Books & Beyond

Great Outdoors

By Anna B.
May 18, 2022

Oregon is an amazing state to explore from beaches to mountains, ancient forests to caves! Here’s our collection of resources for exploring, including some fun books to get you and yours excited about outdoor adventures, wherever they may take you.


Check out a Cultural Pass to Oregon State Parks! Just use your library card to reserve and pick up at our library.

Explore the outdoors in your neighborhood! The Happy Valley Hikers have mapped out fun walks around town.

Hike, bike, relax and explore at 17,000 acres of regional parks and natural areas.

For Grownups

50 hikes with kids : Oregon & Washington  by Wendy Gorton.

This guide not only offers detailed hiking information with maps and keys to difficulty, but also adds a layer of fun with plant, wildlife, and natural history to foster kids’ genuine lifelong curiosity in our region’s flora, fauna, and geology.


Best hikes with kids : Oregon written by Bonnie Henderson and Zach Urness

This second edition covers 121 hikes, most within an hour’s drive of major population centers—such as Portland, Salem, Ashland, and Bend. Other features of the guide include:New “Great Getaways”—weekend or vacation destinations around the state with hiking trails and other family-fun activities

Family camping : everything you need to know for a night outdoors with loved ones / Charlie Ess ; photographs by Cheryl Ess.

A camping handbook for families featuring food and drink recipes, family activities, nature hacks, expert know-how, and more for the outdoor lover looking for a memorable weekend with the family.


Wild + free nature : 25 outdoor adventures for kids to explore, discover, and awaken their curiosity / Ainsley Arment.

Whether you want to rediscover the power of nature or you already chase down every adventure, this book is for you.

A little bit of dirt : 55+ science and art activities to reconnect children with nature  by Asia Citro

Bursting with creative hands-on outdoor science and art activities, “Little Bit of Dirt” is full of motivation to get outside and explore.


Hike it baby : 100 awesome outdoor adventures with babies and toddlers / Shanti Hodges ; foreword by Dr. Scott Sampson.

Hike it Baby presents the 100 best outdoor adventures that you can take with babies and toddlers (really!) along with everything you need to know about traveling and exploring the natural world as a new family.


Outdoor Stories

Fatima’s great outdoors by Ambreen Tariq ; illustrated by Stevie Lewis.

Excitedly joining her family for an outdoor camping trip in a Midwestern state park, Fatima Khazi helps set up a tent, build a fire, and fend off a daddy longlegs before settling down to sleep surrounded by the near-magical sounds of the forest.


Hike by Pete Oswald

A father and child head out on a hike, keeping a cherished family tradition alive.

Hiking Day by Anne Rockwell

A little girl and her family go hiking up a nearby mountain for the very first time. As they climb up and up the path, they see everything from a friendly toad to a prickly porcupine, tall leafy trees to tiny red berries.

Gumboot Kids Nature mysteries by Eric Hogan

Each picture book follows Scout and Daisy as they learn about a different nature topic, complete with field notes and a nature craft.

The Hike by Alison Farrell

Three friends set out on a day hike to explore their local forest, intending to climb to the top of the hill, where they will plant a flag, read a poem, and release feathers into the wind.

My Forest Is Green by Darren Lebeuf

With art supplies in tow, a young artist explores the wonders of his urban forest during all four seasons. Using a variety of artistic mediums, the boy creatively depicts the smaller parts of the forest that make up the larger whole.

What Can You Do With a Rock? by Pat Miller

With all the endless, creative fun a child can have with a rock, the best thing one can do with one is to share it with a friend. Includes facts about rocks and rock collecting.

The Camping Trip by Jennifer Mann

Will Ernestine be able to enjoy the wilderness, or will it prove to be a bit too far out of her comfort zone?

My Mindful Walk with Grandma written by Mabry Sheri and illustrated by Wazza Pink

When a girl walks through the woods with her Grandma, she is so excited about their destination that she misses out on what is around her, but with Grandma’s help, she learns how to breathe, be peaceful, and find herself in nature.

