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Click on the image to view a trailer of the new animation of

 It's Up To Us: A children's Terra Carta for People, Nature and Planet

including an introduction by the King

With grateful thanks to Ecoflix, Christopher Lloyd and The Prince's Foundation

Nature writing for children

The Doorstep Library Garden focused on the importance of books about nature.  Young children are instinctively drawn to the living world around them however that interest often wanes as they get older. Yet we live in a time where science is increasingly revealing how complex and interconnected our natural world systems are, and  showing the importance of putting nature at the heart of our actions.  We have the chance to make changes by working in harmony with nature: and truly inspiring writing about the natural world helps to keep children's love of nature alive.   On the shelves of the Doorstep Library Garden were a wide variety of brilliant books, from illustrated versions of Charles Darwin's On The Origin of Species for young children to adventures of plant hunters which teenagers would enjoy.  Those books are listed below along with a huge new selection. What all these books have in common is the sense of wonder they inspire. 

Books at The Doorstep Library Garden

We had an "Author of the Day" at the garden during Chelsea week ready to answer questions about their books and discuss children's literature and nature writing for children in general.  Their books are shown below, with links to purchase.

Keep scrolling down and you will find the other wonderful books which were on the shelves of the Doorstep Library Garden - and a whole pile which we couldn't fit into the garden - plus many more  which were published after Chelsea 2023 came to a close.

When Plants Took Over the Planet

by Chris Thorogood, illustrated by Amy Grimes

published by QED Publishing


Discover the incredible story of how plant life grew to cover the surface of planet Earth, from long before human life existed up to the present day.  This large-format, highly illustrated book will guide readers through the key aspects of the life of plants, from early ferns which were most certainly munched on by dinosaurs, to carnivorous plants that snap and 'attack' their prey, or powerful medicinal plants that can heal ailments and boost health. Mysterious and wonderful plants and trees are explored through the diverse habitats they're found in, from the Amazon Rainforest to the Sahara Desert, and through the animals found living on them or amongst them. This book also explores how humans use - and abuse - our precious plants, and how reliant we all are on the survival of our planet's network of botanical life.

What A Wonderful World.jpeg

What a Wonderful World

By Leisa Stewart-Sharpe, illustrated by Lydia Hill

Published by Templar Fiction


Our world is WONDERFUL - and it's worth protecting. From the author of the BBC's children's book Blue Planet II, this book takes you on a breathtaking tour of our planet.  From towering mountaintops, through grasslands, jungles, rivers, deserts, polar wildernesses and into the blue ocean - to discover the incredible variety of life that calls it home. Along the way, read the stories of 35 inspiring Earth Shakers - children and adults, from tree-planters to scientists, from all around the world - who have taken action to protect it. Plus, there are lots of practical tips and handy resources inside that give you the tools to make a positive change today. Every budding young activist will be inspired to make a change for a better future. Includes a special foreword from Lee Durrell MBE, of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The Plant Hunter.jpeg

The Plant Hunter: A Great Adventure

By Thomas Mogford

Published by Welbeck Publishing Group


1867. King's Road, Chelsea, is a sea of plant nurseries, catering to the Victorian obsession with rare and exotic flora. But each of the glossy emporiums is fuelled by the dangerous world of the plant hunters - daring adventurers sent into uncharted lands in search of untold wonders to grace England's finest gardens.


Harry Compton is as far from a plant hunter as one could imagine - a salesman plucked from the obscurity of the nursery growing fields to become 'the face that sold a thousand plants'.

But one small act of kindness sees him inherit a precious gift - a specimen of a fabled tree last heard of in The Travels of Marco Polo, and a map.

Seizing his chance for fame and fortune, Harry sets out to make his mark. But where there is wealth there is corruption, and soon Harry is fleeing England, rounding the Cape of Good Hope and sailing up the Yangtze alongside a young widow - both in pursuit of the plant that could transform both their lives forever.

