Campbell

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