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*CCPL Staff picks are chosen by CCPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We’d love to hear your ideas too, so write to us and tell us what you’d recommend!*

Check out CCPL’s recommendations for some great books on Nature from Hoopla. These publications were chosen for their quality of content and accessibility in digital format – so you do not have to leave home to enjoy these great reads!

Nature All Around: Bugs by Pamela Hickman, Carolyn Gavin

Part of the “Nature All Around” series

A fascinating introduction to the bugs all around us.

There are twice as many insects in the world as all other animals combined. They’re everywhere … if we know where to look! This beautifully illustrated book introduces young readers to ants, honey bees, dragonflies and more! It covers their basic body parts, life cycles and habitats. It explains which bugs can be found in each of the four seasons, and where. And it includes a beginner’s bug-watching guide with a series of questions to help kids identify insects in their communities.

New and longtime insect-watchers will be buzzing for this one!

Nature All Around: Plants by Pamela Hickman, Carolyn Gavin

Part of the “Nature All Around” series

The perfect introduction to plants.

From crowded cities to open prairies, deserts to wetlands, plants grow everywhere! This comprehensive introduction will open children’s eyes to the plants that surround them and their importance to all of our lives. First, it explores plant parts, life cycles and growing zones. Then it brings children up close to nature by taking them on a season-by-season tour of what plants are doing throughout the year. And for hands-on experience, there’s an interactive Q&A guide to help plant sleuths identify what they’ve spotted.

Sure to inspire budding naturalists to stop and observe the wonders growing all around them!

The Secret Wisdom of Nature: Trees, Animals, and the Extraordinary Balance of All Living Things – Stories from Science and Observation by Peter Wohlleben

Part 3 of “The Mysteries of Nature Trilogy” series

The final book in The Mysteries of Nature trilogy by the New York Times bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben.

Nature is full of surprises: deciduous trees affect the rotation of the Earth, cranes sabotage the production of Iberian ham, and coniferous forests can make it rain. But what are the processes that drive these incredible phenomena? And why do they matter?

In The Secret Wisdom of Nature, master storyteller and international sensation Peter Wohlleben takes readers on a thought-provoking exploration of the vast natural systems that make life on Earth possible. In this tour of an almost unfathomable world, Wohlleben describes the fascinating interplay between animals and plants and answers such questions as:

  • How do they influence each other?
  • Do lifeforms communicate across species boundaries?
  • And what happens when this finely tuned system gets out of sync?

By introducing us to the latest scientific discoveries and recounting his own insights from decades of observing nature, one of the world’s most famous foresters shows us how to recapture our sense of awe so we can see the world around us with completely new eyes.

The Natural Navigator: The Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature Be Your Guide by Tristan Gooley

Part of “The Natural Navigation” series

Before GPS, before the compass, and even before cartography, humankind was navigating. Now this singular guide helps us rediscover what our ancestors long understood-that a windswept tree, the depth of a puddle, or a trill of birdsong can help us find our way, if we know what to look and listen for. Adventurer and navigation expert Tristan Gooley unlocks the directional clues hidden in the sun, moon, stars, clouds, weather patterns, lengthening shadows, changing tides, plant growth, and the habits of wildlife. Rich with navigational anecdotes collected across ages, continents, and cultures, The Natural Navigator will help keep you on course and open your eyes to the wonders, large and small, of the natural world.

The Joy of Nature Photography: 101 Tips to Improve Your Outdoor Photos by Steve Price

Part of the “Joy of” series

The best tips anyone can use to take better outdoor pictures.

Nature and the outdoors provide us with exceptional beauty year-round. Now, author and professional photographer Steve Price has put together a collection of tips, tricks, and pointers for any photographer-amateur or pro-to take and develop excellent outdoor and wilderness photos. The Joy of Nature Photography is an informative, entertaining, and easy-to-understand book that will help you take your best nature pictures, no matter where you are.

Broken into eleven chapters, this book combines technical know-how and real-life examples to offer tips that cover all the basics of photography. Each tip is carefully explained, and every chapter features stunning photos by the author to demonstrate particular methods. The Joy of Nature Photography will help anyone hone their skills as an outdoor photographer, and it provides experienced wisdom on topics such as:

  • Choosing your equipment
  • Composing your image
  • Shooting with a smartphone
  • Special wildlife photography techniques
  • And more!

