Tundra Telegram: Books that are In Tents

Hello, and thanks for joining us at Tundra Telegram, the column where we dig into the subjects on readers’ minds and recommend some recent great books to continue the discussion.

Here in the Great White North of Canada (where the Tundra offices are located), this past weekend was the Victoria Day long weekend. It’s commonly referred to as the “May two-four weekend” and – for many – it marks the unofficial start of “cottage season,” in which folks rent cottages in the woods or go camping to experience the great outdoors (now that the winter is finally over).

So, this week we’re featuring some picture books, chapter books, middle-grade titles, and YA that feature camping and the great outdoors central to their plots. Break out the bug spray, slather on that sunscreen, and keep an eye out for ticks. Like James Corden and Emily Blunt, we’re going into the woods!

PICTURE BOOKS

Few picture books capture the Canadian cottage experience better than the Ezra Jack Keats winner Out into the Big Wide Lake by Paul Harbridge and Josée Bisaillon. A young girl with Down syndrome, Kate, gains confidence and independence through a visit to her grandparents in cottage country, by accompanying them on their boat deliveries of groceries around the lake. It’s a book so immersive, you’ll swear you hear the loons calling.

A trapline is quite different from a cottage (or even camping), but it’s certainly a way to appreciate the wilderness. And the Governor General’s Award-winning picture book On the Trapline by David. A. Robertson and Julie Flett celebrates fathers and grandfathers, and the times they spend together where people hunt and live off the land – in this case, the grandfather’s familial trapline up north.

A father and a son do a little bonding and scale some serious obstacles in Pete Oswald’s vibrantly vertical Hike. It’s a nearly wordless adventure about appreciating the wilderness and the spectacular view.

Young Ernestine has never been camping before, but she’s sure it must be fun. But in The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann, she realizes nobody warned her how hard it is to set up a tent, and sleep on it, or that swimming in a lake means that there will be fish (and all sorts of other things) in the water. Will Ernestine manage to have fun, nevertheless?

The Khazi family, new immigrants to America, are also embarking on their first camping trip in Fatima’s Great Outdoors by Ambreen Tariq and Stevie Lewis. Written by an outdoors activist and founder of @BrownPeopleCamping, this book is a fun family romp, a love letter to the outdoors, and a reminder that public land belongs to all of us.

Ever take a camping trip with someone who is a very different traveler than you? You should be able to relate to Peanut and Moe in Gina Perry’s Now? Not Yet!. When Peanut wants to swim, Moe wants to hike. Can these two friends come together in time to save their camping trip?

Despite being fun, the outdoors are also full of dangers. And no one knows that better than Scaredy Squirrel who worries about the mosquitoes, skunks, or zippers he might encounter in Melanie Watt’s Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping. However, circumstances force him to go into the woods – will his adventure end up as a spooky story told around the campfire?

The outdoors can be so unstructured and full of earth-tones, but if you like your nature with a little style, you’ll like Benjamin Flouw’s The Golden Glow. The stylish Fox heads out on quest to find a rare and mysterious plant, and observes wonderful flora and befriends numerous fauna on his hike in this charming book that celebrates the pleasures of experiencing nature.

But if the young people in your life don’t relish a little ramble in the woods, they may like The Not-So Great Outdoors by Madeline Kloepper. The grumpy city kid in this book reluctantly accompanies her family on a summer camping trip, pining for her screen and city sights. But once she starts to experience the forests, lakes, and mountains, and encounter bears, beavers, and caribou, she begins to realize the magic of Mother Nature.

And if there remains any doubt about the power of nature to inspire, The Secret Fawn by Kallie George and Elly MacKay will change that. The little girl in the story always misses out on the fun things her family gets to see and do, just because she is the youngest and smallest. But she realizes the benefits of being the smallest when she heads outside in search of deer and spots a fawn, beautiful, quiet and small . . . just like her.

MIDDLE GRADE

If there’s a topic, you know there’s a Magic Tree House book about it – and that’s certainly true for camping, too! Camp Time in California by Mary Pope Osborne and AG Ford follows siblings Jack and Annie as they go camping in California’s Yosemite National Park, where they must save . . . the wilderness. (That’s right: if Jack and Annie fail, all these other outdoorsy books will be pointless.)

