Nicola Davies’ Top Ten Nature Picture Books – with giveaway

The 2014 Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour (in association with the Scottish Book Trust) takes the very best UK and international authors directly into schools across Scotland and the UK to inspire a love of reading, writing and illustration. This is an idea that fills me with joy. It’s so important for children to be exposed to varied writing and illustration, and to meet the creators of all the wonderful books out there is a hugely enriching experience.

For the latest part of the tour, zoologist and children’s author Nicola Davies will be visiting Argyll and Bute this September to inspire and excite pupils. Well-known as one of the original presenters of the BBC children’s wildlife programme, The Really Wild Show, Nicola has more recently made her name as a children’s author. She has written both fiction and non-fiction books for children aged 7-11 based on her experiences of watching and studying animals. Her titles include Whale Boy (shortlisted for Blue Peter Award 2014), The Lion Who Stole My Arm (Portsmouth Book Prize 2014), The Promise (English Society Award 2014) and (my personal favourite) A First Book of Nature. Nicola will be treating young bookworms in Argyll and Bute to a series of free events in September as part of the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour. Imagine the future readers, writers, illustrators and conservationists Nicola could be inspiring and encouraging.
Imagine, imagine, imagine.

To celebrate Nicola sharing her love with the readers, writers, illustrators and nature lovers of tomorrow, I am giving away a copy of Nicola’s beautiful picture book The Promise Illustrated by Laura Carlin.

The Promise tells the story of a broken world, hard and grey and mean. A girl, who has been made hard and mean by her environment, steals a bag from an old lady. The lady lets her take the bag but only if she promises to plant the contents. The promise lifts the girl’s heart and changes her life as she sets about planting acorns and bringing beauty, love, laughter and kindness back to the world.

I really do love this book and have heartily recommended it to parents, librarians and teachers. It’s a beautiful celebration of the natural world and a reminder of our relationship with it.
You can win a copy by reading Nicola’s top ten picture books about nature and sharing your favourite nature book in the comments box. It doesn’t have to be one of Nicola’s choices – recommend your own favourite. (Extra entries for tweeting a link to this post/sharing on Facebook/telling everyone at work and every parent at the school gate – but please do let me know you’ve done so in the comments here so I know to add your extra entry)

Over to Nicola.


T. Rex by Vivian French
Not just about dinosaurs but about the science of how we know about them. Includes crucial information about science that all children should know – that there’s lots we don’t know, and that everyone can be part of filling in the gaps.

Wild by Emily Hughes
Simple, charming and beguiling. A book about making friends with foxes and the value of being yourself.

The Birdwatchers by Simon James
This story about a little girl and her Grandpa captures the meanings that the natural world has for us and how it helps us to make human relationships too.

Something About A Bear by Jackie Morris
A lyrical tour of all the world’s bear species, with gorgeous illustrations that show you readers that the word ‘bear’ means a lot more than a teddy. (Also the BEST end papers of any book, ever).

Can We Save The Tiger? by Martin Jenkins
The complex and challenging problems of conservation beautifully explained for young readers with exquisite illustrations.

Insect Detective by Steve Voake
Every child loves creepy crawlies given the chance to seek them out. This book captures the pure delight of investigating the natural world and will start young biologists on their way.

The Storm Whale by Benji Davies
A magical piece of fiction about a child who finds a baby whale washed up on the beach and takes it home to love in the bath. But the message about the place of animals being in the wild is true, and beautifully delivered.

Fly Traps Plants That Bite Back by Martin Jenkins
There are so few books about plants for children and this is a gem. Martin’s energy and enthusiasm (which I’ve known since we were both 19) shines through and communicates the strange fascination of these other worldly plants.

What Mr Darwin Saw by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom
Darwin’s adventures as a young man and the start of his big world changing theories accessibly explained and wonderfully illustrated in this incredibly enjoyable book.

Yucky Worms by Vivian French
I loved worms as a kid and was fascinated by their underground lives. This book would have answered all my questions and shown me that it was absolutely all right to be interested in the small creatures whose lives seem unimportant but are quite the reverse.

Thank you, Nicola! I love hearing people talk about their favourite books and sucking up their recommendations. Some book ordering may have just occurred!

And now over to you.. What is your favourite picture book about nature? Competition ends Thursday 11th and winner announced Friday 12th September.

For more information about the 2014 Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour visit or follow @booksontour

The winner, taken from the list as follows…
Catherine (tweet entry)
Catherine (pin entry)

Number 1 – Sarah! Congratulations 🙂


14 thoughts on “Nicola Davies’ Top Ten Nature Picture Books – with giveaway

Add yours

  1. I love The Storm Whale too, it’s one of my favourite picture books from last year. We also like Just Ducks by Nicola Davies. The Promise looks awesome too 🙂

    Retweeted one of your competition tweets yesterday for you.

  2. The Storm Whale is absolutely fab, which I’d choose for something recent.
    For something a bit older, how about Seal Surfer by Michael Foreman.
    And even older than that, Dinosaurs and All that Rubbish, also by Michael Foreman, which I was rather fascinated by as a child 🙂

  3. Love the Storm Whale! Which reminds me of another favourite whale picture book – Venus Peter Saves the Whale, about a boy who saves a beached whale near his fishing village. By Christopher Rush & Mairi Hedderwick.

  4. Love The Storm Whale, but also love Nicola’s own First Book of Nature with its delicious pictures by Mark Hearld. Cannot decide whether his birds, lambs or fox are my favourite – but then I don’t need to decide!

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