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Nature in Your Neighborhood

This month, our branches are celebrating the nature we can find just outside our doors! Whether you’re a junior nature explorer looking at bugs in the backyard or a retiree with some time on your hands, we’ve compiled a list of books that will help you dig in and discover the extraordinary natural world in our ordinary, everyday one. While some of these books might take you on a journey around the world, they’ll always end in your own backyard.

Every Day an Adventure!

One of the best parts about being around children is the fact that every day they experience something that is completely new to them. I don’t remember the first time I saw a dragonfly or watched a daffodil shoot from the still snowy ground and bloom, but when I see a child discovering the world around them, I get to have a glimpse of that wonder. In this section, you’ll find picture books exploring both big and small wonders of the natural world that are worth a read, whether you’re discovering for the first time or the one thousandth.

My Friend Earth by Patricia MacLachlan

A fun fact I didn’t realize until I was writing this blog post up—this title is by the author of Sarah, Plain and Tall! A recent favorite of mine, it’s worth getting this book out just for the art alone—the bold colors of the illustrations are complimented by gorgeous die cuts that reveal patterns from the neighboring pages, create dynamic page turns, and add depth and character to an already exquisite book. You’ll soar on the back of an albatross, cuddle up with hibernating bears, run with wild horses, and swim the depths of the ocean in this book that will entrance readers of all ages, guaranteed. Okay, so I don’t actually have a guarantee, but I challenge you to not fall in love with this book. (Go on, check it out. I’ll wait here.)

 

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

"Water is the first medicine”. This is the phrase that starts this Caldecott Award-winning title—and it’s an award well-deserved. Written from an Indigenous perspective, this book speaks of the challenge to preserve the land and its lifeblood, water. While we in Ohio often think of water as more of a nuisance than a resource (after all, when you build on a swamp, your basement floods a lot), fresh water is not a limitless thing—in fact, it covers only 3% of the Earth’s surface. This title helps recognize the efforts of the Native tribes of the US and Canada in fighting to protect their heritage—the land and water that we so often ignore—while never preaching or pushing. No matter how long your ancestors have been on this continent or how they got here, this book is worth picking up.

 

The Collectors by Alice Feagan

Winslow and Rosie have nearly completed their collection of natural wonders—they only have space for one more natural wonder. What will it be, though... A giant crystal? The skull of a long-extinct animal? A feather from a rare, colorful bird? They aren’t sure, but they know they’ll find it. So they pack their gear and set off to find something extraordinary and just right. They trek along the creek, across the valley, through the spruce grove and up the mountain... into a mysterious cave. But what will they discover? That’s up to you to read and find out. This title features lovely cut-paper collage illustrations and speaks to the adventurous spirit we are all born with. While the journey may be hard and Rosie and Winslow face challenges along the way, they overcome with a combination of smarts, tools, and perseverance. A great read for those collectors among us... and those who believe that the beauty of the Earth should be free and accessible for all.

Dear Little One by Nina Laden