Books for General Audiences and Young Adults
Books for Preteens and Teens
2015 Holiday Gift Guide Main Menu
Animalium, by Jenny Broom, illustrated by Katie Scott. Somerville, MA: Big Picture Press, 2014.
Part of the Welcome to the Museum series, Animalium is a picture guide to more than 160 museum exhibits of animals and nature. Each chapter features a different branch of the tree of life, from the simple sponge to the enormous elephant. Big Picture Press is an imprint of Candlewick Press and it publishes high concept, illustration-based books that are all worth a look.
Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle, by Cheryl Bardoe, illustrated by Alan Marks. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2014.
Yes, this book is about the dung beetle. It eats poop, and yet it is so beautiful that several of their species, enjoyed a sacred status among the ancient Egyptians. The utterly charming (but informative) way in which this little creature is introduced in this book is contagious and irresistible.
Best Foot Forward: Exploring Feet, Flippers, and Claws, by Ingo Arndt with photographs by the author. NY: Holiday House, 2013.
Feet, flippers and claws are common among animals, but they are built to do very different jobs depending upon where the animal lives and how it interacts with its environment. Best Foot Forward describes the many roles of these appendages with easily‑read descriptions and wonderful photographs.
Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth, by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm. NY: The Blue Sky Press, 2014.
Acclaimed Caldecott artist and author Molly Bang teams up with award-winning M.I.T. professor Penny Chisholm to present the fascinating, timely story of fossil fuels that is also a beautiful picture book. This is the third in their multiple award-winning series about the sun’s energy.
The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery, by Sandra Markle. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, 2013.
This is a superb addition to Markle's critically acclaimed series. Honeybees are a crucial part of our food chain. But large numbers of them are disappearing every year. In this great addition to Markle's critically acclaimed series, we follow as scientists try to find out why.
The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats: A Scientific Mystery, by Sandra Markle. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, 2014.
Rich illustrations and photographs that provide images of infected bats, the anatomy of the fungus, biologists at work, a map of eastern North America showing the infected areas and the infection has spread propel this book beyond juvenile literature.
Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole, by Irene Latham, illustrated by Anna Wadham. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, 2014.
Creative and colorful drawings carry the stories in this book, each enhanced by a poem that elaborates more and sidebar facts to complete a sometimes complex portrait of an animal and place. This book would make great bedtime reading.
Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World, by Steve Jenkins, illustrated by the author. NY: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2014.
Jenkins’ gorgeous cut-and-torn–paper illustrations are the highlight of this book that introduces young readers to the evolution of the eye and the surprising variety of ways that animals see the world. This book functions both as a read aloud for very young children who will be captivated by the illustrations and as a very informative and engaging text for curious older children.
Feather's: Not Just for Flying, by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2014.
What is a feathers purpose? How many different purposes for feathers can you come up with? Feathers: Not Just for Flying describes 17 different methods in which birds use their feathers! The text offers an example of a specific bird using their feathers for each method discussed. Beautiful illustrations adorn the pages of this book. Readers will find a classification scale of feathers, which shows the diversity and range of feathers. This is a great critical thinking book as it gets the reader to notice and realize the many ways birds use their feathers.
Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey , by Loree Griffin Burns, photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, 2014.
You may have seen the butterfly life cycle before in books, but never quite like this. Award-winning team Burns and Harasimowicz take readers to a butterfly farm in Costa Rica and show how the journey of a fragile butterfly from a pupa to its final destination, the Museum of Science in Boston.
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird, by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Park. NY: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2014.
Ken Pak’s expressive illustrations, paired with Rita Gray’s melodious text, create what is sure to be an enduring picture book to be read and enjoyed by young naturalists again and again. Distinctive bird song is mirrored in the text and the book concludes with an “interview” with the mama robin in which bird nesting behavior is factually explained.
How the Meteorite got to the Museum, written and illustrated by Jessie Hartland. Maplewood, NJ: Blue Apple Books, 2013.
In this captivating book author/illustrator Hartland explains how a meteor, after spending billions of years in space, enters Earth’s atmosphere (becoming a meteorite) and eventually ends up in a science museum. Along the way it encounters a barking dog, firemen, a geologist, a curator, the museum exhibit staff, and a group of curious kids.
