FEATURED: Habitats and Ecosystems

  Above the Treeline (Wild Wonder Series)

by Ann Cooper

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems

The wonders of the alpine tundra are explored through stories about its inhabitants --bighorn sheep, weasels, eagles, marmots, shrews, pikas, elks and ptarmigans. Various facts about its life cycle, behavior and interactions complement each story about an animal of the tundra.

      Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  Adventures in the Amazon Rain Forest

by Susan E. Goodman

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Through the perspective of a group of 7th and 8th graders from Michigan, "Adventures in the Amazon Rain Forest" takes readers into the Peruvian Amazon where the students explore the vast diversity of the rain forest and its inhabitants as well as learn the "basics" of living in this exotic environment. Color photographs capture the students during their field trip as they venture through the Amazon on canoes, climb to the canopy to contrast life forms to those of the forest floor, and discover uses of the wealth of resources such as medicinal plants. They interact with Peruvian schoolchildren through sports and music as well as learn the skills of trading with members of one native Amazonian tribe, the Yagua. While discovering the importance of saving the rainforests, they also are exposed to the complexity of preserving this endangered ecosystem in light of the economic pressures on local people to sustain themselves.

The hardback version is called "Bats, Bugs, and Biodiversity: Adventures in the Amazonian Rain Forest."

        Grades: 3rd to 7th

  Alejandro's Gift

by Richard E. Albert

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

Having planted a vegetable garden near his isolated desert home, the elderly Alejandro notices the small desert animals who come to drink Water and Ocean Habitats in the furrows. Although the visit of these desert animals fills his loneliness, he thinks of the other larger desert animals. When he painstakingly builds a sheltered Water and Ocean Habitats hole further from his house as a gift to his desert friends, he is rewarded by the sounds of the animals that come to drink at the oasis. Beautifully illustrated with detailed Water and Ocean Habitatscolors of the desert landscape, flora and fauna, this book portrays an inspiring and moving response to one's natural surroundings. A glossary of desert animals complements the story.

Reviewed in Nature's Course (March/April 1997) published by CCEL.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Amazon Alphabet

by Martin and Tanis Jordan

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

Richly illustrated full-page and double-page images of animals introduce young children both to the letters of the alphabet and the inhabitants of the Amazon. From "Aa is for Agouti eating Brazil nuts", to an Amazon River Dolphin, a harpy Eagle, a tree Frog, a green Iguana, a hyacinth Macaw, an Ocelot, a red-bellied Piranha, a Sloth, an Umbrella bird, to "Zz is for Zorro hidden in the tree" -- the wide and unusual array of different species show the beauty and diversity of the rain forest. A pronunciation guide with extended information about each animal is provided following the text.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  An American Safari

by Jim Brandenburg

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Brandenburg’s dramatic and lyrical photo-essay of North American prairies highlights his stunning imagery of its wildlife, wildflowers, grasses and landscape and sends a message to save the unique ecosystem of endangered native grasslands that once covered nearly a quarter of North America less than two centuries ago. Brandenburg conveys a personal perspective to his experience of the prairies during his boyhood in southern Minnesota, exploring the landscape that inspired him towards a future career as a wildlife photographer. His reflections include insights into the life of prairie dogs and their elaborate "towns", the near extinction of bison, the interdependence of species that make the grasslands their home, the regional types of three different prairies, and the ecological importance of this unique, endangered North American treasure.

See also: Sneed B. Collard's The Prairie Builders

        Grades: 3rd to 6th

  Ancient Ones: The World of the Old-Growth Douglas Fir

by Barbara Bash

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

"To read this book is to take an intimate walk through the old-growth world of the Pacific Northwest United States. At the heart of this world is the mighty Douglas fir tree, one of the largest living things on earth. . . . Bash begins this journey in the uppermost branches where murrelets nest and red voles spend their entire lives. Other creatures are here, too -- flying squirrels and spotted owls. The text and illustrations of this book provide a detailed and impressive story of the life cycle of a tree but they go far beyond that. They also show the interdependence of many other living things. . . . The book then shows us how death and decay bring forth new life, not just in the forest itself but in the streams where salmon spawn. . . . At the end of the book, the author describes her own journey in the making of this book and then makes a plea to her young readers for preserving the ancient forests." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (March/April 1996) published by CCEL.

      Grades: 1st to 5th

  Antonio's Rain Forest

by Anna Lewington

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Venturing deep into the Amazon Rain Forest of western Brazil to the Alto Jurua Extractive Reserve, "Antonio's Rain Forest" presents the life of a local family working as rubber tappers, or seringueiros, and their role in protecting the endangered rain forest. Through the first person narrative of eight-year old Antonio, readers explore the daily life of his family, the local inhabitants and the environment of the rain forest. Complemented by vivid photographs, the narrative also follows Antonio with his relatives along the forest trail where they collect the sap from wild rubber trees and later prepare the latex. Regional maps and insets describe the history of rubber use over the years, the modifications of natural rubber such as vulcanization and the repercussions of the expansion of rubber manufacture abroad. This book also touches upon the social and economic factors that have influenced the survival of the seringueiros -- the formation of a government protected "extractive reserve" and the organization of a cooperative by local workers, both serving to protect the people from exploitation and also helping to preserve the endangered rainforests.

      Grades: 3rd to 6th

  Arctic Lights Arctic Nights

by Debbie S. Miller

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Experience of Nature 

The seasonal changes near the Arctic Circle form the setting for the transitions of the natural world in the unique picture book Arctic Lights Arctic Nights. Beginning with the summer solstice near Fairbanks, Alaska, lyrical text and paintings depict monthly transitions of the natural world in "The Land of the Midnight Sun", evoking the beauty and drama of the dynamics of light and darkness in the North, the extreme variations of temperature as well as the seasonal patterns of migration, hibernation and adaptations of the wildlife – snowshoe hare, moose, ptarmigans, grizzly bears, sandhill cranes, ground squirrels, caribou, wolves, trumpeter swans and ravens. The glossary introduces unique terms to readers of natural phenomena such as alpenglow, blinks, glints, sundogs and diamond dust as well as seasonal concepts of the equinox and solstice.

        Grades: 2nd to 5th

  Around the Pond (Wild Wonders Series)

by Ann Cooper

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems

Stories about the bustling pond life of grebes, muskrats, bullfrogs, blackbirds, herons, skunks and insects will captivate children. Each of the stories is followed by factual "tidbits" about each of the pond animals, its behavior and habitat.

      Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  The Butterfly's Treasure

by Schim Schimmel

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Animals  : Various Classes

In a milkweed patch before summer's end, an old, wise butterfly passes along the wisdom he has learned to a young caterpillar -- his discovery of a "treasure beyond belief." Old Monarch recounts his wondrous year-long journey of discovery around the globe and his encounters with some of the most amazing animals of our planet. As he travels past brown bears, seals and polar bears of the Northern forests and Arctic, then passes the majestic great cats, elephants and gorillas of Africa and the rare snow leopards of the Himalayas, and encounters the penguins of the Antarctic and the dolphins of the Pacific, the secret of this priceless treasure breathtakingly unfolds revealing its fascinating gems. The engaging story and Schimmel’s stunning, beautiful artwork instill a sense of wonder and respect for the intimate connection of all living beings and the unique treasure in this universe -- our magnificent planet.

See also, other books by Schim Schimmel:
Dear Children of the Earth
The Family of Earth
Children of the Earth... Remember

      Grades: Preschool & up

  Cactus Hotel

by Brenda Guiberson

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

"One day in the desert, a bright red fruit falls to the ground from a giant saguaro cactus. This marks the beginning of the life cycle of a new cactus that will serve as home to many of the desert's creatures in its lifetime. Beautifully detailed illustrations reflect the complexity and interrelatedness of the desert ecosystem -- the plants, animals, and climate around the saguaro." From Bringing the World Alive: A Bibliography of Nature Stories for Children, published by The Orion Society.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Cactus Poems

by Frank Asch

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

The moving poetry of Frank Asch and the majestic photography of Ted Levin celebrate the landscape and inhabitants of four North American deserts -- the Sonoran, the Mojave, the Great Basin, and the Chihuahuan. Facts and feelings interweave disclosing the humor and secrets of the flora and fauna in the timeless beauty and sun-scorched vistas of the desert setting. Poems such as "Magic Rocks" evokes the mystery of the prehistoric humans who had scratched symbolic petroglyphs into the desert rocks, "Waterless Shores" describes the gathering of life to the desert flower to feed, while other poems each present, sometimes with humor, the animals that inhabit the desert landscape -- the coyote, bobcat, desert tortoise, lizard, Gila monster, cottontail, rattlesnake, leaf-cutter ant, hummingbird and roadrunner. The nineteen desert poems include: "Breaks Free", "Water Secret", "Waterless Shores", "The Oldest", "Bobcat Watching", "Slow and Steady", "Howl", "Lizards in Love", "Magic Rocks", "Shy Monster", "Cottontail", "The Rattler", "Be Careful", "Two Rains", "If I Were an Ant", "Saguaro", "Hummingbird Song", "Roadrunner" and "If the Earth Were Small". Factual information about the subject of each poem is provided at the end of the book.

      Grades: Kindergarten and up

  Caribou Journey

by Debbie S. Miller

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Mammals

Every spring caribou migrate North to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska where tens of thousands of calves are born. The author, who has lived in northern Alaska and has many times observed the migration of caribou, eloquently presents the life cycle of these magnificent animals who travel back and forth through Canada's Yukon Territory and northeast Alaska, almost three thousand miles each year in search of food. The story focuses on a mother caribou and her young, their searches for food through the snows of winter, the mother's protection of the young against wolves and eagles, and the yearly migration patterns of the herd. This engrossing story, resplendent with double-page illustrations, interweaves fascinating information about these mammals, their adaptations for life and travel in the rugged climate of the tundra, the bonding of mothers and their young, the autumnal encounter of males fighting for mates, and the crossing of rivers by the herd along their journey. The "Author's Note" provides information specifically about the Porcupine Herd of caribou, one of the largest migratory herds of North America that is described in this story, as well as mention of the importance of preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge of Alaska.

        Grades: 1st to 4th

  The Complete Backyard Nature Activity Book

by Robin Michal Koontz

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Field Guides & Activity Books 

Through thirty-one, fun-filled activities and projects, "The Complete Backyard Nature Activity Book" shows children how to create a "naturescape," a place for wild creatures to find food, water and shelter, either in a suburban backyard or in urban settings of rooftops and apartment balconies. While emphasizing the importance that wildlife needs to remain "wild", the author has created an activity book with factual information and illustrated activities through which children can learn about nature as they invite wildlife into their local environment. For those who do not have space to create a naturescape, the author suggests extending projects to community involvement as well as making gifts out of some of the activities. Projects, many of which use recycled materials, include the creation of native flowering gardens, the building of feeders, planter boxes, bird baths, bat houses, birdhouses and ponds -- all with the focus of working with nature to sustain native wildlife.