Like a human Scaredy Squirrel, an incredibly anxious kid faces his outdoor fears in Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham. Alvin has a lot of concerns about camping, but luckily, he’s bringing along his night-vision goggles and water purifying tablets and super-duper heavy-duty flashlight . . . and his dad, too.

Red Fox Road by Frances Greenslade can’t be described as a fun camping trip, but there’s no doubt that protagonist Francie gets the full outdoors experience. While her family is on a spring road trip, she gets stranded alone in the middle of nowhere. With no GPS and no transportation, Francie’s story is the definition of “roughing it,” gathering dandelion leaves and fir needles for tea and starting fires from nothing.

YOUNG ADULT

Along the lines of Red Fox Road, the girls in Jo Treggiari’s The Grey Sisters aren’t necessarily having a good time in the great outdoors. Because when friends D and Spider head back to the mountains with their friend Min to uncover the truth about siblings they lost in a tragic air disaster, they encounter an isolated, survivalist community that may or may not be a cult – not the way most people want to spend a long weekend!

And if you like extreme survival, you’ll also want to read Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman. People always say to pursue your dreams, but at what cost? Ingrid strikes an arrangement with her mother: if she survives an extreme wilderness experience over the summer, she can have her chance to pursue life as a performer. (You can see why we didn’t include it on Mother’s Day recommendations.)

A summer camp rom-com? That sounds a little less harrowing! In The Matchbreaker Summer by Annie Rains, Paisley and Hayden have nothing in common, save Camp Starling. But when they reluctantly join forces to break up Paisley’s camp-manager mom and her new boyfriend, will they start a romance of their own?

But if you prefer your great outdoors with a little horror, you’ll love the taste of Eat Your Heart Out by Kelly DeVos. Weight-loss camp Camp Featherlite is overrun with zombies (!), so it’s up to unwilling camper Vivian to lead her fellow campers to survival in this campy (get it?) mix of horror and humor and bloody body positivity.

And the camp horror continues in Jessica Goodman’s The Counselors, set at a summer camp for the teen children of the elite, where three best friends find a dead teen in the lake late one night, and begin to uncover more and more dark secrets.

Getting back to cottages, there’s horror at the lake house in Kara Thomas’s That Weekend. When three best friends plan a prom weekend outdoor getaway, things go bad quickly. Claire wakes up alone and bloodied on a hiking trail with no memory of the past forty-eight hours. And her best friends Kat and Jesse? Well . . . they’ve gone missing.

And in Carrie Mac’s dangerous romance Wildfire, two best friends (who are maybe slowly becoming something more?) embark on a ten-day backpacking trip through the mountains of Washington State to Fire Camp, where they’ll learn to fight the area’s growing wildfire problem. But (spoiler alert!) the wildfires might become a problem before they ever get there!

Earth Day 2020

Earth Day is coming up next week! If you’re looking to celebrate our beautiful planet, here’s a handy book list to get you started.

Ages 2-5

Seeds
By Carme Lemniscates
40 Pages | Ages 2-5
ISBN 9781536208443 | Candlewick

Some seeds are whisked away by the wind, while others are carried by creatures to their destinations. Once seeds find their spot, they go through breathtaking transformations, multiplying in number and size and thriving in even the most unseemly places. We humans plant seeds, too, and with care we can cultivate and nurture something wonderful, whether by sowing a seed in the earth or by choosing our own seeds of kindness to spread around. With gorgeous, welcoming illustrations, the creator of Trees and Birds presents another ode to the beauty around and within us.

Ages 3-7

In My Garden
By Charlotte Zolotow
Illustrated by Philip C. Stead
40 Pages | Ages 3-6
ISBN 9780823443208 | Neal Porter Books

A young girl and her older companion watch birds, fly a kite, plant flowers, and play in the snow, watching flowers bloom and leaves fall as the year passes.
This quiet story celebrates the simple joys found close to home, and the importance of sharing those experiences with the ones you love. A perfect story time pick for any season, In My Garden explores the natural marvels of the world around us and encourages young readers to think about what they love best throughout the year.