You Are Never Alone written by Elin Kelsey with artwork by Soyeon Kim

Whether it’s gravity holding us tight; our lungs breathing oxygen synthesized by plants; the countless microorganisms that build our immunity; or the whales whose waste fertilizes the plankton that feed the fish we eat: nature touches every aspect of how we live.

Outside, You Notice by Erin Alladin

Poetic nonfiction text describes a child’s sensory experience of various kinds of outdoor space. On each spread, facts related to observation center on a particular theme, including rain, animal homes, fruit, soil, flowers, seeds, water, roots, leaves, vegetables, pollinators, and the benefits of spending time outdoors.

You Are Home by Evan Turk

From the rugged coast of Maine to the fiery volcanoes of Hawaii, You Are Home reminds us that every animal, plant, and person helps make this land a brilliant, beautiful sanctuary of life.

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel

Told in rhyming verse, a stone is considered from a variety of environmental and emotional perspectives, as it sits where it is, surrounded by grass, dirt, and water, an unchanging certainty in the world.

Charlie & Mouse Outdoors by Laurel Snyder

Charlie and Mouse and their parents are going on a camping trip, and there will be hiking, storytelling, marshmallows, and campfires, and the joy that comes from sharing it all.

Sadiq and the Explorers by Siman Nuurali

After a family hike in a nearby park, Sadiq forms the Explorers Club with his friends, who then help a neighbor create a nature-themed scavenger hunt for the Fourth of July celebration.


Survive in the Outdoors by Mike Lawrence

In this volume of Maker Comics, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for seven projects that will help you survive in the wild!

What’s Inside a Flower?: and other questions about science and nature by Rachel Ignotofsky

In the launch of a new nonfiction picture book series, Rachel Ignotofsky’s distinctive art style and engaging, informative text clearly answers any questions a child (or adult) could have about flowers

Outdoor School series by various authors

Each guide includes immersive activities to rewild your life with tools for exploring the outdoors.

Explore! America’s National Parks by Krista Langlois

A book for nature lovers, explorers, hikers, armchair travelers or anyone who wants to learn more about our incredible national parks

Nature and me : a guide to the joys and excitements of the outdoors by School of Life

Children are used to hearing about how important it is to protect nature, but they may not fully understand how the natural world can positively impact their emotional wellbeing.

The outdoor scientist : the wonder of observing the natural world / Temple Grandin with Betsy Lerner.

Dr. Temple Grandin introduces young readers to geologists, astrophysicists, oceanographers, and many other scientists through a series of projects to understand the world around them.

Look what I found in the woods / Moira Butterfield ; illustrated by Jesús Verona.

Set off on an outdoor adventure and find natural treasures, from prickly pine cones to swirly snail shells, then learn more about the plants and creatures of the forest in this fact-filled guide to the outdoors.

Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel

Combining her love of getting out into nature with her talent for anthropomorphizing everything, Gravel takes us on a magical tour of the forest floor and examines a handful of her favorite alien specimens up close.

What’s in your pocket? : collecting nature’s treasures by Heather Montgomery

A science educator honors children’s curiosity and pockets full of “stuff” by introducing eight scientists who collected natural treasures when they were young. Collecting, sorting, and playing with shells, stones, and other objects taught these young people how to observe, classify, and discover


Curious kids nature guide : explore the amazing outdoors of the Pacific Northwest / Fiona Cohen ; illustrated by Marni Fylling.

Organized by habitat–forest, beach, fresh water, and backyards and urban parks–this book will teach kids about some of the most intriguing flora, fauna, and natural phenomena of the region while also sharing ecological lessons.

Let’s play outdoors! : exploring nature for children / illustrated by Carla McRae ; written by Catherine Ard.

Organized by habitat–forest, beach, fresh water, and backyards and urban parks–this book will teach kids about some of the most intriguing flora, fauna, and natural phenomena of the region while also sharing ecological lessons.

Nature All Around series by Pamela Hickman

Each beautifully illustrated informative book explores everything you’ve ever wanted to know about trees, bugs, birds, and plants.