10 Awesome Nature Books for Kids Ages 3 to 12


Austin Parks Foundation recognizes that park champions come in all ages, shapes and sizes. That's why we want to promote continued engagement and learning wherever you are - in your homes, neighborhood green spaces and in the community!

Below are some of our literary recommendations for young park super stars. Many of these books can be accessed through the Austin Public Library for free, or found in your local bookstore.


Dream Animals

by Emily Winfield Martin

Ages: Preschool+

A great choice for bedtime reading to guide you toward your dream animal! Available in print at the Austin Public Library (Hampton and Central Branches), and in eBook format.


This is Sadie

by Sara O’Leary

Ages: 3+

A charming illustrated story about endless creativity and imagination, perfect for younger readers. Can be found at the Austin Public Library (Carver, Little Walnut Creek, North Village, Old Quarry, Ruiz, Southeast, and St. John Branches.)


Finding Wild

by Megan Wagner Lloyd

Ages: 3+

Two children look for the wild outside of their urban home and find that the wild is closer than they thought. Find this one at APL (Carver, Central, Little Walnut Creek, Manchaca, Old Quarry, Ruiz, Southeast, St. John, University Hills, and Willie Mae Kirk Branches.)


The Snail and the Whale

by Julia Donaldson

Ages: 3+

A heartwarming adventure story about the friendship between a tiny snail and a giant humpback whale! Available at APL  (North Village and Twin Oaks Branches.)


Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

by Mac Barnett

Ages: 4+

Sam and Dave dig a hole… what mysteries and treasures await the two explorers? Find it at APL (Manchaca Road, Carver, Central, Cepeda, Howson, North Village, and Spicewood Springs Branches.)


Because of an Acorn

by Stacey O’Brien

Ages: 5+

This beautiful and highly informative picture book illustrates the interconnected nature of an oak forest ecosystem. Available for free at APL (Central, Ruiz, and Twin Oak Branches.)


The Lorax

by Dr. Seuss

Ages: 6+

This classic Dr.Seuss story celebrates the beauty of the Earth and encourages readers to examine environmental change and damage. Available at Austin Public Library (Carver, Central, Cepeda, Manchaca Road, Spicewood Springs, and University Hills Branches.)

Ready for a truly unique Audiobook experience? Watch Wes Tank rap The Lorax over some well-known Dr. Dre Beats!

The Giving Tree

by Shel Silverstein

Ages: 5+

This timeless book shares a touching universal message of selfless love through a special relationship. Available in eBook format at the Austin Public Library and in print at various bookstores.


My First Book About Backyard Nature

by Patricia J. Wynne

Ages: 7+

Readers can get their hands dirty right in the backyard with this interactive ecology coloring  guide, complete with plant and animal identification. Can be found at various bookstores including BookPeople.


Wild Robot Series

by Peter Brown

Ages: 8-12+

This action-packed series for more advanced readers explores a robot’s quest to survive in the wilderness and examines what occurs when nature and technology collide. The whole series is available digitally through the Austin Public Library in eBook format.