The Farmer
By Ximo Abadia
40 Pages | Ages 3-6
ISBN 9780823441587 | Holiday House

Paul mows. Paul rakes. Paul sows. Paul draws water. And soon Paul has beautiful plants and flowers growing all around him. But one day, the water dries up. The sun beats down. Paul despairs. But thanks to his animal friends, and a bit of rain, help is on the way . . .
Filled with vivid illustrations of Paul’s hard work, the brilliant blooms that begin to grow, and the scorching sun that threatens to ruin his crops, The Farmer is a gentle story emphasizing the importance of perseverance– and the value of good friends.

Only a Tree Knows How to Be a Tree
By Mary Murphy
32 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9781536214703 | Tundra Books

Trees have leaves that turn sunshine into food. Amazing! Birds build nests, sing songs, hatch eggs, and fly. Dogs are our friends and can move their ears to tell us how they feel, while fish live in water, flashing like jewels. As for people, every person on Earth is different, each with their own thoughts and feelings. With a simple narrative and joyful, welcoming illustrations celebrating a world full of remarkable creatures, Mary Murphy reminds little ones that we are all unique, and that we are the only ones who know how to be us.

The Not-So Great OutdoorsThe Not-So Great Outdoors
By Madeline Kloepper
40 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9780735264175 | Tundra Books

What’s so great about the “great outdoors”? A grumpy urban kid begrudgingly accompanies her family on a summer camping trip, missing all the sublime sights right under her nose as she longs for the lights and stimulation of the city. But as she explores forests, lakes and mountains, and encounters bears, beavers and caribou, she slowly comes to realize that the simpler things are just as sparkly, that the sky is its own majestic light show, and the symphony is all around. The Not-So Great Outdoors is a humorous and richly imagined reminder of the beauty and magic that can be found away from the city and our screens.

Now Not YetNow? Not Yet!
By Gina Perry
32 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9781101919521 | Tundra Books

Peanut says let’s swim. Moe says time to hike
Peanut says let’s swim now. Moe says time to eat a snack
Peanut says NOW! Moe says NOT YET!
Can these two friends come together in time to save their camping trip?

EncounterEncounter
By Brittany Luby
Illustrated by Michaela Goade
40 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9780735265813 | Tundra Books

Based on an actual journal entry by French explorer Jacques Cartier from his first expedition to North America in July 1534, this story imagines the first encounter between a European sailor and a Stadaconan fisher. As the two navigate their differences (language, dress, food) with curiosity, the natural world around them notes their similarities. The seagull observes their like shadows, the mosquito notes their equally appealing blood, the mouse enjoys the crumbs both people leave behind. This story explores how encounters can create community and celebrates varying perspectives and the natural world.

Red Sky at NightRed Sky at Night
By Elly Mackay
40 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9781101917831 | Tundra Books

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. And, the next morning, when the dew is on the grass, no rain will come to pass. These are the perfect conditions for a grandfather to take his grandchildren out on a fishing trip. Especially since, as the saying goes, when the wind is from the West, then the fishes bite the best. The family takes a boat out on the lake, fishing and swimming and eventually camping out on a nearby island, taking full advantage of the gorgeous weather. But the next day . . . red sky in the morning, sailors take warning! The family ventures back home just in time to avoid a rainstorm. But not to worry — the more rain, the more rest. Fair weather’s not always best.

Natsumi’s Song of Summer
By Robert Paul Weston
Illustrated by Misa Saburi
40 Pages | Ages 3-7
ISBN 9780735265417 | Tundra Books

Two young cousins who are separated by language, continent and culture meet for the first time when Jill’s family travels from America to Japan to stay with Natsumi’s family during the summer holidays. Natsumi’s nervousness about meeting her cousin from across the sea quickly disappears when she discovers that her cousin is a lot like her: they both love summertime’s hot sandy beaches, cool refreshing watermelon, festivals and fireworks. Then Jill asks Natsumi about the strange buzzing sound that comes from the nearby trees, and Natsumi is nervous once again. What if Jill is frightened of Natsumi’s cherished cicadas, the insects that sing the music of summertime?