      Grades: 3rd to 6th

  Cool Woods: A Trip Around the World's Boreal Forest

by Jane Drake & Ann Love

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Cool Woods circles around the globe exploring the boreal forests of the subarctic world from the wetlands and mountains of Canada to Alaska, across the Siberian Taiga and over to the forests of Northern Scandinavia and Scotland. Detailed realistic paintings and black and white drawings complement the descriptions of habitat, wildlife, indigenous peoples, myths and folklore of the boreal as well as the environmental threats posed to the largest remaining forest in the world.

      Grades: 5th to 8th

  The Desert Is Theirs

by Byrd Baylor

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

"Desert people have a special relationship with the land -- one that is respectful and resourceful, based on patience, perseverance, and celebration. This lyrical collaboration between Baylor and Parnall brings the desert, its plants, animals, and people, to life. It demonstrates how people are shaped by the places they inhabit, and how a reciprocal relationship with the land grounds both mind and body in the surrounding natural features." From Bringing the World Alive: A Bibliography of Nature Stories for Children, published by The Orion Society.

A Caldecott Honor Book.

        Grades: 1st to 5th

  Destination: Polar Regions

by Jonathan Grupper

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

Taking readers to both polar regions to explore the fauna and flora, Grupper's photographic essay, published by the National Geographic Society, presents a fascinating view of the harsh, yet fragile, ecosystems of the Arctic and Antarctic. Although most of the book is devoted to the Arctic, the polar regions are explored through seasonal variations and their transformations of life. The full-page color photographs with numerous photo insets and informative text present readers with magnificent views of the diversity of polar life on land, on ice and in the sea.

To help protect the polar ice caps, visit NRDC's BioGems Polar Bears on Thin Ice to find a Kid's Polar Action Guide.

See also: Jane Yolen's, Welcome to the Ice House.

      Grades: 5th through 7th

  Disappearing Lake : Nature's Magic in Denali National Park

by Debbie S. Miller

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

The beauty of the cyclic change of a vernal lake in Alaska, Disappearing Lake, provides the poetic setting for the change of the seasons, animals and vegetation of this unique ecosystem throughout one year. The melting snows of winter flood a meadow and life awakens in and around the lake with birds, insects, plants, hatching shrimp, beavers, moose and wolves. As the days grow warmer and the lake begins to disappear, plants that sprout from the moist soil to feed the migrating caribou later grow into a meadow to harbor and nourish other life forms. With the ending of fall, as the Northern Lights appear the meadow lies beneath the snows of winter.

The text along with the "Field Notes" about the ecosystem broaden the knowledge of natural life cycles for young readers. Colorful illustrations by Jon Van Zyle portraying the magnificent natural landscape with its inhabitants complement the descriptions of the continuous transformations around the vernal lake.

        Grades: 1st to 5th

  Dive!: My Adventures in the Deep Frontier

by Sylvia A. Earle

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Naturalists & Their Work 

With admiration, caring and reverence, marine biologist Sylvia Earle presents the underwater world with its creatures, including her personal experiences with both plant and animal life in the ocean depths. This stunning photoessay takes readers into the ocean to encounter humpback whales and dolphins as well as the inhabitants of the coral reefs. Earle describes the uses of technology to develop diving suits and submersibles used to explore the unknown areas of the deep. Using state-of the-art equipment and photography, Earle immerses readers into her field research of the wide diversity of life in the depths of the fascinating underwater realm.

      Grades: 3rd & up

  Earth Matters: An Encyclopedia of Ecology

by David de Rothschild

HARDCOVER
The Living Earth
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

From the deserts to the oceans, from the polar regions to the jungles, Earth Matters is a visual exploration of the wonders of our fragile planet, an encyclopedia of ecology with spectacular color photography and a wealth of information about the biosphere. Starting with the “Big Bang” of the universe through the evolution of life in unique conditions on the "Goldilocks planet", readers can delve into the eight biomes or major life zones of the planet – polar regions, temperate forest, deserts, grasslands, tropical forest, mountains, freshwater and oceans. While investigating the ecosystems and the amazing biodiversity of these regions through photos, maps, charts and diagrams, at the same time, the fragility of the biosphere is emphasized by showing the human impacts of the overexploitation of resources, desertification, pollution and climate change. This is a celebration of the wonders of the unique Earth ecosystem that also points to practical ways of making a difference in our daily lives since "how we live in our small patch of the planet affects everything, everywhere."

This is a DK book "Made with Care"

See also:
Laurie David’s and Cambria Gordon’s, Down-To-Earth Guide to Global Warming
Marybeth Lorbiecki’s, Planet Patrol


In the Foreword to Earth Matters, David de Rothschild mentions his plans to publicize the problems facing the planet in the Plastiki Adventure when he sails in a boat made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles via the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Read more about the expedition in National Geographic's Adventure : Voyage of the Plastiki

To learn more about the East Garbage Patch of the Pacific Ocean, see:
Loree Griffin Burns’s, Tracking Trash


      Grades: 4th & up

  An Environmental Guide from A to Z

by Tim Magner

HARDCOVER
The Living Earth
Environmental Themes  : Pollution & Sustainability

From the Amazon Rainforest and Greenhouse Gases, through Habitats and Plankton, to the Rethink and Redesign Revolution and Zoo, An Environmental Guide from A to Z is a comprehensive alphabetical introduction to a wide range of topics about our biosphere. Magner not only delves into the workings of our planet by exploring the role of nature’s cycles, habitats, water, trees, worms, insects and mountains such as Kilimanjaro, but also includes individuals who have made important contributions to saving our planet – Jacques Cousteau, who drew attention to the wonders of the underwater world, John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, Paolo Lugari, who restored the South American wasteland of Gaviotas, Charles Darwin, who challenged ideas as to how nature evolved, Vo Quy, who restored tree habitats for birds after the wars in Vietnam, and, Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, whose company is designed to minimize any impacts on nature. The concepts of Reducing and Recycling are expanded upon in the Rethink & Redesign Revolution that uses innovative ideas to make "things without creating pollution and landfill waste". Readers can also learn about the role of the sun and solar energy, the benefits of xeriscaping, native species, composting, urban farming and locally grown food as well as vegetarianism. Each topic is set against delicate watercolor illustrations adorned with floating leaves containing relevant questions. This is a wonderfully engaging book for kids to explore the interconnections and workings of nature as well as learn about ways to protect the Earth.

Printed on a mix of post-consumer waste recycled paper and FSC certified paper.

For younger children, see Tim Magner's N is For Nature: An Environmental Alphabet Book

      Grades: 3rd to 8th

  Everglades

by Jean Craighead George

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

"Prosaic text and stunning paintings show us five children in a dugout canoe in the Florida Everglades as a Seminole storyteller tells the story of the Everglades. He tells how it was formed over millions of years and of the creatures and plants that have lived there for centuries. . . . The storyteller also tells the human history of the Everglades -- of the first people, the Calusas, of the Spanish conquistadors, and the Seminoles -- of the hunters, the engineers, the farmers and developers." Excerpt of review in Nature's Course (January/February 1996) published by CCEL.



See also:
Trish Marx's Everglades Forever: Restoring America's Great Wetland
Jane Yolen's Welcome to the River of Grass
Madeleine Dunphy's Here Is the Wetland

        Grades: 1st to 4th

  Fernando's Gift

by Douglas Keister

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Presented in a bilingual format of English and Spanish text alongside numerous color photos, Fernando’s Gift explores the daily life of a family living in the tropical rain forest of central Costa Rica. Fernando Vanegas lives with his family in a tin-roofed house deep in an old-growth rain forest where at night the sound of the rain on the roof sings him to sleep. Everyday he experiences the treasures of the rain forest -- he can pick bananas from the trees, search for parrots and squirrel monkeys, listen to howler monkeys, fish for trout, swim in the nearby river and with his school friend Carmina climb trees. After Fernando and Carmina discover that someone has cut down Carmina’s favorite tree, a cristobal, Fernando’s father, who works to preserve the rain forest, explains that not all people value the treasures of the forest. Together the children plant another cristobal tree in a safe, secret spot near a waterfall to watch it grow tall and strong.

See also: Sneed B. Collard III's, The Forest in the Clouds, that presents the unique fauna and flora of a cloud forest in the mountains of Costa Rica.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Fire!

by Celia Godkin

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Focusing on the natural role of fire in the renewal of a forest, Godkin’s picture book follows the life cycle of a boreal forest from its devastation by fire to its gradual renewal as a thriving ecosystem. In the aftermath of a huge blaze, as seeds germinate on the charred timbers, small creatures that survived in their burrows emerge to feed on the shoots. During the following weeks grasses, wildflowers and saplings soon form a lush carpet of growth. Over the years, as the larger species return, the healthy ecosystem of the forest is gradually reestablished. Godkin notes that "though we must protect people and their homes from forest fires, we need not be concerned about the effect of fires on the forests themselves" since natural fires play a key role in maintaining a forest ecosystem healthy. The "Author’s Note" also includes a listing of websites for further exploration of the topic of forest fires.

See also: Dorothy Hinshaw Patent's, Fire: Friend or Foe, and
Sneed B. Collard's The Prairie Builders

      Grades: 1st to 3rd

  Fur, Feathers, and Flippers

by Patricia Lauber

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

A stunning photo-essay that explores through clear text and beautiful color photographs five different habitats -- the Antarctic seas, the African grasslands, the New England forests, the Southwestern desert and the Northern tundra. In each ecosystem, Lauber vividly describes the interactive and interdependent lives of the animals and plants and their particular adaptations to their habitat.

      Grades: 3rd to 7th

  Garden of the Spirit Bear

by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

The Great Bear Rainforest, an area of temperate rain forest located in the Canadian Pacific Northwest, provides the habitat for a unique type of black bear found exclusively in this region known as the Kermode or Spirit Bear. This old-growth forest is also home to other rare and endangered species. Writer and scientist, Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, explores the delicate ecosystem of this old-growth forest, its flora and fauna from the canopy to the forest floor, the unique traits of the Kermode, the importance of the old trees of this region, the key role of salmon as well as the Native peoples' relationship to the Spirit Bear. Hinshaw also points out the negative effects of the clear-cutting of forests and threats posed by logging to the remaining old-growth forests. Stunning, detailed watercolors by Deborah Milton illustrate the beauty of this fragile ecosystem, the magnificent and vanishing habitat of the Spirit Bear.

