Tag Archives: reading books

Six Brilliant Nature Books for Children

This summer has been brilliant. Most days it’s been nice enough to go outside to play and explore. It’s been a brilliant summer for enjoying the great outdoors and learning more about nature. We’ve been reading lots of nature books, doing some nature-based crafts, some scavenger hunts, and reading lots of nature books. My son has thoroughly enjoyed himself, and I have too.

I’ve picked out six of our favourite nature books for children which we’ve been enjoying this summer. Do you have a favourite nature book?

Six Brilliant Nature Books for Children

six Brilliant Nature Books for Children

Hello Nature by Nina Chakrabarti is a wonderfully illustrated 160 page nature scrapbook. It’s full of interesting facts and activities to help you explore and learn more about nature. The book encourages you to “draw, colour, make and grow” all over its pages. Hello Nature is aimed at children aged 7-11 years, but it’s so beautiful it would make a great present for anyone interested in drawing or painting nature. You can read our full review here.

My RSPB Nature Clipboard by Eryl Nash and illustrated by Hannah Tolson is a great place to start discovering more about the nature in your neighbourhood. Learn to make bird and butterfly feeders, a minibeast hotel or a windowbox garden. Become a nature detective and head outside with your clipboard to explore the nature on your doorstep. Use the spotter sheets to identify birds, plants, animal tracks and much more, and record what you’ve found on your beautifully illustrated poster. The perfect gift to engage nature-lovers and budding bird-watchers with the wildlife all around them.

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane. We’ve just returned home from the Just So Festival which had an area in the woods set aside for a piece about this most wonderful nature book. Inspired by the decision to remove fifty ‘nature’ words from the Oxford Junior Dictionary to make way for what are mainly transitory, computer-based words such as ‘broadband’ and ‘chatroom’. Author, Robert Macfarlane wrote this book to celebrate some of the lost words, such as dandelion, conkers, otters, adders and other wonderful nature words. This is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most beautiful nature book I have ever laid eyes on. Full of wonderful illustrations and thought provoking poetry, it’s a real treat for nature lovers!

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: My Adventure Field Guide by Hannah Pang. Inspired by and featuring artwork from the original We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story by Michael Rosen, this field guide to the natural world is informational and fun. Eager readers will discover a wealth of facts about plants and animals, bugs and birds, clouds, the night sky, the weather and so much more. The book features facts galore, but also recipes, science projects and tips for how children can help protect the environment. Whether swishy-swashing through the grass, or squelch-squerching through the mud, there’s something here for everyone. You can read our full review here.

i-SPY Nature: What Can You Spot? We love this i-SPY series of books. They’re little pocket-sized spotter guides which are great to take out for the day. This nature book is a really fun activity book encourages kids to explore outdoors; from down by the sea to town and country animals, in search of i-SPY points. A fun, interactive way to encourage curious children to learn about the world around them.

The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zommer is  a great introduction to the creepy crawlies with lots of tips on how to become a young bug spotter. The book is divided into key groups of bugs; including beetles, moths, butterflies, bees, snails, crickets, grasshoppers, worms and spiders, all wonderfully illustrated. It’s a real treasure trove of information, and can you spot the hidden fly on each page? Can you?

If you enjoyed this round up of nature books, you might also like our pick of five books about the environment.

Six Brilliant Nature Books for Children

Five Books about the Environment for Earth Day

Taking care of our environment and doing our bit to look after our planet is something we’ve always talked about with our son. We’ve always been keen recyclers and I’m known for being a bit frugal with the gas and electricity. Over the last few months the boy has been learning more about the environment both at school and at Beavers. It doesn’t hurt to reinforce the message at home too, so we’ve been doing some reading about the subject. We’ve got lots of great books about he environment and with Earth Day just around the corner, here are our five favourites.

Five Books about the Environment for Earth Day

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers. Like all of Oliver Jeffers’ books Here We Are is a beautiful, heartfelt story, it’s about the wonder of our planet and about how we should love it and care for it. It’s a simple story with a big message and one which children will enjoy reading and sharing with you. It’s a book about kindness and respect and care.

Five Books about the Environment for Earth Day

Compost Stew: An A-Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals. Composting is one of the first environmentally friendly things I learned to do as a child. It’s a really easy introduction to learning more about the environment and climate change. How do you start a compost pile? What’s safe to include? This book is perfect for Earth Day reading and provides answers for children and families looking for simple, child-friendly ways to help the planet.

The Coral Kingdom by Laura Knowles and Jenny Webber celebrates the beauty, diversity and fragile ecosystem of the coral reef. This visually stunning picture book has a strong ecological message about the need to protect this most precious environment. Follow and explore the life cycle, diversity and colour of the coral reef ecosystem; learn about the threats the reef faces and what we can do to save it. Each beautifully illustrated page is packed full of delightful sea creatures to discover and enjoy. A beautiful book with a powerful message.

Look out for Litter by Lisa Bullard is part of the “Planet Protector” series. This Look out for Litter book shows how little pieces of litter and rubbish can become a big problem. Find out how to deal with litter responsibly and learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle.

This is Our World by Emily Sollinge. This lovely board book for smaller children is printed on recycled board and uses vegetable ink! Take little ones on a fun interactive journey learning to clean the air, reduce pollution, recycle, and much more. It’s never too early to learn to care for the environment!

Do you have any favourite books about the environment you like to read with your children? 

If you enjoyed this, you might also like my Five Superb Books About Science.

