Hands-On Science Finalist: The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature

A few weeks ago the AAAS/SubaruSB&F announced their 2015 finalists for the Prize for Excellence in Science Books and it is a wonderful list. For example, in the Hands-on Science Book category, one of the finalists is The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature (BBG Guides for a Greener Planet) by no less than a team of educators from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and illustrated by László Veres.

What an exciting book for young nature lovers and scientists alike! It has fabulous photographs and illustrations to help identify common plants, animals, and fungi, as well as activities, descriptions of common careers held by naturalists, and explorations of different habitats.

The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature is organized by season, with activities, career summaries and habitat information for each (you can see a table of contents here.) This organization allows readers to skim and skip to sections that interest them most.

In addition, László Veres’ digital illustrations are just amazing. You could spend hours delving into them and still find more the next time you look. They would be perfect seek-and-find pages for younger children.

Is there any down side? I have to admit that growing up in western New York, I recognized many of the wildflowers, wildlife and weeds that were described, for example:

plaintain-plant-44broadleaf plantain…

pokeweed-fruit-11and pokeweed.

However, I do have to say many of the plants and animals featured are not found throughout North America. After having moved to Arizona, it has become evident that many nature books for kids are incredibly East Coast-centric. Because this book was written by the staff of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, that is understandable since they write about what they know. Fortunately most of the activities, such as keeping a nature journal or creating a boat from natural materials, can be done anywhere. If you live on the West Coast, just be prepared to substitute information about local species from local field guides in some sections.

The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature is a wonderful book that is likely to inspire budding naturalists and scientists to learn more about their world and to observe closely. It is also an incredible resource for nature educators.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Hardcover: 120 pages
Publisher: Brooklyn Botanic Garden (August 5, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1889538884
ISBN-13: 978-1889538884

Disclosure: Book provided by my local library. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.


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