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Naturalist-in-Residence Book List for Kids and Teens (2023)

Books for kids and teens inspired by the 2023 Naturalist-in-Residence program. The residency was led by Qwantese Dourese Winters, and the theme is Rooted in Nature.

Picture Books

Cover of Miguel's Community Garden

Miguel has many plants in his community garden, and today he must find his sunflowers. Let's help Miguel look for them!

Cover of Sun In My Tummy

In simple but expressive free verse, a mother describes to her young daughter how the sun's light becomes the energy in her body through the oats, blueberries, and milk in her home-cooked breakfast. Includes an Author's Note with more age-appropriate detail about photosynthesis.

Cover of Little Land

An environmental tale of land evolving over the millennia up to present day environmental changes, as well as the role one can take in caring for it.

Cover of All of Me is Nature

There is no better way to learn about our five senses than stepping outside! Follow kids of all colors, genders, and ability levels, as they explore nature with their fingers, toes, noses, ears, and taste buds. Written as a sweet poem that will become an anthem for all nature explorations, these beautiful full-color photographs show how we can sense and experience nature everywhere.

Cover of The Nature Journal

Connecting with his busy dad over their love of nature, Tim goes through his dad's old nature journals, which inspire him to go on adventures of his own and record all the things he finds to share with his dad.

Cover of How to Say Hello to a Worm

The beautiful simplicity of a garden is depicted through digital woodcut illustrations and engaging nonfiction text presented as a series of sweet questions and gentle replies. Less of a traditional how-to and more of a how-to-appreciate, this soothingly sparse text paints an inviting and accessible picture of what a garden offers. And with an all-child cast, the absence of an adult presence empowers readers to view the garden and its creatures through their own eyes, driven by curiosity and wonder.

Cover of In Our Garden
Pat Zietlow

Students create a vegetable garden on their school's rooftop. 



Cover of Seeds in Soil: Planting a

Seeds in Soil takes learning outdoors, empowering young readers to plant their own gardens while digging deeper into related science and history lessons. Packed with hands-on activities, fun projects, and fresh recipes, this colorful gardening guide provides opportunities for kids to observe, explore, and ask questions while engaging their natural curiosity about nature.

Cover of All About Plants

What do plants eat? Why do some plants have flowers and others don't? And what's the tallest plant out there?

Cover of Food for the Future: Susta

Go on a tour of eco-friendly farms around the globe! From urban gardens to farms under the sea, discover the many different sustainable ways people have been growing food for centuries, and new innovations that are battling the effects of climate change on farming.

Cover of The Secret Signs of Nature

Discover the ancient art of reading outdoor clues. Meet two young adventurers as they discover the ancient art of reading outdoor clues. Join them as they learn to read a full moon, decode the colour of the ocean and forecast the weather with a rainbow, uncovering the secret signs of nature and a world of forgotten skills.

Cover of My Big Book of Outdoors

Discover the great outdoors with this beautifully illustrated treasury that celebrates the wonder of nature in four glorious seasons. From vibrant springtime flowers to sweet fruits on summer trees, the falling of autumn leaves and snowdrops in winter, this book of four seasons is the perfect introduction to the big outdoors.

Cover of Nature and Me

Children are used to hearing about how important it is to protect nature, but they may not fully understand how the natural world can positively impact their emotional wellbeing. With that in mind, this book looks to show children how nature can be fun, uplifting, consoling and even offer companionship. 

Cover of The Outdoor Scientist

A guide to exploring the outdoors and asking questions about nature.



Cover of Haven Jacobs Saves the Pla

Twelve-year-old Haven Jacobs can't stop thinking about the climate crisis. In fact, her anxiety about the state of the planet is starting to interfere with her schoolwork, her friendships, even her sleep. She can't stop wondering why grownups aren't even trying to solve the earth's problem--and if there's anything meaningful that she, as a seventh grader, can contribute.

Cover of Big Tree

Sycamore seed siblings Merwin and Louise must use their wits and imaginations to navigate a mysterious and often dangerous world, filled with talking plants, monsters, meteors, and the fear of never finding the right conditions to set down roots and become big trees.

Cover of The Vanderbeekers and the
Karina Yan

When catastrophe strikes their beloved upstairs neighbors, the Vanderbeeker children set out to build the best, most magical healing garden in Harlem--in spite of a locked fence, thistles and trash, and the conflicting plans of a wealthy real estate developer.

Cover of The First Rule of Climate

When Mary Kate Murphy joins a special science pilot program focused on climate change, the class opens her eyes to lots of things she never noticed before about her small suburban town: Kids waste tons of food at school without a second thought. Parents leave their cars running in the pick-up lane all the time. People buy lots of clothes they don't really need. Some of her friends who live in the city and are bused to her school don't always feel included. And the mayor isn't willing to listen to new ideas for fixing it all. Mary Kate and her friends have big plans to bring lasting change to their community and beyond. And now is the time for the young people to lead and the leaders to follow--or get out of the way.

Graphic Novels

Cover of Expedition Backyard

Mole and Vole always venture out into the world to see what nature they can find, but after an accidental move from the country to the city, the best friends have to learn to discover new plants and animals in their new environment.

Cover of The Sprite and the Gardene

Long, long ago, sprites were the caretakers of gardens. Every flower was grown by their hand. But when humans appeared and began growing their own gardens, the sprites' magical talents soon became a thing of the past. When Wisteria, an ambitious, kind-hearted sprite, starts to ask questions about the way things used to be, she'll begin to unearth her long-lost talent of gardening. But her newly honed skills might not be the welcome surprise she intends them to be.

Cover of The Secret Garden on 81st
Ive Noelle

ary Lennox is a loner living in Silicon Valley. With her parents always working, video game and tech become her main source of entertainment and "friends." When her parents pass away in a tragic accident, she moves to New York City to live with her uncle who she barely knows, and to her surprise, keeps a gadget free home. Looking for comfort in this strange, new reality, Mary discovers an abandoned rooftop garden and an even bigger secret...her cousin who suffers from anxiety. With the help of her new friends, Colin and Dickon, Mary works to restore the garden to its former glory while also learning to grieve, build real friendships, and grow.

Cover of The Comic Book Guide to Gr
Liz Anna Kozik

A guide to growing a successful raised bed vegetable garden, from planning, prepping, and planting, to troubleshooting, care, and harvesting.


Teen Fiction

Cover of The Nature of Witches

Witches, who for centuries have maintained the climate, are losing their power as the atmosphere becomes more erratic, and all hope for a better future lies with Clara Densmore, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.

Cover of The Words in My Hands

Set in an ominously prescient near future, this is the story of Piper: sixteen, smart, artistic, and rebellious, she's struggling to conform to what her mom wants--for her to be 'normal, ' to pass as hearing, and get a good job. But in a time of food scarcity, environmental collapse, and political corruption, Piper has other things on her mind--like survival.

Cover of Seedfolks

One by one, a number of people of varying ages and backgrounds transform a trash-filled inner-city lot into a productive and beautiful garden, and in doing so, the gardeners are themselves transformed.

Cover of With the Fire on High

A novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright. Emoni Santiago dreams of working as a chef after she graduates despite the rules she thinks she has to play by but once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

Teen Nonfiction

Cover of Braiding Sweetgrass for Yo
Robin Wall

Botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer's best-selling book Braiding Sweetgrass is adapted for a young adult audience by children's author Monique Gray Smith, bringing Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the lessons of plant life to a new generation.

Cover of Fantastic Vegan Recipes fo

Elaine's recipes help the modern teen cook be more environmentally-conscious and develop healthy habits while also proving that easy vegan cooking doesn't need to be bland or boring. With just a few simple techniques and a handful of quality ingredients, it's easy as can be to whip up a restaurant-quality meal for your family and friends.

Cover of Food-Related Stories

Chef and activist Gaby Melian shares her personal journey with food--from growing up in Argentina to her time as a street vendor and later as Bon Appetit's test kitchen manager. Melian explores how we can develop a relationship with food that's personal, healthy, and thoughtful.

Cover of Food Stars: 15 Women Stirr
Ellen Voelckers

Women and food make a dynamic duo. These 15 hardworking, innovative, and accomplished women have made great strides in the field of food, whether it's coming up with meals for astronauts to eat in space, operating a 20-acre farm, hosting a food podcast, or fighting for food rights.

Cover of The Story of Seeds
Nancy F.

With the growth of genetically modified foods, the use of many seeds is dwindling--of 80,000 edible plants, only about 150 are being cultivated. With a global cast of men and women, scientists and laypeople, and photographic documentation, Nancy Castaldo chronicles where our food comes from, and more importantly, where it is going as she digs deeper into the importance of seeds in our world.