River, Lake, & Pond Habitat Books
Teaching Freshwater Ecosystems

We admit it--teaching the pond habitat is such fun!  Dragonflies, snapping turtles, pollywogs, croaking toads, cute little duckies and odd little newts... These are the kinds of creatures students love learning about, just about as much as we love teaching about them. :)  And since most communities have a river, lake, or at least a small pond nearby, it's the perfect ecosystem for encouraging hands-on nature observations and recording findings in nature journals.

Below are excellent children's books featuring a river, lake, estuary,
or pond habitat--some modeling how to make field observations! 

: Interest age of books increases as you move down the page.
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In the Small, Small Pond
In the Small, Small Pond
by Denise Fleming

This companion book to In the Tall, Tall Grass depicts life in a freshwater pond habitat throughout the year. The snappy rhyming text is integrated into the simple but charming illustrations made from bright handmade paper. "Another perfect introduction to nature for the very young." (Kirkus)

Interest Level: PreS-Gr.1    Difficulty: age 4-8
Pond Circle
Pond Circle
by Betsy Franco

Bright oil-on-wood paintings illustrate this poetic cumulative tale about the food chain of a pond near a young girl's house. Insects and animals in the food chain include: algae, mayfly, beetle, bullfrog, snake, skunk, own, raccoon and coyote). "A clear, child-friendly look at ecology."(SLJ)

Interest Level: PreS-Gr.3   Difficulty Level: age 4-8

Click to see inside on Pond Circle
Here Is the Wetland
Here Is the Wetland
by Madeleine Dunphy

A beautifully illustrated cumulative tale featuring the animals and plants of a wetland habitat (ie: Here is the snake who preys on the frog that leaps from the heron...) Beautiful artwork captures wetland life, making this "an excellent addition to books on the environment." (SLJ) 

Interest Level: K-Gr.2   Difficulty Level: age 4-8
Song of the Water Boatman: And Other Pond Poems
Song of the Water Boatman
& Other Pond Poems

A stunningly illustrated book of poetry about a pond habitat throughout the seasons. Double-page spreads include accessible scientific information about the featured plant/animal, a poem (written in a variety of poetic forms), and striking woodcut illustrations that are perfectly suited for this book about nature. Teachers will appreciate this "organic union of poetry and science." (SLJ)

Interest Level: K-Gr.5      Difficulty Level: age 9-12

Click to see inside Song of the Water Boatman
Butternut Hollow Pond
Butternut Hollow Pond
by Brian Heinz

Summary: A day in the life of a pond, depicting a range of wildlife, their interactions, and the pond's food chain. Descriptions and illustrations are highly detailed, realistically rendered, and packed with information. Definitely more science than story, "this is an excellent resource for the science curriculum." (Bklst)

Interest Level: Gr. 1-3   Difficulty Level: age 4-8
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Crawdad Creek
Crawdad Creek
by Scott Russell Sanders

An illustrated look at the animals that two siblings observe at their local creek. Acrylic and watercolor illustrations accompany the evocative narrative of their discoveries, which include crawdads, slider turtles, damselflies, whirligig beetles, and more. This book "should inspire immediate explorations of the nearest body of water available." (SLJ)

Reading Levels:
Interest Level: Gr. 1-3     Difficulty Level: ages 4-8
One Small Square--Wetland books
'One Small Square' series --
Freshwater Biomes  

Appealing, intricately illustrated titles that invite children to see all the living things that live in just one small area of a swamp or pond habitat. The two freshwater habitat titles in this series are One Small Square--Pond and One Small Square--Swamp

In addition to information about the habitats, both books provide directions on how to measure off a 24-inch square, look under the water with a home- made viewer, and conduct and record observations. Picture glossaries, field guides, and resource lists round out these books that Science Books and Films called "science education at its best."

Reading Levels:
Interest Level: Gr. 2-5     Difficulty Level: age 4-8
Salamander Rain : A Lake and Pond Journal
Salamander Rain:
A Lake and Pond Journal

Written in the format of a nature scrapbook/ journal, this book tells the story of a young boy scout who keeps a journal of his observations at local ponds and rivers. A "lusciously illustrated picture book/field guide/treasure hunt." Center for Environmental Education)

Interest Level--Gr. 3-5    Difficulty Level--age 9-12
Biomes of North America--Lake
Biomes of North America--
Freshwater Books

The freshwater titles in the Biomes of North America series feature crisp, colorful photographs on every page and conversational, accessible text about the interconnected plant and wildlife of lakes, wetlands, rivers, or estuaries. "Vivid environmental stories... fine choices for browsing and biology reports."(Bklst)

Reading Levels:
Interest Level--Gr. 3-6    Difficulty Level--age 9-12

Biomes of North America--Wetland Biomes of North America--River Biomes of North America--Estuary

-- We have books on other habitats too. To see book lists for those habitats, click the link:

Desert Books Forest Habitats Arctic books Grassland books Ocean books Biome books
Desert Habitat
Forest Habitat Arctic Habitat
Grassland Habitat Ocean Habitat Habitats in General

Do you know of a good book on the freshwater / pond habitat? If so, please let us know by completing the Suggest a Book form, located in the top right hand column.

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