I’ve been working on a picture book about North American birds for a little while, and in my research, have compiled a list of truly special non-fiction (or non-fiction adjacent) bird books that introduce kids to either several species of birds or the fun of birding itself. Getting children tapped into the natural world outside their doors is especially important right considering the uncertain future of many environmental protections.
A Bird is a Bird
Author & Illustrator: Lizzy Rockwell
Holiday House, 2015
Description: Expertly takes the facts about birds as animals and shares them as a story – a page turning story at that.
A Place for Birds
Author: Melissa Stewart
Illustrator: Higgins Bond
Description: The incomparable Melissa Stewart has done a few incredible bird books (Feathers: Not Just For Flying is wonderful!) but this one is my absolute favorite because of its focus on conservation efforts and species that are being directly affected.
About Birds: A Guide For Children
Author: Cathryn Sill
Illustrator: John Sill
Peachtree Publishers, LTD, 1991
Description: A nice introduction to the general world of birds with a lovely “birds are important to us” message on the last page. All off Sill’s bird books are very good, but this one is a great intro to birds.
Birds: Nature’s Magnificent Flying Machines
Author: Caroline Arnold
Illustrator: Patricia J. Wynne
Description: Kid’s encyclopedia that breaks down all the parts of being a flying creature from bones and feathers to wind shape, lift, hovering, gliding, and migrating.
Every Day Birds
Author: Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Illustrator: Dylan Metrano
Orchard Books/Scholastic, 2016
Description: Simple rhymes introduce common North American birds in one long poem.
Look Up! Birding Watching in Your Own Backyard
Author & Illustrator: Annette Leblanc Cate
Description: This unique, award-winning book/graphic novel isn’t simply about birds, but the art of birdwatching itself. A personal favorite.
Mama Build a Little Nest
Author: Jennifer Ward
Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
Beach Lane Books, 2014
Descriptions: Playful rhymes and helpful facts about fascinating birds and their unique nests. Fabulous illustrations, too.
Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf
Author & Illustrator: Olivia Bouler
Sterling Publishing, INC/Sterling Children’s Books 2011
Description: Written by an 11-year-old inspired to save the gulf after the oil spill, this is an exciting and dynamic introduction to birds. Each page is a different theme, like Everyday Birds, Weird & Wacky Birds, and Bird Beauty. Created with the National Audubon Society.
World of Birds: A Beginner’s Guide
Author and Illustrator: Kim Kurki
Black Dog & Leventhal, 2014
Description: Wonderful comic book-like encyclopedia featuring facts and information about birds around the world divided by habitat. Created with the National Wildlife Federation.
You Nest Here With Me
Author: Jane Yolen & Heidi E.Y. Stemple
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Boyds Mill Press, 2015
Description: Cuddly and poetic book that weaves bird facts with a nighttime story of nesting with your family. Habitats start “local” (suburbs/city) and work their way out to wider environments. Not to brag, but I have a copy signed by Jane, Heidi AND Melissa. Yeah, NESCBI Spring Conference 2017!
Do you have a favorite that I missed? Let me know, because I friggin’ love bird books!