As parents, focused on being outdoors and immersing our children in nature, we often tend to bring the outside indoors through books. Books offer a way for our children to experience diverse aspects of nature they may not otherwise be exposed to and allow parents to introduce new experiences to their children in a safe environment. In other words, nature books are an amazing addition to any household, even for families that aren’t always able to get outside. The majority of nature-focused children’s books may share the diversity found in nature, but fail to portray the diverse families that enjoy the great outdoors. Representation matters. Here are nine diverse children’s nature books, with each featuring children of color as a main character.

This list is by far not a comprehensive one. There are other amazing inclusive nature books for children, but these offer a great place to start in creating more diversity on your bookshelf.

Explorers of the Wild, Cale Atkinson

Age Range: 4-8 year-olds
Follow the adventures of a boy and a bear as they explore the nature around them alone and then, once they accidentally meet, together. If you enjoy this book, Atkinson has written and illustrated a couple other children’s books with a nature-theme as well.

Fly, Firefly! – Shana Keller

Age Range: 5-7 year-olds
A child and her aunt witness a firefly and mistake the sea’s bioluminescence for other fireflies and dive into the water. This book follows the child and her aunt as they help save the misguided firefly.

Hi, Butterfly – Taro Gomi

Age Range: 2-4 year-olds
Follow the adventures of a boy as he tries to capture a yellow butterfly and finds many other yellow butterfly-looking objects along the way.

Hike – Peter Oswald

Age Range: 4-8 year-olds
This picture book follows a father and child as they enjoy a hiking adventure. While the book has no printed words, the illustrations provide a great depiction of getting ready for a hike, the actual hiking activities, and the return home.

The Hike – by Alison Farrell

Age Range: 3-5 year-olds
Join three friends as they set off on a hiking adventure together. The book follows their experiences but also details some of the plants and animals along their path.

Over and Under the Pond- by Kate Messner

Age Range: 5-8 year-olds
As a child and her mother sit in a boat on a pond, they see and talk about what is above and below the pond’s surface. If you enjoy this fact-filled book, Messner has several other nature-focused books in this same style, including Over and Under the Rainforest, Over and Under the Snow, and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt.

Snowy Day – by Ezra Jack Keats

Age Range: 2-5 year-olds
This award-winning classic 1963 children’s book follows a young boy as he explores and experiences his neighborhood after it snows. Check out this book review for The Snowy Day.

Sunset Hike – by Dineo Dowd

Age Range: 4-8 year-olds
This book written by a Hike it Baby community and board member follows young friends as they experience a sunset hike together. One friend is unsure of many things and one friend is quick to help her overcome these fears. If you enjoy this book, Dowd has other wonderful nature-centered children’s books you can check out, including Spring Hike, Adventure Day, and Summer Camping. Check out this book review of Adventure Day.

Wild Berries – by Julie Flett

Age Range: 4-8 year-olds
A young boy and his grandma spend the day picking blueberries, while also encountering and enjoying the wildlife around them. Flett has written many children’s books with nature woven in, so if you enjoy this one be sure to check out her others as well.

Looking for some other children’s books? These lists may be helpful. Share your favorite diverse children’s nature books in the comments.

Books to Help Your Kids Engage with Nature

Explore the National Parks through Books

“Take it Outside” with Good Books

Hike it Baby works to be the most effective hub of tools, information, and community inspiring all families with babies and young children to get outside and connect with nature. Learn more about Hike it Baby’s mission and how you can get involved.

ABOUT HIKE IT BABY

Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.


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