Five Books about the Environment for Earth Day

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Children’s Books: Five Brilliant Books About Spring

Believe it or not, it’s spring (as I type this there is snow on the ground and the heating is on full blast). Spring is one of our favourite seasons; with the first garden flowers of the year popping up; some blue skies, and the birth of new life. We always like to visit a local farm in spring, helping to feed the orphan lambs is a particular joy. As ever, we like to keep our reading seasonal too, so here are five sensational books about spring we love…

Five Sensational Books About Spring

Spring by Gerda Muller is one of a series of four books without words, which lead the young child through the seasons of the year. Full of fun and active illustrations, this chunky board book shows the joys of playing with lambs, sowing seeds, painting Easter eggs and watching baby birds. It’s the most wonderful book to share with little ones this spring!

Children's Books: Five Sensational Books About Spring

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Join the tiny seed on an adventure as it becomes a giant flower! In autumn, a strong wind blows flower seeds high in the air and carries them far across the land. One by one, many of the seeds are lost. They are burned by the sun, fall into the ocean, or eaten by birds. But some seeds survive the long winter and, come spring, sprout into plants. The delicate plants face new dangers; being trampled by playing children or picked as a gift for a friend. Soon only the tiniest seed remains, growing into a giant flower and, when autumn returns, sending its own seeds into the wind to start the process over again.

Little Baa by Kim Lewis. For me, spring isn’t spring until I’ve seen and preferably snuggled a lamb. This book is perfect for lamb-lovers like me! One spring day, Little Baa jumps, skips and runs in the field. Soon he leaves his friends far behind – and his Ma too; but Little Baa’s Ma misses him and searches for him. Will she ever find her Little Baa?

Animal Seasons: Rabbit’s Spring Adventure by Anita Loughrey. Animal Seasons are a beautifully illustrated series of picture books for young children and emerging readers and they are great for learning a little more about the natural world. In this spring adventure, Rabbit leaves his warren and discovers that the woods are full of new life. There’s so much to discover that poor Rabbit loses his way, but who will help him find his way back home?

A Year in Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklam. When I was a child, I was completely enchanted by the Brambly Hedge stories. I still have my little collection of books today. The mice of Brambly Hedge have many beautifully illustrated adventures throughout the year. They mark the seasons with feasts and festivities and, of course, the mice never miss an opportunity to have a little party. This wonderful collection would make a great gift for any child and it really is a collection to treasure.

If you enjoyed these books about spring, you might also enjoy my five classic books about bears.

Children's Books: Five Sensational Books About Spring

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Review: Storytime Magazine for kids

Sometime last year we were given a copy of Storytime Magazine to read with the boy. I was immediately impressed with the beautiful illustrations and the stories which were just the right length for a bedtime story. Each issue was filled with stand alone stories with some related activities. The boy recently picked up a copy and with his new-found confidence with independent reading, read it over and over and over, to the point of near obsession.

At first I wasn’t sure how he would feel about reading a magazine instead of a book (because he can be a bit funny like that sometimes), but he went nuts for it. Every night he would race to bed so we could read several stories together. Each story was the perfect length for a bedtime story and beautifully illustrated. Overnight, Storytime Magazine became a firm favourite with us both.

Giveaway & Review: Storytime Magazine for kids

Storytime Magazine is a kids’ magazine full of great stories. It’s packed with fairy tales, myths, poems, and much more; all of which are beautifully written and illustrated, with puzzles, games and colouring in too. What I really like about it is there are no adverts. I always find adverts quite distracting, so it’s nice not to have to fend off an attack of the I wants when you’re reading together.

I feel like we’ve stuck gold with Storytime Magazine. Every story is interesting, exciting and seems very different to his school books, but at the same time it’s all linked to his curriculum. At this point reading, all reading is great for him and if we can instill a love of reading then it opens up wonderful, fantastical worlds for him to discover.

Giveaway & Review: Storytime Magazine for kids

My son really loves his Storytime Magazine. He likes to flick through and really study the illustrations before picking out a story for us to read. We’ve always enjoyed reading together. These magazines are a bit different and in a world full of school books and reading schemes. Reading these stories together isn’t a chore, or like homework. It just feels like we’re reading for pleasure and that is such a lovely gift to share with your child.

For more information or to subscribe to Storytime Magazine, visit their website.

I contacted Storytime Magazine and told them how much we loved them. They kindly send us two issues of Storytime for the boy with no obligation to review them. All images and opinions are our own.

Milestones: Learning to read

I hope you’ll forgive the indulgence, but today marked a bit of a milestone for my boy. He’s in Reception at school and every week he brings a bedtime book home for us to read together. The more able children have been bringing home reading books since September, each week more and more of his classmates were taking home reading books and we wondered when he would be considered ready enough to start reading with us at home (although we’ve been reading to him and with him since before he was born). Today he brought home his first reading books and we couldn’t be more excited for him.

The first thing he wanted to do when he got home from school was to get his books out and read with us, I’m sure this level of enthusiasm won’t last but I love it. He has always enjoyed books and together we devour two, three, four books a night and I’m so pleased for him that he’s taking his first steps towards learning to read with school. 

Learning to read

Reading is such a wonderful gift, being able to lose yourself in a good book does wonders for the soul. By learning to read the boy can visit different universes, different times, different lands. He can travel the world without ever leaving his room. 

When he was Christened we asked that if people wanted to give him a present, that they gave him a copy of their own favourite childhood book, so he’s got a shelf of Roald Dahl books, Harry Potter , Alan Garner books, as well as Rupert Bear to tackle. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but today was half a pixie step towards being an independent reader and I’m glad that he is as excited as I am about that.

As an aside, I know I should probably have been worried about him falling behind his peers, but I knew that he’d get it at some point. My brother didn’t read until he was older than Ben and he’s got a PhD now. They all develop at their own pace, but they usually get there in the end.