The 5 Best Books to Get Kids in Elementary School Talking About the Natural World

Written by Pat O’Neill

As your child becomes more aware of the world around them, the natural and varied environment has a unique and timeless pull. Take the next generation of Earth’s stewards on a deep-dive of the natural world with books that show them the fascinating, funny, dangerous, and dynamic world we live in!


Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows, by Asia Citro & Marion Lindsay

Zoey, the kid scientist, has a secret power: She can see magical creatures. With her cat Sassafras in tow, Zoey uses the scientific method and a pair of Thinking Goggles to help a sick baby dragon named Marshmallow. Winner of the Mighty Girl Book of the Year award, Dragons and Marshmallows fuses science and fantasy to inspire your own child’s curious mind.

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Pax, by Sara Pennypacker

Friendship moves beyond outward appearances. It doesn’t matter if you have four legs or two, short hair or long, a big bushy tail or none at all. Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him, but the outbreak of war means Peter has to leave his best friend behind. This National Book Award Longlist title from Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by the beloved John Klassen, takes us on a journey that tests the boundaries of friendship.

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Claude at the Circus, by Alex T. Smith

Claude is not your typical dog. For starters, he wears a beret. For another, he’s a hero. Walking in the park, he finds himself rescuing a runaway baby carriage, with the baby still inside! To reward his heroism, The Amazing Alan invites them to watch his circus. But then Claude’s heroism starts to cause a few problems when he accidentally sabotages the performers’ equipment. The show must go on though―even if Claude and Sir Bobblysock have to put on the entire thing themselves! 

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Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab, by Bob Pflugfelder & Steve Hockensmith

With their parents away, Nick and Tesla are left in the care of their mad scientist uncle. Inspired, they build a rocket to embark on a hair-raising adventure. High Voltage is designed to engage children in science, giving “interactive” a new meaning as readers are invited to do real science experiments along the way.

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Science Verse, by Jon Scieszka

What if you fell victim to a curse, and all science was discussed in rhyming verse? This fun and lyrical dive into the world of science will make even the most difficult concepts (hello, black holes!) easy to grasp.

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