11 Best Camp Books for Kids

A Few of My Favorite Reads

When I was writing my family camping book, I checked out a few camping-themed picture books from the library to read to my kids at bed time. One night, while reading the supremely clever Duck Tents by Lynne Berry, I had an epiphany. I would use excerpts to open each chapter of my own book. To find great quotable material for these epigraphs, it’s quite possible that I read every last kid’s camping book in print.

duck-tentsHere’s a list of my favorite camp-themed picture books and chapter books for kids with a few choice lines from each. A complete list can be found in the index of my book, The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids. (Or just click here.)

Camp-Themed Picture Books for Kids

1. Duck Tents by Lynne Berry

Campfire flames burn down to coals—

Ducks toast marshmallows on their poles!

Outside crispy, inside sticky,

Chewy, gooey, finger-licky.


2. Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems by Kristine O’Connell George

Outside our tent I can see

gray spiders spinning silver,

looping silky lines

through smoky wisps

of campfire, coffee steam,

and early morning mist.


Sheep Take a Hike3. Sheep Take a Hike by Nancy Shaw

Morning’s here! It’s warm and clear!

Sheep load up their hiking gear.

Compass, whistles, drinks, and snacks

Go in packs upon their backs.


4. Take a Hike, Snoopy! By Judy Katschke

Snoopy thought the birds would pack food, tents, and compasses. He rolled his eyes when he saw Woodstock return with golf clubs, and Harriet carefully holding her angel food cake with seven-minute frosting. Snoopy wondered if the birds understood camping in the wilderness.


Scare a Bear Wargin5. Scare a Bear by Kathy-jo Wargin

Do you know how to scare a bear?

Would you bang pots and pans?

Would you rattle some cans?

Would you shout? Would you yell?

Would you ring a loud bell?

What if that bear isn’t easy to scare?


6. When We Go Camping by Margriet Ruurs

It’s campfire time. When stars wink from up high and sparks fly into the night sky, orange flames dance away the darkness. We snuggle closer and tell wonderful, scary tales.

Later, I listen to the night chorus of crickets and frogs. The lake softly laps us to sleep and I dream of camping.


S is for S'Mores by Helen Foster James 7. S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James

G is for the Gear you’ll need

To organize and pack

To keep your camping full of fun

And bring you safely back.


8. Curious George Goes Camping by Margret and H. A. Rey

George was lost and all alone. He felt tired and stopped to rest. At first he was worried—he was very far from camp. But there were lots of other animals to keep him company. He saw a lizard sunning on a rock and a squirrel chattering in a tree. Then he saw the tail of a black and white kitty peeking out from under a tree. Would the kitty like to play? George gently pulled the kitty out.


Camp-themed Chapter Books for Kids


9. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look

“To know and appreciate nature is the key to a lifetime of discovery.”

My dad looked at me.

I looked at my dad.

“I know nature,” I said. It was true. I watch it all the time on TV.


10. Emma Dilemma and the Camping Nanny by Patricia Hermes

“Emma!” Lizzie cried out, bopping up and down in her chair. “Guess what, guess what? We’re going cramping.”

“Not cramping, camping!” Ira said.

“That’s what I said!” Lizzie said.


11. Piper Reed, Campfire Girl by Kimberly Willis Holt

“Look!” Stanley pointed at the vine.

“Great find, Stanley! See, your Boy Scout skills have come in handy.”

“Those leaves look familiar,” said Stanley, “but I can’t remember why.”

Each leaf had three points and there were plenty of them. We picked and picked until we filled up the sack.


Here are four more picture books worth checking out of your local library.

  • Sipping Spiders through a Straw: Campfire Songs for Monsters. By Kelly DiPucchio
  • The Princess and Her Panther. By Wendy Orr.
  • The Graves Family Goes Camping. By Patricia Polacco.
  • In My Tent. By Marilyn Singer.
  • Quiet Night. By Marilyn Singer.



  1. We went and got all of these books out of the library after reading your book and read them all summer long while camping.
    Our favs. are Duck Tents, How to Scare a Bear, Sheep take a hike, and Camping Day – Patricia Lakin. We’ve also grown fond of Going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen and Caillou goes camping.

    • Helen Olsson says:

      Your faves are my faves. I just noticed a Tacky Goes Camping book just came out. It’s currently in my library pile, to be read. Might need to add it to the list. Thanks for the new ideas!

  2. I love this list! Have you ever read “When We Go Camping” and/or “Toasting Marshmellows”. Wonderful children’s book about camping! I haven’t heard of Scare a Bear! Thank you!

  3. Stephanie says:

    We adore the Swallows and Amazons series. A new movie is coming out as well,


    • Helen Olsson says:

      thanks, Stephanie.
      That series wasn’t on my radar. Sounds like the families in the story camp on an island, which we’ve done with our brood. I’m going to get this book from the library. Thanks!


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