Books to Inspire Outdoor Adventure

Reading to your children, and spending time outside are two of the best things we can do for our kids to set them up for success, physically, academically, mentally, socially, and spiritually.
We are constantly being asked “what kind of books can we read to our kids that will inspire them to want to adventure outdoors?”
We have compiled an ever-growing list of books for you to either read to your kids, or send them out, under a tree, to read independently.


Hands-down one of our favorite books.
This one even inspired our daughter to write a song, and a group of moms to build a real-life Roxaboxen town with our co-op!

There across the road, it looked like any rocky hill — nothing but sand and rocks, some old wooden boxes, cactus and greasewood and thorny ocotillo — but it was a special place…
Come with us there, where all you need to gallop fast and free is a long stick and a soaring imagination.

We read this book each spring, inspiring us to get out and make the world around us a bit more beautiful!

Alice made a promise to make the world a more beautiful place, then a seed of an idea is planted and blossoms into a beautiful plan. A beloved classic and celebration of nature written by a beloved Caldecott winner!

An excellent book for those that live in a more urban setting, to inspire them to grow where they are planted!

One boy’s quest for a greener world… one garden at a time. While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world.

A true story we stumbled upon that led us down a rabbit trail of learning more about this woman, and the Appalachian Trail!
This book is a wonderful reminder that, with enough grit, determination, and the right heart, we are never to old to adventure.

(there is also a longer, chapter book that dives deeper into the story that you can find here.)

A story of a boy with a bad attitude and negative expectations of a summer spent differently than expected…and the transformation that came through adventure and discovery.

This gorgeous picture book celebrates the wonders of summer adventures, imagination, and the natural world.

A fun and comical book full of wild adventure and silly mishaps.
Kids will learn that a can-do attitude when facing obstacles can turn, what one might view as a negative, into a wild adventure.

Join Mr. Magee, and his dog,
on this wild camping ride!

There are so many places that wild can exist, if only you know where to look! Can you find it? Two kids set off on an adventure away from their urban home and discover all the beauty of the natural world. From the bark on the trees to the sudden storm that moves across the sky to fire and flowers, and snowflakes and fresh fruit. As the children make their way through the woods and back to the paved and noisy streets, they discover that wild exists not just off in some distant place, but right in their own backyard.

Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds to the big gray city, where she initiates a gradual transformation, bit by bit brightening the shop and bringing smiles to customers’ faces with the flowers she grows. But it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece — an ambitious rooftop garden — which she hopes will make even Uncle Jim smile.

Get back to nature in this gorgeous sunlit filled book that celebrates the joy of being outdoors.

“Hey, you! Sky’s blue!” a girl shouts as she runs by the window of a boy bent over his digital device. Intrigued, the boy runs out after her, leaving his shoes (and phone) behind, and into a world of sunshine, dewey grass, and warm sand. Filled with the pleasures of being alive in the natural world, Run Wild is an exquisite and kid-friendly reminder of how wonderful life can be beyond doors and screens.

A plucky and sweet adventure story, The Hike celebrates how fun and rewarding it is to explore nature in your own backyard!

Three intrepid young female explorers set out to conquer the outdoors in their local forest, enjoying the process in their own different ways.

Filled with lyrical language that captures the majesty of the natural world, coupled with a fun narrative, this spirited picture book tells the story of the girls’ friendship—and their tribulations and triumphs in the great outdoors.

A story of a nature-loving fox that is on a quest to find a mysterious and rare plant, discovering so much more along the way.

The Golden Glow is a charming story that details the simple pleasures of a nature hike and celebrates observing the beauty of nature.


This book ignited the love of independent reading for our son when he was around 10.
Be aware that the movie will be very frustrating for a child that loved the book (as is the case most often!)

Sam Gribley is terribly unhappy living in New York City with his family, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountains to live in the woods—all by himself. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel, he intends to survive on his own. Sam learns about courage, danger, and independence during his year in the wilderness, a year that changes his life forever.

If your kids love this, they can read the follow up story: Brian’s Winter

A heart-gripping drama about a boy pitted against the wilderness with only a hatchet and a will to live.

Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is the only survivor when the single-engine plane crashes. His body battered, his clothes in shreds, Brian must now stay alive in the boundless Canadian wilderness.

More than a survival story, Hatchet is a tale of tough decisions. When all is stripped down to the barest essentials, Brian discovers some stark and simple truths. Self-pity doesn’t work. Despair doesn’t work. And if Brian is to survive physically as well as mentally, he must discover courage.

**WARNING: This book does have a small part about the boy’s mom having an affair and a divorce between the parents.

Experience the rugged wilderness of the Klondike during the Gold Rush. Ride alongside Buck as he is taken from his pampered lifestyle in California, thrust into the harsh world of the sled dog, and undergoes a transformation as he heeds the call of the wild and finds his true place in the unforgiving landscape of the North.


The Swiss Family Robinson is an unforgettable adventure novel that will transport readers to a remote island where a resilient family fights for survival. Follow the Robinson family as they face the challenges of building shelter, finding food, and exploring the wilderness. Packed with excitement, this timeless classic is a must-read for all adventure enthusiasts.

*The 1960 movie version
of this book is a great family watch!
You can watch it here!

Adventure, History, Wilderness Survival?
What more could you want in a book?

In this Newbery Honor Book, a thirteen-year-old boy struggles to survive on his own in the wilderness of eighteenth-century Maine.

When Matt’s father leaves him on his own to guard their new cabin in the wilderness, Matt is scared but determined to be brave and prove that he can take care of himself.

Another Classic, but this time you might want to get out the Kleenex!

This is a tale of the love between a boy and his hunting dogs and the adventures they have in Idaho’s Snake River Valley.