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A Home for Every Plant: Wonders of the Botanical World

by Matthew Biggs, illustrated by Lucila Perini

Published by Phaidon


Journey across 40 incredible habitats around the world to discover the biggest, boldest, and stinkiest plants

Without plants there would be no life on Earth, but most people are blind to their impact. This stylish and informative introduction to plants sets out to cure ‘plant blindness’ by introducing children to 66 amazing plants from the six major climactic zones around the world. From the smelliest, such as the massive Titan Arum of the Indonesian rainforest, which stinks of rotting flesh to attract insects, to the hardest-working, including peat moss, an overlooked bog plant that helps protect our planet by trapping carbon dioxide, readers will learn about the vital role of plants in Nature through detailed, vibrant illustrations and fascinating facts. Children will also learn how to use their new-found knowledge of the plant’s natural environment to care for the plants around them and at home. Fully researched, written, and vetted by expert botanists from around the world, this book teaches children about plants in the context of their natural environment, and is ideal for geography and biology curricular tie ins, as well as being a book that will inspire children to love and care for the plants around them. This is the perfect compendium for plant-lovers, budding gardeners, and would-be botanists and nature-lovers alike.

Receive 20% off using code PLANTS20

It’s Up to Us: A Children’s Terra Carta for Nature and the Planet

By His Majesty King Charles III, Christopher Lloyd and 33 award-winning artists

Published by What on Earth Books

Join His Royal Highness, author Christopher Lloyd and 33 amazing award-winning artists from around the world on a beautiful, lyrical and thought-provoking voyage through Nature, the threats we face and an action plan for the future.  It’s Up to Us is based on the Terra Carta, a roadmap to sustainability issued by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and his Sustainable Markets Initiative. More than 400 corporations have already signed on, agreeing to put the health of Nature, People & Planet at the heart of their activities. Now it’s up to all of us to make sure our leaders keep their promises.  

This book has been developed in partnership with The Prince’s Foundation, a charity established by HRH The Prince of Wales to demonstrate how Nature can be put at the heart of human activities. Half of all the proceeds from sales will go directly to the work of the charity, based at Dumfries House in Scotland.

A stream in the forest


With thanks to Ultimate Library

Treasure chest image:  Yuliya Pauliukevich

When my children were very small I popped into my local bookshop looking for 

stories about rainforests - but there was only one.  So this is a list of 101 books

for anyone looking to inspire the children in their lives with wonderful nature writing. In line with the theme of the Doorstep Library Garden there are a range of books about rainforests and trees.  But that's not all... you will find exciting adventures, science, maps, poems and activity books, classics and new stories hot off the press. Some authors are household names, others just venturing into the world of children's nature writing. Some publishers are mighty internationals, but feisty independent publishers hold their own here too, and it is worth poking about their websites for more books on similar themes, such as Nosy Crow's National Trust series. Many of the books (listed by title in an approximation of alphabetical order) are for younger children, others are suitable for teenagers; and ALL are a delight for adults.  Happy browsing!

Gini Denison-Pender


A First Book of Nature

By Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Mark Hearld

Published by Walker Books

(A first anthology of poetry, recipes, facts and fragments from beachcombing to making a winter feast for birds - full of the wonder of nature)

A Forest

By Marc Martin

Published by Templar Publishing

(A hardcover picture book - with a tale of deforestation)

Animalium - part of the "Welcome to the Museum" series

Curated by Katie Scott and Jenny Broom

Published by Big Picture Press

A Walk through the Rainforest

By Martin Jenkins

Illustrated by Vicky White

Published by Walker Books

(A spectacular tour of the Malaysian Taman Negara rainforest. Conservation biologist Martin Jenkins joins forces with fine artist Vicky White in a stunning and informative book bringing complex biology to life for little readers - age 6+)

A Song of Gladness

By Michael Morpurgo and Emily Gravett

Published by Two Hoots

Around the World in 80 Trees

Ben Lerwill and Kaja Kajfez

Published by Welbeck Publishing

Benjamin Zephaniah's

Nature Trail

Illustrated by Nila Aye

Published by Orchard Books

Bizzy Bear: Little Gardener

Board Book for toddlers by  Benji Davies

Published by Nosy Crow

Blossom Origami (National Trust)