Ages 4-8

Grandma’s Gardens
By Hillary and Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by Carme Lemniscates
40 Pages | Ages 4-8
ISBN 9780593115350 | Philomel Books

Grandma Dorothy shared her love of gardens with her daughter, Hillary, and her granddaughter, Chelsea. She taught them that gardens are magical places to learn, exciting spaces for discovery, quiet spots to spend time with family and beautiful areas to share stories and celebrate special occasions. But most of all, she taught them that in her gardens, her love grew and blossomed.

Don’t Let Them Disappear!
By Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by Gianna Marino
40 Pages | Ages 4-8
ISBN 9780525514329 | Philomel Books

In this book, Chelsea Clinton introduces young readers to a selection of endangered animals, sharing what makes them special, and also what threatens them. Taking readers through the course of a day, Don’t Let Them Disappear talks about rhinos, tigers, whales, pandas and more, and provides helpful tips on what we all can do to help prevent these animals from disappearing from our world entirely.

The Stars Just Up the Street
By Sue Soltis
Illustrated by Christine Davenier
40 Pages | Ages 4-8
ISBN 9780763698348 | Candlewick

Mabel loves stars. She counts five from her window and thirty-seven from her backyard. But her grandfather tells her that, as a child, he could see thousands. Could it be true? Mabel climbs a hill looking for more stars — only to discover that the glow from the nearby town makes them hard to see. What would it take for her neighbors to turn off their lights, just for one night, so that everyone could see the starlit sky? Sue Soltis’s tale of a young activist and Christine Davenier’s luminous illustrations will leave readers curious about the dark-sky movement — and the wonder that is waiting for them just up the street.

Hike
By Pete Oswald
40 Pages | Ages 4-8
ISBN 9781536201574 | Candlewick

In the cool and quiet early light of morning, a father and child wake up. Today they’re going on a hike. Follow the duo into the mountains as they witness the magic of the wilderness, overcome challenges, and play a small role in the survival of the forest. By the time they return home, they feel alive — and closer than ever — as they document their hike and take their place in family history. In detail-rich panels and textured panoramas, Pete Oswald perfectly paces this nearly wordless adventure, allowing readers to pause for subtle wonders and marvel at the views. A touching tribute to the bond between father and child, with resonant themes for Earth Day, Hike is a breath of fresh air.

The Bug Girl
By Sophia Spencer and Margaret McNamara
Illustrated by KERASCOET
44 Pages | Ages 4-8
ISBN 9780735267527 | Tundra Books

Sophia Spencer has loved bugs ever since a butterfly landed on her shoulder–and wouldn’t leave!–at a butterfly conservancy when she was only two-and-a-half years old. In preschool and kindergarten, Sophia was thrilled to share what she knew about grasshoppers (her very favorite insects), as well as ants and fireflies . . . but by first grade, not everyone shared her enthusiasm. Some students bullied her, and Sophia stopped talking about bugs altogether. When Sophia’s mother wrote to an entomological society looking for a bug scientist to be a pen pal for her daughter, she and Sophie were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response–letters, photos and videos came flooding in. Using the hashtag BugsR4Girls, scientists tweeted hundreds of times to tell Sophia to keep up her interest in bugs–and it worked!

The FogThe Fog
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Kenard Pak
48 Pages | Ages 4-8
ISBN 9781770494923 | Tundra Books

Warble is a small yellow warbler who lives on the beautiful island of Icyland, where he pursues his hobby of human watching. But on a warm day, a deep fog rolls in and obscures his view. The rest of the birds don’t seem to notice the fog or the other changes Warble observes on the island. The more the fog is ignored, the more it spreads. When a Red-hooded Spectacled Female (Juvenile) appears, Warble discovers that he’s not the only one who notices the fog. Will they be able to find others who can see it too? And is the fog here to stay?

