Best Books for Elementary Homeschool Biology
In Blueprint Homeschooling, I talk about how to put together your own homeschool science curriculum using free library resources. After writing and publishing Blueprint, I realized I had many fantastic book recommendations to share. Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be putting up my favorite books by topic for the study of homeschool biology in the elementary years. I have used these for homeschooling, but they’d be great for any child (or adult) with an interest in biology.
This first list contains my favorite biology overviews and encyclopedias. These are the books I reference over and over as we study biology together. I was able to check out all of them from my local library, but have since purchased most of them. Check your library first if you’re unsure whether a resource will work for you.
Note: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you decide to purchase anything I’ve linked, I will get a small portion of proceeds from the sale. Thank you!
Natural History (Smithsonian) by DK Publishing. This book is one of my treasures. Hundreds of full-color photos, close-ups of various animals, and great descriptions to see the variety of life on Earth. This is one of my favorite reference books and one that the kids will lug around to read quite often. The text is written for upper grades, but you can’t beat the fantastic photography.
First Nature Encyclopedia by DK. The text is perfect for young elementary students, but it still has plenty of information that even older elementary students can appreciate. This encyclopedia divides the world into biomes, and shows the plants and animals that live together in the various biomes of the world. This is the book we’re currently reading through for this year’s biology study.
Biology: Life as We Know It by Dan Green and Simon Basher. The Basher books are always a fun introduction to various topics. They seem cute and cartoony, but usually pack a lot of information in a way that kids can remember.
Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth by Rochelle Strauss. This is one of my favorite books for introducing the idea of animal kingdoms and taxonomy. The illustrations are delightful.
National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia by Lucy Spelman. National Geographic has come out with some wonderful books for kids lately, and this one is no exception. Pick up a National Geographic Kids subscription while you’re at it.
They Call Me Woolly by Keith DuQuette. This is a nice primer for early elementary students to show how animal names can often tell us something about them.
How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Robin Page and Steve Jenkins. This is a family favorite, especially during the younger ages when kids are just beginning to understand how different animals can work together. This is a great one for unusual animal trivia.
These are the books I use during my first week of teaching biology, usually as an introduction to the subject.
Do you have favorite biology references you use in your homeschool?