In the 1800’s, sea otters were hunted to near extinction. Due to conservation efforts, today on the West Coast, we can watch sea otters wrapped up in kelp, bobbing in the waves.
Some animals are not so lucky – Tasmanian tiger, Carolina parakeet, Pyrenean ibex, passenger pigeon (once the most common bird in North America) are extinct, due to warming oceans, habitat destruction, and human activity such as hunting.
California is home to coast redwoods, the world’s tallest trees. Conservation also saved these redwoods, but 95% of all old-growth redwoods were cut down in less than a hundred years.
New children’s books celebrate natural wonders – extraordinary animal migrations, protecting endangered species, “gray ghost of the mountains,” look inside our planet, water in all its forms, how the natural world fits together, a desert flower that blooms once a year.
- Snow Leopard: Ghost of the Mountains by Justin Anderson, Patrick Benson
- Come with a zoologist to search for the elusive snow leopard. The snow leopard is uniquely adapted to its environment high in the mountains – camouflage coloring, huge paws covered with fur, very long tail (good for balance), a cub spends two years with mother leopard learning how to survive. Fabulous two page illustrations. (Picture book)
- The snow leopard habitat is threatened by melting snows in the Himalayas, soon snow leopards may become an endangered species.
- The Rhythm of the Rain by Grahame Baker-Smith
- Lyrical story of the water-cycle, from the tiniest raindrops to the deepest ocean.
- As it starts to rain, a boy empties his jar of water into a little stream, which flows down the mountain, becoming a wider river, that joins a great ocean. Far away ocean water evaporates into the air, forming into clouds, that rain in Africa, creating mighty rivers … that flow back to the sea. Gorgeous illustrations, go on a floating journey in water every form on our planet. (Picture book)
- Under Threat by Martin Jenkins, Tom Frost
- Album of 62 different animals worldwide, threatened with extinction – tigers, polar bear, Grevy’s zebra, giant panda, numbat, California condor, black rhinoceros, Tapanuli orangutan, blue whales, Iberian lynx, Galapagos giant tortoise, pangolin, okapi, and more. Facts about why each animal population has declined, and find out about conservation efforts. (Large picture book)
- The Wondrous Workings of the Planet Earth by Rachel Ignotofsky
- “Our planet is the only home we have.”
- Explore ecosystems large and small – from deserts and mountains, plains, deserts, reefs, to a single drop of water. Find out about human impacts on nature and what causes climate change, how living things interact, and the natural world fits together. Stellar infographics, maps and art illustrate different ecosystems and cycles of nature. Good for older kids. (Illustrated chapter book)
- Editor’s note: This book is so informative, explaining complex habitats and ecosystems, including many fascinating details, such as “redwood trees store up three times more carbon in their trunks than most other types of trees. With an increase in carbon dioxide pollution from cars and factories, it is more important than ever to preserve redwood trees.”
- Animazes: Extraordinary Animal Migrations illustrated by Melissa Castrillon
- Follow the migrations of 14 different creatures – in the water, through the air, across deserts and tundra, up mountains, into the frozen Arctic – Christmas Island red crabs, wildebeest, humpback whales, reindeer, monarch butterflies, Mali elephants, tiny hummingbirds, fruit bats, Alpine ibexes, Antarctic krill, polar bears, rockhopper penguins, sockeye salmon, Arctic terns. Beautifully illustrated mazes, fun facts about each animal. (Activity book)
- Paper World: Planet Earth illustrated by Bomboland
- Lift the flaps, and take a look inside our planet, what’s under the crust, earthquakes and tsunamis, erupting volcanoes (two thirds are underwater), avalanches and mountains, glaciers, rivers, caves, deserts and hoodoos, coastlines, mysterious ocean floor, storms, tornadoes, climate and weather. Gorgeous cut-paper art on every page. (Picture book)
- The Night Flower by Lara Hawthorne
- Days in the Sonoran Desert are hot and sleepy, but as day turns into night, the saguaro cactus blooms with large white fragrant flowers. Bats, birds and moths come to sip the nectar, desert animals surround this cactus, that only blooms once a year. From the flowers, red fruits grow, producing seeds to make new saguaro cactus. Wonderfully illustrated, the desert is so alive! (Picture book)
- Saguaro cactus thrive in hot Sonoran Desert, a large area extending from southwestern United States into Mexico. But saguaros require particular conditions, and even with millions of pollinated seeds, only a few seeds will grow to a mature cactus.
- The border wall being built through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument will significantly degrade the saguaro habitat. Saguaro cactus need bats, moths and birds to pollinate its flowers, especially bats that come out at night. With continual bright lights at the border wall, where would the saguaro cactus go?