Junk Drawer Physics: 50 Awesome Experiments that Don’t Cost a Thing, by Bobby Mercer. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2014.
Physics teacher Bobby Mercer provides readers with more than 50 great (and fun) hands-on experiments that can be performed for just pennies, or less in this handy resource that covers physics topics that include magnetism, electricity, force, motion, light, energy, sound, and more.
Kids Guide to Exploring Nature, by Brooklyn Botanic Educators. NY: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2014.
This gorgeously illustrated guide will inspire children to look closely at the world around them! Created by the experts at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, it teaches children how to observe environments as a naturalist does in 24 exciting adventures.
Kupe and the Corals, by Jacqueline L. Padilla Gamiño, illustrated by Marjorie Leggitt. Boulder, CO: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2014.
This lovely book, written by an oceanographer and scientific diver, is the story of Kupe, a young boy who undertakes an amazing voyage of discovery to learn about corals and the importance of coral reefs to all of the many animals that depend upon them. It was created with support from The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network was created by the National Science Foundation.
Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives, by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2013.
Biology is over flowing with numbers! Whether it's counting antlers, spots, eggs, babies or rattles, Lola Schaefer uses scientifically accurate information to help kids visualize and understand numbers.
Mission: Mars, by Pascal Lee. NY: Scholastic, 2013.
In exciting, kid-friendly language Lee, a planetary scientist with the Mars Institute and the SETI Institute, explains what it takes to send humans to Mars — from spacesuits and rovers to surviving subzero temperatures and raging dust storms. Today’s kids are treated to a colorful orientation to what it will take for their generation to be the one that takes humans to the red planet.
My First Book of Wild Animals, by The National Wildlife Federation. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation, 2013.
This beautiful board book filled with lavish photographs from the National Wildlife Federation archives will give very young children an appreciation of all the marvelous animals that inhabit our world. This book can be easily handled by very young children and should appeal to all children aged 5 and younger.
The Mystery of Darwin's Frog, by Marty Crump, illustrated by Steve Jenkins and Edel Rodriguez. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press, 2013.
This is a great tale of history, modern science, research, ecology, environmental issues, and evolution all woven together in a fascinating little book that is greatly enhanced by outstanding photographs and illustrations.
Parrots over Puerto Rico, by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore, illustrated by Susan L. Roth. NY: Lee & Low Books, 2013.
With striking collage illustrations, a unique format, and engaging storytelling, Parrots over Puerto Rico invites readers to witness the amazing recovery efforts that have enabled Puerto Rican parrots to fly over their island once again. The book beautifully introduces children to the work of conservation scientists from the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program.
Plant a Pocket of Prairie, by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Betsy Bowen. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minn. Press, 2014.
Phyllis Root and Betsy Bowen take young readers on a trip to one of Minnesota’s important ecosystems—the prairie—teaching children how changes in one part of the system affect every other part. This inspiring and exquisite book shows what happens when we work to restore the prairies, encouraging readers to “plant a pocket of prairie” in their own backyards.
Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, by Patricia Newman, illustrated by Annie Crawley Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, 2014.
A team of researchers went on a scientific expedition to explore the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where millions of pieces of plastic have collected. Readers can follow along on the expedition to find out how scientists studied the Garbage Patch—and what alarming discoveries they made.
Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes, by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton. Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2014.
From Nicola Davies comes a first exploration for young readers of the world’s tiniest living organisms. It’s hard to do a picture book for young children on things that can’t be seen, which is why there aren’t too many books on this subject for the very youngest readers. Emily Sutton's endearing illustrations make this important scientific subject engaging to the youngest readers and zoologist Davies gets the text just right.
Tooth and Claw: the Wild World of Big Predators, written and illustrated by Jim Arnosky. NY: Sterling, 2014.
Big predatory mammals are the stars of this absolutely stunning picture book from a beloved nature writer and illustrator. Arnosky captures the magnificence of the creatures that inhabit the upper echelons of the food chain in this oversized picture book, with a focus on the their mighty jaws and claws. This is a book to be shared with the whole family.