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Baby & Toddler


Growing Reader

Perfectly Buggy Insect Books for the Classroom

by Lindsay Barrett

Image credit: Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images

Despite their tiny size, insects can help introduce so many big science concepts. Learning about what makes an insect an insect is a natural introduction to classification, and their countless cool features demonstrate how adaptations help living things survive. Plus, there’s the proverbial, ever-fascinating study of life cycles.

Unlike larger, less convenient members of the animal kingdom, insects can often be observed in person, which brings science to life for kids and encourages their curiosity about the natural world. These seven titles are reliable options to spark children’s interest in insects, build background knowledge, and share big ideas — before the subjects crawl away.

  • Mrs. Peanuckle's Bug Alphabet

    by Mrs. Peanuckle, illustrated by Jessie Ford

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    Use this book to introduce children to the diversity of insects.

    Mrs. Peanuckle's alphabet books introduce aspects of nature with earnest cheer. Each letter champions a different type of insect and offers an engaging tidbit: H is for houseflies, which carry lots of germs, L is for ladybugs, who eat bugs off roses, and R is for the rhinoceros beetle, the strongest insect of all.

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  • The Bugliest Bug

    by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by Scott Nash

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    Use this book to highlight differences between insects and spiders, or to show how science facts can be woven into a story.

    When a sign goes up for an insect showcase contest, Damselfly Dilly doesn't expect to win; there are so many impressive bugs in the running! But when she notices the judges have some suspiciously un-buggy features, her quick thinking saves the day.

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  • My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis

    by Paul Meisel

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    Use this book to introduce praying mantises and make connections to the behaviors and life cycles of other insects.

    A creative first-person format makes this bug diary both entertaining and informative. A praying mantis documents its life from May to October with deadpan candor. ("Ran into one of my brothers. He tried to eat me. So I ate him.")

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  • Insect Detective

    by Steve Voake, illustrated by Charlotte Voake

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    Use this book to get children excited about observing insects in nature.

    Whether it's following a trail of ants or noticing evidence of an insect's activities by looking at holes in leaves, this title offers plenty of concrete invitations for children to be - as the title suggests - "insect detectives." Though it's full of fascinating information, the lush and literary vocabulary makes this book read like a spellbinding story.

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  • Insects and Spiders

    by DK

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    Use this book as an insect primer or to jumpstart research about kids' specific questions.

    Each section of this field-guide-sized book offers just enough information about a specific aspect of entomology, from explanations of how insects' legs, wings, or antennae work to descriptions of certain types of insects, such as parasites or social insects. Simple but appealing activities encourage hands-on learning.

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  • The Buzz on Insects

    by Gina Shaw

    Use this book to highlight just how many insects we share our world with.

    Using material from the Smithsonian's Insect Zoo, this Level 3 reader will have kids begging for a field trip! There are more insects out there than we could possibly imagine, and this book sheds light on some of the fascinating crawling and flying things around us.

  • On Beyond Bugs: All About Insects

    by Tish Rabe, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz

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    Use this book as a familiar (and fun!) way to introduce kids to bugs.

    Follow the Cat in the Hat and friends on an adventure as they learn how insects do the things they do - like see, smell, communicate, and more! Part of the Cat in the Hat's Learning Library, this book is both educational and engaging.

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