For more information, visit: Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Pacific Wild

      Grades: 3rd to 5th

  Grand Canyon: A Trail Through Time

by Linda Vieira

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

A visual and lyrical day's journey down a trail of the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River juxtaposes the geological history, the fossils and remains of the Native American local inhabitants with the contemporary plant life, animals and travelers.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Here is Antarctica

by Madeleine Dunphy

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

The "cold world of ice" with "icebergs all jagged and spiked" forms the setting of this introduction to the web of life that inhabits the coast and waters of the Antarctic ecosystem. Through rhythmic, repeating text and detailed images young children can learn about the interdependency among seals, orcas, krill, skua, silverfish and penguins that swim, fly and feed across the vibrantly painted pages. A description of Antarctica, its wildlife and its environmental threats supplements the text.

For more information about protecting Antarctica, visit:
Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition

To learn more visit:
The American Museum of Natural History’s Antarctica: The Farthest Place Close to Home
Cool Antarctica’s Antarctica Schools Resources

See also:
Helen Cowcher's, Antarctica
Mary Cerullo's, Life Under Ice
Kathy Conlan's, Under the Ice
Meredith Hooper's Antarctic Journal
Jennifer Owings Dewey's Antarctic Journal: Four Months at the Bottom of the World
Brenda Guiberson's, The Emperor Lays an Egg
Martin Jenkins', The Emperor's Egg
Judy Sierra's Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems

      Grades: Kindergarten to 4th

  Here is the Arctic Winter

by Madeleine Dunphy

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

Through rhythmic, repetitive verses and lyrical paintings the vast, moonlit Arctic winter reveals the austere beauty of life in the "cold world of white" -- the wolves, caribou, snowshoe hares, snowy owls and polar bears that move along the icy surface as well as the seals, fish, and narwhals that swim in the frigid waters beneath the Northern Lights. The animals presented are linked in the food chain as they survive the endless night of the Arctic winter.

        Grades: Kindergarten to 4th

  Here is the Coral Reef

by Madeleine Dunphy

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

Narrating in a cumulative, rhythmic format, Dunphy presents the interdependence and diversity of animals and plants of the coral reef. Focusing on the creatures of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, this vivid seascape abounds with life and activity in a coral reef where an eel finds shelter from a black-tipped reef shark which carries remoras that rode on a manta ray along with a hawksbill turtle that fed on sponges near a clownfish hiding in anemone near parrotfish feeding on coral. Leonard's vivid, double-spread paintings complement the text to capture the rich diversity and interrelatedness of life as well as the unique ecosystem of the coral reef.

See also:
Sylvia Earle's Hello Fish!: Visiting the Coral Reef , and Jump into Science: Coral Reefs

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Here is the Tropical Rain Forest

by Madeleine Dunphy

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Narrating in a cumulative, rhythmic format, Dunphy presents the interdependence of animals and plants of the Central and South American rain forests. In the lush and wet world of the tropical forest, where a frog is sheltered by the bromeliad hanging from a tree, monkeys flee an eagle hunting a sloth that hangs from the tree, and a jaguar stalks peccaries eating figs dropped by the monkeys. Exquisite, double-spread paintings that complement the text capture the rich diversity and interrelatedness of life as well as the unique environment of this endangered ecosystem.

See also:
Madeleine Dunphy's Here is the Wetland

        Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds

by Victoria Crenson

HARDCOVER
Animals : Spineless Creatures
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

For many years, hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs have made a journey each spring, crawling from the depths of Delaware Bay to the sandy shores to lay their eggs. The millions of green, pearly eggs on the beaches, fed upon by scavengers, are an especially important source of nourishment for starving migrating shorebirds traveling thousands of miles north from the tip of South America to their nesting grounds in the Arctic. This picture book explores an intricate food web as well as the life cycle of creatures that have been on the Earth even before the dinosaurs and whose eggs play a unique, key role in the survival of migrating shorebirds.

See also:
Ruth Horowitz's Crab Moon
Nancy Carol Willis' Red Knot: A Shorebird's Incredible Journey

To learn more about efforts to save horseshoe crabs and shorebirds, visit:

ERDG's Horseshoe Crab Conservation Network
Delaware Audubon's Horseshoe Crab Sanctuary

        Grades: 2nd to 4th

  How Monkeys Make Chocolate

by Adrian Forsyth

PAPERBACK
Naturalists & Their Work
Habitats & Ecosystems 

"In this book Adrian Forsyth takes us to many of the world's rain forests and explores how their animals and people use the forest every day for food and for medicine. " Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (Spring 1998) published by CCEL.

        Grades: 3rd to 6th

  How the Forest Grew

by William Jaspersohn

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Over a period of two hundred years an abandoned open farm field gradually transforms through successive stages into a dense hardwood forest. As Jaspersohn explains, although he writes about a hardwood forest in Massachusetts, this book could be about many other forests since they pass through similar stages of growth. Tracing the succession of various species of plants and trees, the author also presents the parallel changes of animals and other life forms on the forest floor that inhabit the various stages of growth. Eckart's numerous delicate black and white drawings beautifully capture imagery of the life forms that abound in the forest and illustrate the gradual transformations of this hardwood forest in Massachusetts over time.

        Grades: 3rd & up

  I See a Kookaburra

by Robin Page & Steve Jenkins

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Experience of Nature 

I See a Kookaburra is a beautiful, intriguing and fun-filled book of exploration and discovery of six different habitats found throughout the world. In each habitat depicted by Jenkins’ vibrant and colorful textured cut-paper collages, readers can search for eight animals hidden amongst the local flora, sometimes spotting only wings, noses, tails, legs, trunks, bills or eyes. Each following double-page spread identifies and briefly describes a full-image depiction of the animal in the same location of the page, without the flora.

The habitats explored in this picture book include: the American Southwest desert, a tide pool on the southern coast of England, the rain forest in the Amazon River basin, a savanna or grassland in central Africa, a forest in eastern Australia and a pond in the American Midwest. A more extensive description of each biome as well as how the indigenous animals grow and thrive by adapting in unexpected ways to their unique environment is appended for advanced readers and educators.

      Grades: Kindergarten to 4th

  Ice Bear and Little Fox

by Jonathan London

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Mammals

As Nanuq, the young polar bear, learns to live the first year on his own in the polar landscape, he is followed by the Arctic fox that forms a symbiotic relationship in which both help each other in the harsh landscape of the Northern region. Over the months the trailing fox feeds on leftovers of the bear and in turn vigilantly warns the bear of the presence of other predators -- each help the other to survive. The full-page watercolor illustrations of close-ups of the animals and of the panoramic landscapes as well as the entrancing, realistic text will captivate young children as they learn of the harshness of survival in the Arctic for these animals and also of the importance of the role of cooperation between them. The "Afterword" incorporates the Eskimo, or Inuit, background of these Arctic inhabitants.

For more information about polar bears, visit World Wildlife Fund's Polar Bear Tracker.

To help protect the polar ice caps, visit NRDC's BioGems Polar Bears on Thin Ice to find a Kid's Polar Action Guide.

See also: Carol Carrick's, Polar Bears Are Hungry,
Jonathan Grupper's Destination: Polar Regions,
Nicola Davie's, Ice Bear: In the Steps of the Polar Bear, and
Jane Yolen's, Welcome to the Ice House

      Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  In the Company of Whales

by Alexandra Morton

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Mammals

Presented as a year-long journal entry, In the Company of Whales is an intimate account by Alexandra Morton of her observations of orcas near her home off the Western Coast of British Columbia. She describes the fascinating interactions of orcas within their families as well as with related pods and other marine mammals. Children can learn about the fish feeding patterns of resident orcas that differ from the hunting of marine mammals by the transient orca pods. There are numerous sidebars for readers to learn in more detail about the unique physical traits and fascinating behaviors of orcas – echolocation, dialects, feeding patterns and “greetings” of sunrises and sunsets -- as well as information about several other inhabitants that share their ocean habitat.

See also:http://raincoastresearch.org/orca.htm

      Grades: 3rd to 7th

  In the Desert (Wild Wonders Series)

by Ann Cooper

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems

The web of desert life -- the animals, their activities, interactions and habitats -- are all brought alive to children in this book. Captivating stories about the elf owl, jackrabbit, quail, kit fox, rattlesnake, cactus wren, javelina, lizard and kangaroo rat are each followed by intriguing facts about the respective desert inhabitant.

      Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  In the Forest (Wild Wonder Series)

by Ann Cooper

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems

The diversity and range of the forest environment and its inhabitants -- deer, opossum, mice, bats, birds, owls, salamanders, bobcats and cottontails -- are explored through intriguing stories about the behavior, interactions and habitat of a forest animal that will captivate children. "Facts" section of interesting information about the animal complements each story.

      Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  In the Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree

by Barbara Bash

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

"In this luminous book, Barbara Bash takes the reader on a daylong visit into the world of one of India's sacred banyan trees. The striking authenticity of every image makes it apparent that Bash traveled to India to research this book. On each beautiful page we can see the banyan as a place for villagers to worship, for egrets to nest, for craftsmen to barter, for birds to converse, for children to play, for owls to sleep and so on through the day and into the night, until early the next morning it becomes a place for a mongoose to watch the approaching dawn. Young readers will discover that the tree is not only an ecosystem for the birds and mammals that reside there, but also an integral part of the broader community, which includes the human inhabitants of the village." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (March/April 1997) published by CCEL.

A creation story, adapted from an Indian folktale, opens the book and recounts how the banyan tree began to grow in the heart of the village to give shade to the people.

      Grades: 1st to 5th

  Into the Sea

by Brenda Guiberson

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Reptiles

The life cycle of a female sea turtle from the night it hatches on a moonlit beach and crawls to the ocean where it grows, then after more than twenty years instinctively returns to the place of its birth will engage young readers by the vivid, striking illustrations and direct prose. The turtle's travels and encounters with other ocean creatures form a lucid foundation of information about oceanography as well as endangered species.

