Recommended Books

YIbookcoverYoung Investigators: The Project Approach in the Early Years, 2nd Edition

by Judy Harris Helm and Lilian Katz

“Everything you could possibly need to start a project is covered in this book, so start investigating!” — Association for Childhood Education International

This bestselling book has been completely updated and expanded to help teachers use the project approach in child care centers, in preschools, and in kindergarten, 1st grade, and early childhood special education classrooms. For those new to using projects, the book introduces the approach and provides step-by-step guidance for conducting meaningful projects. Experienced teachers will find the teacher interviews, children’s work, photographs (including full color), and teacher journal entries used to document the project process in actual classrooms very useful.

This popular, easy-to-use resource has been expanded to include these new features:

  • explicit instructions and examples for incorporating standards into the topic selection and planning process;
  • a variety of nature experiences, with examples that show how project work is an excellent way to connect children to the natural world;
  • an update of the use of technology for both documentation and investigations, including use of the Web as well as and video and digital cameras; * and more toddler projects that reflect our increased knowledge from recent mind/brain research about toddler understanding and learning.

A study guide for pre- and in-service teachers is available at the Teachers College Press website.

becomingbookcoverBecoming Young Thinkers: Deep Project Work in the Classroom

by Judy Harris Helm

Continuing the exploration of project work in the author’s bestselling book, Young Investigators, Second Edition, this book is designed for preschool through primary grade teachers who know how to do project work but are ready to move to the next level. Focusing on how children become young thinkers, the book begins with mind, brain, and education science and instructional guidelines for all learning experiences, and then connects these to the rich foundation of the project approach. Helm provides specific strategies for deepening project work, including how to select meaningful topics, plan for projects, integrate standards (including the Common Core), support children’s questioning, create provocations to promote engagement, and help children represent their ideas. This practical resource will extend practitioners’ knowledge about project-based learning so they can move beyond the basics to create project work that is more engaging, meaningful, and productive.

lastchildLast Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

by Richard Louv

In his landmark work Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv brought together cutting-edge studies that pointed to direct exposure to nature as essential for a child’s healthy physical and emotional development. Now this new edition updates the growing body of evidence linking the lack of nature in children’s lives and the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. Louv’s message has galvanized an international back-to-nature campaign to “Leave No Child Inside.” His book will change the way you think about our future and the future of our children.

Nature Books for Children

Ehlert, Lois – Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, Leaf Man
Carle, Eric – The Tiny Seed
Robbins, Ken- Autumn Leaves
Beam, Rona- Leaf Collecting Album (Backyard Explorer)
Maestro, Betsy- Why Do Leaves Change Color?
Maass, Robert – When Autumn Comes
Schweninger, Ann – Autumn Days (Lets Look at the Seasons)
Wallace, Nancy Elizabeth – Leaves! Leaves! Leaves!
Shinju, Mariko – A Pumpkin Story
Senisi, Ellen B. –Fall Changes
Levenson, George – Pumpkin Circle
Zoehfeld, Kathleen Weidner- Fall Leaves Change Color
Fandex Family Field Guides – Trees
Scholastic Clifford the Big Red Dog Series – The Big Leaf Pile
Metzger, Steve – The Falling Leaves and the Scarecrow, The Leaves Are Falling One by One
Emmett, Jonathan – Leaf Trouble
Cooper, Helen – Pumpkin Soup
Minor, Wendell  – Pumpkin Heads
Smath, Jerry – I Like Pumpkins
Gibbons, Gail – The Pumpkin Book
McKy, Katie – Pumpkin Town!
Kroll, Steven – The Biggest Pumpkin Ever

Trees and Plants

Kudlinski, Kathleen V. – What Do Roots Do?
Posada, Mia – Dandelions: Stars in the Grass
Bunting, Eve – Sunflower House
Saunders-Smith, Gail – Sunflowers
Ganeri, Anita – From Seed to Sunflower
Pattou, Edith – Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden
Canizares, Susan – Evergreens Are Green, Look at This Tree
Jeuness, Gallimarde – The Tree (A First Discovery Book)
Bernard, Robin – A Tree for All Seasons
Wilsdon, Christina – In Spring
Zweibel, Alan –Our Tree Named Steve
Seeger, Pete –Abiyoyo
Bill Martin, Jr. – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Formeto, Alison – This Tree Counts
Franklin, Kristine L. – When the Monkeys Came Back
Galdon, Paul – Henny Penny
Abercrombi, Barbara – Charlie Anderson
Mora, Pat – Pablo’s Tree
DePalma, Mary Newell – A Grand Old Tree
Portis, Antoinette – Not A Stick
Bloom, Stephanie – A Place to Grow


