With the holiday season in full swing, SB&F is pleased to share with you our picks for science books that should put a smile on the faces of your friends and family. This year’s holiday gift guide focuses on coffee table books. These books provide not only stunning photographs and images but also provide great information about a variety of topics, from insects to the Grand Canyon.
The guide is divided into a couple sections. The first includes books for general audiences and has suggestions for books on intriguing topics like portraits of Earth’s great ecosystems to a heartfelt look at an elephant sanctuary.
The second is for those special children on your list and contains some beautiful and engaging science picture books.
Books for General Audiences
Baheux, Laurent. The Family Album of Wild Africa, Small Format Ed. TeNeues Publishing Group, 2017.
Africa's fauna is vast in number and rich in diversity. In this finely crafted collection, French photographer Laurent Baheux uses the medium of black-and-white photography to capture the intricate details of both the wondrous beasts and the magnificent settings in which they dwell.
Baheux, Laurent. Ice Is Black. TeNeues Publishing Group, 2017.
From majestic glaciers to vast frozen plains as far as the eye can see, ice is just as important to the world’s ecosystems as water, air, and trees. And yet its presence and vital role on Earth is increasingly threatened by the effects of global warming and population growth. Through breathtaking blackand-white images, Baheux captures the world’s most beautiful icy landscapes and the fascinating animals that inhabit them
Maloof, Joan, and Robert J Llewellyn. The Living Forest: A Visual Journey into the Heart of the Woods. Timber Press, 2017.
The Living Forest is a visual journey that immerses you deep into the woods. The wide-ranging photography by Robert Llewellyn celebrates the small and the large, the living and the dead, and the seen and the unseen. You’ll discover close-up images of owls, hawks, and turtles; aerial photographs that show herons in flight; and time-lapse imagery that reveals the slow change of leaves. In an ideal blend of art and scholarship, the 300 photographs are supported by essays from Joan Maloof detailing the science behind the wonder.
Mangelsen, Thomas D., and Jane Goodall. The Natural World: Portraits of Earth's Great Ecosystems. Universe Publishing, 2017.
Celebrated nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen takes the reader on a visual odyssey, from the wildebeest migration on the plains of the Serengeti to the penguins of Antarctica, from the grizzlies of Alaska to the frozen landscape of polar bears on Hudson Bay. Featuring excerpts from his journals detailing his experiences in the field, this book offers an intimate look into the natural world that has inspired artists, conservationists, and adventurers for centuries.
Moon, Beth. Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time. Abbeville Press Publishers, 2014.
The product of photographer Moon’s 14-year quest to photograph ancient trees includes images taken across the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The pictured trees include the tangled, hollow-trunked yews—some more than a thousand years old—that grow in English churchyards; the baobabs of Madagascar, called “upside-down trees” because of the curious disproportion of their giant trunks and modest branches; and the fantastical dragon’s-blood trees, red-sapped and umbrella-shaped, that grow only on the island of Socotra, off the Horn of Africa.
Nesbit, Charles. Insecta. TeNeues Publishing Group, 2017.
For every one human on Earth, there are two million insects, co-existing with us in daily life, largely unseen and unappreciated. Often deemed a nuisance when we do come across them, these tiny creatures are an indispensable life force, vital to the ecosystem and basic functioning of planet Earth. Equal parts discovery and entertainment, Insecta presents a spectacular array of super high-resolution, "hyper-real" color photographs of bugs and insects, magnified by 500% or more.
Sartore, Joel. The Photo Ark: One Man's Quest to Document the World's Animals. National Geographic, 2017.
The lush and unique photography in this book represents National Geographic's Photo Ark, a major initiative and lifelong project by photographer Joel Sartore to make portraits of the world's animals—especially those that are endangered. His powerful message, conveyed with humor, compassion, and art: to know these animals is to save them.
Schmeisser, Joachim. Elephants in Heaven. TeNeues Publishing Group, 2017.
Elephants have been hunted and killed for their ivory tusks since antiquity. And people often ignore the calves left behind, who must now live out their lives as traumatized and fearful orphans. Wildlife photographer Joachim Schmeisser made it his mission to document the story of these abandoned baby elephants. His book provides a visual record of how these traumatized elephants are raised in a place that is truly heavenly for them, offering a compelling, behind-the-scenes look inside an elephant nursery.
Unwin, Mike, and David Tipling. The Enigma of the Owl: An Illustrated Natural History. Baker & Taylor, 2017.
Perhaps no other creature has so compelling a gaze as the owl. Its unblinking stare mesmerizes; its nocturnal lifestyle suggests secrets and mystery. This lavishly illustrated book celebrates owls from every corner of the world and offers abundant details on fifty-three of the most striking and interesting species, from the tiny Elf Owl of southwestern American deserts to the formidable Blakiston’s Fish Owl, the largest of all owls.