      Grades: 1st to 3rd

  Isabel's House of Butterflies

by Tony Johnston

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Eight year old Isabel lives in Michoacan, a mountainous area of Mexico where 300 square miles form a natural sanctuary for monarch butterflies. Every autumn thousands and thousands of monarch butterflies migrating from the North flock to winter in the oyamel tree outside of Isabel’s window in La Casa de las mariposas -- The House of Butterflies. Isabel and her family, the neighbors and tourists marvel at the miracle of migration and the beauty of these fluttering visitors as the sky becomes orange with wings and the dusty paths change transform into orange rivers. Over the years, Isabel’s family has managed to find subsistence, but a continuing drought over the summer and autumn brings a meager harvest of corn and beans. Due to logging, many of the oyamel trees of the surrounding area are already disappearing from the forests. To Isabel’s dismay her father reluctantly considers chopping their tree to support the family. With hope and determination Isabel manages to find a solution to save and share the beauty of La Casa de las mariposas. The framed, colorful, textured paintings of this Sierra Club picture book depicting the daily life of the family, the wondrous beauty of the overwintering monarchs and the surrounding natural landscape offer a brief glimpse into the life of a young girl in rural Mexico and the complex issues of poverty, sustainability and conservation.

See also:

Kathryn Lasky’s Monarchs
Laurence Pringle's An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly
Bruce Coville's The Prince of Butterflies
Connie Muther’s My Monarch Journal -- an outstanding guide to raising monarchs that also includes a section for parents and teachers.

For more information, visit:
Journey North – a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change, including monarch butterflies.
Monarch Watch of the University of Kansas
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Monarch Lab for monarchs in the classroom.

        Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  Jaguar in the Rain Forest

by Joanne Ryder

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Mammals

The imaginative transformation of a boy into a jaguar invites the reader to explore the lifestyle and habitat of this animal -- climbing through the forest trees, observing the movements of other animals in the canopy, hunting stealthily on the forest floor at night and experiencing the vivid sounds and sights of the rain forest habitat. Close-up and expansive views of the jaguar's movements in the paintings, showing the dense foliage and inhabitants of the setting that was inspired by the tropical rain forests of French Guiana, enhance this fascinating excursion into the rain forest habitat.

      Grades: 1st to 3rd

  Journey Through the Northern Rain Forest

by Karen Pandell

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Through the eyes of a bald eagle, the reader explores the disappearing world of the North American coastal temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. Stunning photographs show the rich diversity of life that abounds in the few remaining areas of this pristine cathedral-like habitat and the intricate interdependence of the web of life in this ecosystem -- the hanging gardens of moss and lichens, the spawning salmon in its streams, and the diverse flora and fauna that abound in the old-growth trees and snags as well as in the moss carpet of the forest floor. Rainfall and weather patterns as well as natural water management are also clearly explained as they relate to this unique ecosystem. Small insets to the photographs present the bald eagle's perspective of the illustrated scenarios, pointing out the interrelatedness of life to this habitat. Dedicating this book to the preservation of the vanishing rainforests, Pandell also describes the ravages inflicted on this intricate habitat as a result of clear-cut logging.

      Grades: 3rd to 6th

  Kids' Easy-to-Create Wildlife Habitats

by Emily Stetson

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Field Guides & Activity Books 

Whether they live in small spaces in cities, suburbs or out in the country, children everywhere can create a welcoming place for wildlife and through small efforts protect the natural environments around them. This illustrated book offers plenty of useful information -- suggestions how to counter habitat loss in ones community, activities designed so as not to attract pest or problem wildlife as well as descriptions about common wild animals and their typical habitats.

See also:
Judy Press' Animal Habitats!

To learn about creating a wildlife habitat, visit: The National Wildlife Federation

      Grades: 2nd to 5th

  Life Under Ice

by Mary Cerullo

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems

Dive through a hole of ice with nature photographer Bill Curtsinger to explore the spectacular life that thrives in sub-freezing waters of the Southern Ocean off Antarctica. Readers can learn about the variety of unusual life forms that abound in this unique habitat both under and above the ice. The author notes the work of scientists at McMurdo Station who not only study the animals and their adaptations to the harsh environment -- such as "gigantism" and natural antifreeze -- but also the food web, the weather, the ocean currents, the ozone layer, the stars and the impact of humans as well as the effect of the changing climate on this continent, where "70 percent of the world’s fresh water is frozen in antarctic glaciers up to two miles thick". A glossary and resource list that includes relevant websites is provided for further research about Antarctica.

To learn more visit:
The American Museum of Natural History’s Antarctica: The Farthest Place Close to Home
Cool Antarctica’s Antarctica Schools Resources

See also:
Kathy Conlan's, Under the Ice,
Meredith Hooper's Antarctic Journal , and
Jennifer Owings Dewey's Antarctic Journal: Four Months at the Bottom of the World

      Grades: 3rd to 5th

  The Living Rain Forest

by Paul Kratter

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

The twenty-six animals of this alphabet book offer a fascinating glimpse of the millions of species inhabiting tropical rain forests. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects found in these habitats that "cover only six percent of the earth’s land yet contain over half its animal and plant species," are pictured in beautiful, detailed close-up images. Amazon River Dolphins, Morpho Butterflies, Parsons’ Chameleons, Leaf Katydids, Three-toed Sloths and Mountain Gorillas are several of the amazing creatures included from the five continents where tropical rain forests are located. Brief descriptions that cite unique adaptations of each animal to its habitat complement the illustrations of these animals whose habitats are threatened by global warming, deforestation and overhunting.

For more information visit:
Rainforest Action Network
Rainforest Alliance

See also:
Kristin Joy Pratt's A Walk in the Rainforest,
Lynne Cherry's The Great Kapok Tree,
Madeleine Dunphy's Here is the Tropical Rain Forest, and
Rebecca Johnson's A Walk in the Rain Forest

        Grades: Preschool to 5th

  A Log's Life

by Wendy Pfeffer

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Images of colorful, three-dimensional, cut-paper collages illustrate this fascinating book which takes children on a journey through the life cycle of a tree. After a large oak tree that is the habitat for animals is felled by lightning, seasonal variations over the years witness the coming and going of a variety of creatures that inhabit and feed off the log. Eventually, the rich soil of the decomposed log nourishes an acorn which starts over the life cycle of a new oak tree.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Mojave

by Diane Siebert

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

"A descriptive and poetic evocation of the plants, animals, natural features, and seasonal fluctuations of the desert, accompanied by brilliant and concise paintings of those animals and landscapes. This wonderful adventure through the desert is a treat for inhabitants of all landscapes." From Bringing the World Alive: A Bibliography of Nature Stories for Children, published by The Orion Society.

      Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  The Most Beautiful Roof in the World

by Kathryn Lasky

HARDCOVER
Naturalists & Their Work
Habitats & Ecosystems 

"High above the shadowy rainforest floor, scientist Meg Lowman and her young sons climb through the brilliant and vivid world of the rain forest canopy -- a timeless world, home to thousands of plants, a world that until recently humans could only dream of. . . . (It) shows how an ethnobotanist would climb into the forest canopy, collect plant specimens and tag, label, preserve and catalogue them." Excerpt of review in Nature's Course (Spring 1998) published by CCEL.

        Grades: 3rd to 7th

  Nature's Green Umbrella: Tropical Rain Forests

by Gail Gibbons

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

This lucid, factual introduction for young children to the rain forest ecosystem includes labeled illustrations of the flora and fauna of the various layers as well as a discussion of the importance of the preservation of these habitats.

        Grades: 2nd & Up

  The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World

by Andrew Revkin

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Global Warming

Recounting his three day visit to the North Pole in the company of scientists who are studying the changing climate of the region, New York Times science reporter, Andrew Revkin takes readers on a fascinating exploration of the Arctic interweaving his personal experiences and observations with the history, ancient lore, mythology and the current focus of scientific research of the Arctic’s changing climate. Amidst the author's personal observations of survival in the harsh icy climate, readers can learn about the perils faced by some of the earliest explorers since the sixteenth century as they ventured across a cap of constantly shifting, drifting ice in search of the North Pole.

In recent years, although temperatures have increased over the planet, the Arctic region in particular is “exhibiting some of the most dramatic shifts in climate seen anywhere on earth”. Revkin examines the current scientific findings of climatologists and oceanographers of their research in the Arctic which holds hidden pieces of the puzzle of past climatic and atmospheric conditions, some of which are recorded in the depths of glaciers or beneath the underwater seabed. The scientists with whom Revkin traveled are monitoring the interaction between the atmosphere, the floating ice and the sea to understand why, with the global warming trend, climatic conditions have recently been changing more dramatically in the North Pole than in the rest of the planet. According to some scientists, the rapid increase of temperature in the Arctic causing the melting of the ice cap could set off a strong cascade of further global warming. The author, pondering the idea of a planet later in this century where in the summer the Arctic Ocean might become mainly open blue water and there would be only one icy pole in the South, writes: "It would be a signal visible far into space that the earth has – to a significant extent – become what one species chooses to make it." In increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, the impact of humans is no longer simply local, but global, even to the farthest reaches of the poles. Revkin notes, "Most experts also agree that if prompt actions are not taken to cut the rising flow of heat-trapping gases linked to warming, the odds will only mount that earth’s climate could shift in truly profound ways later in this century."

This compelling and thought-provoking book is a fascinating read both for older children and adults to learn first hand what it is like to experience the Arctic, to imagine what explorers of old seeking the North Pole must have undergone and to consider what the profound implications of global warming might mean for the future of the planet. Excerpts from The New York Times articles on related topics are also included to supplement the chapters as well as color photographs of Revkin’s trip and of other scientific and exploratory expeditions, period photos, maps and scientific illustrations.

See also:
Laurence Pringle's Global Warming,
Anne Rockwell's Why Are the Ice Caps Melting?
Jonathan Grupper's Destination: Polar Regions

For further information visit:
Arctic Climate Impact Assessment -- scientific reports reviewing the changing conditions around the North Pole.
Polar Trec -- an educational research project of Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating in the Arctic and Antarctic, and
International Polar Year 2007-2009 -- a major international science initiative in the Polar Regions.

        Grades: 6th and up

  One Less Fish

by Kim Michelle Toft & Allan Sheather

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Counting down from 12 to 0 in rhymed couplets, children learn about the fascinating varieties of tropical fish found in Australia's Great Barrier Reef as well as the threats posed to their continued existence. Although the Great Barrier Reef has been protected by law, this book was written as a cautionary tale to show the dangers posed to the fragile ecosystem of coral reefs that are unprotected -- where fish disappear, one by one. Accompanying paragraphs to the couplets describe in greater detail for older readers various threats to the survival of a coral reef, such as oil spills, pesticides & overfishing. Toft's vibrant illustrations, executed in ink and dyes on silk, mirror the beauty, color and diversity of the reef habitat The text is followed by detailed information about the various species of fish illustrated as well as a glossary.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  One Small Place in a Tree

by Barbara Brenner

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Over time a small scratch made by a bear grows as a hole deeper into the trunk of a tree. Yet as the hole weakens the oak, it serves as a home to beetles, fungi, squirrels, snakes, salamanders, frogs and birds. Even after bacteria spreads and the tree dies, the hollow in the dead trunk continues to be used over many years by woodland animals for shelter. Vivid, detailed illustrations draw readers into this one small place in an oak, a hidden world teeming with wondrous life.

