Books about Nature

(For youth and their grown-ups!)

As Camp Fire Minnesota gears up for 2019, here’s what we’re committing to this year:

Encouraging everyone to get outside.

Whether through our summer camps, out-of-school time programs, environmental education field trips and in-class visits, or new community programs, we hope you’ll join us as we continue to learn about and co-create ways for everyone to spend more time enjoying nature.  To kick off the new year, we asked staff to recommend nature-based books that have inspired them to get outside and explore. Hopefully, they’ll do the same for you!


The 3 Questions, Jon Muth

Recommended by Will Shelton, Camp Director

“Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, this is a great book to talk about what is most important in life. I’ve started using it at our opening camp fires to set the tone for a week at camp.”

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, Beatrice Alemagna

Recommended by Magdalena Mora, Marketing and Communications Specialist

“A bored child (their gender is left ambiguous) is encouraged to play outside on a rainy day. After dropping their electronic device in a lake, the child is forced to find adventure in the natural world. They study snails and mushrooms, drinks rain droplets from trees, roll down hills, and admire sunbeams that filter through the trees. The illustrations are beautiful and remind readers of the magic and curiosities nature provides.”

The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff

Recommended by Will Shelton, Camp Director

“The author explains Taoist thought by providing examples from Winnie the Pooh. Lots of great nature based examples, and an easy engaging format.”

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, Oliver Jeffers

Recommended by Magdalena Mora, Marketing and Communications Specialist

“Written for his own newborn child, author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers provides a “guide” for caring for the earth and its humans. Gentle and thoughtful, this picture book is great for helping youth understand the scale of the world in which they live.”

Additional Book Recommendations:

My Hair is a Garden, Cozbi A. Cabrera

The Tea Party in the Woods, Akiko Miyakoshi

A Different Pond, Bao Phi

The Promise, Nicola Davies

Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv

Recommended by Marnie K. Wells, CEO

“I recommend this book for anyone who loves nature and wants the best for not only our young people, but for the whole planet. “Last Child in the Woods” succinctly captures the importance of our work at Camp Fire Minnesota.  Being outside isn’t just “fun in the sun”, it is a critical component to the development of our young people.  Reading this book was a continuous reminder that nature IS the catalyst for change and we are in a powerful position to partner with communities and co-create nature-based experiences for all Minnesotans. ”

Also recommended by Brent Cummins, Chief Programs Officer

“I recommend “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv. The book served as the catalyst for the No Child Left inside movement, that encourages envionmental education and literacy for youth. One of my favorite quotes from the book is: “Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).”


A Year in the Wilderness, Amy and Dave Freeman

Recommended by Katy Konrad, Outdoor Programs Manager

“The book starts by walking you through Amy and Dave’s experience and some of their environmental activism leading up to the rumblings of proposed copper mining on the edge of the Boundary Water’s Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). To create awareness for one of the most spectacular and fragile places in Minnesota and the nation, Amy and Dave took up their paddles and decided to spend a year in the wilderness.

When I started the book I didn’t know it would captivate me as it did. I have been to the BWCAW as a teenager. I have camped in remote places and have led others into the wilderness. I know what it’s like. This book sucked me in. I could not put it down at times. Not because there was some great mystery that needed to be solved or questions that needed to be answered. It transported me to the place of towering pines, wild rice, and clear waters and left me yearning to go back. Reading about the loons and moose and the changes on the water and looking at the photos that were included in the book helped me relax and enter a state of calm. If only all books could provide a connection like that!”

A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson

Recommended by Will Shelton, Camp Director and Katy Konrad, Outdoor Programs Manager

“The story of a middle aged man reclaiming his youth by walking the Appalachian Trail. He mixes his personal journey with history about the hiking movement. My favorite quote is: ‘Salamanders are fascinating. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.'”

The Nature Fix, Fl­orence Williams

Recommended by Kelly Abraham, Marketing Director

“I’m still reading this but I heard the author speak in November. The author travels across the world to learn more about and experience the research being done around the physical and emotional effects nature has on us.”

Additional Book Recommendations:

Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology, Lisa Margonelli

A Nature Lover’s Quotation Book

The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben