Rainforest books are often some of the first to be pulled off my classroom shelf. Students love learning about rainforests and the animals that live in them. They’re fun to teach about too! Rainforests are among the world’s oldest living ecosystems. And though they only cover roughly 6 percent of the earth’s surface, they contain over half of the world’s plant and animal species!
Here are 49 rainforest books to help you introduce your students to the beauty and powerful diversity of this amazing region of the world.
Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may receive a small commission when you purchase through our links, at no cost to you. All books are selected by our editorial team.
Rainforest books to read aloud:
by Carron Brown
This story is a wonderful introduction to the environment of the rainforest. With its bold colorful artwork and “see-through” pages, it’s a great way to kick-start a unit.
2. Yara’s Tamari Tree by Yossi Lapid
Yara loves her beautiful rainforest home. When she becomes ill, her mother finds a cure from the tawari tree. This story drives home the point that humans need the rainforest as much as the rainforest needs them.
3. Sloths Don’t Run by Tori McGee
A story of friendship and courage unfolds as two rainforest creatures embark on an unlikely adventure—running The Great Rainforest Race.
4. Way up High in a Tall Green Tree by Jan Peck
The main character of this sweet story wishes good morning to all the creatures of the rainforest as she climbs a tall, tall tree. “See you later!” she says. As night falls, she climbs back down and wishes them all good night.
5. A Is for Anaconda: A Rainforest Alphabet by Anthony D. Fredericks
This alphabet book showcases the wonders of the rapidly diminishing rainforest in hopes of inspiring a new generation of readers toward conservation.
6. Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree by Kate Messner
From macaws and toucans to vipers, bats, and howler monkeys, this gorgeous story introduces kids to the almendro tree, home to more than 1000 organisms.
7. Amazon Rainforest: A Guide in Rhyme by Eve Heidi Bine-Stock
The rainforest is filled with fascinating flora and fauna. Explore a sampling in this colorful rhyming story.
8. We’re Roaming the Rainforest by Laurie Krebs
Three friends embark on a day-long journey through the rainforest. Along the way the friends encounter many exotic creatures in their native habitat.
9. The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
Lynne Cherry wrote her intricately illustrated cautionary tale to “let the world know what happens to the rainforest creatures and the entire planet when rainforests are destroyed.”
10. If I Ran the Rainforest: All About Tropical Rain Forest by Bonnie Worth
The Cat in the Hat takes two little friends on a tour through the layers of the rainforest and introduces them to the fascinating plants, animals, and people within.
11. Don’t Let Them Disappear by Chelsea Clinton
This new book by Chelsea Clinton introduces kids to some of the world’s most endangered animals, sharing what makes them special and also what threatens them.
Rainforest books to use for research:
12. Animals of the Rainforest by Dana Sadan
Come along with Reading Rocks and “visit the steamy jungles and soaring canopy of the rain forest and meet some of Earth’s most amazing creatures!”
13. The Amazon Rainforest: Animal Facts & Photos by KC Adams
Get to know some of the “beautiful, bizarre and dangerous critters” of the Amazon rainforest.
14. Animals of the Rainforest: Wildlife of the Jungle by Baby Professor
From strange amphibians to fascinating primates and colorful birds, your students will marvel at the diversity of life in the rainforest.
15. 3D Explorer: Rainforest by Joe Fullman
Explore the beauty of the rainforest with the spectacular photos and 3-D scenes in this engaging book.
16. The Amazon by DK Eyewitness Books
A perennial favorite of fact-loving kids everywhere, DK presents this beautifully illustrated profile of one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world.
17. A–Z Amazing Animals of the Amazon Rainforest of South America by Mindy Sawyer
Did you know the rainforest is home to a three-eyed lizard, a fish that barks, and a bird with an umbrella on its head? This book showcases some of the most amazing and bizarre creatures of the rainforest—from A to Z.
18. Who Am I? Rainforest Animals by Read With You
Published by the Read With You Center for Language Research and Development, this book encourages kids to get curious about the world around them with fun facts and photos about the animals of the rainforest.
19. Step into the Rainforest by Howard Rice
This TIME for Kids informational text explores the lush rainforest of the world, using maps, charts, and incredible photographs.
20. Real-Life Monsters: Creatures of the Rainforest by Matthew Rake
Take a closer look at some of the strange and fascinating creatures of the rainforest. With chapter titles like “Pure Poison,” “Hairy Horror,” and “Totally Toxic,” your students will be absolutely mesmerized.
21. 21 Strange Animals That Live in the Rainforest by Selena Dale
“The world is filled with glorious, beautiful and sometimes weird creatures.” So begins this in-depth look at the diversity of life in the rainforest.
22. Animal Babies in Rain Forests by Kingfisher Books
This adorable book for young readers looks at some the cutest, cuddliest creatures of the rainforest.
23. Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Rain Forests by Mary Pope Osborne
After their Afternoon on the Amazon, main characters Jack and Annie return home and do some serious research about all they’ve seen.
24. Rainforest Animal Adaptations by Lisa J. Amstutz
Discover how animals not only survive but thrive in the extreme environment of the rainforest.
25. A Rainforest Habitat by Molly Aloian
A habitat is a place where organisms make their home. Discover what makes the habitat of the rainforest unique.
Books about rainforest mammals:
26. Howler Monkey ( A Day in the Life: Rain Forest Animals) by Anita Ganeri
Follow this fascinating creature as it swings from branch to branch under the rainforest canopy, yelling its distinctive cry.
27. Amazing Animals: Jaguars by Valerie Bodden
From the popular Amazing Animals series, this title explores the enigmatic jaguar.
28. Cats of the Wild: Ocelots by Henry Randall
These powerful hunters are about twice the size of an average house cat but live a very different life.
29. Sloths by Josh Gregory
The Nature’s Children series teaches children about some of the most fascinating creatures on Earth. Follow along as we learn about the charming sloth, from its birth to adulthood.
30. Capybara: Fun Facts & Cool Pictures by Flavio Gonzales
Is it a beaver without a tail? A hairy pig without a snout? No, it’s a capybara, the largest rodent in the world!
31. Spider Monkeys by Vicky Franchino
Students will learn all about these fascinating monkeys, with their long skinny limbs, from what they eat and how they socialize to how they are related to other primates.
32. Anteater by Cindy Matheson
A close relative to the sloth, anteaters spend their days searching out ants and termites in the rainforest.
33. Kinkajous by Rachel Lynette
Learn more about this adorable relative of the raccoon, with big round eyes and a long, powerful tail.
Books about birds of the rainforest:
34. Exploring Nature: Parrots & Rainforest Birds by Tom Jackson
Did you know there are more than 1500 species of birds in the Amazon rainforest basin? Filled with engaging facts and stunning photographs, this book explores many of them.
35. Toucan by Rob Ryndak
Learn all about one of the most widely recognized birds of the rainforest.
36. Quetzals and Other Latin American Birds by Zella Williams
This resplendent bird, treasured for its beautiful feathers, holds a revered place in Mayan history. Learn all about the quetzal and some of its relatives.
37. Macaw by Anita Ganeri
Learn all about the colorful macaw—from how its bright colors help it survive to all the details about how it thrives in the rainforest.
38. Harpy Eagle by Ellen Lawrence
This giant predator hunts from the tops of trees, taking down everything from small rodents to monkeys.
Books about reptiles and amphibians of the rainforest:
39. Rainforest Reptiles and Amphibians by Edward Parker
This book, published by the World Wildlife Fund, is packed with 48 pages full of facts and photographs of reptiles and amphibians of the rainforest.
40. Poison Dart Frogs by Rachel Grack
This colorful frog is loaded with lethal poison that it uses to protect itself in a world of predators.
41. Anacondas by Leo Statts
The semiaquatic anaconda (also called the water boa) is one of the largest snakes that inhabit the rainforest.
42. Black Caiman by Ellen Lawrence
This powerful predator lurks in the muddy waters of the Amazon, pouncing on unsuspecting prey as they come to the water’s edge.
43. It’s a Boa Constrictor! by Tessa Kenan
Did you know that the powerful boa constrictor gives birth to live babies, who slither away independently within minutes of birth? Get a close-up look at this fascinating reptile in this title by Bumba Books.
44. Red-Eyed Tree Frogs by Nicki Clausen-Grace
Learn more about the appearance, daily life, and habitat of the highly recognizable red-eyed tree frog.
Books about insects of the rainforest:
45. Amazon Insects by James L. Castner
Dr. James L. Castner is a tropical biologist, entomologist, biological photographer, and educator. In this book, he examines the insects of the Amazon.
46. Butterflies of the Rainforest by Parismarie Weldon
From the large blue morpho to the tiny glasswing, this engaging guide provides close-up photographs and myriad facts about the butterflies of the rainforest.
47. Moths of Costa Rica’s Rainforest by Armin Dett
Costa Rica is famous for its incredible diversity of plants and animals, including an astounding variety of creatures that are only active at night, like moths. This book examines the diversity of the species with their “peculiarly shaped wings, striking patterns, impressive antennae and fabulous colors.”
48. Goliath Beetles by Grace Hansen
The Goliath beetle is the heaviest insect in the world—sometimes coming in at over 4 inches and weighing over 100 grams! This title provides all the super-size facts.
49. Army Ants by Marie Roesser
Equipped with armored bodies and razor-sharp jaws, army ants are among the most sophisticated insects in the rainforest. Get all the facts, including how army ants work together to build nests and bridges.
Do your students love learning about the rainforest and the animals that live there? Check out this collection of our favorite rainforest-animal-habitat resources.
Plus, use this free rainforest flip-book to teach the layers of the rainforest.