      Grades: 2nd to 4th

  Our Ocean Home

by Robert Lyn Nelson

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Honu, a green sea turtle, takes children into the brilliant underwater world of the oceans to present the wondrous diversity and fragility of sea life and to emphasize the importance of conserving the oceans of the world. Nelson’s vivid artwork details the wonders and beauty of the ocean habitat around the globe.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Over in the Arctic

by Marianne Berkes

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

Set to a traditional song, "Over in the Arctic" is a fun-filled counting book in which kids can explore animals that live on land and sea in the Arctic. As wolves howl, wolverines growl, migrating snow geese honk, snowy owls swoop through skies and polar bears roll on ice, children can learn about the behavior of ten Arctic animals and their family units, as well as find "hidden" animals amongst the beautiful cut paper illustrations. Following the verse, there are suggestions for extended activities, additional information about the Arctic, its inhabitants and their adaptations to their habitat, as well as music for the tune of the song, "Over in the Meadow".

To help protect the polar ice caps, visit NRDC's BioGems Polar Bears on Thin Ice to find a Kid's Polar Action Guide.

See also:
Carol Carrick's, Polar Bears Are Hungry
Madeleine Dunphy's, Here is the Arctic Winter
Jonathan London's, Ice Bear and Little Fox
Frank Asch's, Song of the North
Debbie S. Miller's, Artic Light Arctic Nights
Debbie S. Miller's, Caribou Journey

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Paddle-to-the-Sea

by Holling Clancy Holling

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

Paddle-to-the-Sea, a pine figure of an Indian in a canoe, is placed by the boy who carved and christened it into the melting snows of a stream. The fascinating journey of this wooden figure, hundreds of miles down streams and rivers through the Great Lakes down the Saint Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean, will intrigue young readers with adventures that describe natural and man-made habitats as well as provide a captivating geographical lesson of watersheds and waterways of this region.

Reviewed in Nature's Course (September/October 1993) published by CCEL.

        Grades: 4th to 6th

  Pagoo

by Holling Clancy Holling

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Spineless Creatures

The ocean ecosystem, in particular tide pools, is explored through the adventurous life story of Pagoo, a hermit crab.

"Like most of Holling Clancy Holling's books, Pagoo is a classic, as relevant today as when it was written in 1957. It is a wonderful book to begin teaching about the ocean ecosystem. Holling's water color illustrations are evocative of the watery world they depict." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (September/October 1994) published by CCEL.

        Grades: 3rd to 9th

  A Place for Birds

by Melissa Stewart

HARDCOVER
Animals : Birds
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

A Place for birds is more than just an introduction to birds – it examines a variety of environmental issues that have affected bird populations and describes ways people have joined together to help birds. Twelve different species of North American birds are pictured in vivid, colorful, double-page paintings, depicted in natural habitats, rural landscapes and cityscapes. Maps have also been included to show the range of each species. The author Stewart notes, " sometimes people do things that make it hard for birds to live and grow. " Common murres were harmed by oil spills and the bald eagle by pesticides; populations of the spotted owl have declined due to logging of the old-growth forests; and, native habitats of the crested honeycreepers of Hawaii were destroyed by pigs and goats that escaped from farms. Every year many songbirds, including Northern cardinals, are harmed by cats. People of different ages and backgrounds have joined together to protect birds: by providing nesting boxes for the Eastern bluebird, by protecting grasslands of an air reserve base for nesting grasshopper sparrows, by fencing off the beach nesting sites of piping plovers, by dimming the lights of buildings in Chicago during the hermit thrush migration and by restoring native habitat for the Kirtland’s Warbler. Children in a Florida elementary school spent five years to raise money to purchase twenty acres of scrubland habitat for the Florida Scrub Jay. Since animals rely on birds as a food source and plants depend on birds to spread their seeds, people can help nature by planting gardens that protect birds.

See also:
Melissa Stewart's A Place for Butterflies

To learn about creating a wildlife habitat, visit: The National Wildlife Federation

To learn more about birds, see also:
Pete Salmansohn and Stephen W. Kress' Saving Birds: Heroes Around the World
Mel Boring's Birds, Nests & Eggs
Roger Tory Peterson's Peterson First Guide to Birds of North America

      Grades: 2nd to 5th

  A Polar Bear Journey

by Debbie S. Miller

PAPERBACK
Animals : Mammals
Habitats & Ecosystems 

This illustrated story follows a Beaufort Sea polar bear from when she gives birth in a den to two cubs through the time the cubs venture out into the frozen landscape to learn survival skills from their mother. Through the acrylic images and informative narrative, children can learn about the behavior, diet and adaptations of these mammals -- how the mother prepares her den and how the cubs are born and later learn to hunt for seals, swim in the icy waters and survive in the Arctic habitat. The cubs of this story were born on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an important wildlife region that is a denning area for polar bears.

For more information about polar bears, visit World Wildlife Fund's Polar Bear Tracker.

To help protect the polar ice caps, visit NRDC's BioGems Polar Bears on Thin Ice to find a Kid's Polar Action Guide.

See also: Nicola Davie's, Ice Bear: In the Steps of the Polar Bear,
Jonathan London's, Ice Bear and Little Fox, and
Jane Yolen's, Welcome to the Ice House.

      Grades: 2nd to 5th

  The Prairie Builders

by Sneed B. Collard III

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

The Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa is the site of a project begun in 1992 to rebuild the native tallgrass prairie, the regional ecosystem that once was the dominant natural habitat for an abundance of plant and animal species in the Midwest stretching from Ohio to North Dakota and Minnesota to Texas. The author notes, "Grasses up to twelve feet tall fed elk, deer, pronghorn, and between 30 and 75 million bison, or buffalo." By collecting native seeds, using controlled burn to stimulate growth of new prairie plants and reintroducing native species of buffalo, elk as well as the elusive Regal Fritillary butterfly, a dedicated group of scientists and volunteers worked over several years to reestablish a destroyed regional ecosystem and gradually witnessed its rebirth as the site of the largest national prairie reconstruction. Collard chronicles their efforts providing an insightful overview complemented by color photographs into the complexities of the process in bringing back the tallgrass prairie that had almost completely vanished from the North American landscape.

For more information, visit Friends of the Prairie Learning Center, Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge at: www.tallgrass.org

See also: Jim Brandenburg's An American Safari
Dorothy Hinshaw Patent's, Fire: Friend or Foe, and
Sneed Collard III's Butterfly Count

        Grades: 4th to 8th

  Red Knot

by Nancy Carol Willis

HARDCOVER
Animals : Birds
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Follow the amazing annual migration of a red knot shorebird as it makes a 20,000 mile round-trip voyage from Tierra del Fuego, at the tip of South America, past the Brazilian Amazon to the Arctic tundra where it nests and raises its young. During the hemisphere-long journey, this bird stops at several shores to replenish its energy by feeding on mussels, worms and clams alongside other shorebirds. The timing of its arrival in Delaware Bay coincides with the annual spawning of horseshoe crabs whose eggs are a valuable source of food to these migratory birds. Besides information about the banding of birds, other sandpipers and shorebird species, a glossary, chronological presentation and range map, this illustrated picture book also includes information about the importance of Delaware Bay to the survival of this species as well as the conservation efforts to protect the plummeting numbers of the red knot. As a result of the effects of food shortages, loss of habitat, predation and bad weather, the red knot population has fallen from 100,000 in 1994 to 13,500 in 2005.

See also:
Victoria Crenson's Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds: The Story of a Food Web

To learn more about red knots, visit:
Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds

To learn more about the efforts to save red knots, horseshoe crabs and other shorebirds, visit:
BirdLife International
American Bird Conservacy
Endangered Species Coalition
ShorebirdWorld
The Shorebird Project
ERDG's Horseshoe Crab Conservation Network
Friends of the Red Knot

        Grades: 1st to 4th

  Redwoods

by Jason Chin

HARDCOVER
Flora : Trees & Forests
Habitats & Ecosystems 

As he reads a book on a subway, a boy’s imagination transports him into a forest of western coast redwoods where he explores the wonders of these magnificent giants, some of the oldest trees in the world. This visually imaginative book, beautifully illustrated, factually describes the amazing structure and growth of these trees from the forest floor to the canopy as well as their important role in the ecosystem as a habitat for many other plants and animals, including endangered species, such as the northern spotted owl, the red tree vole and the marbled murrelet -- all live only in old growth forests. This experiential book is a treasure of information for children about the uniqueness and importance of redwood trees.

To learn more about redwood conservation, visit: Save the Redwoods League

See also:
Dana Lyons' The Tree
Kathy Baron's The Tree of Time: A Story of a Special Sequoia
Carol Reed-Jones' The Tree in the Ancient Forest
Linda Vieira's The Ever-Living Tree: The Life and Times of a Coast Redwood

      Grades: Preschool to 4th

  Salmon Forest

by David Suzuki & Sarah Ellis

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Fish

As Kate and her father explore the spawning area of sockeye salmon in the woods of the Pacific rain forest, her dad explains the life cycle of these fish as well as the interconnecting web amongst the forest, salmon and the animals that feed on the fish. The nutrients from the salmon feed insects, birds, bears and, ultimately, the forest. In turn, the forest contributes to maintaining a habitat for these fish by conserving the soil and shading the streams. At the end of their exploration, Kate and her dad meet with Native friends in the woods to share a meal of salmon, like the bears, birds, insects and trees. The vibrant watercolor illustrations bring to life the imagery of the life cycle of the sockeye salmon and the Pacific rain forest ecosystem.

        Grades: Preschool to 2nd

  Saving Birds: Heroes Around the World

by Pete Salmansohn and Stephen W. Kress

PAPERBACK
Animals : Birds
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Efforts to save six different species of birds threatened with extinction were undertaken by people throughout the world -- scientists, entertainers, farmers, indigenous peoples and children -- in cloud forests, islands, wetlands, cities and jungles. Salmansohn and Kress of the Audubon Society take readers around the globe to witness the work of these heroes: to China, where winter wetland feeding grounds for black-necked cranes are restored by the joint endeavors of impoverished villagers and farmers working with a nature refuge; to Israel, where children provide nesting boxes for lesser kestrels; to New Zealand, where scientists save one of the rarest songbirds, the black robin, from the brink of extinction; to Mexico, where entertainers educate and inspire local peoples to save the quetzal that is of cultural significance; to Malaysia where feathers for Sarawak native costumes using the rhinoceros hornbill are replaced by turkey feathers; and, to California, where common murres, of which a colony was killed by an oil spill, are aided by decoys to establish a new breeding colony on the cliffs of Devil’s Slide Rock. The photographic accounts examine the various causes of the decline of the birds – habitat destruction, deforestation, oil spills, chemicals poaching and hunting. The strategies described to save a species can at times involve creative approaches such as puppet shows, may require enduring patience over years of work to obtain successful results, and may also pose dangers such as risky maneuvers on and around steep cliffs. The dedication and hard work of these caring individuals throughout the world can serve as an inspiration to readers to help protect threatened bird species around the globe.