The Golden GlowThe Golden Glow
By Benjamin Flouw
48 Pages | Ages 4-8
ISBN 9780735264120 | Tundra Books

Fox loves nature. There’s nothing he enjoys more than reading about and picking flowers. One evening, he comes across a rare specimen in his old botany book — the golden glow, a plant from the Wellhidden family, found only in the mountains . . . a plant that has yet to be described. Fascinated, Fox decides to set off on a quest in search of the mysterious golden glow. He packs his knapsack, a map, a compass, a flashlight, a sleeping bag and other items for his hike. Along the way, Fox observes many different kinds of trees and plants. He also encounters woodland friends who help him make it to the summit of the mountain. But when Fox eventually stumbles upon the object of his quest, he makes a surprising decision.

Frankenstink!
By Ron Lightburn
32 Pages | Ages 4-8
ISBN 9781770496965 | Tundra Books

With vibrant and zany art, this is a book about “garbage” that transforms and mutates into a grotesque, greedy monster devouring everything in its path. Frankenstink! is sure to be a hit with kids who do not like to clean up. Is the monster who feeds on “a mountainous salad of plastic and goo, fast-food leftovers and Styrofoam stew,” real, a dream, or a warning of what is to come if we don’t compost and recycle?

Ages 6-9

Purrmaids #6: Quest for Clean Water
By Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
96 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN 9780525646372 | Random House Books for Young Readers

Ms. Harbor has a fun new project for the purrmaids: a scavenger hunt! The purrmaids must search Kittentail Cove to find items around the ocean. Some are rare, like a special piece of coral. And some are too plentiful–like plastic human garbage. When Coral, Shelly, and Angel visit their mermicorn friend, Sirena, they discover that Sirena’s younger brother is caught in plastic soda rings. It’s up to the purrmaids to help their friend and clean up the ocean!

The Bat
By Elise Gravel
32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN 9780735266483 | Tundra Books

The Bat covers habitat (bats live everywhere except Antarctica!), species (there are over 1,200 kinds of bats), echolocation, hibernation (bats hibernate just like bears!), conservation (don’t disturb a sleeping bat!) and much more. Although silly and off-the-wall, The Bat contains factual information that will both amuse and teach at the same time.

The Cockroach
By Elise Gravel
32 Pages | Ages 6-9
ISBN 9780735266421 | Tundra Books

The Cockroach covers lifestyle (cockroaches prefer the dark and only come out during the day when their colonies get big enough), anatomy (cockroaches have wings but rarely fly), habitat (they prefer heat to cold), life cycle (a female can give birth to up to 350 babies during her lifetime) and much more. Although silly and off-the-wall, The Cockroach contains factual information that will both amuse and teach at the same time.

Ages 7-10

Megabat Is a FraidybatMegabat Is a Fraidybat
By Anna Humphrey
Illustrated by Kass Reich
192 Pages | Ages 7-10
ISBN 9780735266025 | Tundra Books

Daniel is not so sure about going to camp. There will be bugs. And uncomfortable beds. And leeches! Megabat can’t WAIT to go to camp! There will be so much smooshfruit, and he loves a good sing-along.
Daniel starts to think camp isn’t so bad. He’s made friends, and his bed isn’t THAT uncomfortable. Megabat has made a new friend too. But his new friend wants him to go flying to spooky caves. And her mom is very toothy.

Who Needs a Desert?
By Karen Patkau
32 Pages | Ages 7-10
ISBN 9781770493865 | Tundra Books

Karen Patkau takes readers on an amazing voyage of discovery to find out
• How deserts are formed
• Where deserts are found
• How plants and animals adapt to the severe environment
• What wildlife thrives there
• Which plants bloom under the blazing sun
• How desert plants and animals get energy and food
• What happens in the rainy seasons
• Why desert land becomes barren
• Why we need deserts

Check out our Get Out and Read Activity Kit for some fun activities you can do at home!

Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide 2019

The Tundra Illustrator Gift Guide is back again! For the last two years, we put together gift guides inspired by Travis Jonker’s The Ultimate Children’s Literature Illustrator Gift Guide 2017 featuring Tundra’s illustrators from 2019! This list has something for everyone from some of the best children’s book illustrators in the world – treat your family and friends (or yourself!) to a beautiful piece of art this holiday season.

