10 beautiful books about birds for children

Published on: 31 August 2021 Author: Gill Lewis

Author Gill Lewis celebrates the ten-year anniversary of Sky Hawk, her story about an osprey connecting two rural communities thousands of miles apart. Here, she shares some of her favourite books that show our deep connection with the avian world.

Gill Lewis is a multi award-winning children's author and activist for environmental justice and change. Ten years ago, she wrote Sky Hawk: an absorbing, very moving novel about an osprey’s migration route to the Gambia.

The osprey has been a symbol of conservation success, being brought back from extinction in the UK, and now regularly seen on lakes, rivers and estuaries.

What other books does author Gill Lewis recommend for bird lovers and budding conservationists? 

Try these ten books about birds

1. Mole and the Baby Bird by author Marjorie Newman and illustrator Patrick Benson

When Mole finds a baby bird, he must decide whether to keep it as a pet or set it free. This beautifully and gently told story had a profound impact on my own children, and tells a very powerful message, that wild creatures truly belong the wild.

2. The Pond by author Nicola Davies and illustrator Cathy Fisher

This is a magical story of love and loss, and how the healing of the wild can heal the most broken of hearts. When a pond is restored, the ducks provide the wings of hope.

Read our book review of Pond

3. The Big Book of Birds by Yuval Zommer

The striking illustrations give a wonderful introduction to birds, their habitats and behaviours. There’s even an egg hunt for readers to search as they explore the pages.

4. Swallow’s Kiss by author Sita Brahmachari and illustrator Jane Ray

Uplifting and lyrical, this stunning book shows the connectivity of humans across the globe, brought together by birds. A reminder that our stories all share a grounding in the natural world.

5. Twitch by M G Leonard

A fast-paced adventure that follows Twitch as he attempts to outwit and catch an escaped convict. Suffused with birds and a bird-watching hero, this story will inspire many wannabe young twitchers.

6. Asha and the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan

Birds often weave their way through stories of folklore and faith, as symbols of hope and strength. In this tale, Asha connects to the bird spirit of her grandmother as she navigates across the Himalayas to find her father and put things right.

Read our book review of Asha and the Spirit Bird

7. The Lost Spells by author Robert Macfarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris

A red fox, illustrated by Jackie Morris, from the book The Lost Spells

Many birds feature in this collection of imagery and poetry. These works of art enchant us with their magic and help us see the wild world more acutely. I particularly love the Swifts piece.

8. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

A classic story with a bird theme that, like Kes, still resonates today. Who hasn’t dreamt of running away? This story follows Sam when he runs away and learns to live in the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains, training Frightful, a falcon, to help him hunt.

9. Rook by Anthony McGowan

From the front cover of Rook by Anthony McGowan

In this story, we are immersed in troubled teenager Nicky’s world. It’s a raw and tender tale about two brothers, their dad and a rook that ultimately connects them to each other and help to heal relationships.

10. Bone Music by David Almond

Almond’s words are always infused with a magic that resonates deeply. When Sylvia hears haunting music across the moors, she becomes connected to the earth, through buzzard, bone and boy. A powerful story of rewilding our hearts and minds.