By Nick Robinson and Clover Robin

Published by Nosy Crow

Born Free

By Joy Adamson

50th anniversary edition 2010

Published by Pan Macmillan

Bugs in Danger: Our Vanishing Bees Butterflies and Beetles

By Mark Kurlansky

Illustrated by Jia Liu

Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books

(An informative easy to read factual work for age 11+ showing how much bugs matter to our world)

Can we Really Help the Trees: Yes We Can

By Katie Daynes; illustrated by Roisin Hahessy

Published by Usborne

Caring for Earth

By Sandra Laboucarie and Sarah Reynard, Illustrated by Julie Mercier

Published by Twirl

Botanicum - part of the "Welcome to the Museum" series

Curated by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis

Published by Big Picture Press

Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species"

Written by Anna Brett; Illustrated by Nick Hayes

Published by Laurence King

Charles Darwin's "On The Origin of Species"

Adapted and illustrated by Sabina Radeva

Published by Crown

Expedition Diaries: Amazon Basin

By Simon Chapman

Published by Franklin Watts

(A scrapbook account of an expedition through the Bolivian Amazon basin with all the mishaps of the explorer along the way)

Expedition Diaries: Borneo Rainforest

By Simon Chapman

Published by Hachette Children's Publishing

(Another expedition diary for children from explorer and author Simon Chapman)

Curious Creatures Working with Tools

By Zoe Armstrong and Anja Susanj

Published by Flying Eye Books

(Learn how and why these animals toil with tools and what we have in common with them in this beautifully illustrated book)

Danger in the Dust (ebook only)

By Sally Grindley written with the advice of the London Zoo Conservation Team

Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books

(The fictional adventures of Joe and Aesha, accompanying their ecologist parents on a wildlife tour of Kenya, which starts to go wrong.... Age 11+)

Earth Friends: Green Garden

By Holly Webb

Published by Nosy Crow

(A series for 7 - 9 year olds about four friends who want to make the earth better place)

Earth's Incredible Places: Amazon River

By Romolo D'Hipolito and Sangma Francis

Published by Flying Eye Books

(Fabulous illustrated book for age 7-11)

Every Leat a Hallalujah

By Ben Okri

Illustrated by Diana Ejaita

Published by Head of Zeus

(A great Baobab tree invites us into his branches to travel the world and see for ourselves the perils of not listening to nature - a story for young and old alike )

Endangered Animals

By Martin Jenkins

Illustrated by Tom Frost

Published by Walker Books

(From the mighty Asian elephant to the tiny Rosalia longicorn beetle, conservation biologist Martin Jenkins brings to readers age 9+  an understanding of animals in danger of extinction, with powerful graphic images by Tom Frost)


By Phil Cummings

illustrated by Sally Soweol

Published by Allen & Unwin

(A very simple  and beautiful picture book, wandering over the earth, considering the footprint we leave behind)


By Mabee Weinstein

Published by Cool Springs Press

Fold Up: Wildlife Facts

An RSPB book

Published by Bloomsbury

(25 fun fold ups to tear out and make, age 5 - 7)

Future Hopes:  Hopeful Stories in a Time of Climate Change

Edited by Lauren James 

Published by Walker Books

(A collection of short stories and ingenious ideas for readers age 9+.

Contributions from: Eli Brown, L. R. Lam, M. G. Leonard, Rebecca Lim, Oisín McGann, Tolá Okogwu, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, Louie Stowell and Bijal Vachharajani )

Go Wild in the Mountains

By Goldie Hawk and Rachael Saunders

Published by Nosy Crow

(A children's pictorial guide to mountaineering)

Jane Goodall

By Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Published by Frances Lincoln 

(An illustrated story for younger readers about the life of the great primatologist and anthropologist)


By Jess French; illustrated by Alexander Mostov

Published by Ivy Kids


Is it a Seed?

By Adriena Fong and Emily Ann Davison

Published by Flying Eye Books

Available from 4th April 2024

Green:  The Story of Plant Life on our Planet

By Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Emily Sutton

Published by Walker Books

(Published on 1st Feb 2024 this ambitious new book transports readers age 4+ billions of years into the past; back to the moment when plant life first appeared on our planet. Covering its evolution, the steady emergence of fossil fuels and the extraordinary communities of plants around the world today,  essential biology combines with a powerful message, calling on readers to celebrate and cherish the most precious colour on Earth: GREEN)

If I Ran the Rainforest

By Bonnie Worth

Illustrated by Aristides Ruiz

Published by Harper Collins

(Part of a series for 4-7 year olds taking an off beat look at nature and natural science with the help of Dr Seuss' Cat in the Hat)

Look What I Found By The River (National Trust)

By Moira Butterfield and 

Jesus Verona

Published by Nosy Crow

To be published on 1 August 2024

Maisy Goes on a Nature Walk

By Lucy Cousins

Published by Walker Books

(Readers age 3+ can ding birds, bugs and minibeats with Maisy)

Marshmallow Clouds: Poems Inspired by Nature

By Ted Kooser and Connie Wanak

Illustrated by Richard Jones

Published by Walker Books

Look Inside Our World

By Emily Bone; illustrated by Marianna Oklejek

Published by Usborne

Lets Save the Amazon

By Catherine Barr

Illustrated by Jean Claude

Published by Walker Books Ltd

(A richly illustrated picture book explaining why we must save the rainforest - and the planet)

Journey to the River Sea

By Eva Ibbotson

Published by Pan Macmillan

(The award winning adventure of Maia the orphan who travels 1,000 miles up the Amazon river)

My First Garden

By Livi Gosling

Published by DK Children

My Name is River

By Emma Rea

Published by Firefly Press Ltd

(Dylan is on a mission to save his farm and finds  himself on the way to the Amazon rainforest

MAPS: Deluxe edition - 66 countries

By Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski

Published by Big Picture Press

My Heart Was a Tree

By Michael Morpugo

Illustrated by Yuval Zommer

Published by Two Hoots

(Poetry for all ages inspired by the beauty and wonder of trees)

Nature Poems

By Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Mark Hearld

Published by Walker Books

(A "poetry pamphlet" with room for a message so you can send these 10 poems on the simple loveliness of nature as a card to a little reader age 3+)

Obsessive about Octopuses

By Owen Davey

Published by Flying Eye Books

Out and About: Tree Explorer: A Children's Guide to 60 Different Trees  (NationalTrust)

By Emma S. Young and Marta Antelo

Published by Nosy Crow

Our Place in Nature

Edited by Zachary Seager

Published by Macmillan

Pip and Posy - The Friendly Snail

By Axel  Scheffler

Published by Nosy Crow

Please Don't Bite Me: Insects that Buzz, Bite and Sting

By Dr Nazzy Pakpour and Owen Davey

Published by Flying Eye Books

(Exploring the lives of these insects and showing that they may be quite useful really)

One Day on Our Blue Planet... in the Rainforest

By Ella Bailey


Published by Flying Eye Books

Nature's Treasures - Tales of more than 100 extraordinary objects from nature

By Ben Hoare

Published by Dorling Kindersley

Protecting the Planet: Ice Journey of the Polar Bear

By Martin Jenkins

Illustrated by Lou Baker-Smith

Published by Walker Books

(A story of a polar bear family for readers age 5+ gently introducing the topic of climate change with ideas on how we can all make a difference)

Rainforests (A Ladybird Book)

Illustrated by

Teo Georgiev

Published by Ladybird

Royal  Botanic Gardens Kew - The Tropical Hothouse: The Book that turns into a Botanical Paradise

By Chris Thorogood

Published by Andre Deutsch

Poems About Birds

Edited by H. J. Massingham

Published by Macmillan

Planet Earth III - BBC Earth

By Leisa Stewart-Sharpe

Illustrated by Kim Smith

Published by Penguin Random House Children's UK

Running Wild

By Michael Morpugo

Published by Harper Collins Publishers

(Will moves to Indonesia with his mother but when Oona the elephant he is riding rescues him  from a tsunami and carries him into the jungle he has to learn the ways  of this unfamiliar place in order to survive)

Rainforest Warrior

By Anita Ganeri

Illustrated by Margaux Carpentier

Published by Hachette Children's Group

(The true story of Brazilian environmental activist Chico Mendes, retold for children)

Rewild the World at Bedtime:  Hopeful Stories from Mother Nature

By Emily Hawkins

Illustrated by Ella Beech

Published by Wide Eyed

(A calming collection of positive rewilding stories to read to children age 5+ or for older children to enjoy themselves.)

Scientists In The Wild:  Galapagos

By Helen Scales,  Romolo D'Hipolito

Published by Flying Eye Books

Scientists In The Wild:  Antarctica

By Helen Scales, Kate Hendry, Romolo D'Hipolito

Published by Flying Eye Books

Saving Sorya: Chang and he Sun Bear

By Nguyen Thi Thu Trang

Illustrated by Jeet Zdung

Published by Pan Macmillan

(A graphic novel adventure for younger children based on the true story of an environmentalist)

Second Nature: A Gardener's Education

By Michael Pollan

Published by Templar

(An environmental manifesto for gardeners and a meditation on our relationship with the earth  - a thoughtful volume for the oldest teenagers and  grown ups)

Tell Me About… Plants

By Emily Dodd; illustrated by Chorkung

Published by Templar

(A picture book for younger children)

The Bee is not Afraid of Me - A Book of Insect Poems

Ed. by Fran Long and Isabel Gallymore

Published by The Emma Press

The Little Book of Trees

By Andrea Pinnington and Caz Buckingham

Published by Fine Feather Press

(A visually attractive and informative guide for age 8 to 12)

That’s Not My Lemur

By Fiona Watt; illustrated by Rachel Wells

Published by Usborne

The Animal Show

By Marcos Farina

Published by Little Gestalten

The Botany Colouring Book

By Paul Young

Published by Harper Collins Publishers Inc

The Hedgehog Handbook

By Sally Coulthard

Published by Apollo

(Facts on hedgehogs for all ages)

The Book of Palms - The Complete Plates

By Carl Frierich, Philipp von Martius and H. Walter Lack

Published by Taschen


The Great Kapok Tree

By Lynne Cherry

Published by Elsevier Australia

(A picture book story of a great tree in the rainforest and all the creatures who call it home)

The Little Book of the Dawn Chorus

By Caz Buckingham and Andrea Pinnington

Published by Fine Feather Press

(A sound book: first to sing is the skylark followed by the redstart, and more. Learn what they are trying to communicate and listen to their refrains through the sound bar. Any age from 3+).

The Emerald Forest

By Catherine Ward

Illustrated by Karin Littlewood

Published by Otter-Barry Books Ltd

(The story of an orang-utan family in the Sumatran rainforest)

The Explorer

By Katherin Rundell

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing plc

(An adventure story of 4 children whose plane crashes into the rainforest, as they navigate the forest and learn its ways)

The Carousel of Animals -

a pop-up book

By Gerard Lo Monaco

Published by Little Gestalten

The Little Book of Ocean Animal Sounds

By Caz Buckingham and Andrea Pinnington

Published by Fine Feather Press

(A sound book: songs of the humpback whale, honks of the puffin and other wonderful ocean sounds. Any age from 3+).

The Lost Spells

By Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

Published by Penguin Books

The Lost Words

By Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

Published by Penguin Books

The  Rainforest Book

By Charlotte Milner

Published by Dorling Kindersley

(Children's illustrated flora and fauna and a guide to why the Amazon rainforest is the lungs of the earth)

The Lost Rainforests of Britain

By Guy Shrubsole

Published by William Collins

The Secret Explorers and the Rainforest Rangers

By SJ King

Published by Dorling Kindersley

(A mixture of science and adventure set in the rainforests of Borneo)


The Small and Mighty Book of  Rainforests

By Clive Gifford, Illustrated by Kirsti Davidson

Published by Welbeck Publishing

The Small and Mighty Book of Bugs

By Catherine Brereton, Illustrated by Kirsti Davidson

Published by Welbeck Publishing

The Mystery of The Golden Wonderflower

By Benjamin Flouw

Published by Little Gestalten

The Small and Mighty Book of Bugs

By Catherine Brereton, Illustrated by Kirsti Davidson

Published by Welbeck Publishing

The Secret World of Plants - Tales of more than 100 remarkable flowers, trees and seeds

By Ben Hoare

Published by Dorling Kindersley

The Tree: The Book that Transforms into a Work of Art

By Steve Marsh

Published by Andre Deutsch

The Where on Earth book of Rainforests

By Susie Brooks

Published by Hachette Children's Publishing

(A journey through the rainforests of the world in a book  packed full of amazing animals and astonishing plants)

The Wind in the Willows

By Kenneth Grahame

Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard

(full version)

Published by Aladdin

Time to move South for Winter

By Clare Helen Welsh

Illustrated by Jenny Lovlie

Published by Nosy Crow

(A tiny arctic tern takes you on a journey of incredible animal migrations - perfect picture book bedtime reading for 2-5 year olds)

The Wind in the Willows

Abridged by Lou Peacock, Illustrated by Kate Hindley

Published by Nosy Crow

Up In The Canopy

By James Aldred in conjunction with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Illustrated by "Good Wives and Warriors"

Published by Templar Publishing

(A layer by layer exploration up into the tree canopy, with a giant unfolding tree at the end)

There's a Rang-Tan in my Bedroom

By James Sellick

Illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon

Published by Hachette Children's Group

(base on the Greenpeace film, with information on palm oil production)

When Darwin Sailed the Sea

By David Long and Sam Kalda

Published by Wide Eyed

Tree of Wonder

By Kate Messner

Illustrated by Semona Mulazzani

Published by Chronicle Books

(The many marvellous lives of a rainforest tree)

Usborne Little Lift and Look Bugs

By Anna Milbourne

Published by Usborne

Watership Down

By Richard Adams

Published by Puffin Classics

Where the Forest Meets the Sea

By Jeannie Baker

Published by Walker Books

(A story following a boy and his grandpa as they wander through a tropical rainforest towards the sea and consider what would be lost if the land were to be developed)


Wild Maps - A Nature Atlas for Curius Minds

Edited by Mike Higgins; illustrated by Manuel Bortoletti

Published by Big Picture Press

We are grateful to independent booksellers South Kensington Books and The Bookshop East Grinstead for their support.

 South Kensington Books is an independent bookshop in the heart of South Kensington's museum quarter.  There has been a bookshop on this site since the 1940s. They continue the tradition of sourcing great books for the local community and the many visitors to South Kensington.

The East Grinstead Bookshop is the quintessential English bookshop located in the heart of rural Sussex. Their shop, nearly 500 years old, is filled to the rafters with wonderful books, new and second-hand, staffed by people working in a business they are passionate about.


They say: "Our stock is wide-ranging and eclectic, with signed copies and beautiful gift editions as well as everyday reading. Come and visit us, or our website, to find exactly the book you were looking for - and many which you never knew you needed! Our Staff includes experts in the field of Children's Books, and there is nothing we enjoy more than helping children find a book they want to read.  We also have a wide range of gardening books, and a full programme of Events which in 2023 included a series of events on Climate Change and Nature Writing."

Well that's it..... Thank you for visiting the Doorstep Library Garden website and reading right to the end!

We hope you feel inspired to support Doorstep Library, to look for local sustainable timbers when you are buying for your garden,

and that your favourite children will soon be enjoying one of the wonderful books on this page!


If you are an author writing a  book for children about the natural world please send a note to and we'll add  your book to the list.  


You can donate or sign up to read with children as a Doorstep Library volunteer on the Doorstep Library page below.

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