Universally appealing, green comes in such an assortment of hues it’s difficult to imagine the world with only one shade of this color. Green invariably connotes life and growth—bursting forth from a tiny sprout to the canopy of a forest, lush and life-sustaining. Green conjures indoor plants and fresh limes picked for a pie. And if you’ve ever been to Ireland, you know that you’ve never quite experienced the color green in such an immersive way. To celebrate all things GREEN, this list boasts 11 books all featuring covers clad in the soothing tones of nature. We know you’ll be swayed, not just by the illustrations, but also by the stories held within.
All The Ways To Be Smart
By Davina Bell, Illustrated by Allison Colpoys
“I can’t wait to share with you how smart you are the whole day through.” Thus begins this lyrical look at how children demonstrate acumen in daily acts. From doing crazy dances, and matching pairs, to picking what to wear, children learn by doing and imagining, or simply by sitting and observing. Celebrate the myriad of ways smart exists in this affirming and whimsically detailed book. We honestly can’t recommend it enough.
By Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Khaki green and jungle green, pea green and evergreen. Peer through small cutouts scattered throughout the book to unveil all the variant shades of green. We like to read this for St. Patrick’s Day each year. And if you’re feeling blue after the book is finished, be sure to check out Blue by the same author/illustrator.
Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors
By Roseanne Greenfield Thong, Illustrated by John Parra
A cultural counting primer, interspersed with both the English and Spanish word for common colors. Follow two children as they explore homemade meals, cultural traditions, and stories in this celebratory carnival of color!
By Sara Varon
Meet Francis, a talented shoe maker, who has just been tasked with making shoes for a special celebrity client. However, when his regular supply of tiger grass doesn’t arrive, Francis embarks on a journey through the jungle to find his friend and supplier, Nigel. With a cast of affable characters (including a famous manatee!) and a guide book for referencing regional flora and fauna, this endearing graphic novel will easily win over readers of all ages.
Rivers: A Visual History from River to Sea
By Peter Goes
If the stunning emerald cover isn’t enough to capture your attention, the detailed script and interior geography lesson will take hold from the moment you open this book. With a fluid interconnected look at the world’s waterways, this book will make you marvel at all the ways water has been used throughout history and how it continues to be integral in today’s modern world.
The Big Book of Birds
By Yuval Zommer
A compendium of common birds, including: magpies, parrots, hummingbirds, swans, hoopoes, robins, and a host of other feathered creatures. Nonfiction lovers will find over 60 pages of facts and a few seek-and-find missions scattered throughout. In truth, all four books in this series are masterfully done and worth seeking out.
The Flight of Mr. Finch
By Thomas Baas
Mr. Finch lives a predictable life with his bird, Pip. Until one morning when his friend stops singing. Bewildered by such unexpected behavior, Mr. Finch tries all manner of solutions until he finally settles on purchasing a plant purported to contain healing and magical properties. Imagine his surprise when the following morning his apartment, neighborhood, and city are overrun by a verdant jungle and his little bird is missing. A tale of adventure and friendship, intermingled amongst lush illustrations.
The Tiny Tale of Little Pea
By Davide Cali, Illustrated by Sébastian Mourrain
Little Pea was born so small, his clothes were custom made and he wore the doll’s cast-off shoes. It wasn’t until he got to school that Little Pea realized how being thumb-sized was rather inconvenient for playing an instrument, eating lunch, or engaging in any other regular activity. When Little Pea grew, he discovered he already had the tools inside him to create a life for himself that was just the right size. A sweet story for all ages.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
By L. Frank Baum, Illustrated by Olimpia Zagnoli
Dorothy, a young Kansas girl, leaves her home in a whirlwind tornado, landing in a city unlike any other. Follow her as she meets an assortment of friends who each join her on a quest to meet the Great Wizard who they believe will help them fulfill their hearts’ great desires. If you’ve never read the book, know that it definitely has fewer scary scenes than the movie. A classic for good reason.
By Yuyi Morales
While perusing this bilingual exploration into the life of artist Frida Kahlo, readers will readily appreciate the mix-media illustrations combined with simple sentences and confident statements. This award-winner is rich with emotional resonance for children of all ages.
By Galen Goodwin Longstreth, Illustrated by Maris Wicks
A family of six (plus the dog), wakes early one weekend morning and loads the car with packs of gear. Follow the troupe as they drive to the woods and cavort down the hiking trail, destined to play and rest at the river’s edge. With exuberant illustrations and lyrical text, this book is an ideal summertime read.
Miranda Rosbach is a librarian turned children’s book reviewer and freelance writer. In her spare time she likes scouting new restaurants and colorful murals. She also loves reading middle-grade novels and memoirs. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and two daughters. You can find her book reviews on her blog or on Instagram as @bookbloom.