See also:
Pete Salmansohn and Stephen W. Kress' Project Puffin: How We Brought Puffins Back to Egg Rock
Pete Salmansohn and Stephen W. Kress' Giving Back to the Earth: A Teacher's Guide to Project Puffin and Other Seabird Studies Around the World
Linda Kenyon's Rainforest Bird Rescue
Pamela Hickman's Birds of Prey Rescue
Melissa Stewart's A Place for Birds
Bruce McMillan's A Beach for the Birds about Least Terns in Maine

To learn more about birds, visit:
Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds and Bird Sleuth
The National Audubon Society
The Audubon Seabird Restoration Program
BirdLife International

To learn more about the following birds, visit these websites:
Black Robins -- New Zealand's Department of Conservation
Cranes -- International Crane Foundation
Common Murres -- Common Murre Restoration Project
Hornbills -- San Diego Zoo's Animal Bytes
Lesser Kestrels -- Arkive
Quetzals -- El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, Encyclopedia of Life, and Arkive

      Grades: 4th to 8th

  Sawgrass Poems: A View of the Everglades

by Frank Asch

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

"Through evocative poetry and photographs, Sawgrass Poems captures the magic and mystery of one of the most unique ecosystems in the United States -- an immense wetland wilderness where plants and animals of the temperate zone and the tropics mingle. . . . In the appendix, a note about each photo provides additional information which makes this book an excellent teaching tool. But the book is also inspirational." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (January/February 1996) published by CCEL.

Twenty evocative poems about the flora, fauna and physical conditions of the Everglades include: "Alligator Hotel", "If I Had a Vulture", "Some Rivers", "Water Moccasin", "Old Man Mangrove", "A Panther's Life", "My Little Mosquito", "Hey You, Manatee!", " Who Cuts the Sawgrass", "Hurricane Song" and "Stillness".

See also:
Trish Marx's Everglades Forever: Restoring America's Great Wetland
Jane Yolen's Welcome to the River of Grass
Madeleine Dunphy's Here Is the Wetland

      Grades: Kindergarten and up

  Sea Critters

by Sylvia A. Earle

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

Written for slightly younger children than "Dive!", marine biologist Sylvia Earle's "Sea Critters" delves into the beauty, diversity and classification of sea life. "Water is magical!" states Earle as she takes the reader into an exploration of the critters that inhabit the underwater realm. From sponges and stingers to a variety of worms such as the lacy, tentacled, Christmas Tree Worm, from soft-bodied mollusks as small as the brightly colored sea slug or as large as the giant squid, from critters with jointed legs and spiny-skinned creatures to the stiff-backed chordates that include the vertebrates, the vast diversity of animal life that abounds in the oceans is presented with concise, clear, informative text. The full-spread illustrated chart of "The Sea Critters' Family Tree" summarizes the categories presented in the book. Full-page, close-up color photographs as well as watercolors of the critters unveil the exquisite beauty of life found in the underwater world.

See also:
Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini's A Swim Through the Sea as well as the accompanying Teacher's Guide

      Grades: 1st to 3rd

  The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle

by Lynne Cherry

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Following the development of a mangrove tangle from a sprouting seed into a spreading mangrove island as it gradually grows into a nesting place for birds and a nursery for fish and shellfish, this is a story about the community of life in the Caribbean Sea that depends upon a mangrove tangle for food and shelter. The beautiful artwork and engaging narrative depict the diversity and interdependence of life found in these habitats -- pelicans, herons, shrimp, crabs, lizards, seahorses, dolphins, sea turtles and manatees. In the "Author’s Note", Cherry describes the importance of mangroves not only as barriers for coastal areas from storms, but also as filters that clean out run off pollutants in the water. Many of these important mangrove habitats have been cleared in recent years to create commercial developments and shrimp farms. Maps on the endpapers show the location of these threatened ecosystems and include bordering illustrations of the numerous species of these unique and endangered communities.

For more information visit:
Mangrove Action Project, a project of Earth Island Institute.
The Mangrove Bio-complexity Project of the Smithsonian Environment Research Center.

      Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  Sierra

by Diane Siebert

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

"The story's words and pictures eloquently describe the plant and animal communities that mountain climates support, as well as the negative ways that humans have influenced mountain ecosystems. A particular mountain tells its history from geologic uplift and glaciation, to its present climatic conditions, speaking of how all features of an ecosystem are interrelated." From Bringing the World Alive: A Bibliography of Nature Stories for Children, published by The Orion Society.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Siwiti -- A Whale's Story

by Alexandra Morton

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Mammals

Siwiti – A Whale’s Story is the captivating insight into the first year in the life of an orca off the coast of British Columbia in western Canada. Basing Siwiti’s adventures on events witnessed over 11 years of observing orcas, marine researcher Alexandra Morton narrates the year-long adventures of a young killer whale from the moment when she is born and comes to the surface of the ocean to take her first breath. As Siwiti grows under the watchful care of her family, she interacts and plays with her group and other pods of orcas, learns to “see” through sound to chase down salmon, encounters seals, porpoises, deer and humans, explores the mysterious underwater kelp forest and narrowly escapes from aggressive stellar sea lions. Stunning photographs by Robin and Alexandra Morton capture close-up views of the orcas and the magnificent beauty of the ocean habitat in the Pacific Northwest that is home to Siwiti’s pod.

See also:http://raincoastresearch.org/orca.htm

      Grades: 3rd to 7th

  Snapshots: The Wonders of Monterey Bay

by Celeste Mannis

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

The wonders of Monterey Bay are vividly captured in stunning photography, poetic verse and informative text describing the rugged coastline, the glimmering tidepools and the diversity of life forms of this unique marine ecosystem. The Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary, "the largest federally protected marine environment in North America, " is the site of a vast underwater canyon larger than the Grand Canyon and of rocky shores, kelp forests, sandy beaches, marshes and dunes. Home to sea otters, sea lions, brown pelicans, black-tailed and mule deer, rare moths and butterflies, egrets, blue herons and cormorants, the sanctuary is also visited annually by Northern elephant seals as a rookery and by whales and birds during their migrations. Readers can explore the beauty and astounding diversity of ocean and coastal life as well as spectacular vistas and close-ups of the bay, inland marshes and dunes that inspired author and photographer, Mannis, to share her love of the unique coastal ecosystem where the Pacific Ocean meets central California.

For more information, visit: The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and The Monterey Bay Aquarium.

      Grades: Kindergarten to 4th

  Snowy White World to Save

by Stephanie Lisa Tara

HARDCOVER
Environmental Themes : Global Warming
Animals  : Mammals

This large format picture book with beautiful watercolor illustrations offers young children a glimpse at the Arctic world of the polar bear and the impact of global warming. The short verses vividly depict how a mother bear with her two cubs thrive in this pristine, icy world and hunt for food; but as the ice floes melt, they are forced to seek food from piles of garbage. The book concludes with an upbeat note that kids can take action to save this "snowy white world" of the polar bear, listing a number of simple everyday actions to help stop global warming as well as websites to learn more about this important issue.

See also: Carol Carrick's, Polar Bears Are Hungry

To learn more about global warming and polar bears visit:
ClimateCrisis.net
Polar Bear SOS
NRDC's website on Global Warming
StopGlobalWarming.org
World Wildlife Fund's Polar Bear Tracker, and
BioGems website Polar Bears on Thin Ice to find a Kid's Polar Action Guide.

      Grades: Preschool to 2nd

  Spoonbill Swamp

by Brenda Guiberson

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Various Classes

"In this colorful and lively story, young readers spend the day with a mother spoonbill as she searches for food for her chicks while her mate protects the babies, and a mother alligator also searches for food -- which just might be the spoonbill! We see the wetland ecosystem, the balance of nature and the way animals protect their young." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (January/February 1996) published by CCEL.

The afterword, "Bird and the Beast", describes the similarities and differences of the alligator and roseate spoonbill in terms of their physical characteristics and behavior. It also mentions their former near extinction when they were hunted for the fashion market and the present threat they face of the destruction of their environment.

See also:
Brenda Guiberson's Mud City to learn about the flamingos in Inagua National Park in the Bahamas.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Spotted Owlets

by Victoria Miles

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Birds

This picture booklet will captivate young readers as they discover a family of northern spotted owls in its unique habitat of the ancient old-growth forest. Stunning colored illustrations of the young owlets perched in the giant Douglas firs depict these nocturnal birds as they feed from their parents and venture out of their tree trunk to learn to fly.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Squish! A Wetland Walk

by Nancy Luenn

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

"Squish! is a perfect way to introduce wetlands, the important habitat they provide and the vital role they plan in the water system. In beautiful watercolors, Himler illustrates a child's-eye view of the wetland with its animals and birds as a little boy and his grandfather discover them on a walk through their 'water meadow'." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (January/February 1996) published by CCEL.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  This is the Sea That Feeds Us

by Robert F. Baldwin

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

Beginning with the ocean's phytoplankton, "the basic food of the sea" that through photosynthesis make sugar from the light of the sun, this picture book for children explores the food web and the interdependence of life on the ocean. From the microscopic plankton to crabs, from krill to whales, from fish to humans, the intricate web weaves itself in cumulative verse through the full spread illustrations. Detailed explanations for older children complement the main verse. Readers of all ages will be fascinated to learn about the zillions of microscopic creatures floating in the oceans that produce over half the supply of the world's oxygen and upon which the marine food web depends.