Williams, Laura Crawford. Wildlife in Wild Lands: Photography for Conservation in Southern South America. My Wild Life Press, LLC., 2017.
Within the pages of this beautifully designed book, you will discover a breathtaking collection of images by award-winning wildlife and conservation photographer Laura Crawford Williams, taken during eight years of travel in the most remote areas of countries such as Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Brazil. The 244-page bilingual book is the first of its kind to assemble such a diverse collection of animals found within the Southern Cone, many unknown to the rest of the world.
Books for Children
Bang, Molly, and Penny Chisholm. Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water around the Earth. The Blue Sky Press, an Imprint of Scholastic Inc., 2017.
How does the sun keep ocean currents moving and lift fresh water from the seas? What can we do to conserve one of our planet's most precious resources? In this newest book in the award-winning Sunlight Series, readers learn about the constant movement of water as it flows around the Earth. As the water changes between liquid, vapor, and ice, sunlight powers all living things, ensuring that life can exist on Earth.
Broom, Jenny. Animalium: Welcome to the Museum. Big Picture Press, 2014.
There are more than 160 animal specimens to be discovered in Animalium, the first in a series of virtual museums. Wander the galleries—open 365 days a year—and discover a collection of curated exhibits on every page, accompanied by informative text. Each chapter features a different branch of the tree of life, from the simple sponge to the enormous elephant.
Chin, Jason. Grand Canyon. Roaring Brook Press, 2017.
Home to an astonishing variety of plants and animals that have lived and evolved within its walls for millennia, the Grand Canyon is much more than just a hole in the ground. Chin’s book follows a father and daughter as they make their way through the cavernous wonder, discovering life both present and past. Perfectly placed die cuts illustrate that fossils were living creatures long ago, perhaps in a completely different environment.
Cotton, Katie, et al. Counting Lions: Portraits from the Wild. Candlewick Press, 2015.
Exquisite charcoal drawings of ten endangered creatures—lions, elephants, giraffes, pandas, tigers, chimpanzees, penguins, turtles, macaws, and zebras—startle the viewer with their size and astonishing detail. A poetic text notes each creature's particular qualities and behavior, while providing a quiet counting exercise and a reminder that these animals must be cherished and protected.
Davies, Nicola. Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth. Candlewick Press, 2017.
The planet is full of millions of species of plants, birds, animals, and microbes, and every single one is part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern. When humans interfere with parts of the pattern, by polluting the air and oceans, taking too much from the sea, and cutting down too many forests, animals and plants begin to disappear. What sort of world would it be if it went from having many types of living things to having just one? In a beautiful follow-up, the creators of the award-winning Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes deliver an inspiring look at the extraordinary diversity of Earth's inhabitants — and the importance of their preservation.
Messner, Kate, and Christopher Silas Neal. Over and under the Pond. Chronicle Books, 2017.
In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered...over and under the pond.
Mizielinska, Aleksandra, and Daniel Mizielinski. Under Water: Under Earth. Candlewick Press, 2016.
Hundreds of fascinating facts are waiting to be unearthed in this latest book from Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski, the creative duo behind the best-selling Maps. Dive below the surface and find out what happens under earth and under sea—from early submarines and deep-sea life to burrowing animals and man-made tunnels. You will never look at the world in the same way again! Gorgeous design and quirky illustrations make this a book to be pored over again and again.
Murray, Lily, et al. Dinosaurium. Big Picture Press, 2017.
Step inside the pages of this beautiful book to discover galleries of dinosaurs, expertly curated to bring you the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the comfort of your own home. Dinosaurium features a wide range of dinosaurs from the most-loved Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex to lesser-known species such as Coelophysis and Tsintaosaurus. With stunning artwork from Chris Wormell and informative text with input from experts in palaeontology, Dinosaurium is the perfect gift for anyone with an interest in this fascinating field
Prothero, Donald R., and Mary Persis Williams. The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals. Princeton University Press, 2017.
After the mass extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, mammals became the dominant terrestrial life form on our planet. Roaming the earth were spectacular beasts such as saber-toothed cats, giant mastodonts, immense ground sloths, and gigantic giraffe-like rhinoceroses. Here is the ultimate illustrated field guide to the lost world of these weird and wonderful prehistoric creatures. It covers all the main groups of fossil mammals, discussing taxonomy and evolutionary history, and providing concise accounts of the better-known genera and species as well as an up-to-date family tree for each group.
Willis, K. J., and Katie Scott. Botanicum. Big Picture Press, 2017.
The 2017 offering from Big Picture Press's Welcome to the Museum series, Botanicum, is a brilliantly curated guide to plant life. With artwork from Katie Scott of Animalium fame, Botanicum gives readers the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the pages of a beautiful book. From perennials to bulbs to tropical exotica, Botanicum is a wonderful feast of botanical knowledge complete with superb cross sections of how plants work.