Trail Tales – Picture Book and Nonfiction Recommendations

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Trail Tales - Summer Reading for Elementary School Children - Threaded Together*Trail Tales is a summer reading program that I created for a school project. I took the most important pieces and created a summer reading program to share with our readers. Be sure to check back soon for a list of chapter books that will get you excited to get outside and explore.*

Trail Tales is a summer reading program that I devised as part of my Master’s in Library and Information Studies program. It was a school project. I am so excited to try it out with my own children so I thought that I would share it here.

Learn more about Trail Tales!

Trail Tales Overview

Picture Book and Nonfiction Recommendations

Chapter Book Recommendations


The program would not be complete without a reading list to help you get started. The following list includes both picture books and nonfiction suggestions. Each book has something to do with the theme of Trail Tales. Read and get outside to explore!

Summer Reading Books - Picture Books and Nonfiction

Arnosky, J.  (2008) Wild tracks!: A guide to nature’s footprints.  New York, NY: Sterling Books.

Provides life-sized illustrations of various animal prints and explains how to identify tracks. 

Berenstain, S. & Berenstain, J.  (1987). The Berenstain Bears blaze a trail.  New York, NY: Random House.

The Berenstain Bears hit the trail and try to earn their merit badges in hiking.

Boring, M.  (1996).  Birds, nests & eggs.  Minnetonka, MN: Northword.

A field guide to help you identify birds and learn how they build their homes.

Bunting, E.  (1999).  Butterfly house.  New York, NY: Scholastic.

A little girl makes a butterfly house for a larva and watches it develop before setting it free.

Carle, E.  (1987).  The tiny seed.  New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

This story tells the life cycle of a seed to a flower in Eric Carle’s well-known style.

Cole, H.  (1995).  Jack’s garden.  New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.

Told in the same rhyme as The House the Jack Built, it tells the story of a garden from beginning to bloom.

Davies, N.  (2012).  Outside your window: A first book of nature.  Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

This is an anthology of poems about nature that can be found just outside of your window no matter where you live.

Ghigna, C. (2004).  Animal tracks: Wild poems to read aloud.  New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams.

This is an anthology of poems about animals that you might see out in nature.

Gibbons, G. (1991). From seed to plant.  New York, NY: Holiday House.

An easy to understand description of how a seed turns into a plant.

Mayer, M.  (1975).  Just me and my dad.  New York, NY: Random House.

Little Critter and his dad go camping together where they put up a tent, catch their dinner, and more.

McCloskey, R.  (1976).  Blueberries for Sal.  New York, NY: Viking Press.

Sal and her mom are picking blueberries when Sal comes across a mama bear preparing for winter.

Rosen, M.  (1989).  We’re going on a bear hunt.  New York, NY: Little Simon.

A brave family decides to go on a bear hunt and encounters many different obstacles like grass, mud, a forest and a cave.

Selsam, M. E.  (1999).  Big tracks, little tracks:  Following animal prints.  New York, NY: HarperCollins.

You can become a nature detective in your own backyard.  Find out what a nature detective is and how to follow animal prints.

Shapiro, S.  (2012).  Slither, slide, what’s outside? Toronto, ON: Annick Press.

Children use the items around them to such as wiggling worms and sprinklers spraying water to inspire outside activities.

Sidman, J.  (2011).  Swirl by swirl:  Spirals in nature.  Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Swirls can be found all around nature.  Learn about the different swirls in rivers, flowers, and animals.

Watt, M.  (2013).  Scaredy squirrel goes camping.  Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press.

Scaredy Squirrel does not like camping but he finds out that it might not be as bad as he thinks when he goes on a hike to search for an electric outlet.

Willems, M.  (2008).  Are you ready to play outside?  New York, NY: Hyperion Books.

Piggie can’t wait to go outside but Gerald is worried that the rain will ruin their day.

Wood, D. & Wood, A.  (1984).  The little mouse, the red ripe strawberry, and the big hungry bear.  Swindon, England: Child’s Play.

The little mouse plucks a perfectly ripe strawberry but the mouse doesn’t know where to hide it before the hungry bear comes around. What should the mouse do with the strawberry?

Worth, B.  (2006). I can name 50 trees today!  New York, NY: Random House.

Join the Cat in the Hat to learn how to identify different trees around you using their leaves, seeds, bark, fruit, and more.


One Response

  1. Catherine
    | Reply

    The little mouse, the red ripe strawberry, and the big hungry bear is one of my favorite books from my childhood.

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