Wildsmith, Brian – Squirrels
Swanson, Diane – Welcome to the World of Squirrels
Peck, George – Squirrels (Getting to Know Nature’s Children Series)
Boring, Mel – Rabbits, Squirrels and Chipmunks
Fowler, Allan – Squirrels and Chipmunks (Rookie Read-About Science)
Schaefer, Lola M. – Squirrels
Glaser, Linda – Hello, Squirrels!: Scampering Through the Seasons
Hurwitz, Johanna – Lexi’s Tale
Galjanic, Lisa – When Squirrels Try
Watt, Melanie – Scaredy Squirrel
Stone, Chuck – Squizzy the Black Squirrel: A Fabulous Fable of Friendship
Tarlow, Elen – The Acorn
Freeman, Don – Earl the Squirrel
Ehlert, Lois – Nuts to You!
Fowler, Richard – A Squirrel’s Tale…

Insects and Bugs

Pinczes Elinor J. – A Remainder of One
Peters, Lisa Westberg – When the Fly Flew In…
Hall, Kirsten – I See a Bug
Cronin, Doreen – The Diary of a Fly
Pallotta, Jerry – The Icky Bug Counting Book
Carle, Eric – The Honeybee and the RobberThe Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug
Brown, Margaret Wise – I Like Bugs
Quackenbush, Robert – Henry’s Awful Mistake
Canizares, Susan – What Do Insects Do?
Wallace, Karen – Busy Buzzy Bee
Morgan, Sally- Bees and Wasps
Gibbons, Gail – The Honey Makers
Allen, Judy – Are You a Bee?
Parker, Nancy Winslow – Bugs
Robinson, Fay – Creepy Beetles!
Murphy, Stuart J. – The Best Bug Parade
Soman, David – Ladybug Girl
Carter, David A. – Giggle Bugs
Fleming, Denise – Beetle Bop
Greenberg, David T. – Bugs
Finn, Isobel – The Very Lazy Ladybug
Cutting, Brian and Jillian – Are You a Ladybug?
Coughlan, Cheryl – Ladybugs


Sandved, Kjell – The Butterfly Alphabet
Roop, Connie and Peter – Millions of Monarchs
Berger, Melvin – A Butterfly Is Born
Fandex Family Field GuidesButterflies of the World
Berger, Melvin and Gilda – Butterflies and Caterpillars (True or False Series)
Gibbons, Bail – Monarch Butterflies
Turnbull, Stephanie – Caterpillars and Butterflies


Sardegna, Jill – Roly-Poly Spider
Spinelli, Eileen – Sophie’s Masterpiece
Hoberman, Mary Ann – The Eensy-Weensy Spider
Brenner, Barbara – Where’s That Spider (Hide and Seek Science)
Trapani, Iza – The Itsy Bitsy Spider
O’neill, Amanda – I Wonder Why Spiders Spin Webs and Other Questions, About Creepy Crawlies
Canizares, Susan – Spider Names
Parsons, Alexandra – Amazing Spiders (Eye Witness Juniors Series)
Kirk, David – Little Miss Spider: Sunny Patch School

Creatures of the Night

Colandra, Lucille – There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat!
Juenesse, Gallimard – Night Creatures: A First Discovery Book
Nelson, Kristin L. – Clever Raccoons


Selsam, Millicent – Keep Looking!
Colandro, Lucille – The Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow!
Benjamin, Cynthia – Footprints in the Snow
Elschner, Geraldine – Friends For All Seasons
Carle, Eric – Little Cloud
Martin, Jacqueline Briggs – Snowflake Bentley
Korb, Rena – The Wild Water Cycle, Awesome Air
Davis, Rebecca Fjelland – Flowers and Showers


