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Best Books for Outdoor Lovers of All Ages

Besides getting out and playing in the snow, the second best part of winter is curling up with a good book. If you are looking for a perfect gift that is NOT a toy (or for adults, yet another scarf) look no further.

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Books for Babies

You’re never too early to enjoy a good book.

Active Words Unite These adorable books will help you introduce your babies to your favorite activities, like cycling, paddling and hiking. *Use code “TMMHOLIDAY19” for 30% off through December 31st.*

All Aboard! National Parks: A wildlife primer – This book covers all the National Parks you can’t wait to take your little one too some day.

B is for Bear – Grown ups (even the ones very tired of reading alphabet books!) will love the simple art and the glimpses of nature in this book.

On the Day You Were Born – Just try to keep from tearing up while you read your children this story of how all of nature celebrated the day of their birth.

I am a Bunny – This board book has beautiful, natural illustrations of wildlife and flowers and teaches children about the seasons.

Bear Snores On – This fun series about a bear and his friends is just as much fun to read aloud as it is to listen to. Don’t miss the Christmas edition.

Rocky Mountain Babies! This board book is full of cute baby animals who live in the Rocky Mountains.

Dream Snow – This sweet and simple book is perfect for any young children who love farm animals.

Picture Books

God Gave Us Christmas – This beautiful book helps kids find God in the beauty of Alaska’s wilderness. It’s become a favorite in our house.

Red and Lulu – This story follows the journey of a Rockefeller Square Christmas tree from the perspective of the birds who call it home.

Water is Water – This cozy book about the water cycle is beautiful illustrated and soothing to read.

Animal’s Santa –  The outdoors hold a little extra magic during the holiday season, and Jan Brett’s story of the animal Santa will capture little kids’ imaginations.

Cat in the Hat – If your kids have been getting curious about what the North Pole is really like, Cat in the Hat’s fun rhymes will help them learn.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild – If you have a spirited child, they will appreciate this celebration of how wonderful it is to go a little wild. 

Over and Under the Snow – This beautiful book explores the subnivian layer – how animals survive under the snow. 

When Santa Turned Green – Help kids figure out ways to balance the materialism of the holidays with our duty to take care of our world by sparking discussions with this fun story.

Every Breath We Take: A Book About Air – This book covers what air is, how important it is to the life we lead, and how it can be cleaned up.

Dear Yeti – Young hikers will love this mini-adventure about two children who get lost in the woods to be saved by a yeti.

Shred till Bed – B is for “berm”, D is for “dialled” and S is for “send” in this full-color book with goofy animals (who always wear helmets!). Shred till Bed helps build familiarity and excitement for taking on new challenges.

Field Guides and Books for Young Naturalists

DK Books – My kids love these visually interesting books that are packed with information. Outdoor kids will love the Rock and Gem Book, Flowers (Nature Explorers), and the Magic and Mystery of Trees

National Geographic Field Guides: There are field guides to satisfy every kids’ (and adults’!) curiosity including insects, birds, trees, and the night sky.

Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs – As kids grow older, learning to read nature signs can help them maintain the sense of awe they felt as a young child, as well as help them gain skills.

My Book of Birds – The stunning art in this book will delight both little kids and adults.

Biographies for Kids

Wangari’s Trees of Peace – This inspiring story about a woman who planted trees in  will encourage readers to care for the world they love.

Out of School and into Nature: Anna Comstock Story – Anna Comstock loved learning about nature pursued the study of science, even though it wasn’t encouraged for women in her day. 

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon – The story of the founder of the Audubon Society will inspire curious kids.

Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers: How a FIrst Lady Changed America – Lady Bird Johnson’s vision for wildflowers along highways has had a lasting impact on America, as detailed in this story

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist – If your little one loves sharks, she will love this real look into how to become a shark scientist.

Camping, Survival and Activity books

Forest Club – This book is full of information and activities for all seasons. You can read our review of it here.

Survival For Beginners – Adventure lovers will be enthralled by this book. 

Feast by Firelight: Simple Recipes for Camping, Cabins and the Great Outdoors – This campfire cookbook is fun for adults and eager kids.

Camp Out! The Ultimate Kids’ Guide – This book has everything kids want to know about camping, from tying knots to reading weather patterns, plus games and songs to play and sing.

Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book: 448 Great Things to Do in Nature Hopefully you will never hear “I’m bored!” again after showing your kids this book.

Chapter and Middle Grade Books

Pro-tip: Chapter books are great for listening to on audio to help make long drives much more bearable.

The Wild Robot – A robot gets lost in the wood and discovers a sense of beloging.

The Growly Books – A fun read-aloud book for young children, a young bear cub must set out with nothing but his backpack and glider on a long journey.

Surviving Moose Lake Kids vs. Nature – Four sixth grade classmates get stranded in the wilderness. 

My Side of the Mountain – This classic trilogy about a boy and his falcon includes two more books – On the Far Side of the Mountain and Frightful’s Mountain.

Lost on a Mountain in Maine – This is a true story of a boy who was lost for 9 days on Mount Katahdin. 

A Week in the Woods – My whole family loved this book by the author of Frindle. We called it Hatchet Jr. 

Pilu of the Woods – This is a fantasy graphic novel about a girl who gets in a fight with her big sister and runs off to live in the woods. 

Our Only May Amelia – This Newberry Honor book is the story of a young pioneer girl in 1899 who has seven older brothers and a love of adventure. 

Wishtree – Told from the perspective of a tree, this warm book is perfect for young readers looking to begin reading novels.

The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Adaptation) – The Boys in the Boat is one of my favorite books, and this edition lets young readers follow along the exciting story of the 1936 U.S. Olympic crew team.

Island of the Blue Dolphins – This Newbery Medal winner is the story of a young girl’s story of survival on a harsh island. Don’t forget the sequel Zia.

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers – A rebellious alternative scout troop tries to fight for what is right, encountering misadventures along the way. 

The Birchbark House – Lovers of the Little House on the Prairie should check out this story of a young Ojibwa girl living on Lake Superior in 1846. 

Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran (Amazing Indian Children Series) – This story follows Naya Nuki who was captured by a rival tribe and forced to march from Montana to North Dakota.

Teens to Young Adults

Heads up: Some of these books have darker themes.

Scat – This fun environmental mystery will excite and inspire fans of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Also check out other books by the Carl Hiassen, including Chomp, and the Newberry Honor winning book Hoot.

Hatchet – If you love this survival story about a boy whose plane crashed in the woods, make sure to also read the rest of the series: The River and Brian’s Winter.

Track of the Cat – Park Ranger Anna Pigeon solves murder mysteries in the remote West Texas back country. 

Julie of the Wolves – This Newberry Medal classic tells the story of an Eskimo girl lost on the Alaskan tundra. Don’t forget the sequels – Julie and Julie’s Wolf Pack.

Tree Girl – While climbing a tree in a forest in Guatemala, Gabii witnesses massacre and flees to the Mexican border in hope of being reunited with her sister.

A Girl Named Disaster – An 11 year old girl in Mozambique escapes to Zimbabwe in order to avoid marrying a cruel man, and must survive the dangerous journey. 

Up to This Pointe – This book will interest teens who love ballet, adventure, or love itself.

For Adults

For the secret Santa exchange, or just in case you’re ever awake after bedtime.

How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature – From the Dinosaur Train’s Dr. Scott Sampson, this book combines insight into child development with practical advice for parents with kids of all ages. I highly recommend this one.

Lab Girl – This compellingly written memoir of a geobiologist will introduce you to the inner workings of a modern science lab and give you a new appreciation for how plants survive.

Where the Crawdads Sing – If you haven’t already read this book, someone has probably told you that you should. This haunting and beautiful book chronicles the life young girl turned naturalist who was abandoned by her family to grow up alone in North Carolina’s marshes. 

Wild – In her memoir, Cheryl Strayed hikes the Pacific Crest Trail in the wake of her mother’s death and her own divorce.

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather – A Tales of a Mountain Mama favorite, this book provides a Scandinavian mom’s secrets for raising healthy, resilient and confident kids. 

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants – As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Robin Wall Kimmerer is a scientist whose mission is to teach the importance of a reciprocal relationship with other living beings.

The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession – Maybe you didn’t know that competitive bird watching was a thing, but now you do. 

Want even more outdoor book recommendations?

Be sure to check out our post on the 5 Best Nature-Based Series Books for Kids.

And be sure to tell us you’re what you are reading in the comments!

© 2019, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

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