3 Science and Nature Biographies to Read with Your Kids

Now’s an excellent time to get outdoors and celebrate the wonder of nature with your children. Here are a few great books for teaching kids how vital science, nature, and animals are to mankind and the world.

Me...JaneLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers

Me…Jane, By Patrick McDonnell
With anecdotes taken from primatologist Jane Goodall’s own autobiography, Me… Jane tells the story of an admired activist and scientist who recognized her dream early on and made it a reality. In an interview with New York Times’ children’s book editor Pamela Paul, Goodall says, “The message I always try to get across, which is what Patrick picked up on (in the book), is that If you have a dream as a child, you should follow that dream… even if people laugh at you, as they laughed at me for my dream.” The conversation also covers a second book on Goodall, by acclaimed picture book biographer Jeanette Winter, titled The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps.

The Incredible Life of Balto, By Meghan McCarthy
The Incredible Life of Balto shares the story of Balto, an amazing dog who earned the honor of being commemorated in statue form in New York’s Central Park. Balto’s heroic feat took place in 1925, when he led a dogsled team through a blizzard to provide lifesaving medicine to the people of Nome, Alaska. McCarthy’s narrative depicts what life was like for Balto pre- and post-celebrity, and is out this August.

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau
, Written by Jennifer Berne and Illustrated by Éric Puybaret
Dive into this exquisitely illustrated and poetically realized celebration of the life of Jacques Costeau, the French naval officer who also wore hats as an explorer, ecologist, scientist, and filmmaker, among other important roles. Booklist calls Manfish luminous, and says it shows how ones’ journey through life can commence with “deep, childhood curiosity.” The current water and ocean conservation crises make this a timely yet enjoyable way to explore the importance of the underwater environment.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest