Media Reviews: Spring-Themed Books for Kids

Laura Nawojchik

Here comes spring! These stories will encourage your family to get outside and engage with nature.

The Hike by Alison Farrell

In this charmingly illustrated picture book, a diverse group of three children spends the day hiking and enjoying the forest. The story works well as a read-aloud for younger children, and older children will enjoy poring over the detailed pictures and the comic book aspect, including speech bubbles. Kids of all ages will be inspired by the nature sketchbook created by one of the characters that is included at the end. FOR AGES 3-8

Bloom Boom! by April Pulley Sayre

The gorgeous photographs are the standout in this beautiful nonfiction picture book. Celebrate spring by visually experiencing the emergence of wildflowers in forests and fields. A simple poem accompanies the photos, and supplementary material provides information about the plants and where they are found. After reading, go out and find springtime blooms, or take nature photos of your own. FOR AGES 3-8 

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Can You Hear the Trees Talking?: Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest by Peter Wohlleben

This is the young readers’ edition of the bestselling “The Hidden Life of Trees.” Do trees have families? Do they get sick? Do they have friends or enemies? Can trees talk to each other? How do they affect the world around them? Learn the answers to these and many more questions and experience the trees in your neighborhood or park in a whole new way. FOR AGES 8-12

Pilu of the Woods by Mai K. Nguyen

A young girl named Willow is having a hard time dealing with her emotions after her mother’s death. After a fight with her big sister, Willow flees to the woods, which is a place of comfort for her. There she meets Pilu, a young forest sprite who has run away after arguing with her overprotective tree mother. The two explore the woods and eventually help each other understand their families and how to make things better. This graphic novel is illustrated with delicately colored, lovely artwork. FOR AGES 8-12

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

This is the first of Stiefvater’s new Dreamer trilogy, which continues the story from her Raven Cycle series. Ronan is a dreamer; the things he dreams of burst into reality when he wakes. He has control only in the hidden magical forest he created. Jordan is a dreamer whose dreams are so harmful she cannot allow herself to sleep. Both are being hunted by a group of ruthless killers who are attempting to save the world. This story is replete with creative things you’ve never seen before. FOR TEENS

Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab of Ornithology

An App to Try

Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab of Ornithology

This free app will help answer all your child’s questions about the birds you see outdoors. Created and regularly updated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it is one of the most advanced bird guide apps and yet is extremely simple to use. Answer a couple quick questions or take a photo to identify the bird you have spotted. Then, listen to its song and learn more about it. The app is suitable for older children as well as younger kids with adult help. Available for Android and iOS.

Laura Nawojchik is a youth services librarian at the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

This story is from the Spring 2020 issue of Columbus Parent.