The Center for Children's Books

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Selected and annotated by Debbie Myers

New Titles | Older Favorites

New Titles

Arnold, Caroline. Uluru: Australia’s Aboriginal Heart; illus. with photographs by Arthur Arnold. Clarion, 2003. Gr. 4-8
Also known as Ayers Rock in Western cultures, this book with beautiful photographs about the stunning geological formation explains everything from the plants and animals surrounding, the A nangu people who live near the rock, mythologies about Ulu ru, and it’s formation and physical description.

Brenner, Barbara. One Small Place in a Tree; illus. by Tom Leonard. HarperCollins, 2004. Gr. 1-3
Holes in trees may often be overlooked, but this is the complete story of one such hole from its formation, to its inhabitants.

Chester, Jonathan. The Young Adventurer's Guide to Everest: From Avalanche to Zopkio; written and illus. with photographs by Jonathan Chester. Tricycle, 2002. Gr. 3-6
Himalayan climber and photographer, Chester introduces the reader to Everest with intriguing photographs, personal experiences, and interesting details, all presented in an alphabetical format.

Collard, Sneed B. III. The Prairie Builders: Reconstructing America’s Lost Grasslands; written and illus. with photographs by Sneed B. Collard III. Houghton, 2005. Gr. 5-8
This is the story of how acres of farmland were transformed back into a native tallgrass prairie of the Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge.

Guiberson, Brenda Z. Rain, Rain, Rain Forest; illus. by Steve Jenkins. Holt, 2004. 5-8 yrs.
The cut and torn paper illustrations depict the story of the complex web of life that lives in an equatorial rainforest, dependant on the rain. Packed full with animals and descriptions of their lives, the sounds they create are wonderfully onomatopoeic.

Jenkins, Steve. I See a Kookaburra!: Discovering Animal Habitats around the World; written by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page; illlus. By Steve Jenkins. Houghton, 2005. 4-8 yrs.
With seek-and-find cut-paper collage illustrations, each habitat holds eight different animals for the viewer to locate and then learn about.

Kerley, Barbara. A Cool Drink of Water. National Geographic, 2002. 4-10 yrs.
Beautiful color photographs bring to life this photoessay that explores the many ways people find and store the water they drink.

Root, Phyllis. If You Want to See a Caribou; illus. by Jim Meyer. Houghton, 2004. 5-7 yrs.
This lyrically written text invites the reader into a search for the elusive caribou, naming and describing their vanishing habitat in the northern woodlands of North America.

Salkeld, Audrey. Climbing Everest: Tales of Triumph and Tragedy on the World's Highest Mountain. National Geographic, 2003. Gr. 4-8
Highlighting several different expeditions, this detailed introduction to the climbing history of Mt. Everest includes a wealth of interesting information, photographs, and appendices.

Sidman, Joyce. Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems; illus. by Beckie Prange. Houghton, 2005. Gr. 4-7
Eleven beautifully illustrated poems feature pond life, describing everything from the denizens of the pond to the changing seasons.

Sobol, Richard. An Elephant in the Backyard; written and illus. with photographs by Richard Sobol. Dutton, 2004. 6-9 yrs.
In the village of Tha Klang in Thailand, domesticated elephants live and roam freely. With full-color photography, this story focuses on Wan Pen, a 4-year-old Asian elephant born and raised in the village.

Swinburne, Stephen R. The Woods Scientist; illus. with photographs by Susan C. Morse. Houghton, 2003. Gr. 4-8
Following the life and career of forester, ecologist, and conservation organization founder, Susan C. Morse, the reader learns about the habitats and habits of woodland wildlife.

Turner, Pamela S. Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Great Apes. Houghton, 2005. Gr. 3-6
Focusing on the people who provide veterinary care as part of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project in Rwanda and Uganda, this book provides so much information about their lifestyles and environment. An important point made by the book is the importance for humans and gorillas to coexist successfully.

Venables, Stephen. To the Top: The Story of Everest. Candlewick, 2003. Gr. 6-12
Including geology, meteorology, and politics in this detailed and thorough history of Mt. Everest and its climbers, Venables (who reached the summit himself in 1988) chronicles the innovations and progress necessary for the expeditions on the mountain.