From taking photos of leopards in Africa to grizzlies in Alaska, and from using the latest zoom lens to snapping a quick pic with your phone, The Joy of Nature Photography will give you the tools and knowledge you can use to capture the beauty of the wilderness and wildlife you love.

Nature All Around: Birds by Pamela Hickman, Carolyn Gavin

Part of the “Nature All Around” series

The perfect resource for budding bird-watchers.

Because birds can be found in every neighborhood, and in all seasons, they’re an excellent choice for piquing children’s interest in wildlife. Here’s a comprehensive guide to birds that makes the perfect starting point. Beautiful pages explore many different bird species and their fascinating and unique characteristics, from feathers to eggs and nests. A year in the life of birds explains what to look for, season by season. And the beginning bird-watcher section helps kids get started in the field.

Birds of a feather? More like, birds of every feather here! Kids will be grabbing their binoculars to spot them all around!

The Big Book Of Nature Activities: A Year-Round Guide To Outdoor Learning by Jacob Rodenburg, Drew Monkman

The average child can identify over one thousand corporate logos, but only ten native plants or animals-a telling indictment of our modern disconnection from nature. Soaring levels of obesity, high rates of ADHD, feelings of stress and social awkwardness, and “Nature Deficit Disorder” are further unintended consequences of a childhood spent primarily indoors. 

The Big Book of Nature Activities is a comprehensive guide for parents and educators to help youth of all ages explore, appreciate and connect with the natural world. This rich, fully illustrated compendium features: 

  • Nature-based skills and activities such as species identification, photography, journaling, and the judicious use of digital technology
  • Ideas, games, and activities grounded in what’s happening in nature each season
  • Core concepts that promote environmental literacy, such as climate change and the mechanisms and wonder of evolution, explained using a child-friendly, engaging approach
  • Lists of key species and happenings to observe throughout the year across most of North America… 

Perfect for families, educators, and youth leaders, The Big Book of Nature Activities is packed with crafts, stories, information and inspiration to make outdoor learning fun. Jacob Rodenburg is the Executive Director of the Camp Kawartha summer camp and outdoor education centre. As well as publishing numerous articles on children, nature and the environment, he has worked in the field of outdoor education for twenty-five years. Drew Monkman is an award-winning environmental advocate, naturalist, and retired teacher. In addition to his weekly nature column, Drew is the author of two season-based nature guides, including Nature’s Year.

Mountain Nature: A Seasonal Natural History of the Southern Appalachians by Jennifer Frick-Ruppert

The Southern Appalachians are home to a breathtakingly diverse array of living things–from delicate orchids to carnivorous pitcher plants, from migrating butterflies to flying squirrels, and from brawny black bears to more species of salamander than anywhere else in the world. Mountain Nature is a lively and engaging account of the ecology of this remarkable region. 

It explores the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachians and the webs of interdependence that connect them.Within the region’s roughly 35 million acres, extending from north Georgia through the Carolinas to northern Virginia, exists a mosaic of habitats, each fostering its own unique natural community. Stories of the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachians are intertwined with descriptions of the seasons, giving readers a glimpse into the interlinked rhythms of nature, from daily and yearly cycles to long-term geological changes. Residents and visitors to Great Smoky Mountains or Shenandoah National Parks, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or any of the national forests or other natural attractions within the region will welcome this appealing introduction to its ecological wonders.

Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World by Julia Rothman

Part of the “Julia Rothman” series

See the world in a whole new way! Acclaimed illustrator Julia Rothman combines art and science in this exciting and educational guide to the structure, function, and personality of the natural world. Explore the anatomy of a jellyfish, the inside of a volcano, monarch butterfly migration, how sunsets work, and much more. Rothman’s whimsical illustrations are paired with interactive activities that encourage curiosity and inspire you to look more closely at the world all around you.

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws

The ultimate guide to nature drawing and journaling! A potent combination of art, science, and boundless enthusiasm, the latest art instruction book from John Muir Laws (The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds) is a how-to guide for becoming a better artist and a more attentive naturalist. In straightforward text complemented by step-by-step illustrations, dozens of exercises lead the hand and mind through creating accurate reproductions of plants and animals as well as landscapes, skies, and more. Laws provides clear, practical advice for every step of the process for artists at every level, from the basics of choosing supplies to advanced techniques. While the book’s advice will improve the skills of already accomplished artists, the emphasis on seeing, learning, and feeling will make this book valuable – even revelatory – to anyone interested in the natural world, no matter how rudimentary their artistic abilities.