Hiking and Nature Books for Kids

As we wait for summer to arrive, it’s a good time to prepare your children for the hiking season, perhaps by peaking their interest with some hiking and nature themed books. I love reading aloud with my children, so here are a few of our favorites to inspire your little explorers.

Giveaway! We are giving away three i-Spy Books on our Facebook page. Leave a comment there for a change to win! The giveaway is sponsored by AtoZ English, which offers reading, writing, and spelling classes for English-speaking children in Switzerland. See their website for class descriptions and current offers. www.atozenglish.ch

Note: This post includes Amazon.de affiliate links (new for us), which means I get a tiny commission from Amazon if you purchase a book through one of these links. Thanks for your support!

I-Spy Series

These are great books for both at home reading and on the trail. The books have pictures and short descriptions of all the things they should “SPY” in nature. There’s a checkbox for each item with points to collect.

>> Many I-Spy versions are available in paperback on Amazon.de: I-Spy NatureI-Spy Camping, I-Spy Trees, I-Spy BirdsI-Spy Wild Flowers

Globi’s Trip through Switzerland by Guido Strebel

This comic style story book chronicles the misadventures of Globi, a blue parrot with checkered pants, Switzerland’s mascot for children. The stories are told in long form rhyme with accompanying six panel comics on each page. Globi stars in dozens of books, but this is our favorite with many familiar scenes from our family’s travels around Switzerland. Globi also hosts a variety of trails for children, including the Engelberg Brunni Treasure Hunt trail and Lenzerheide Nature trail.

>> Available in English at Orell Füssli.

Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

My kids love the repetitive tale, silly sounds, and scary bear that really is just lonely. I love how determined the kids are to go on an adventure, getting muddy and wet and all taking turns carrying the baby along. I also love the beautiful watercolor illustrations, wishing I had such talent. Here is a YouTube video of the author performing the words to the book.

>> Available as board book, hardback and paperback on Amazon.de

Wild Tracks! by Jim Arnosky

Picture book with beautiful illustrations showing children how to recognize and read animal tracks. Switzerland doesn’t have a lot of wildlife but you will see footprints of some smaller animals like marmots, foxes, and rabbits and its fun to know what you are looking at.

>> Available in paperback on Amazon.co.uk

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

When we first found wild blueberries in the alps, we started calling that hike “Blueberry Hill” after this book, where Sal and her mother gather wild blueberries and get mixed up with mother bear and her cub who are eating as many blueberries as possible before winter.

>> Available on Kindle on Amazon.com and in paperback on Amazon.co.uk

Castles Caves and Honeycombs by Linda Ashman

This gorgeous picture book shows the homes of all sorts of different animals with only a little text giving the sometimes strange names of the homes. I love that it invites children to see the outdoors as a home for animal families not unlike their own cozy home back in town.

>> Available on Kindle and paperback on Amazon.com.

The Bear Scouts by Stan and Jan Berenstain

My boys laugh and laugh at the inept Papa Bear, who messes up every element of the scouting trip and is saved by his son and other trusty scouts. Unfortunately this book is out of print and only available used (see Amazon.com).

Alternatively, you could try The Berenstain Bears Blaze a Trail. Available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.co.uk

Bear Grylls World Adventure Survival Camp by Bear Grylls

We love Bear Grylls in our house and have watched many of his extreme survival TV shows with our family. This illustrated “how-to” for children is full of helpful tips and fun facts about preparing for and surviving in a variety of outdoor situations. Better for kids that like to read but also good for reading aloud to kids as you get ready for your summer adventures.

>> Available on Kindle or hardback on Amazon.de

The Listening Walk by Paul Showers

This simple picture book encourages children to notice all the little sounds they might hear while on a walk, even if it’s just around the neighborhood. It’s a nice read aloud for small children.

>> Available in paperback on Amazon.co.uk

You Can Be a Nature Detective by Peggy Kochanoff

This book is a cross between a picture book and science book, telling children more about what they might observe on the trail, like animal sounds, bug eggs, and leaves changing colors. It’s better for older children who are curious about their surroundings.

>> Available in paperback on Amazon.de

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

This beautiful book is a little more serious, following a father and son into the dark, silent woods looking for an owl. I like that it shows how you need to be quiet and observant to catch nature at it’s peak. The illustrations of the owl are hyper-realistic and very beautiful.

>> Available in hardback on Amazon.de

Curious George Goes Camping by Margret Rey

Kids will love seeing this beloved clumsy monkey cause trouble in the great outdoors. We like that even though Curious George makes mistakes it always turns out ok in the end.

>> Available on Kindle and in paperback (with CD) on Amazon.de

Fancy Nancy:  Explorer Extraordinaire! by Jane O’Connor

For girly girls that might need a little convincing to explore the outdoors, this cute book follows a club of friends exploring the backyards in their neighborhood. I like that, for Fancy Nancy, fun accessories like glamorous sunglasses and maracas for dancing are compatible with an explorer’s lifestyle. That goes well with my motto that the outdoors has something for everyone.

>> Available in hardback on Amazon.de.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

I probably don’t even have to mention this wildly popular book, but I will because it’s a sentimental favorite. I also once made the wolf costume from this book as a Halloween costume for my son and he refused to wear it except for a couple pictures.

>> Available in paperback on Amazon.de

The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Christa Uzner

This book shows children how to look for the tell-tale signs of fairies in nature, with a blend of fanciful illustrations and photography of real children interacting with nature. My grandmother often told fairy stories and showed us their homes in moss covered tree trunks and pointed out their acorn cap drinking cups. A fun way to interact with nature along the trail.

>> Available on Kindle and paperback on Amazon.de.

For children’s books about or set in Switzerland, see this nice list from Library Thing.

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