Winter Reading to Inspire Outdoor Adventures

Child Reading

While there are lots of fun ways to spend time outdoors all year round, curling up under a blanket with a book and a mug of cocoa on a chilly evening is a great way to enjoy a little downtime in the winter when the days are shorter. Fortunately, there are tons of good books for kids to read during the winter months that will get them dreaming about all the outdoor adventures they can have with friends and family. Check out this list of ten excellent books about the wonders of nature that has something for everyone from new readers to high school seniors:

We are Brothers by Yves Nadon and Jean Claverie

Age Range: Early Elementary School

A story about the adventures of two brothers who love to swim together every summer and the sense of achievement that comes from trying new things when you have people you love to support you.


You Belong Here by M.H. Clark

Age Range: Early Elementary School

A beautifully illustrated journey around the world, which reminds children that everything - plants, animals, and people with all different kinds of families - have a place where they belong.


A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker

Age Range: Upper Elementary School

This book deals with a little girl’s grief after her dog passes away. While on vacation with her family, she is able to find solace by connecting with the natural world and collecting rocks on the beach.

Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Age Range: Upper Elementary School

Bayou Magic is the story of Maddy who goes to visit her grandmother and falls in love with the water, trees, and animals of the bayou. Ultimately, she must be brave and protect the place she loves from the threat of an oil leak.


Gaia Girls Enter the Earth by Lee Welles

Age Range: Middle School

In Gaia Girls Enter the Earth, Elizabeth’s family farm is under threat when she meets a mysterious creature called Gaia who gives her new powers to connect with the earth and protect her home.


My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Age Range: Middle School

A now classic young adult novel about a young boy who runs away from home in New York City to live by himself in the Catskill Mountains. On his journey, Sam learns about his own strength and courage while surviving in a beautiful but harsh landscape.

Parent and child reading

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

Age Range: Middle School

A magical tale in which animals are slowly disappearing when a silent boy named Kester discovers he is able to communicate with them. He and his friend Polly must fight to save the animals before they all become extinct.


Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean

Age Range: Middle-High School

Where the World Ends follows the adventures of Quill, who is left with his friends on a remote island. Together they must learn to survive and appreciate the beauty of their new ocean home.


As Long as Grass Grows by Dina Gilio-Whitaker

Age Range: High School

This accessible history of indigenous environmental justice efforts chronicles a range of events including colonial treaties and the Standing Rock protest. Gilio-Whitaker makes an eloquent argument for collective action to ensure a sustainable and just future for all generations.


The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Age Range: High School

Framed by an illness that keeps Bailey bedridden, this story emphasizes the power of observation and close-by nature as Bailey watches a wild snail make a home on her nightstand and wants to learn more about this tiny creature.