Our Favorite Bird Books for Children


Mama Built a Little Nest
by Jennifer Ward and Steve Jenkins

Told in poetic verse, this book introduces children to the diversity of nest types and building methods. The rhythm makes it fun to read aloud, and it uses beautiful illustration, humor, and amazing facts to capture kids’ attention. One of my absolute favorites! 

Feathers: Not Just for Flying
by Melissa Stewart and Sarah Brannen

While all birds have feathers, not all birds use them the same way.  Drawing on children’s prior knowledge, this book connects the way people use normal every-day objects, to the various ways in which birds use their feathers (like a forklift for lifting).  

by Sneed B. Collard III and Robin Brickman

Another book about bird biodiversity, this time focusing beak adaptation.  A great book for illustrating how bird’s biological features support their diet in their habitats.

An Egg is Quiet
by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

This book is so rich in detail– both in the illustrations and text. You can just read the main poetic text and peruse the beautiful illustrations, or go deeper into the more technical science captions.  These are also great books to inspire your child’s nature journals. 

A Nest Is Noisy
by Dianna Hutts Aston

Written with the same poetic style and informative captions as the other books in this series, this book is the perfect partner for An Egg Is Quiet.

Superlative Birds
by Leslie Bulion and Robert Meganck

Silly and informative poems are paired with equally silly drawings about “extreme” birds (the smallest, biggest, smelliest, etc.)  We used this book for poetry tea, and my son made us read it three times straight through.   

The Burgess Bird Book for Children
by Thornton W. Burgess

This is the classic anthropomorphic telling of Peter Rabbit’s interaction with the birds that visit and nest on his farm. My son really enjoyed this book, as he loves to take in details, but it wasn’t my personal favorite to read aloud. It’s a bit like narrative bird-watching with some humor and action every now and then. If we were to repeat this book, I would integrate making an illustrated poster or book of the different bird types to reinforce the details visually.

The Atlas of Amazing Birds
by Matt Sewell

I have to admit, I bought this book for myself.  The watercolor illustrations are striking, and capture each bird’s character in a way that is both realistic and playful. This is a great book to flip through and read an entry here and there, rather than to read straight through.


The Boy Who Drew Birds:
A Story of John James Audubon
by Jacqueline Davies and Melissa Sweet

This book integrates science, American history, and art, all in the narrative biography of Audubon’s childhood. Young naturalists will relate to Audubon’s love of the outdoors, and his obsession with collecting, drawing, and studying elements of nature.

Counting Birds: The Idea That Helped Save Our Feathered Friends
by Heidi Stemple and Clover Robin

This is a great citizen science book.  It chronicles the story of how Frank Chapman supplanted a Christmas Bird Hunt with a citizen science bird count.  A great biography of an ordinary person helping the environment, this book ends with information for children who are interested in participating in the citizen science bird count themselves. 


Feathers for Lunch
by Lois Ehlert

A playful picture book about a cat trying to catch various birds – and only ending up with a mouthful of feathers. This book plays on children’s love of chase and surprise games, as it introduces a variety of birds through the vantage point of a sneaky cat. The kids in our tinker group loved this book, and joined in with the playful “Jingle Jingle” refrain on each page. 

Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends
by Wong Herbert Yee

A silly story about Mouse and Mole, two friends who set out to observe and draw birds by disguising themselves as birds.  My son loved this book because of Mouse and Mole’s imaginative problem solving, and all of the slap-stick moments they encounter on their adventure.  It’s also a great story for children starting a nature journal. 

Up With Birds
by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake

This is an absurd story about how birds learned to fly.  The kids in our group really enjoyed this story, and it made for some nice variety among all of the other more science-focused books.  It presents the idea that nature observation can also be done through the lense of imaginative fancy.