Using the Public Library to Enhance Your Nature Study

Using the Public Library to Enhance Your Nature Study

Archive Reprint-November 2013 Newsletter

Nature themed literature is a wonderful way to generate an interest in the natural world.  They can also be used to enhance an area of study by sharing information along with illustrations in a simple and non-threatening way. Children can usually sit still for a few minutes while you share a picture book and many times they will later pick up the book again all on their own and really study it.

Using the Public Library for Nature Study handbookofnaturestudy

You don’t need to spend lots of money building a library of nature literature (unless you want to). Using the public library as a source of books is easy and fun. How do you get started?

  • Pick an area of interest—trees,  forest animals, butterflies, etc. Really the sky is the limit.
  • Use your library’s computer search, enter in the topic and then find the books on the shelves.
  • Generally, children’s literature and children’s nature-themed non-fiction books are the best for all ages. Information will be on a level that will be appropriate for children to understand (and moms too).
  • Field guides will probably be in the adult non-fiction section and you can ask your librarian to point you to the shelf or you can use the library’s computer search to find the call number for your selection.
  • If you find an author or series you like, look for more books by that author or in that series.

Weekly stops at the library will allow you to find information on any topic that comes up during your Outdoor Hour Challenge time. Questions can be recorded in the child’s nature journal and then answered during the next trip to the library. It is always exciting to find the answers to questions and satisfy a child’s curiosity.

You can put a limit on the number of books your child can borrow on one topic. It is always disappointing to go to the library and find that someone has cleared the shelf of all the books on one topic. Take just enough to read in a week and then if you still have interest, check out another book on the same topic. This is a life-long project and you can share that concept with your children, building the notion that nature study is a way of life long after homeschooling is over.


nature books library literature


How to read a nature literature book

  • Get comfortable with your child at your side or one on each side, making sure they can see the pages.
  • Start with the cover of the book and ask them what they see and what they think the book is all about.
  • Read the title and then the first few pages, slowly reading the words and allowing time for gazing at the pictures.
  • Every few pages pause for your child to tell you something about what you just read (narration). See if they have any questions.
  • If it is a short book, finish the book and have your child give their thoughts about the book. Did they have a favorite page or picture? Have them share something they learned about the topic from reading the book.
  • Use the book’s illustrations as the basis for an art lesson, copying a picture with colored pencils or markers onto paper.
  • Leave the book out for the child to look at again and hopefully enjoy a second time. (Make sure if you have little ones around that they can’t get to the book and mar it in some way.)
  • Keep your nature books together, perhaps organizing them by topic or by season.
  • Complete a Nature Book Report if you would like to keep a record of your learning. You can download a book report page here: Nature Book Report.

Nature Book Report notebook page image


Nature Authors to Look Up at Your Library

Lois Ehlert                                                           Eve Bunting

Joyce Sidman                                                     Eric Carle

Diane Siebert                                                     Diana Hutts Aston

Jim Arnosky                                                        Jean Craighead George

Please note the author’s links above are Amazon affiliate links.

I have some books that are personal favorites that I will include here in this post. You can look for them at your local library.

Readers Digest North American Wildlife book review @handbookofnaturestudy

North American Wildlife: I am highly recommending this book to all Outdoor Hour Challenge families who live in North America. This is a perfect complement to the Handbook of Nature Study and will give your family a valuable tool in digging deeper into the wonders of nature in our own part of the world.

Keeping a Nature Journal Review @handbookofnaturestudy

Keeping a Nature Journal: This book can be used right alongside the Handbook of Nature Study. It will give you step by step help in creating nature journal pages that are simple but meaningful to your child.



Members have access to the November 2013 newsletter that features nature literature. In this edition of the newsletter there are articles by some of my favorite bloggers: Heather Woodie, Maureen Spell, and Kathleen Henderson.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

I invite you to look into the benefits of a membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study. Click around and view some samples and see if the Outdoor Hour Challenge will enrich your family’s nature study.




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