Gallo, Frank – Bird Calls: Pay the Sounds, Pull the Tabs
Canizares, Susan – From Egg to Robin
Roth, Sally – The Backyard Bird Lover’s Field Guide
Mueller, Doris – The Best Nest
Gray, Samantha – Birds (DK Eye Wonder Series)
Chanko, Pamela – The Beak Book
Waddell, Martin – Owl Babies
Tekiela, Stan – Birds of Iowa Field Guide
Peterson Roger Tory – Peterson First Guides: Birds
Morgan, Sally – Eagles
Mazzola, Jr., Frank – Counting Is for the Birds
Tomlinson, Jill – The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark
DK See How They Grow Series – Owl
Marin-James, Kathleen – Soaring Bald Eagles
Malnor, Carol L. – The Blues Go Birding Across America
Arnosky, Jim – I’m a Turkey
Larson, Deborah – One Frozen Lake (about ice fishing)

White Tailed Deer

Armosky, Jim – Jim Arnoskyt’s All About Deer
Marzollo, Jean – Once Upon a Springtime
Asch, Frank – Oats and Wild Apples
Wilder, Laura Ingalls (adapted Little House Laura Ingalls Wilder) – The Deer In the Wood
Collins, Pat – The Deer Watch


Royston, Angela – Bunny (DK See How They Grow Series)
Burton, Jane – Freckles the Rabbit
Gallagher, Kristin Ellerbusch – Cottontail Rabbits

Mud and Worms

Cronin, Doreen – Diary of a Worm
Stephens, Vicki – I Love Mud and Mud Loves Me
Lee, Frances (Alpha Kids) – Worm Rap
Saunders-Smith, Gail (Rigby) – Worms
Serfozo, Mary – The Big Bug Dug (Hello Reader!)
Dell’Oro, Suzanne – Tunneling Earthworms
Lewison, Wendy Cheyetter – Mud!
Munsch, Robert – Mud Puddle
Lackner, Michelle Myers – Toil in the Soil

Plants and Gardens

Cox, Martin – Wildlife Gardening
Muntean, Michaela – A Garden for Miss Mouse
Kaye, Deborah – Garden Birthday
Ehlert, Lois – Growing Vegetable Soup, Planting a Rainbow

Frogs, Toads, and Turtles

Nayer, Judy – How Do Frogs Grow?
Vern, Alex – Where Do Frogs Come From?
Waters, Dan – A Pond So Blue
Lobel, Arnold – Frog and Toad Are Friends
Falwell, Cathryn – Scoot!, Turtle Splash!: Countdown at the Pond
Quattlebaum, Mary – Jo MacDonald Saw a Pond
Vitale, Stefano – Pond Circle


Rourke Discovery Library by Cooper, Jason – DragonfliesKatydidsPraying MantisLadybugsButterflies
It’s A Baby Series by Kelly Doudna – White-Tailed Deer!, Beaver!
Animals That Live in the Forest Series by Macken, JoAnn Early – PorcupinesOwlsBats
Go Critter, Go! Series by Rau, Dana Meachen – Squirm, Earthworm, Squirm!; Flash, Firefly, Flash!; Fly, Butterfly, Fly!; Spin, Spider, Spin!Buzz, Bee, Buzz


McCarthy, Ann – Critters of Iowa Pocket Guide
Green, Jen – In A Backyard
Peterson, Deborah – Don’t Throw It, Grow It!
National Geographic – Backyard Wilderness: My First Pocket Guide
Ross, Mandy – Animal Exercises: Poems to Keep Fit
Hockman, Hilary; Editor (DK) – What’s Inside?: Animial Homes
Rius, Maria – Habitats: Life Underground
Martin, Mary Jane – What’s Inside?
Berkes, Marianne – Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek
Hudson, Cherl – Hands Can
Parr, Todd – The Earth Book
DK Made With Care Series – Love Your World
Penn, Audrey – Sassafras
Weiss, George David – What a Wonderful World
George, Jean Craighead – Look to the North: A Wolf Pup Diary
Dey, Joy Morgan – Agate
Woolf, Catherine Marie – My First Hike
Ward, Jennifer – Forest Bright Forest Night
Steinberg, Laya – Around Me I See
Pitts, Zachary – The Pebble First Guide to Rocks and Minerals
O’Hare, Ted – Prairies: Exploring Habitats
Greve, Meg – Tap, Tap, Tap