Friday, November 15, 2019

Books that celebrate our Connections with Nature

theme: environment, poetry, art

This week’s books are about the environment ~ what’s in a wetlands, and the environment around us ~ but they’re also about poetry, art, and hope.

Otters, Snails and Tadpole Tails 
by Eric Ode; illus by  Ruth Harper
32 pages; all ages
Kane Miller Books / EDC Publishing, 2019

Will I find you here
where cedar wears her mossy shawl ….

With an otter as our guide, we meet the amphibians, mollusks, birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, and plants that inhabit a wetland.

What I like about this book: I love that the otter shows up in most of the spreads – as though they’re our tour guide. It reminds me of the time my youngest insisted there “might be otters” in our little stream and so we hiked the length of it – finding crayfish, insects, mammal tracks, birds … but no otter! And there’s a wonderful poem about the heron that “measures the morning in slow, perfect strides” – which perfectly captures the heron that stalks the river’s edge nearby.

I love Ruth Harper’s artwork. Can’t think of a medium more perfect for capturing the feel of wetlands than watercolors!

You Are Never Alone 
by Elin Kelsey; illus by Soyeon Kim
32 pages; ages 4 - 6
Owlkids, 2019

Every moment
   this beautiful planet
        showers you with gifts

From the rain that provides our water, to the trees that give us oxygen to breathe, Elin Kelsey celebrates our connections with nature. We are a part of nature, and nature is part of us.

What I like about this book: Hope permeates this book. When coral reefs break, they can heal. When animals get sick, there is an entire pharmacy in the soil and plants. I like how Elin shows our wild connections, emphasizing that when we are in nature we are not alone. And I like how she brings in fun and interesting science: that mud is good for us.

I’m always intrigurd by Soyeon’s illustrations. She builds intricate dioramas and then uses sections of them to illustrate the spreads. What’s cool about this book: unfold the cover and you’ll find all of Soyeon’s  dioramas. If you look closely, you can see how they are connected.

Beyond the Books:

When something in nature sparks your curiosity, find out more about it. Maybe it’s something you read about or observed. So investigate. Write a story or poem about it. Make a diorama or painting about it. And share it with your friends.
This teaching guide has tips for poetry and line breaks

Wetlands are special - and important - places. Learn more about them in this short video by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and on the World Wildlife Fund page (tons of cool resources).

Head behind the scenes with author Elin and illustrator Soyeon at Owlkids. Videos and a teacher's guide here.

Today we're joining other book bloggers over at STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. And we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copies and galleys provided by the publishers.


  1. I love these books. I know You Are Never Alone, but not Otters, Snails, & Tadpole Tails. I am off to find that one at the library. Thank you for introducing me to it.

  2. These both look great. My library has You are Never Alone and I've requested it. They don't have Otters, Tails, and Tadpole Tails, but I have asked them to buy a copy, so I hope to see it soon. Thanks for the post.