Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nature Study For the Non-Outdoorsy Type

I've admitted before that I am not an outdoor kind of person.  However, my kids would be devastated if we gave up nature walks and our outdoor nature study. I love the days, though,  when it is too hot or too rainy and instead, I have an excuse to do what I do love...read!  I breathe a {guilty} sigh of relief when I check nature study off of our list without ever stepping toe outside the door.  

Here are five nature biographies that can satisfy your nature requirements inside:

Me . . . Jane (Jane Goodall) 
by Patrick McDonnell

This fully exemplified the term "good for all ages."  With only a few words per page, it was especially good for my little listeners, but it was fascinating to the older kids with actual sketches and notes from Jane's childhood nature journaling. In fact, I sat one day and pored over the book all alone.  Everyone loved the photographs of Jane as a child and later as an adult.


by Rebecca Bond

I had never heard of these nature photographers, but I was intrigued by the cover of the book when I spotted it on display at the library.  It wasn't until I brought it home that I realized it was a true story about English brothers who dreamed up ways (and disguises) to capture natural photographs of birds up-close in their own habitats.  Gavin was especially fascinated by a series of real photos in the back of the book and we  all turned back and forth when we realized that many of the illustrations in the book mimicked the photos.


The Boy Who Drew Birds (John James Audubon) 
by Jacqueline Davies

Written in story form, this chronicles a year in the life of the young Audubon as he seeks to discover whether birds return to the same nests after migrating south for the winter.  Again, the illustrations make the book! 


Snowflake Bentley(Wilson Bentley) 
by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

We check this out of the library and read it at least once a year.  (Maybe we need to break down and buy it.)  It tells the story of a New Englander who, as a young boy, became fascinated by snowflakes and dedicated his life to photographing them.  Some of his actual photography is included in the book. 


by Jennifer Berne

I brought this home and slipped it into the library basket without much ado.  I was anxious to read it, but it was a busy day and I figured we'd have time tomorrow.  But...nestled in among at least 20 other books, Gavin dug  it out and pored over it while he relaxed in the recliner before dinner.  Later when I asked if there were any books he wanted me to read with him, he brought this back out.  Though this is a biography, it is told as a story.  It begins when Jacques is a little boy and carries him through adulthood.

There are two things my children love to discover about a book.  One is when the story they've enjoyed turns out to be a true story.  {Check!} And two is when there is some form of artwork that is unique.  In this book, the page that could be unfolded to represent the depths of the ocean did the trick!


Is there a book you can add to our list?  I'd love to hear about it.


  1. Thanks for sharing this list!!! We love Snowflake Bentley, but I've never heard of the others. I work hard to bring Living Books into our home. I'll have to check these out!! :)

  2. Our kids love based on real life stories, too. Can I ask if you document these books for homeschooling? If so, do you simply keep a list or do you have a more complex record keeping system?

  3. my comment didn't go through!

    LOVE Snowflake bentley!

    LOVE that you're not ashamed to decline nature, you're my BFF (but OH! the seashore!)

    * and I'm SO stressed out. care to meet me at Starbucks tonight for some girl talk? please.

  4. I am not big on nature too- give me a cup of tea and a book any day! I really like the sound of Snowflake Bentley.

  5. We really like Snowflake Bentley and The Boy Who Drew Birds...adding Manfish to our library list - looks like it would be a hit.

  6. You sound more like me - I love rainy days for reading and am definitely more of an indoors kind of person. I can't wait to read that book about Jane Goodall!

  7. We've read manfish too and it's so interesting. The Snowflake Bently book looks awesome off to see if I can find it.

  8. Fun list! I think my boy would especially enjoy Into the Belly of an Ox. Thanks for sharing your list.

  9. Manfish sounds fascinating! I am adding this to our to read list.

    Thank you for helping to bring a spoonful of reading fun to the Poppins Book Nook this month!


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