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Here are our absolute favorites that continue to inspire our kids to get out and explore!
Henry the Explorer Series: These books can be hard to find, even at the library, but well worth it the hunt. Henry has rousing adventures as he explores with his dog, usually ending up lost. Simple storylines that can be followed by kids as young as 3, but the illustrations and stories still interest our 6&7 year olds. The grown-ups always stay calm and usually come back to have coffee and cake when all is well again.
Fancy Nancy, Explorer Extraordinaire: We love all the Fancy Nancy books (and even met the author Jane O’Conner once!). Of course Fancy Nancy has a flair even to exploring, but you learn lots of great facts in this book that will get even the fanciest girl wanting to explore outside. Ages 3 to 8.
My Father’s Dragon series: The first book in this series is often recommended as a first chapter book to read aloud. We agree! Chapters are short and heavily illustrated. Elmer Elevator, the protagonist is brave, kind, and adventurous. We read it twice through and then promptly checked out the audiobook.
Out of School and Into Nature: A lovely biography of Anna Comstock who was a pioneer in getting children to learn about nature outside! I came across this book because the beautiful illustrations were done by Jessica Lanan, my freshman year college roommate. We were so inspired by this story.
The Big Alfie Out of Doors Storybook. Shirley Hughes was one of my absolute favorite authors as a child, even though I only had one book of hers. My kids love her just as much and we have discovered so many more by her. We love the simple stories of Alfie and Annie Rose as they explore, learn, and grow. Alfie’s parents are always so kind and understanding and inspire me to be a better mom, too. In one of these stories, Alfie adopts a special rock named Bonting, and his mom makes clothes for Bonting. So how could I say no when Ruby asked me to make fancy clothes and pajamas for her new favorite rock? Turns out making rock clothes is a bit of a challenge but we managed.
Folding pocket guides: We love these laminated guides for our weekly hikes. We keep them in our hiking backpack and frequently reference them to help us identify wildflowers, trees, birds, and other wildlife.