Summer is officially here and hopefully your days are filled with exploring and enjoying your local wild paradise. But when your hammock is summoning you for some respite, connect to the natural world with our list of recommended summer reads for the whole family. From learning about the secret lives of trees to the mysterious and misunderstood world of crows, we hope this list will keep you and your kids inspired this summer.
Did you know that trees have parents, and tree grandparents with wrinkles? That tree kids go to school for hundreds of years? That there is such a thing as the forest internet? And that trees make us healthy and strong? Sometimes, even trees get sick, but we can help them heal. Can You Hear the Trees Talking? shares mysteries and magic of the forest in language kids will love and understand. Imagination, exquisite storytelling and exciting quizzes and hands-on activities will help foster a lifelong love of trees.
Want to learn more? Use this Tree ID Key to discover what kind of trees are growing all around you.
“When you know that trees experience pain and have memories and that tree parents live together with their children, then you can no longer just chop them down and disrupt their lives with large machines.” Peter Wohlleben
A fascinating look into how trees communicate and interact with one another, The Secret Life of Trees will intrigue all readers who love a walk through the woods. Wohlleben anthropomorphizes his subject, using such terms as friendship and parenting, which serves to make the technical information relatable, and he backs up his ideas with information from scientists. He even tackles the question of whether trees are intelligent.
The Hike – Alison Ferrell
With lyrical language that captures the majesty of the natural world, this spirited picture book tells the victorious story of three girls’ friendship—and their tribulations and triumphs in the great outdoors. Here is the best and worst of any hike: from picnics to puffing and panting, deer-sighting to detours. Featuring a glossary, a sketchbook by one of the characters, abundant labels throughout, and scientific back matter, this book is a must-have for budding scientists, best friends, and all adventurers. And it proves, as if proof were needed, what epic things can happen right in your own backyard.
Encourage learners to explore their wild backyards using this Wildlife Walk Checklist
How do trails form? Why do trails form? Come to think of it, what is a trail? These are but a few of the (deceptively simple) questions author Robert Moor attempts to answer in his book On Trails. In his fascinating debut book, Moor travels the world, from close to home in British Columbia, across the country and around the world, searching for “the wisdom of trails.” The result is a book as quietly spiritual as it is wildly informative.
Set in the Okanagan, BC, a First Nations family goes on an outing to forage for herbs and mushrooms. Grandmother passes down her knowledge of plant life to her young grandchildren. This cheerful story of a spring-day outing ultimately balances instruction and entertainment. Flett’s lovely collages add beauty and a fresh, contemporary tone, while the text captures the essence of the young learning from the old. Timeless values, such as gratitude for the earth, are seamlessly integrated.
As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return.
Franny has a new friend—a crow who brings her presents in its beak. Like a red button! And a silver heart! Franny’s dad doesn’t believe her. He says crows and kids can’t be friends. But Franny knows better. How will Franny prove her new playmate is real? And what will the crafty crow bring next? This delightful book will motivate families to be present when exploring parks, backyards, balconies, city streets, beaches, and skies.
Use this backyard bird bingo sheet to continue exploring birds found in your backyard and beyond.
Crows are mischievous, playful, social, and passionate. They have brains that are huge for their body size and exhibit an avian kind of eloquence. They mate for life and associate with relatives and neighbours for years. With his extraordinary research on the intelligence and startling abilities of corvids—crows, ravens, and jays—scientist John Marzluff teams up with artist-naturalist Tony Angell to tell amazing stories of these brilliant birds in Gifts of the Crow. With narrative, diagrams, and gorgeous line drawings, the authors offer an in-depth look at these complex creatures and our shared behaviours.
Want to know if your friendly neighbourhood bird is a crow or a raven? Learn the difference!