It’s holiday gift giving season and we have some great nature themed children’s book ideas for you to give to the children in your life, whether their your own, or grandchildren, nieces or nephews, or children of your friends.

32% of our local (Rockford) third graders are at or above reading level expected for that age. You can play a role in increasing literacy when you read a book to a child.

We recommend the following children’s nature themed books.

Plant a Pocket of Prairie

Author Phyllis Root, Illustrator Betsy Bowen

“Plant a Pocket of Prairie teaches children how changes in one part of the system affect every other part: when prairie plants are destroyed, the animals who eat those plants and live on or around them are harmed as well. Root shows what happens when we work to restore the prairies, encouraging readers to ‘plant a pocket of prairie’ in their own backyards….With Betsy Bowen’s beautiful, airy illustrations capturing the feel of an open prairie and all its inhabitants, readers of all ages will be inspired to start planting seeds and watching for the many fascinating animals their plants attract. What a marvelous transformation could take place if we all planted a pocket of prairie!”


Trout Are Made of Trees

By April Pulley Sayre, Illustrated by Kate Endle

“How can a leaf become a fish? Join two young children and their dads to find out, as they observe life in and around a stream. Energetic collage art and simple, lyrical text depict the ways plants and animals are connected in the food web. Back matter provides information about the trout life cycle as well as conservation efforts that kids can do themselves. A Junior Library Guild selection.”

Find more book recommendations by NLI staff, Trustees, and volunteers at this link:


One North Star.

This is Alan Branhagen’s (NLI Executive Director) favorite. He said “it is written for Minnesota, the North Star State – a counting book using the nature of Minnesota starting with one moose on a lake under one north star and going up to 10 of all sorts of nature with never repeating an adjective… it’s beautiful!” U of Minnesota Press’ website says, “Five toads hop, four brook trout swim, three elk graze, two loons call, and one beaver gnaws on a paper birch tree, all under one North Star.” Read more about it and buy it here:



Mélusine: Birds of Many Feathers.

This book was suggested by NLI member, Juliet Moderow, who wrote a review of the book. See it at the end of this page. We’re promoting giving a nature themed book to a child in your life this week because 32% of our local (Rockford) third graders are at or above reading level expected for that age. When you give a book to a child in your life, go a step further and read it with them as a way to help improve their reading skills. We know you will benefit from it just as much as them. You can buy the book here  or at your local bookstore.


The Lorax

By Dr. Suess

This is a classic story that teaches children the importance of protecting nature. “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.” Dr. Seuss’s beloved story teaches kids to treat the planet with kindness and stand up and speak up for others. Experience the beauty of the Truffula Trees and the danger of taking our earth for granted in a story that is timely, playful, and hopeful. The book’s final pages teach us that just one small seed, or one small child, can make a difference.



There are so many more wonderful children’s books out there. We encourage you to find one that fits your interests best, especially a nature themed book, and read it to a child in your life, or all of the children in your life!

Give a gift that inspires literacy and the love of nature.

Book Review: Mélusine: Birds of Many Feathers

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