        Grades: Preschool & up

  Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion

by Loree Griffin Burns

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Pollution & Sustainability

Tracking Trash unfolds like a mystery setting readers on a path of discovery to learn about the ocean and its currents, the scientific work of oceanographers and beachcombers, and the impact of trash on marine life and why we need to protect the ocean ecosystem. During the 1990’s flotsam and jetsam – floating trash that falls or is thrown from ships at sea – provided oceanographer Dr. Curt Ebbesmeyer the tools for studying the movement of ocean surface currents. Sneakers, bathtub toys, LEGO pieces, hockey gloves and computer monitors washed up on shores, thousands of miles away from where they initially were dumped into the ocean. Studying the paths of floating garbage also revealed the "East Garbage Patch" of the Pacific Ocean -- an area the size of Alaska found in a gyre that is a convergence zone formed by the confluence of currents, where plastics that are not pulled underwater by the currents continue to float and amass -- containing 3 million tons of garbage. Besides discovering how flotsam and jetsam has provided information for oceanographers about surface currents, readers will also learn how floating trash ends up destroying marine life and habitats. "Ghost-nets," lost or discarded fishing nets, entangle and kill 100,000 ocean wildlife yearly and destroy corals that have been formed over hundreds of years; nurdles, tiny plastic particles of degraded bits of larger plastic pieces, end up in the digestive tracts of marine life. Along with its color photos, maps, diagrams, informative sidebars, glossary and website/book listings, Tracking Trash offers kids an intriguing, informative investigation of oceans as well as an understanding of the long-lasting, devastating impact of trash on marine ecosystems.

To learn more visit:
Dr. Curt Ebbesmeyer’s website Beachcombers’ and Oceanographers’ International Association
Algalita Marine Research Foundation



      Grades: 5th & up

  The Tree

by Dana Lyons

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Exquisite paintings by Danioth bring to life the moving words of Lyons’ song, a call to preserve our fragile environment presented from the perspective of an 800 year old Douglas fir. After years of witnessing the melting of glaciers, the call of wolves, the return of salmon and the flight of owls, the tree hears the coming of bulldozers and ponders what will provide shelter and preserve the soil if it is to be no more. As a message of hope, smiling people come to encircle and protect this splendid giant whose beauty is mirrored through the artwork of the book. Closer examination of the illustrations reveal threatened species that depend upon the Pacific Rain Forrest. Forewords by Julia Hill Butterfly and Pete Seeger, as well as endnotes with information about the Pacific Rain Forest, underline the importance of preserving old growth forests. (This picture book was printed on recycled paper.)

      Grades: Preschool to 2nd

  The Tree in the Ancient Forest

by Carol Reed-Jones

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Carol Reed-Jones portrays the remarkable ways that inhabitants of the forest depend upon one another for survival and the amazing web of plants and animals living around a single old fir tree. An informative guide of the forest creatures and their interrelationship as well as the role of ancient forests follows the verse.

Reviewed in Nature's Course (March/April 1996) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Preschool to 5th

  A Tree is Growing

by Arthur Dorros

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Beautifully illustrated with textured line and colored pencil drawings by the botanist Schindler, "A Tree is Growing" offers young readers a concise introduction to the growth and seasonal transformations of a tree. The function of photosynthesis, the role of leaves, roots, bark and sap as well as flowering and the formation of seeds and growth rings are all lucidly presented. Although the main text of the double-spread pages focuses primarily on trees of the temperate zone, the insets offer insights into exotic species such as the baobab and the banyan trees.

      Grades: 1st to 3rd

  Tree of Life: The World of the African Baobab

by Barbara Bash

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

According to a legend of the African bushmen, the baobab tree was planted upside down by the careless hyena, which is why its branches look like gnarled roots. Barbara Bash introduces this vividly illustrated text with African folklore and then follows the life cycle of the baobab trees that stand in the landscape of the dry African savannah, living more than one thousand years. The coming of the rainy season marks the arrival of birds, as the tree sprouts leaves on its branches. Soon the baobab is teeming with life, with insects scampering and eating the foliage. At night the bushbabies and bats emerge to drink the nectar of the flowers that bloom on the baobab. Then, the next morning the flowers that have fallen from the tree provide food for the impalas. After the rains have ended, the leaves fall to the ground exposing the branches of the baobab, where life still teems in nests of birds and with baboons eating the fruit of the tree. When the fruits are gone, the silence of the tree is broken by snakes, chameleons and insects crawling over the barren branches. To the African people the tree is a rich source of honey, of bark that is used to make baskets and rope, of fruit, and of roots and leaves used for medicine.

      Grades: 1st to 5th

  Turtle Tide

by Stephen R. Swinburne

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Reptiles

Turtle Tide brings readers into the fascinating world of the endangered sea turtle, an ancient reptile that has survived since the times of the dinosaurs. The narrative opens in the dark waters of the Atlantic Ocean where a loggerhead sea turtle is swimming to the beach where many years ago she was born. She crawls ashore, carefully lays her eggs, and then returns to the sea. The narrative continues following the fate of the one hundred eggs the mother turtle covered with sand in a dune, as some hatch, emerge from the hole and scuttle across the open beach to their ocean home, whereas most fall prey to hungry raccoons, ghost crabs, birds and fish. Weaving lyrical prose with factual information, Swinburne’s narrative is complemented by dramatic watercolor illustrations, many showing close-ups vividly depicting the world of the endangered sea turtle and the struggle for survival of the young hatchlings.

      Grades: 2nd to 5th

  Under the Ice

by Kathy Conlan

PAPERBACK
Naturalists & Their Work
Environmental Themes  : Pollution & Sustainability

Marine biologist Kathy Conlan takes readers into the icy depths of the seas under Antarctica to explore the unique environment and creatures who inhabit the region. In this impressive photo-essay that includes biographical, historical and geographical information, Conlan describes her ongoing research on the impact of human pollution on marine life and provides an insight into the rigors and intricacies of her work as a scientist. First-person accounts are also given of her 3-month journey to Antarctica, daily life at the research base of McMurdo Station, several harrowing experiences diving under 6 feet of ice, her fascinating close encounters underwater and over ice with Weddell seals, Adelies and Emperor penguins, her explorations of neon blue ice caves and her trip to the South Pole -- all complemented by stunning color photography. Through Conlan’s fascinating account readers can learn about the importance of her research and the unique biodiversity of the remote continent of Antarctica, "that magnificent, frozen world full of fragile beauty."

See also: Mary Cerullo's, Life Under Ice

        Grades: 4th to 8th

  Urban Roosts

by Barbara Bash

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Birds

"This book teaches children about our resilient city birds who go about their lives often unnoticed by the humans rushing around nearby. Urban Roosts explores the world of sparrows and finches, barn owls and snowy owls, swallows and swifts, nighthawks and killdeers, pigeons and wrens, crows, starlings, and even peregrine falcons, showing close-up (binocular-like) views as well as panoramic vistas. . . . Urban Roosts explains how human activity has destroyed many natural habitats, but it also makes the point that the birds 'that have been able to adapt are thriving in the midst of the city.' " Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (March/April 1993) published by CCEL.

See also:
Robert Bateman's Backyard Birds,
Carol Lerner's Backyard Birds of Winter and Backyard Birds of Summer

        Grades: 4th to 7th

  A Walk in the Rainforest

by Kristin Joy Pratt

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

The biodiversity and interdependence of the exotic animals and vegetation of the rainforest are presented in a concise alphabet format through the travels of the ant, XYZ. Each page abounds in color and facts about the lifestyle and habitat of a plant or animal. The threat of extinction and conservation themes are also discussed.

See also the accompanying book A Teacher's Guide to a Walk in the Rainforest

        Grades: Preschool to 7th

  A Walk Through a Rain Forest: Life in the Ituri Forest of Zaire

by David Jenike & Mark Jenike

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Since "A Walk Through a Rain Forest: Life in the Ituri Forest of Zaire" was written in 1994, Zaire has become the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has the largest surface of tropical forests in the world, containing more than half of Africa's tropical forests. This book takes readers deep into the Ituri Rain Forest to explore this unique ecosystem and present the life styles of two groups of indigenous people, the Lese farmers and the Efe foragers, who have lived together in this rain forest for thousands of years. Traveling with a young Lese boy and his grandparents from their small village to an outlying fishing camp, readers explore the habitat and the daily life of these indigenous people sharing the forest's resources, as well as the rich diversity of flora and fauna of the Ituri Forest. Numerous insets with color photographs describe the fascinating wildlife of this region, including bongos, okapis, pottos and duikers. Contrasting the traditional life styles of the indigenous peoples with more recent factors threatening the rainforest ecosystem, such as overhunting, poaching and the demand for bush meat, the author notes the importance of protecting the unique and vast diversity of the African rain forest.

        Grades: 3rd to 6th

  Welcome to the Green House

by Jane Yolen

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

"The beautiful illustrations in this book make the sounds, smells, sights, colors and textures of the rain forest come alive. Welcome to the Green House teaches how plants are the source of life for many rain forest creatures, providing habitat and food." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (November/December 1993) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Welcome to the Ice House

by Jane Yolen

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

The cycle of seasons, from the long, cold nights of winter to the colorful explosion of flowers in the spring and summer to the return of winter's darkness, is portrayed with lyrical text and dramatic illustrations. Through the "shades of white" of the wintry land roam the arctic fox, a howling wolf pack, lynx, polar bear and moose, while beneath the ice swim the seals, walruses and killer whales. The coming of warm weather brings the return of the loons, terns and puffins to a snowless, iceless landscape and the thunderous arrival of the caribou across the colorful, flowering tundra, while other animals, like the grizzly bear awaken from their sleep. With the return of the winter, the darkness descends once more onto the cold vastness of the Arctic land, "the ice house".

To help protect the polar ice caps, visit NRDC's BioGems Polar Bears on Thin Ice to find a Kid's Polar Action Guide.

