I was not raised in a camping family. My first camping excursions were summer camp related to Junior High School leadership camp which revolved around cabins rather than tents. I did my first “real” hike in college one summer when a group of us drove from Boston to the Catskills and camped in a tent. It was an amazing experience to not change my clothes for 3 days! And the wilderness and adventure of crossing a large stream was also an incredible life-changing experience.
My husband doesn’t like to camp, but he is up for hiking. Most of our hikes are quite tame and involve walking the dog around a 1.5 mile loop around a reservoir. There is nature there, to be sure. And the seasons are expressed daily with new happenings from ferns budding to birds returning from their migration south. There is always something new to discover! This is our suburban version of hiking!
For those who don’t have nature easily accessible, I also think an “urban” hike can be as memorable. Some cities are famous for creating urban paths that wind around a river or a canal! New York City created an elevated walking path called The High Line with plenty of people watching and doses of flowers as well.
A huge thank you to Candlewick Press for hosting the five hiking book giveaway! To enter, please use the Rafflecopter at the bottom. One winner will receive all 5 hiking picture books!
What are your hiking memories or recommendations either for a book or a location? Thanks for sharing!
Hiking and Camping Books for Kids
Hike by Pete Oswald
A father and child go on a hike. They wake up early and drive out of their suburb and city to hit the mountains. There is a lot to discover on their hike: insects, wild animals, and bear tracks! There is even a bit of snow towards the top … enough to make a snowball! Parts of the hike are scary like walking on a long log to cross the wide stream. But it’s worth it to see the waterfall! The father and child find a perfect spot to plant a baby tree. Their wonderful day is one for the memory box! This nearly wordless picture book captures the wonders and bonding experience of a family hike. The cover is also particularly visually arresting, hinting at the adventure inside! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
We took a similar hike “adventure” in Kauai with steep inclinations and water crossings and were rewarded with a waterfall at the end. It also tested the limits of our ability to survive!
The Hike by Alison Farrell
A hike is an adventure no matter how far you go. In this charming picture book, young hikers run, forage, make leaf baskets, and sketch as they cross a river, climb a hill, and see lots of wildlife. It’s a perfect day and a perfect read to inspire a hike of your own! Pair this with A Stick is a Wonderful Thing. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann
This is a sweet story about Ernestine’s first time camping with her cousin and aunt. It involves a lot of items to pack including interesting camping items. Her first hike is more challenging than walking to school. When Ernestine starts to feel homesick at bedtime, she finds that looking at the night sky with millions of bright stars helps. Her first time camping turns out to be amazing! I really liked how this picture book portrayed an all-female camping trip. The African American characters in the story are a nod to diversity but the story is simply about a camping trip with the family. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Road Trip! Camping with the Four Vagabonds: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs by Claudia Friddell, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes
Between 1914 and 1924, these three famous inventors and naturalist John Burroughs took many camping trips together including to Yosemite, Big Bend, Hot Springs, the Adirondacks, and the Smoky Mountains. They each played a role in planning their vacations. Henry Ford was in charge of activities and keeping the car running (naturally!). Thomas Edison provided navigation and led discussions. Harvey Firestone was in charge of the supplies. John Burroughs kept a journal of their adventures and also provided insights into the natural world. Their camping trips became famous and crowds soon pestered them for autographs. Still, this foursome inspired millions to follow in their footsteps as recreational campers. The illustration and design of the books have the playful feel of an animated old-timey cartoon which might give the impression that this is a fictional story similar to the “Who Would You Invite to Dinner” game, but this really happened! [picture book biography, ages 7 and up]
Climb On! by Baptiste Paul, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara
It’s Saturday morning and instead of watching soccer, a young girl reminds her dad about a hike to the summit! She’s ready to go with everything they need. The hike is beautiful and filled with wild creatures. Creole words are also sprinkled throughout the book. Finally, they make it to the top and it’s worth it for the spectacular view! Alcantara’s gorgeous illustrations capture the exuberant movement of this great father/daughter adventure! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
For those with accessibility issues, The Curious Garden is my pick to encourage “urban” hikes like the one Liam and the garden takes in this dreary urban environment. My favorite urban hikes are The High Line in New York City and the River Walk in San Antonio. (The High Line is a 1.45 mile long (2.33 km) elevated linear park, greenway, and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan in New York City.) [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Alphonse, There’s Mud on the Ceiling by Daisy Hirst
Two lovable monster siblings Natalie and Alphonse are excited to go camping without leaving their apartment! They use their imaginations to pretend to camp. Sometimes it takes just a little resourcefulness to experience the “great outdoors.” [picture book, ages 2 and up]
Maisy Goes Camping by Lucy Cousins
Maisy and her friends go camping in this humorous story that also includes a message about cooperation and compromise. The best 10 person tent is the focus of their camping experience and young readers might be motivated after this story to pitch their own tents either outside or a pretend one under a table! [picture book, ages 2 and up]
Astrid and Apollo & The Starry Campout by V.T. Bidania, illustrated by Dara Lashia Lee
Astrid is afraid of the dark and doesn’t want to go on her family camping trip. But her twin brother, Apollo, is excited. When they encounter scary things such as crawly bugs and the creepy dark, Apollo helps his twin through them. And when they encounter the scariest thing of all, Astrid might just be the one to save the starry campout. [early chapter book, ages 6 and up]
The Infamous Ratsos Camp Out by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Matt Myers
Camping is not easy. Louie and Ralphie try to adhere to the Scouts motos that they are always able to solve problems without asking for help, but when things go awry in the woods, they learn that the motto also means that sometimes it’s ok to get assistance. [early chapter book, ages 5 and up]
5 Hiking Picture Book GIVEAWAY to One Winner!
A huge thank you to Candlewick Press for hosting the five hiking book giveaway! One winner will receive all 5 hiking picture books! To enter, please use the Rafflecopter below. We can only mail to U.S. and A.F.O. addresses.
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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.