Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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20 Awesome Outdoor Classics for Kids!

Grays skies are clearing. Temperatures are inching upwards. Summer’s waiting in the wings. Even if you’re stuck inside, you can still roam the outdoors through books! Especially with Great Outdoors Month starting on Monday, June 1!

Welcome to another edition of Fine Wine Fridays! Featuring The Best in Rich, Full-Bodied Read-a-Likes and other cool stuff!

Today we’re highlighting 20 top outdoor titles for kiddos. These books are geared for children ages third through ninth grade, roughly.

All include strong characters, engaging plots, and superlative story-telling. All have stood the test of time. (You may detect a big canine bias here. Because as Kimber knows, everything is better with dogs. Yes sirree, Lassie! That goes double for the Great Outdoors!)

Besides. If you can’t go to the outside, we’ll bring the outside to you, inside with:

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Celebrate “Great Outdoors Month” With These Awesome Outdoor Reads!

Frozen Lake Trail out of Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park.

June is Great Outdoors Month. I love this month because… well… um… I love June because Mom loves June. And I love everything Mom loves. (Except broccoli. Gag me with roughage!)

Back to June. Check it out: Hiking! Frisbee tossing! Swimming! Canoeing! Frisbee chasing! Kayaking! Fishing! Frisbee-ing! Picnicking! Biking! Frisbees! The beach, the mountains, the desert, the plains!

Did I mention Frisbees?

Anyway, when it comes to books about The Great Outdoors, Gary Paulsen titles top our list. Every time.

Mom says Paulsen’s a three-time Newberry Award-wining author. I have no idea what that means. Can you eat it?

More importantly, Paulsen is a super duper dog lover. Told he’s brilliant.

Paulsen’s writing style is spare and lean to the point of terse. No excess fat. Brisk as an autumn breeze. Quick as a greyhound. Or me.

Reading any of the Paulsen books below would be a great way to celebrate Great Outdoors Month. You still have time to knock out a couple or more this month.

Some of our favorites:

  1. Hatchet –Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson’s small plane goes down in the Canadian wilderness. He’s alone, except for a tattered windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present. It will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive. Newberry winner.
  2. Dogsong (pretty obvious, huh?).  Oogruk the shaman owns the last team of dogs in the village. He alone understands Russel’s longing for the old ways and the songs that celebrated them. Driven by a strange and powerful dream and by a burning desire to find his own song, Russel takes Oogruk’s dogs on an epic journey of self-discovery that will change his life forever.
  3. The River – Book two of the Brian saga. The government sends Brian back to the Canadian wilderness.
  4. Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod –  Paulsen writes about his experience running his team of dogs in this famous race. Snowstorms, frostbite, dogfights, moose attacks, sleeplessness, and hallucinations in the relentless push to go on.
  5. Wood Song – Paulsen has survived a dogsled crash and a fall down a frozen waterfall, a bear attack, and running the grueling Iditarod. In this vivid, vibrant book, the author recounts the experiences that shaped his life and inspired his award-winning writing.
  6. My Life in Dog Years – Don’t make me explain this.

Oh yeah. Nothing about broccoli. I like this Gary guy more and more.

Honorable mentions:

 

What are your favorite outdoor books and authors?

Kimber the Amazing Frisbee Chasing, Book-Loving Dog!