So, it’s time to start teaching your kids about the fungi kingdom. It’s certainly something that doesn’t always get enough attention.
Not only is it a full kingdom of life, but it’s also one that gets a relatively bad name. We tend to think of fungi in limited terms, mostly imagining them as mushrooms, and poisonous ones at that. Fungi is an expansive and interesting kingdom, however.
Fungi encompass nine massive lineages, sprawling out across the globe and interacting with literally every other species on the planet. From the yeast in our bread to the mycelium feeding the tree in your backyard, fungi matter.
As a result, it’s important to teach our kids about the fungi kingdom in all of its glory. We have to look at the dangers of poisonous mushrooms, sure, but we should also look at the amazing impact that fungi have on the world at large.
The following books are our top picks about fungi for children. Let’s take a look!
7. Mason Goes Mushrooming
Mason Goes Mushrooming is an illustrated story, written in a classic children’s book format. As such, it interweaves educational ideas with an engaging story about a young boy who sets off into the woods with his dog.
Their goal is to forage for mushrooms, a practice that requires some knowledge and expertise. The watercolor images set the imaginative tone and reflect just how exciting and magical mushrooming can be.
This is a great pick for anyone looking to shake their child’s common fears about mushrooms. It’s also excellent for families that plan to go mushrooming sometime soon and would like to give their children a good idea of what it’s all about.
Instead of a simple walk in the woods, Mason shows us that mushrooming can be a magical journey through the imagination. The book is for children 4 to 9 years old, 32 pages long, and available on Kindle and in hardcover formats.
6. Mushroom Rain
Written for 4- to 8-year-olds, Mushroom Rain explores all of the ideas and interesting things about mushrooms that adults know and love. From the underground information networks to the wild and fascinating expressions of fungi in nature, your child will get an appreciation for the wonder that fungi inspire.
The book even explores how fungi are related to humans, uncovers the nature of the fruiting body, and touches on some of the unique and bizarre species you might not be familiar with. For example, did you know that some mushrooms shine neon green when it’s dark?
Mushroom Rain is 32 pages long, available on Kindle and in hardcover, and has an excellent 4.9/5-star rating on Amazon.
5. The Mushroom Fan Club
Appearing on the “Best of 2018” lists of big names like Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire, The Mushroom Fan Club is an imaginative and illustrative children’s book by Elise Gravel.
The story is about mushroom hunting, one of the author’s favorite family pastimes. Instead of focusing on science, however, Gravel unweaves the wonder of mushrooming by turning all life forms into English-speaking, curious characters in the story.
All of these characters tell their story in personal terms rather than scientific detail. Children who read this book might see the forest floor in new ways, engaging with the natural world as if it were intelligent, sentient, and friendly.
The Mushroom Fan Club was written for kids 6 and older, is 56 pages long, available in Kindle, Comixology, and Hardcover formats. It’s also extremely well-rated with over 400 5-star reviews on Amazon.
4. Mushrooms of the World with Pictures to Color
- 48 pages.
- Recommended for children ages 8 and older.
- A coloring book with 92 mushroom species to color.
If your child is a visual learner, this is the perfect fungi book for them. Detailed and specific photos of more than 90 species of mushrooms are ready to be colored in.
The images are illustrations, but they’re near-exact replicas of the real thing. Alongside the color-in pictures are clear descriptions, written for 8 to 18-year-olds, that inform children about the important details of various mushrooms.
For example, they’ll know which species are poisonous, which are safe to eat, how those species interact with their ecosystems, and much more. There’s also a section that gives general details about mushrooms and the fungi life cycle.
This book is a perfect way for any child who’s curious about mushrooms to explore their creativity while generating a deep interest in fungi. Mushrooms of the World with Pictures to Color is 48 pages long, available in paperback, and has a fantastic 4.7/5-star rating on Amazon.
3. Nature’s Treasures: Tales of More Than 100 Extraordinary Objects from Nature
- 192 pages.
- Customers recommend this book for children ages 5 through 9.
- Perfect for children between the ages of seven and nine interested in nature
- Brimming with all sorts of different animal facts
- Customers rate this book 4.9 out of five stars
While this book isn’t solely focused on Fungi, it dedicates a great deal of attention to them. Not only that, but it also details every other walk of life on earth.
Nature’s Treasures details all of the primary sections of life on this planet, looking into animals, plants, fungi, algae, and even rock formations. Your child will traverse a wide geographical range as well, learning about how these aspects of the world interact from far and wide.
While it’s a generally scientific book written for 7 to 9-year-olds, it still takes on a storytelling style and engages readers with a narrative. The story pieces itself together by focusing on various objects that occur naturally in the world, detailing them with beautiful photos and graphics. The book will resonate points of deep interest for any child who’s interested in various aspects of the natural world.
It is 192 pages long, available on Kindle and in hardcover format, and has an exceptional 4.9/5-star rating on Amazon.
2. Humongous Fungus (Underground and All Around)
Humongous Fungus is a quintessential children’s science book. It’s equipped with engaging illustrations and snappy turns of phrase that will transform your child’s ideas about fungi from sticky, smelly growths into a wonderous walk of life.
The science in the book is soft, entering into the narrative both through fun language and interesting illustrations. In many ways, the science is slipped into the story like crushed-up medicine in a tasty treat.
Your child will learn about the microscopic fungi floating through your yard as well as the humongous networks of fungi that power our forests. They’ll also explore how fungi are used as medicine, how species usually pop out more clearly in the fall, and how they can even be foraged right from the forest floor in some cases.
All the while, you’re taken on a soft and easy journey with the aid of excellent artwork and storytelling craft. The book was written for 7 to 9-year-olds, is 64 pages long, and has a 4.9/5-star rating on Amazon. It is also available on Kindle and in hardcover formats.
1. Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum
Fungarium is a little more comprehensive and intended for adolescent readers aged 8-12. The book goes into extended detail about particular species of mushrooms and how they interact with the world.
As a more scientific read, this is a great option for children who have already expressed a interest in mushrooms. Kids with a love for fungi can use the book as a constant companion, even referencing it to identify some of the fungi around your home.
Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum also details the overwhelmingly positive impact that mushrooms have had on human life. For example, the use of fungi in penicillin.
The book is 80 pages long, available on Kindle and in hardcover formats, and has more than 700 reviews on Amazon with an overall rating of 4.9/5-stars.
How to Choose The Right Children’s Book About Fungi
Selecting one of the books above is easiest when you think of them in terms of your child’s current relationship with fungi. Are they scared of fungi? If so, books like The Mushroom Fan Club that anthropomorphize fungi might be a good option.
Have they spent a lot of time in the woods, and do they have an interest in exploring the forest more often? Mason Goes Mushrooming is an excellent option for kids who might show an interest in getting out and engaging with fungi in nature.
Those who are more engaged with visuals and creativity might benefit from Mushrooms of The World. Kids with a general interest in science and a willingness to engage with new topics might love Humongous Fungus as it’s scientific but smoothly tailored for children to learn from.
Fungi are weird and strange things, so children might not immediately take to them. Still, at least one of the options should serve as a welcome introduction to this interesting walk of life—enjoy!
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