Older Favorites

Anderson, Joan. Earth Keepers; illus. with photographs by George Ancona. Gulliver Green/Harcourt, 1993. Gr. 4-7
Through the black-and-white photographs by George Anacona, Anderson describes and educates the reader about three environmental projects (the sloop Clearwater and its crew whose mission is to help clean up the Hudson River, an inner city garden prepared and tended by a community of neighbors, and the tracking of bears done by Lynn Rogers for the study of wildlife) to help us realize that we can start helping in our own backyards.

Brandenburg, Jim. An American Safari: Adventures on the North American Prairie; written and illus. with photographs by Jim Brandenburg; ed. By JoAnn Bren Guernsey. Walker, 1995. Gr. 3-6
Brandenburg casually explains as much about his beautiful full-color photographs as he does about the subjects of the images, creating this intriguing photoessay of the American prairie and its wildlife.

Elkington, John. Going Green: A Kid's Handbook to Saving the Planet; by John Elkington and others; illus. by Tony Ross. Tilden/Puffin, 1990. Gr. 3-6
This friendly handbook is divided up into explanations of environmental problems and suggestions for ways the reader to do something about them.

Fleming, Denise. Where Once There Was a Wood; written and illus. by Denise Fleming. Hold, 1996. 5-8 yrs.
With richly colored artwork and simple rhymes, this book takes on the topic of the destruction of natural habitats, and includes a four page appendix with information about how to attract and help wildlife in your own backyard.

Jenkins, Martin. Grandma Elephant’s in Charge; illus. by Ivan Bates. Candlewick, 2003. 5-8 yrs.
Although slightly personifying the animals, this story describes the family life of elephants and how they interact with their habitat.

Lauber, Patricia. Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mount St. Helens. Bradbury, 1986. 4-7 yrs.
The history of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 is beautifully chronicled in this true tale which follows from pre-explosion to recovery of the ecosystem.

Mora, Pat. This Big Sky; illus. by Steve Jenkins. Scholastic, 1998. Gr. 3-6
Evoking the feel of the terrain and inhabitants of the American Southwest, these poems are well matched by their cut/torn paper illustrations and provide rich imagery, both through the words and illustrations.

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Prairies; illus. with photographs by William Muñoz. Holiday House, 1996. Gr. 3-5
In these five chapters with colorful photographs, Patent enlightens us with facts and information in an overview of the American prairie, including its plant and animal life and current efforts in preservation and restoration.

Poncet, Sally. Antarctic Encounter: Destination South Georgia; illus. with photographs by Ben Osborne. Simon, 1995. Gr. 3-5
While including information about the animals and environment of South Georgia, the scientist Poncet, chronicles the adventures on the island and at sea through the eyes of her three boys.

Simon, Seymour. Icebergs and Glaciers. Morrow, 1987. 3-5 yrs.
Explaining glaciers from every aspect, formation, movement, landscapes they create or are a part of, and the ways they move, the photographs in this book are impressive and the information is worth knowing.

Simon, Seymour. Mountains. Morrow, 1994. Gr. 4-7
With full-color and full-page photographs, Simon clearly explains and presents a basic overview of mountains: what they are, where they are located, how they are formed, and how they affect ecology and climate.

Simon, Seymour. Volcanoes. Morrow, 1988. Gr. 1-3
Describing how volcanoes are formed and erupt using large colorful photographs, Simon uses well-known examples such as Mt. St. Helens and the volcanoes of Hawaii.

Suzuki, David. Salmon Forest; by David Suzuki and Sarah Ellis; illus. by Sheena Lott. Greystone/Douglas & McIntyre, 2003. Gr. 2-4
With expressive watercolor illustrations, this book chronicles the life cycle of sockeye salmon through the experiences of Kate and her Dad as they hike in a Pacific rainforest.

Wright-Frierson, Virginia. A North American Rain Forest Scrapbook; written and illus. by Virginia Wright-Frierson. Walker, 1999. Gr. 3-6
Presented in the format of a watercolor scrapbook, this look at the temperate rainforest of North America in Washington State conveys the authors reaction to her exploration of the environment, plus provides factual information about the ecosystem.

Yolen, Jane. Bird Watch: A Book of Poetry; illus. by Ted Lewin. Philomel, 1990. Gr. 3-5
Lewin’s beautiful watercolor illustrations richly enhance the imagery found in the words of Yolen’s well-crafted poems about birds.

Yolen, Jane. Welcome to the River of Grass; illus. by Laura Regan. Putnam, 2001. 7-10 yrs.
A poetic homage to the Florida Everglades with illustrations depicting the flora and fauna.