See also: Jonathan Grupper's Destination: Polar Regions.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Welcome to the Sea of Sand

by Jane Yolen

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

The sensuous beauty of the Sonora Desert is evoked in a dramatically illustrated book that portrays the flora and fauna of this "sea of sand" teeming with life -- the sounds of animals who roam the desert, the brilliant colors after a rainstorm as well as the lyrical beauty of the forms of the landscape itself.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  What About Ladybugs

by Celia Godkin

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Gardening

When a gardener decides to rid his thriving garden of "harmful" insects by spraying the plants with a bug killer, he discovers that the flowers, fruits and vegetables no longer thrive. The aphids as well as the ants and wasps proliferate since the ladybugs that controlled the aphids are no longer part of the garden ecosystem. When the ladybugs are reintroduced, the delicate natural balance as well as the beauty of the garden are restored. Accompanied by color, double-page illustrations, that include close-ups of the various insects, this picture book introduces young readers to the ecology of a garden, presenting the important role of ladybugs.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature's Balance in Yellowstone

by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

HARDCOVER
Animals : Mammals
Habitats & Ecosystems 

Patent’s concise, informative and engaging text, describing how the reintroduction of wolves restored the balance in the Yellowstone ecosystem, is complemented by historical and recent full-color photography of the wolves and Yellowstone, its majestic geological wonders and native wildlife. Yellowstone was established in 1872 as a national park to preserve its geologic wonders of geysers, canyons, boiling hot pools, and mud pots "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people". To preserve the big game animals, hunters were paid to kill wolves and by 1926 not a single wolf was left in the lower 48 states. With the wolves gone, the elk and coyote populations in Yellowstone flourished. As time passed, however, the elk ate the young shoots and bark of trees that had provided food and nesting sites for songbirds as well as wood for beavers to build lodges and dams which had created ponds used by dragonflies, ducks and moose. Coyotes, now Yellowstone’s top predator, killed elk calves and newborn pronghorn fawns and ate animals that other smaller predators, such as foxes, hawks, owls and badgers, needed to survive. With the disappearance of wolves the balance of the complex ecosystem had been upset. Over time scientists began to realize the important, essential role played by wolves as a keystone species in an ecosystem where wolves had lived along with other animals for thousands of years. After an absence of almost seventy years, in 1995 several packs of wolves captured in Canada were introduced back into Yellowstone. Gradually nature’s balance in Yellowstone has been restored – "Returning the wolf is helping to make Yellowstone whole again. "

See also:
Jean Craighead George's The Wolves Are Back
Stephen Swinburne's Once A Wolf: How Wildlife Biologists Fought to Bring Back the Gray Wolf
Janni Howker's Walk with a Wolf /a>

To learn more about wolves, visit:
NRDC's
Save BioGems
Yellowstone National Park.com
Yellowstone Wolves.org

      Grades: 2nd & up

  Where Do I Sleep?

by Jennifer Blomgren

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

"Where Do I Sleep" is a stunning, lullaby picture book of the Pacific Northwest. Blomgren’s lyrical, calming verse describes the habitats and sleep patterns of eighteen animals of the Pacific Northwest while Gabriel’s double-page, close-up pastels of the resting creatures depict the natural beauty and diversity of the region. From descriptions of a gray wolf pup napping in the Alaskan tundra, a puffling sleeping in an island cliffside and a baby sea otter on the mother’s belly swaying in a kelp bed, to a fawn slumbering underneath low trees, a brown bat hanging upside down in a cave and a red fox yawning in the underground den – the rhythmic verse also includes the young animals of the gray whale, brown bear, bald eagle, hermit thrush, mountain goat, cougar, moose, water dipper, salmon and even an anemone and a garden spider. At the end of this tranquil poem a child is pictured sleeping soundly in bed under the moonlight surrounded by stuffed animals of the Pacific Northwest.

      Grades: Preschool to 2nd

  Where Once There Was a Wood

by Denise Fleming

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

A wood, meadow and creek were once home for a variety of animals and plants that were displaced by development. The lyrical, rhythmic verse of this one-sentence story, picturing the various inhabitants of the landscape in vivid, beautiful settings created by colorful, handmade paper illustrations, brings the basic ecological message of habitat loss to young readers. "Welcoming Wildlife to Your Backyard Habitat" following the story offers older children and adults information and resources for creating wildlife habitats in one's community, making note of the basic needs of space, shelter, water and food of wild creatures. This four-page section also includes listings of trees and shrubs to provide food and shelter, flowers to attract butterflies and hummingbirds as well as books and organizations to obtain more information about creating wildlife habitats.

        Grades: Kindergarten to 5th

  Where the Forest Meets the Sea

by Jeannie Baker

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

During a day outing with his father at a shore where a tropical rain forest meets the ocean, a boy follows a creek into the wilderness. Pretending it is over a hundred million years ago, he observes the forest, listens to its sounds and imagines now-extinct creatures as well as Aboriginal children playing in ancient trees. Lifelike collages take readers through a visual journey depicting the flora and fauna of the Australian Daintree Rainforest. At the end of the day, as they leave to go home, the pristine shore is overlaid by translucent images of development -- the boy wonders whether the forest will still be there when they return.

For more information about, as well as images of, the Daintree Rainforest in North Queensland, Australia, visit: Rainforest Rescue

See also:
Brenda Guiberson's Rain Rain Rain Forest, and
Lynne Cherry's The Great Kapok Tree

        Grades: Kindergarten & Up

  Where Would I Be in an Evergreen Tree?

by Jennifer Blomgren

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Jennifer Blomgren begins her book -- "A long time ago, on a big mossy log, on the floor of a forest all covered in fog, a seed from a cone fell onto the wood and reached for the sun just as fast as it could." Celebrating the ecosystem found on and around the conifer, the beautifully illustrated lyrical verse of this picture book explores the diversity of plants and creatures that abound in the habitat of the Pacific Northwest -- bears, salamanders, cow elk, black-tailed deer, silver-haired bats, pine martens, spotted owls, flying squirrels, pine-white butterflies, murrelets, creepers, nuthatches, as well as lichens, mosses and wildflowers. The double-page pastel spreads provide a wealth of images for young readers to explore the life teeming in and around the evergreen and to appreciate the importance of trees.

      Grades: Preschool & up

  Who Eats What?: Food Chains and Food Webs

by Patricia Lauber

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Interrelationships in food webs and the role of green plants as the basic source of energy in food chains are lucidly explained to young readers along with clearly labeled ink-and-watercolor drawings of life both on land and in the sea. The repercussions of the near extinction of Western sea otters is explained to show the interdependence of living creatures and the impact of human actions on ecosystems. Children are encouraged to explore the intricacies of food webs and their own ecological link by creating drawings based on their diets and direct observations of the world.

        Grades: Kindergarten to 4th

  Why Are the Ice Caps Melting?

by Anne Rockwell

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Environmental Themes  : Global Warming

The greenhouse effect, issues of climate change and global warming are lucidly introduced to younger children in Rockwell's book along with constructive actions to counteract global warming.

See also:
Laurence Pringle's Global Warming, and
Sally Morgan's Changing Climate

For further information about GLOBAL WARMING, visit :
Environmental Protection Agency -- a Kids’ Site on Climate Change
Climate Change Education -- an education resource center for students and teachers
StopGlobalWarming.Org -- tips for taking action in the classroom and school.

To help protect the polar ice caps, visit NRDC's BioGems Polar Bears on Thin Ice to find a Kid's Polar Action Guide.

        Grades: 1st to 4th

  Winston of Churchill: One Bear's Battle Against Global Warming

by Jean Davies Okimoto

HARDCOVER
Environmental Themes : Global Warming
Environmental Themes  : Pollution & Sustainability

Winston of Churchill is a delightful, humorous picture book to engage children in the serious topic of global warming. The stately polar bear, based upon the historical English figure, inspires his fellow bears to convince the tourists visiting Churchill, Manitoba, the polar bear capital of the world, to save their Arctic home. "Ice is nice!" exclaim the bears when Winston elucidates the impact of climate change. As buggies filled with people from all over the world search the tundra for bears, far in the distance the tourists are greeted by the sight of white bears marching with signs: "Brrrr is Best, " "Freeze Please, " "Cool It! " During this adventure Winston also learns that he himself needs to follow through, even in small actions, to help out – to stop polluting the air with his cigar. "We must all do our part, no matter how small."

Printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper.

To learn about global warming, see:
Loree Griffin Burns’, Why Are the Ice Caps Melting?

For more information about polar bears, visit World Wildlife Fund's Polar Bear Tracker.

To help protect the polar ice caps, visit NRDC's BioGems Polar Bears on Thin Ice to find a Kid's Polar Action Guide.

See also:
Amanda Lumry & Laura Hurwitz's, Polar Bear Puzzle,
Carol Carrick's, Polar Bears Are Hungry,
Jonathan London's, Ice Bear and Little Fox, and
Jane Yolen's, Welcome to the Ice House

      Grades: 1st to 3rd

  Winter Whale

by Joanne Ryder

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Mammals

A boy imagining that he is transformed into a humpback whale explores the underwater home of this magnificent mammal where he comes across a pod of whales as well as other creatures of the ocean. This "first-hand experience" affords young readers a unique perspective of the movements and behavior of whales and their communication through song as well as vivid illustrations of their underwater habitat, inspired by the waters around the Hawaiian Islands. The "Author's Note" provides factual information about the physical characteristics, migratory patterns and behavior of humpback whales.

        Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  Wolf Island

by Celia Godkin

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Animals  : Mammals

Based upon an actual event that occured in Northern Ontario, Canada, Wolf Island chronicles the changes in the balance of nature that take place when a family of wolves is relocated from an island. The chain reaction that filters down through the levels of the food chain gradually affects all forms of life, both vegetative and animal. Deer, squirrels, owls and mice soon face starvation when the top predators -- the wolves -- are removed from the island. Author and illustrator Celia Godkin’s picture book lucidly depicts the key role of wolves in maintaining the delicate balance of ecosystems.

        Grades: 1st to 4th

  Woodland Counting Book

by Claudia McGehee

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Habitats & Ecosystems 

Years ago before the pioneers settled the prairies, the bordering woodlands were home to numerous plants and animals, many of which are now endangered or extinct. McGehee’s counting book, exquisitely illustrated by colorful scratchboard artwork, introduces readers to the diversity and beauty of life that abounds in woodland communities over a cycle of seasons beginning with spring. From towering oaks, brilliant serviceberries and patches of mayapple wildflowers to pale green luna moths, tree-climbing gray foxes, blue spotted salamanders and colonies of carpenter ants – each page offers a visual and counting exploration of the woodland habitat in which young children can count up to 50 members of a species. "Woodland Notes" invites older readers to learn more about the twenty-three different plants and animals cited in the book which are now left in small portions of remaining woodland habitat, for "each mighty in its own way, every woodland member fills a special place in nature."

As part of the Green Press Initiative, this book is printed by the University of Iowa Press on recycled acid-free paper.

See also:
Claudia McGehee's A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet, and
Jonathan London's Phantom of the Prairie: Year of the Black Footed Ferret

      Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  The World That We Want

by Kim Michelle Toft

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Experience of Nature 

Interweaving cumulative text describing the Earth’s ecosystems with vivid imagery of respective animals, Australian author and illustrator Toft presents the interrelationships and delicate balance of our living planet, focusing upon forty-five animals in their corresponding habitats of the ocean, air, rain forest, river, mangrove, beach, tide pool, reef or atoll. The stunning artwork, drawn and painted onto silk, culminates in a four-page panoramic foldout depicting all the animals and ecosystems of a world that we want “that protects, feeds, and shelters everything that lives on it.” The endnotes further elaborate each ecosystem and its wildlife communities as well as the threats posed by pollution, deforestation or climactic changes, emphasizing the interconnectedness of life and the need for balance.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd