A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Kids Summer Book Bingo: Takes Place in Nature


Kids Summer Book Bingo is Seattle Arts & Lectures’ free summer reading program for kids and young adults ages 0-17—and it’s here early this year! Download your bingo card here, then spend now through September 8th reading for your chance to win fabulous prizes!

Want some inspiration for your first Kids Book Bingo category? Because Earth Day was on April 22nd, it feels especially important to be turning to our natural world right now. That’s why the “takes place in nature” square is our first featured category. As most of our state parks have been closed through the summer already due to our region’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, what natural connections can we find in our own backyards, neighborhoods, and local parks—and in our books?

We asked our WITS Writers-in-Residence to recommend their favorite nature books for kids. This list proves that to be alone does not necessarily mean to be lonely, especially when we’re in nature. These books ask us to revel in the shared experiences of silence, of animal, and of landscape, and to celebrate that magic with others.

Early & Elementary School Recommendations

Samar Abulhassan (B.F. Day Elementary School, Blue Heron School, Dearborn Park Elementary School, & Laurelhurst Elementary School)

Bertolt, written and illustrated by Jacques Goldstyn, translated from French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick. I love sharing this story with younger elementary kids, especially the illustrations and the beautiful heart behind this book. In it, a boy who considers himself an outsider finds solace and friendship with a beautiful, big oak tree named Bertolt. The boy considers his independence a strength and finds joy in solitude, and the book teaches us about finitude and loss, as well as the comfort in being alone.

Ann Teplick (Seattle Children’s)

Any of Joyce Sidman’s picture books on nature, including Song of the Water Boatman and other Pond Poems; Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night; Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold; Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature; Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow; Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors; and Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors. Here you will find beautifully crafted poems with sidebars of information to supplement the subject of the poems, glossaries, and illustrations by a variety of artists that delight the eye in their simplicity, complexity, and colors. Why are these books important? They introduce children to the rhythm of the natural world through lyric prose and poetry, that engages, informs, and begs to be read over and over again.

Middle & High School Recommendations

Arianne True (Hamilton International Middle School, Licton Springs K-8 School, Nathan Hale High School, Youth Poet Laureate Mentor)

Lumberjanes, a comic book series created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn A. Allen, and Noelle Stevenson. Though this is shelved for children, I love it and wait for each new volume to come out. There’s so much to love: adventure, kittens, dinosaurs, Hardcore Lady Types, and bad jokes galore, all in the great outdoors. At this sleep-away camp, the only things deepening faster than the mysteries are the friendships. Check out the comic books for free at The Seattle Public Library through Hoopla!


Arlene Naganawa (WITS Writer-in-Residence at McClure Middle School)

My Side of the Mountain, a trilogy by Jean Craighead Georg. I read this book when I was a child, and I remember that this boy, Sam, flees New York to live in a tree with a peregrine falcon named Frightful. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, and some flint and steel, he learns about bravery and solitude during his year in the wilderness. The only time he sees anyone else is when he goes to the library!


David Lasky (Renaissance School of Art & Reasoning)

Jane, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt. There’s so much I love about this comic book, but most of all, I love the illustrations—they’re so gorgeous I’d like to steal them if I could. The story is about a girl who is bullied by a group of mean girls at her school. She takes comfort in reading Jane Austen and in a fox who says hi to her on a camping trip.

Posted in Summer Book BingoWriters in the Schools2019/20 Season