Shop Anne ArrivesAnne’s Kindred Spirits; and Abigail’s artwork

Abigail Halpin is an illustrator living in southern Maine, a few miles from the sea. Her illustrations are a blend of traditional and digital media, mixing watercolor, ink, pencil and more. She has created illustrations and lettering for a range of clients including Galison/Mudpuppy, Simon & Schuster, Disney Publishing, Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Penguin Books. Inspired by vintage textiles, all things Slavic, mystery novels, the ocean and long-forgotten ephemera, Halpin also creates mixed media artwork that blends drawing and embroidery, portraiture and needlework.

Shop Peanut Butter and Jelly; Narwhal’s Otter Friend; and Ben’s artwork

Ben Clanton is an author and illustrator whose picture books include Mo’s Mustache; Rot, the Cutest in the World!; Boo Who?; It Came in the Mail; Something ExtraordinaryRex Wrecks It! and Vote for Me! He lives with his family in Tacoma, Washington.

Shop Where Oliver Fits; Unicorns 101; and Cale’s artwork

Cale Atkinson is an author-illustrator and animator whose books include Unicorns 101Where Oliver FitsTo the SeaOff and Away, and Sir Simon: Super Scarer. He lives lakeside with his family in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. See more of Cale’s work at Cale.ca, and follow him on Twitter at @2dCale.

Shop King Mouse and Dena’s artwork

Dena Seiferling graduated with a BFA and Visual Communications Degree from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 1999. She works as an instructor at ACAD while pursuing her illustration and needle-felted art. Dena lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband and two children. King Mouse is her first picture book.

Shop The Blue Castle and Elly’s artwork

Elly MacKay is a paper artist and a children’s book author and illustrator. She wrote and illustrated the picture books If You Hold a SeedShadow Chasers and Butterfly Park, among others. She studied illustration and printmaking at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her distinctive pieces are made using paper and ink, and then are set into a miniature theatre and photographed, giving them their unique three-dimensional quality. Elly lives in Owen Sound, Ontario, with her husband and two children.

Shop Alma and the Beast and Esmé’s artwork

Esmé Shapiro grew up in Laurel Canyon, California and Ontario, Canada. Currently she and her dog, Chebini Brown, split their time between Brooklyn and New York’s Hudson Valley. A graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design, Esmé is a past recipient of both the Nancy Lee Rhodes Roberts Scholarship and The SILA West 53 Gold Award-Phillip Hayes Scholarship. She has exhibited at The Society of Illustrators and her work has been featured in Taproot and Plansponsor magazines. Connect with her online at esmeshapiroillustration.com, on twitter and Instagram @esmeshapiro.

Shop Now? Not Yet! and Gina’s artwork

Once upon a time, Gina Perry picked wild blueberries, floated on lakes in her inner tube and was always on the lookout for a real moose in the woods. Now she writes and illustrates books for young readers from her New Hampshire home, where she lives with THREE monsters: her husband and two kids. She is still on the lookout for moose.

Shop Great Job, Dad!Great Job, Mom!; and Holman’s artwork

Holman Wang is a lawyer who also finds time to make children’s books. He and his brother, Jack, are the twin powers behind the board book series Cozy Classics and Star Wars Epic Yarns, which abridge literary and cinematic classics into just twelve words and twelve needle-felted images. Their unique artwork has been exhibited around the world, including at The Original Art exhibition in New York, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and the National Museum of Play. Holman lives with his wife and kids in Vancouver, Canada, and is a board member of the Vancouver Writers Festival.

Shop Albert’s Quiet Quest and Isabelle’s artwork

Isabelle Arsenault is a graphic-design graduate who has applied her skills to illustration. She contributes to magazines and newspapers across the US and Canada, and has been the recipient of major illustration awards such as the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Awards for Illustration, Communication Arts Illustration Annual, and the National Magazine Awards of Canada. Arsenault lives in Montreal.

Shop Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess and Janet’s artwork

Janet Hill is a painter and children’s book author/illustrator. Her work is both elegant and whimsical, and her painting style evokes a sense of nostalgia, mystery, and humor. She has written and illustrated two picture books: Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess and Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat CountessLucy Crisp and the Vanishing House is her first novel. Janet lives in Stratford, Ontario, where she paints in a small in-house studio and lives with her husband, John, the manager of an independent bookstore, and their cat and dog.

