In July 1960, at the age of 26, Jane Goodall traveled from England to what is today Tanzania and bravely entered the little-known world of wild chimpanzees.
Today, Jane’s work revolves around inspiring action on behalf of endangered species, particularly chimpanzees, and encouraging people to do their part to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment we all share. National Geographic
Jane Goodall was the first to discover that wild chimpanzees were capable of making and using tools, a revelation that turned the scientific world upside down. What’s amazing to me is that she didn’t have a background in science. Fifty years later, Jane Goodall’s work is more important than ever.
Map from Betchart Expeditions.
60 Minutes goes with Jane Goodall back to the Gombe Forest in Tanzania for an intimate look at her chimpanzees. Join them for this inside look.
Me … Jane by Patrick McDonnell
This Caldecott medal-winning picture book captures Jane at a young age, still carrying around her stuffed toy chimpanzee named Jubilee, and patiently observing wildlife around her. The illustrations include drawings and puzzles that Jane herself made as a child as well as ornamental engravings of wildlife from the 18th and 19th centuries. I think this picture book is the perfect introduction to Jane Goodall for young readers. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter
For slightly older readers, ages 5 and up, who want to learn more about Jane Goodall and the work that she did, use this picture book. It has more detail on exactly how she conducted her work in Gombe and what she accomplished. This picture book pairs perfectly with Me … Jane. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
Pangolina by Jane Goodall, illustrated by Daishu Ma
Jane Goodall writes on behalf of the endangered pangolins, a mammalian species with scales. In her story, she depicts different points of view: the hunters who sell animals to feed their families, the pangolin baby, and the kind human girl. Set in China, Jane includes information about pangolin and how to fight against animal trafficking. [nonfiction picture book, ages 4 and up]
Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey
Anita Silvey has the gift of making nonfiction captivating for a wide range of ages. Her book, The Plant Hunters, appealed to my 90-year-old mother as much as it did to my 9-year-old son! Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall is no different. This is a great book for kids who want to delve deeper into Jane Goodall’s life. This book is beautifully designed with interesting sidebar notes and text blocks broken up by photographs which makes it appealing for kids. [middle grade biography, ages 8 and up]
The Chimpanzee Children of Gombe by Jane Goodall, photographs by Michael Neugebauer
Meet the chimpanzee children of Gombe through your tour guide, Jane Goodall. A day in the life of these chimpanzee children will remind readers of a day in the life of any busy [human] parent who takes the kids to the park. Jane also shows us the other creatures in Gombe in this day that won’t be forgotten and may even draw readers on their own adventure in the jungle one day. [advanced picture book, age 5 and up]
A Prayer for World Peace by Jane Goodall, illustrated by Feeroozeh Golmohammadi
We pray for
the multitude of refugees,
forced from their homes
to alien places through war
or through the utter destruction
of their environment.
This beautiful prayer for world peace is by Jane Goodall and encompasses the compassion and understanding that she has for all living creatures. She asks us all to rise above dogma to pray for justice and for those who are suffering. [picture book, ages 7 and up]
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
12 thoughts on “Jane Goodall: Women’s History Month”
Me, Jane is one of my all-time favorite picture books–it’s a gem of a book, and hits all the right notes!
I also really enjoyed Untamed. She’s an amazing woman!
Thanks for sharing, Mia!
I didn’t appreciate Me, Jane fully when I first read it but now I agree with you! It’s an exceptional picture book!
Such a role model for girls. Her work continues to inspire today!
My niece has been building a school for 1,500 girls in Kitenga, Tanzania. It will open next January. They have a school, STEM science building, library, dorms, medical etc.
What an amazing project your niece is working on! Kudos to her!! Jane Goodall is such an interesting role model. I didn’t realize that she had no scientific when she first went to observe the chimpanzees and was considered a “pin up” girl in the scientific community! We think of her in her older years I guess. I love how she said that she was a terrible flirt and used that as part of how she approached sexism in her field. It’s not easy to enter a male dominated field!
I loved UNTAMED. Thought it was really well done. I have to check out some of the other books you mention!
I really love Anita Silvey’s books too! She’s just such a great author and can make non-fiction stories exciting with such great flow. I would buy any of her books sight unseen!
One of my children attended the Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School (JGEMS) here in my town. Jane visited several times. A remarkable woman!
Hi S. Smith,
Wow! What a thrill to meet Jane Goodall!!! I hope your kids remember that. Sometimes mine have a fuzzy memory of elementary school. That’s quite something though!!
My middle son is quite taken with the idea of Jane Goodall; we read the Watcher. This list is great. I had no idea where to go after that…
Hi Mother of 3,
Thanks so much! I really love Anita Silvey’s book on Jane Goodall too. If it’s too advanced for your middle son, you might consider it as a read aloud. My son liked another one of her books that way. She’s a great writer and her books are exciting!
Just came here (my no. 1 go-to looking for non fiction chapter books for 4th graders…mmmm, so specific. Anyway, your posts have given me some ideas, so thank you, as always.
PS. Noticed that this yellow poster above has Pragamatic mom, (an extra ‘a’ for awesome?)
Thanks so much Kimbra!