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PNW Children’s Books to Inspire Local Adventures

Read a book, plan an adventure with these reads for tots to middle-grade kids

Published on: September 24, 2021

PNW Children’s Books to Inspire Local Adventures

wheedle on the needle book cover

Picture books

Wheedle on the Needle” (Stephen Cosgrove, pre-K–grade 2)

After reading this classic picture book that imagines a reclusive forest creature making its home on top of the Space Needle, any little kid is sure to want to reach the top and check for themselves whether he’s still there. Visit the Space Needle as part of a city break adventure. Exploring the Seattle Center can be an adventure for all ages. If you’re taking the whole weekend, follow it up with a Lake Union hike full of bridges, boats and trolls.  Pair that adventure with “CliFF the Failed Troll” or read the Hannah West series, written by a Seattle Public Library librarian, in which Hannah solves mysteries in neighborhoods all around Seattle. 

To Live on an Island” (Emma Bland Smith, pre-K–grade 1)

“To Live on an Island” explores what it's like to grow up on an island in the Pacific Northwest, from waking up to the sound of a ferry horn, to hikes through the woods and seafood for dinner. This celebration of island culture includes a nonfiction element on each spread that prepares kids for their own trip. That trip could be to beautiful Whidbey Island or further afield to the San Juans. (Keep an eye out in secondhand book stores for “The Summerfolk,” a hard-to-find classic about a day trip to the San Juan Islands.) But be warned, once you start visiting the islands in the PNW, you’ll probably want to explore more. And if your kids start to fantasize about having an island of their own, suggest “Dear Miss Karana,” a middle-grade book about a girl determined to translate the only recording of the woman who inspired the book “Island of the Blue Dolphins.”

The Camping Trip”(Jennifer K. Mann, pre-K–grade 2)

The 2021 Washington State Book Award picture book winner tells the story of Ernestine’s first camping trip. Reading about Ernestine’s challenges putting up a tent and her encounters with wildlife is the perfect way to prep kids for their own camping adventure. Read ParentMap’s ultimate camping guide to prepare yourself, and don’t worry, with the right hacks, camping with kids doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re still unconvinced, kids will have just as much fun trailer camping or camping in the backyard. Bring along some classic “Campfire Stories for Kids,” and get older kids involved in the action with “Wilderness Adventure Camp: Essential Outdoor Survival Skills for Kids.” 

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