Books Celebrating the Great Outdoors

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This week, when the smoke finally cleared and the air was safe to breathe, we practically skipped to the garage to load our kayaks onto our Prius (a most Portland of pairings, I think).

Because this was a moment to celebrate, we decided to drive farther than usual, to a quiet lake in Washington.

It was closed.

No worries, we live in the Pacific NW and there are beautiful natural spaces everywhere you turn. This particular lake was also a campground, and it seemed reasonable to close a campground when the risk of fire is so high. On to the next!

Second lake, closed.

Okay, hmm.

Third lake, also closed.

At this point, we bailed. This was not a kayaking trip (don’t let the kayaks and gear fool you). This was clearly a scenic drive.

Until, you know, we got caught in traffic on the highway.

Still determined to have fun, we started reading all the stickers of the cars crawling slowly by. Of course, one of the first was a “1000 Hours Outside” challenge sticker, which would have felt like cruel mockery if the family inside wasn’t clearly as stuck as we were. As I watched the wheels on their hot pink bikes spinning listlessly above their bumper sticker, I thought, “Solidarity, dude. Solidarity.”

In case you find yourself as homesick for the great outdoors as we have been this week, check out these reads celebrating everything under the sun.

Find some device-ditching inspiration in Beatrice Alemagna’s On a Magical Do-Nothing Day.

(Hey, here’s a silver lining: what if, during this season of virtual schooling, kids start associating devices with school and feel inspired to go outside to play?!)

I will be shocked if your kids aren’t racing to release feathers into the wind after reading Alison Farrell’s The Hike. (I love the labels throughout the illustrations in this fun jaunt through the woods, too!)

City-dwellers don’t despair! The outdoors are for you, too. Check out Florette, The Curious Garden, Finding Wild, or (from my favorite author-illustrator team Sarah Stewart and David Small) The Gardener.

Benjamin Flouw’s book The Golden Glow is both fun and reverent. (Plus more labels here, too!)

I haven’t read Fairy Houses All Year, but from the preview it looks like fabulous inspiration for your little fairy architects.

The Walker children spend literally their entire holiday outside in the classic Swallows and Amazons. Get ready to learn tons of nautical terms in this one. (Fair warning – you’ll have to address the colonialism and derogatory language that come up in the children’s play, but those are always important conversations to have.)

If your children have only a five degree window of weather they are willing to enjoy, try the tips and tricks and general enthusiasm in McGurk’s There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather.

Happy reading!!