We recently asked some Hike it Baby members what books they have read that are hiking or outdoor related. From children’s books to graphic novels to non-fiction, there is so much out there to discover when it comes to reading about getting outdoors!
Kati Austgen, DC
All The Ways I Love You by Susan Larkin
This board book is full of wonderful illustrations of animal parents and their babies. It’s great for chatting with your kiddos about the activities you do together and the animals you might see, or have seen, on your hikes. Our favorite pages include the foxes, “nature walks and cozy talks,” and raccoon, “nighttime treats and stories so sweet!”
Lost Trail: Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness by Donn Fendler
This is a graphic novel version of Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler, which my husband swears was required reading for all youngsters growing up in Vacationland. I recommend both books, yet found this was especially fun to read to our infant. The bold black and white illustrations definitely caught her interest (baby vision loves contrast), and she lit up while viewing the full page bear! Older readers will delight, as well. The story is a true life adventure of a 12 year old boy who survived nine days alone in the wilderness of Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin. We’re taken along on his journey, both physically and mentally, and the lessons therein are that of preparedness, positive attitude, grit, gratitude, and hopefully maintaining some common sense outdoor training. Although young Donn has quite an adventure due a few key mistakes while hiking, we can all learn from his story, and still be inspired to get out on the trail.
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
While my husband was growing up in Baxter State Park and reading Lost on a Mountain in Maine, I was growing up in New Hampshire’s White Mountains reading this book. I wanted to be Sam. No matter that I was a small town girl with mountains in my back yard, not a city kid who needed to venture far to find wilderness. I still longed to run away and be a little survivalist, hollow out a tree to live in, tame a falcon, tan deer hides, eat berries and roll through the grass and swim naked in the creek. I admit to actually tying a red bandanna full of snacks and “flints” onto a stick and walking down the street with determination. My upbringing did, in fact, allow me to do a lot of the things Sam experienced during his sojourn. But to do it on one’s own, to survive by one’s wits and intelligence, is something innate in our collective cultural dream. Sam longed to break free from his surroundings, and his determination, knowledge, trial and error are laid bare in this wonderful story about connecting with that which is wild and, ultimately, with our closest human companions. I now sometimes think of this story as a child’s version of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (the real life story of Chris McCandless), with a happier ending.
Phaedra Koonz, Austin
The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer
“A beautifully illustrated story of a boy who wants to bring home a salamander demonstrates how, in nature, everything is connected. Every action we take in nature will affect something, so we have to be thoughtful. As a kid, I loved this book so much I convinced my parents to decorate my room like the forest. By the end, /you too/ will be dreaming of your own Salamander Room! ”
Annie Fortunato, Ann Arbor
Planetwalker by John Francis
After seeing the result of an oil spill, John Francis disengaged from society and spent 17 years walking across the United States – completely silent. It’s written wonderfully and is very insightful! The nuggets of wisdom within it, I still remember years after reading it!
Thank you to everyone who submitted their book reviews! Do you have a favorite book that is all about the outdoors? We’d love to hear what you’ve been reading and stay tuned for more reviews!