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Best Nature Books for 7-9 Year Old Kids

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Ah, the great indoors—where the wild things are… on paper, that is! In today’s screen-obsessed world, nothing beats the tactile adventure of turning a page, especially when it’s a page filled with leaping lemurs and whispering willows.

For your wild-at-heart child who’s more interested in bugs than bytes, we’ve curated a selection of Engaging Books for Nature Enthusiasts that’ll make them want to trade in their game controller for a magnifying glass—at least for a little while.

And if you’re looking for a hands-on accompaniment to your journey into nature and nature books, check out the Exploring My World Nature Journal printable pack.

So, let’s dive into the literary underbrush and unearth the books that will turn your living room into a lush rainforest or a sweeping savanna.

stack of colorful books in a grassy yard, with the top book fanned open

Quick note: if you’re looking for nature books to captivate younger learners (toddler, preschool, and kindergarten), check out this list of books just for them!

Opening the Door to Discovery: Children’s Nature Books

Let’s start with the basics. Your little explorer needs to know the “who’s who” in the animal kingdom and the “what’s what” in the plant world.

From colorful Illustrated Nature Books for Children to Interactive Nature Guides for Kids, we’ve got the whole ecosystem covered.

The Best Nature Books For Children

The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks” by Joanna Cole – An adventurous ride through the water cycle.

The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss – A classic tale with a strong environmental message about conservation.

National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Why” by Amy Shields – Answers nature’s big questions for curious minds.

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature” by Nicola Davies – A beautiful exploration of the seasons in poetry and pictures.

Nature’s Day: Discover the World of Wonder on Your Doorstep” by Kay Maguire – Encourages kids to explore the changes in nature throughout the year.

The Curious Garden” by Peter Brown – A story of a young boy’s efforts to beautify his dull city.

A Seed Is Sleepy” by Dianna Hutts Aston – An informative and beautifully illustrated book about the life of a seed.

A Butterfly Is Patient” by Dianna Hutts Aston – Another gem from Aston that delves into the world of butterflies.

The Tree Lady” by H. Joseph Hopkins – The true story of Kate Sessions, who brought trees to San Diego.

Owl Moon” by Jane Yolen – A poetic story of a father and daughter going owling on a winter night.

The Street Beneath My Feet” by Charlotte Guillain – A unique fold-out book that takes children on a journey to the center of the Earth.

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps” by Jeanette Winter – A biography of Jane Goodall, the renowned primatologist.

Atlas of Adventures: A Collection of Natural Wonders” by Rachel Williams – Takes young readers on a trip around the world to see its wonders.

The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng” by Sophia Gholz – Inspires children to make a difference, telling the story of a boy who transformed a wasteland into a forest.

Chapter Books About Nature For Curious Kids

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George – This captivating novel tells the story of Sam, a young boy who leaves the city life behind to live in the wilderness and test his survival skills. My kids and I couldn’t put this book down – it’s full of adventure, excitement, and self-discovery.

There’s actually an entire trilogy and it’s a fabulous gift for the nature lover and adventurer in your life.

Tip: After reading, visit a nearby park or forest, and have your child practice their very own “nature survival skills” – like building a basic shelter with sticks and observing wildlife.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen – This is an engaging story about a boy named Roy who, along with new friends, sets out to save a colony of endangered burrowing owls from being overtaken by a pancake house. It’s a funny and heartwarming story that teaches kids about environmental conservation.

What Kind Of Books Should My Kids Be Reading? Tips For Parents

Middle elementary students are eager learners and they are often transitioning from early readers to more complex chapter books. At this age, children’s reading skills and preferences can vary widely, but here’s a general guide to the kinds of books that are appropriate and beneficial for 7-9 year olds:

Developmental Aspects

1. Chapter Books:

  • At this age, kids should start engaging with chapter books that have more complex narratives and character development.
  • The text in these books is often accompanied by illustrations that help provide context and break up the text.

2. Variety of Genres:

  • Exposure to a variety of genres is important, including fantasy, science fiction, mystery, adventure, and non-fiction.
  • This variety can help children discover what they enjoy reading, which can foster a lifelong love of books.

3. Vocabulary Building:

  • Books with age-appropriate vocabulary that is challenging but not frustrating can aid in their language development.
  • Context clues within the stories help children learn new words and concepts.

Content Considerations

1. Relatable Themes:

  • Stories that deal with friendships, family, school, and self-discovery can be particularly relatable and engaging for this age group.
  • Books that address real-life situations and emotions can help children navigate their own experiences.

2. Educational Content:

  • Non-fiction books that cater to their interests, such as books about animals, space, or historical events, can be both educational and entertaining.
  • Interactive books with experiments, activities, or puzzles encourage learning beyond reading.

3. Diverse Perspectives:

  • Books that include characters from a range of backgrounds and cultures can broaden a child’s understanding of the world.
  • Stories that promote empathy, diversity, and inclusivity are beneficial.

Engagement and Enjoyment

1. Series:

  • Book series are great for 8-year-olds because they can get invested in the characters over multiple books, which can motivate them to read more.
  • Familiarity with characters and settings can make reading a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.

2. Illustrations:

  • While less reliant on pictures than younger children, 8-year-olds still enjoy books with illustrations, which can help them visualize the story.
  • Graphic novels are a popular choice as they combine visual storytelling with text.

3. Interactive Elements:

  • Books with interactive elements like choose-your-own-adventure formats can be highly engaging for this age group.
  • Activities or questions at the end of chapters can also help keep them engaged and encourage critical thinking.

Emotional and Social Development

1. Problem-Solving:

  • Stories where characters have to solve problems or overcome challenges can teach resilience and critical thinking.

2. Social Skills:

  • Reading about characters who navigate friendships and social situations can help children develop their own social skills.

3. Emotional Intelligence:

  • Books that explore emotions and how to deal with them can be helpful for children’s emotional development.


1. Readability:

  • Text should be easily readable, with a good font size and spacing.
  • Some children might still enjoy occasional picture books because they offer a different reading experience and can be comforting.

2. Audio Books:

  • Audio books can be a great supplement, especially for kids who struggle with reading or have learning disabilities.

When choosing books for 8-year-olds, it’s important to consider the individual child’s reading level and interests. Encouraging choice can make reading a more enjoyable and self-directed activity. Parents, teachers, and caregivers should also look for opportunities to read together with children, discussing the books and broadening the reading experience.


As the sun sets on our safari through the best books for your 8-year-old nature enthusiast, remember that every book is a seed planted in the fertile soil of their mind.

Who knows? Maybe these books are just the water and sunlight needed to grow the next generation of environmentalists, botanists, or even just someone who enjoys a good walk in the park!

Now that we’ve navigated through the thicket of options, we’d love to hear about the nature books that have taken root in your family’s life. Share your stories in the comments, and let’s cultivate a community of nature-loving bookworms together!

Also, be sure to get your child their printable Nature Journal so they can take what they learn and explore (and record!) the wonder around them.

mockup of printable nature journal for kids on some grass in the yard
Printable Nature Journal

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