Celebrate the outdoors book list

Child outdoors

We’ve put together some of our current favourite books to help your children discover and enjoy the outdoor world around them.

Exploring outdoors book list

0-5 year olds

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

When a tiny caterpillar hatches from an egg, the first thing on his mind is food – so off he crawls looking for something to eat.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

A rhyming story about a clever little mouse and a monster. When the mouse goes for a walk in a dangerous forest, he invents tales of a fantastic creature called a Gruffalo to scare off his enemies. Imagine his surprise when he meets a real Gruffalo!

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

A classic story that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he gets into, and is chased around, the garden of Mr McGregor.

What Did the Tree See? by Charlotte Guillain

Told in gentle rhyming verse, this beautiful non-fiction picture book follows the story of an oak tree on a hilltop as it witnesses life changing around it over the course of hundreds of years.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

This family favourite follows a father and his family as they go out in search of a bear, involving lots of mud, grass, rivers and even snow.

Look Up! by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola

This charming picture book follows Rocket, who wants to be the greatest astronaut, star-catcher and space-traveller who has ever lived, inspired by her hero, Mae Jemison.

The Boy Who Lost His Bumble by Trudi Esberger

This delightful and gently engaging picture book tells a simple story, reminding children of the joy of nature and the cyclical quality of life. Readers are invited to think about their own feelings as well as the world around them.

5-8 years

National Trust: Ned the Nature Nut’s Nutty Nature Facts and Jokes by Andy Seed

Ideal for young readers who love to laugh as they learn, this book offers plenty of fascinating facts to get kids excited about the outdoors, all delivered with a good dose of silly fun.

Nature Trail by Benjamin Zephaniah and Nila Aye

This joyful celebration of nature reminds us all to take a closer look at the world around us, and enjoy the wonder of nature wherever we find it. Packed with animals and minibeasts galore, this imaginative rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud.

The Not-So Great Outdoorsby Madeline Kloepper

A reluctant camper discovers that the (not-so) great outdoors can be just as exciting as screens and skyscrapers in this playful picture book celebration of the pleasures of unplugging and embracing nature.

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L. D. Lapinski

When 12-year-old Flick Hudson accidentally ends up in the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, she uncovers a fantastic secret: there are hundreds of other worlds just steps away from ours.

9-12 years

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

This work stands against the disappearance of wild childhood. It is a joyful celebration of nature words and the natural world they invoke.

Harklights by Tim Tilley

Winner of the Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize, Harklights is a magical story celebrating family, friendship and the natural world, filled with a message of hope for our times.

White Fox by Chen Jiatong

White Fox is a classic animal adventure, following fox Dilah as he journeys across beautiful landscapes, making new friends – and dangerous enemies – along the way. Children will love the story’s messages of bravery, friendship and standing up for what’s right.

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

Fred, Con, Lila and little Max’s plane is on the way to Manaus when it falls out of the sky. Now, lost in the Amazon rainforest, they must figure out the basics of survival: water, shelter, food. Do they wait for rescue, or find a way to rescue themselves?