Shop The PaintingThe Ghost Road; and Jensine’s artwork

Jensine Eckwall is a Brooklyn-based illustrator whose clients include BUST Magazine, BOOM! Studios/Adventure Time, The Boston Globe, Lucky Peach, The New York Times and Nylon.

Shop It Began with a Page and Julie’s artwork

Julie Morstad is an author, illustrator, and artist living in Vancouver. Her books have all received great acclaim; most recently, How To was a 2013 Governor General’s Award finalist and received starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal.

Shop Megabat and Fancy CatSergeant Billy; and Kass’s artwork

Kass Reich works as an artist and educator and has spent the majority of the last decade travelling around the world. She earned a degree in Art Education from Concordia University and was an early childhood educator in Beijing, which inspired her to start making picture books for very young readers. She now lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.

Shop You’re in Good Paws and Kathryn’s artwork

Kathryn Drust is a graduate of Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. With a background in animation, she has interned with Pixar Animation Studios in addition to working with various children’s book publishers. When she is not illustrating books like Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire and Hey Grandude!, she may be found playing the accordion, growing vegetables, folk dancing, or putting on shadow puppet shows. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her grumpy mini dachshund named Chili Dog.

Shop Frankie’s Favorite Food and Kelsey’s artwork

Kelsey Garrity-Riley is an illustrator living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in Germany and Belgium before moving to the US to pursue her love of art at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, graduating in 2010. She has illustrated several books, including The Whirlpool: Stories by Laurel Croza (Groundwood) and the forthcoming Born to RideA Story About Bicycle Face (Abrams). Frankie’s Favorite Food is her debut as both author and illustrator.

Shop The Not-So Great Outdoors and Madeline’s artwork

Up-and-coming illustrator Madeline Kloepper, a graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, brings wise-beyond-her-years illustrations full of sweetness and curiosity to her debut picture book. Madeline grew up in the lower mainland of British Columbia amidst a sea of humans and spent a few years in Vancouver; she has since migrated northward to Prince George. Her work is influenced by childhood, nostalgia and the relationships we forge with nature, no doubt inspired by her love of exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Shop Encounter and Michaela’s artwork

Michaela Goade is a designer and illustrator living and working in Juneau, Alaska. Her childhood was spent in the forests and on the beaches of Southeast Alaska and her artistic style is rooted in the depth and beauty of its landscapes. At the heart of her work is a love for nature, the beautiful region she calls home and a passion for evocative storytelling. Forever inspired by the coastal wilds of Southeast Alaska, she works to capture its magic and honor its vibrant cultures. Michaela, a Tlingit woman, has illustrated a few picture books for an Alaskan nonprofit organization, the Sealaska Heritage Institute; Encounter is her debut with a trade publisher.

Shop Count on Me and Miguel’s artwork

Award-winning artist Miguel Tanco is a children’s book author and illustrator. He teaches illustration and organizes creative workshops for kids in Spain, where he was born and raised, and in Italy. He has published over forty children’s books including Great DogYou and Me, Me and YouLes Farfelus; and The Story of Cyrano de Bergerac. He lives in Milan with his wife, Federica, and their two sons, Pablo and Javier.

Shop Princess Puffybottom…and Darryl and Olivia’s artwork

Olivia Chin Mueller is an illustrator whose work includes I am a PuppyI am a KittenA Bedtime YarnAll the Love in the World, and Babies in the Forest. She currently lives in Providence, RI.

Shop Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Skinnamarink and Qin’s artwork

Throughout her career, Qin Leng has illustrated picture books, magazines and book covers with publishers around the world. Recent picture books include her author/illustrator debut I Am Small (to be published in fall 2018); Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen by Deborah Hopkinson; and Family Is a Family Is a Family written by Sara O’Leary. Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, written by Chieri Uegaki, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, and received the APALA Award for best picture book. She lives in Toronto, with her husband and her son.

Shop Swarm of Bees and Rilla’s artwork

Rilla Alexander is an Australian designer and illustrator whose work has appeared on everything from toys and tea cups to buses and buildings. She designed the children’s products for Madrid’s Museo del Prado, teaches Character Design at the Pictoplasma Academy in Berlin and her work has been showcased at Paris’ cultural mecca Colette and at the Musée de la Publicité/Louvre. Her books celebrate creativity, reading, making and doing. She currently lives in Portland, OR.

Get #Ready2Camp

As lifestyles becomes increasingly urban and suburban, many are seeking a break from concrete and screen time by exploring the great outdoors. From a simple walk, to hiking,  or camping, it’s never been a better time to escape the urban jungle and feel the grass beneath your feet! What better way to prepare the concept of camping to little ones than a read aloud before you go?

The Not-So Great OutdoorsThe Not-So Great Outdoors
By Madeline Kloepper
40 Page | Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
ISBN 9780735264175
What’s so great about the “great outdoors”? A grumpy urban kid begrudgingly accompanies her family on a summer camping trip, missing all the sublime sights right under her nose as she longs for the lights and stimulation of the city. But as she explores forests, lakes and mountains, and encounters bears, beavers and caribou, she slowly comes to realize that the simpler things are just as sparkly, that the sky is its own majestic light show, and the symphony is all around. The Not-So Great Outdoors is a humorous and richly imagined reminder of the beauty and magic that can be found away from the city and our screens.

Now Not YetNow? Not Yet!
By Gina Perry
32 Page | Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781101919521
Peanut and Moe are back, this time on a camping trip. Peanut wants to swim NOW, Moe says NOT YET! A sweet and cheerful book about overcoming differences.

Peanut says let’s swim
Moe says time to hike
Peanut says let’s swim now
Moe says time to eat a snack
Peanut says now!
Moe says time to put up the tent
Peanut says NOW!
Moe says NOT YET!

Can these two friends come together in time to save their camping trip?

Are you looking for more books about nature? We also recommend these:

Red Sky at NightRed Sky at Night
By Elly Mackay
40 Page | Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781101917831
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. And, the next morning, when the dew is on the grass, no rain will come to pass. These are the perfect conditions for a grandfather to take his grandchildren out on a fishing trip. Especially since, as the saying goes, when the wind is from the West, then the fishes bite the best. The family takes a boat out on the lake, fishing and swimming and eventually camping out on a nearby island, taking full advantage of the gorgeous weather. But the next day . . . red sky in the morning, sailors take warning! The family ventures back home just in time to avoid a rainstorm. But not to worry — the more rain, the more rest. Fair weather’s not always best.

The FogThe Fog
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Kenard Pak
48 Page | Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
ISBN 9781770494923
Warble is a small yellow warbler who lives on the beautiful island of Icyland, where he pursues his hobby of human watching. But on a warm day, a deep fog rolls in and obscures his view. The rest of the birds don’t seem to notice the fog or the other changes Warble observes on the island. The more the fog is ignored, the more it spreads. When a Red-hooded Spectacled Female (Juvenile) appears, Warble discovers that he’s not the only one who notices the fog. Will they be able to find others who can see it too? And is the fog here to stay?

The Golden GlowThe Golden Glow
By Benjamin Flouw
48 Page | Ages 4-8 | Tundra Books
ISBN 9780735264120
Fox loves nature. There’s nothing he enjoys more than reading about and picking flowers. One evening, he comes across a rare specimen in his old botany book — the golden glow, a plant from the Wellhidden family, found only in the mountains . . . a plant that has yet to be described. Fascinated, Fox decides to set off on a quest in search of the mysterious golden glow. He packs his knapsack, a map, a compass, a flashlight, a sleeping bag and other items for his hike. Along the way, Fox observes many different kinds of trees and plants. He also encounters woodland friends who help him make it to the summit of the mountain. But when Fox eventually stumbles upon the object of his quest, he makes a surprising decision.

We also have a fun activity for kids to participate in. Click on the BINGO card image below to download and print. Throughout the summer, they can mark off everything they managed to do on the BINGO card. As for prizes when completing a row, column, or diagonal? We hear ice cream is pretty good. 🍦

READy2Camp-Bingo Card