Books about the environment, stories about animals.. Sometimes they are fiction, sometimes they can be nonfiction. And sometimes… you’re just not sure. Here are some fascinating and some funny picturebooks about nature that will be fun to share in the classroom.

Who Am I?, written by Gervase Phinn and illustrated by Tony Ross, is a hilarious read aloud about an unusual, newly hatched creature. He meets the tallest, the strongest, the smartest and many other animals living in the wilds, but would like to find out who he is. A great, surprise ending makes this a picture book to use with different age levels.

ISBN 978-0-7613-8996-5, Andersen Press

Usborne’s Fingerwiggly Monkeys and Fingerwiggly Elephants, written by Felicity Brooks and illustrated by Ela Smietanka and Elsa Martins respectively, are wonderful, playful reads for preschoolers. Written in rhyme, the stories show elephants spraying water and splashing in mud with their families, and monkeys playing and swinging in jungle trees. The fun part is sticking your fingers through the holes in the boardbook pages to form elephant trunks and monkey arms.

ISBN 978-1-4749-9556-6 (Monkeys)

ISBN 978-1-4749-8679-3, Usborne

Ary’s Trees by Deborah Kerbel, with art by Sophia Choi is a picturebook that works on many levels.

If earth were a small island, how long could we live the way we do before we depleted its resources? Using an island as a paradigm for the earth, Ary’s story is about trees as one of the most important natural resources earth offers us. Ary and her friends try to protect the trees as adults cut more and more to build houses, boats, furniture with no regard to the future. The children realize the wider importance of trees offering shade from the blazing sun, offer a home to birds and insects and clean the air. And when the adults leave in search of a new island that has not yet been depleted, the children stay to coax back trees and flowers that will offer them all they need. This is a story that can lead to discussions about the environment and global warming with students of all ages.

ISBN 978-1554554096, Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Under The Arctic Ice by Line Renskebråten is a fascinating look under the arctic ice. It may seem that everything in the north is frozen solid in winter, but inside and underneath the ice, the arctic is teeming with life. The tiniest algae and phytoplankton support life of larger creatures, including the Greenland shark. Did you know that shrimp change their sex os they grow older? How do fish keep from freezing solidly? Or have you ever heard of snot fish? Or of pancake ice? As the arctic teems with life, so this book teems with facts and beautiful illustrations that explain how all of life is interconnected and how this harsh environment is fragile and of utmost importance to all of our planet.

ISBN 978-1554555741, Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Margriet Ruurs is a booklover who writes for children. She lives in Canada but visits International Schools around the world.

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