Pages Under the Stars: Books to read while Camping

Man, Woman, and Child standing outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park sign

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to do is to enjoy a good book swinging in a hammock or resting during a hike break back at the campsite. And there are so many good books to enjoy! Let me tell you about some of our recent favorites both frontlist and backlist. Maybe you will find a new favorite as well.

Exploring Nature for Curious Kids

One Little Bug cover image

This series of board books from Tiger Tales has three titles so far: One Little Bug, One Little Egg, and One Little Seed. Each of them encourages little ones and their adults to get up close and personal with nature. Filled with lift-the-flaps and peek-through pages, toddlers will enjoy looking at these books time and again. And then, fingers crossed, you will get to experience much of what you’ve read about while enjoying the outdoors.

Timo Goes Camping

In this third book in the series from Pajama Press, Timo and his friends go on a camping trip even though none of them have gone camping before. Luckily Timo is an avid researcher and user of the library so he spends his time prior to the trip reading and taking copious notes on things they might need to know. And what do you know but all that research comes in handy as adventures occur! This beginning chapter book filled with illustrations is great at reassuring other nervous would-be campers.

Timo Goes Camping Cover Image

Outside You Notice

Outside You Notice Cover Image

This nonfiction picture book for ages four to seven celebrates a healthy and active outdoor experience along with increasing inquisitiveness about the natural world around us. “Time spent in the outdoors stirs a child’s imagination. Nature sparks wonder, wonder leads to curiosity, and curiosity brings about a greater knowledge of the world and one’s self,” we are reminded. Each spread celebrates activities taking place in a variety of locations, enabling all children to experience the outdoors. These include the backyard, a city park, one’s home garden, a creek, the farmer’s market, even the joys found investigating the cracks in a sidewalk.

Waiting for a Warbler

While we are not a birdwatching family, rising at the crack of dawn to go birding, we do keep binoculars handy on all road trips and camping adventures. This story from Tilbury House offers two plotlines: two children who have done their best, with parental help, to create a bird’s haven in their backyard and the story of a flock of Cerulean Warblers heading north across 600 miles of open ocean during a huge storm. It is a testament to the skill of the author that he can create such suspense in a short story, filled with reassurance that we too can make a difference. Songbird populations are on the decline, so I’m thrilled that there is quality backmatter with an author’s note, suggestions on how to be a birder, ways to help protect birds, and places to learn more. Definitely check out the hilarious trailer created by the author in his Instagram feed!

Waiting for a Warbler Cover Image

The Night Walk

The Night Walk Cover Image

Parents wake up their two kids in the middle of the night to walk through the village and on into the countryside in this picture book from Floris Books. They head through a forest, stop and play at a lake with the moon, and enjoy the starry sky from a clearing. Moving on, they climbed a hillside up to the top just in time to watch the sun rise over the mountains. I would love to do this with my own child sometime when we are on the East coast. Can you imagine watching the sun rise over the ocean?

The Depth of the Lake and the Height of the Sky

Oh to be young again. This wordless book, also from Floris Books, follows a boy and his dog who leave their busy city apartment and head off to visit the grandparents in the country. With absolutely stunning illustrations, we tag along as we travel the roads, see the grands, peer through a window, and set off to explore. Through the forest…to a lake…jumping off the dock…swimming with the fishes…drying off in the sun. Truly an adventure!

The Depth of the Lake and the Height of the Sky Cover Image


Skywatcher Cover Image

In this thoughtful title from Tilbury House, a city-dwelling child obsessed with comics about a character named Skywatcher dreams of traveling the galaxy just like his hero. Unfortunately, due to light pollution, the stars are not visible from where they live. Enter his night shift nurse mom to the rescue with a plan to take him camping. While at first they can see only a few of the brighter stars and constellations, in the middle of the night Tamen is awakened and goes out to bask in the wonder of the Milky Way.

If You Wake a Skunk

Campers beware…of cute looking but stinky smelling skunks! Rhymed text describes all the warning signs a skunk will offer before it is moved to spray if the campers would just listen. They are curious and keep creeping closer until the skunk lifts its tail ready to take aim and fire. Luckily, they escape in time! Although, in a twist ending, it turns out the skunk was out of stink and just posturing this time. This one from Sleeping Bear is perfect for all camping parents trying to teach their camping kids the wise ways of the world: don’t wake a sleeping skunk!

If You Wake a Skunk Cover Image

Make More S’mores

Make More S'mores Cover Image

Roscoe knows exactly how to slowly roast a marshmallow to perfection (not burnt as I tend to do as I lack patience) and then oh so carefully craft his graham crackers and chocolate for the perfect snack in another Sleeping Bear picture book. He also knows how to graciously share his treats with a multitude of guests even though he hasn’t had his own yet. And he also knows how to accept help from others so that everyone is included in the fun. Luckily by the end everyone has enjoyed enough s’mores, even the trio of squirrels who have been hiding in the background. I do enjoy a good subplot carried out only in the illustrations!

Apple Pie Picnic

This lovely title from Red Comet Press, written in English with lots of Spanish words throughout, tells the story of the apple tree and the family that lives nearby. Back matter includes how apples grow, a glossary, and a recipe for applesauce. We are in prime apple season where we live and are looking into hosting our own apple pie picnic while at the campground. There is a lovely area where we can set up our picnic and enjoy already made pies, empanadas, and applesauce.

Apple Pie Picnic Cover Image

I hope you have enjoyed this peek into some favorite books that have inspired us to get outdoors over the summer and all year long! And maybe we’ll run into you at a campground or in a National Park one of these days and can trade book recommendations.

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