Here you’ll find a list of books that my children and I are either currently enjoying or those that I consider a must-have on any family bookshelf because they either: encourage imagination, independence via unstructured outdoor play, a love of nature, creativity, resilience – or all of these. We’d love you (and your child’s) input as to other books we should add to our library – so do let us know if you have some all time favourites. Please note that I don’t have any affiliation or interest in any of these titles except mine of course – Small Fry Outdoors. All the others are simply books that we have read and loved. Happy reading!


Animalia: Graeme Base
Belonging: Jeannie Baker
Blinky Bill: Dorothy Wall
Captains Courageous: Rudyard Kipling
Jasmine the Butterfly Girl: Marghanita Hughes
LULU The Kangaroo: Bill Charlton
Only One Woof: James Herriot
Pippi Longstocking: Astrid Lindgren
Pookie: Ivy Wallace
Possum Magic: Mem Fox
Reading Can Be Fun: Munro Leaf
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: May Gibbs
The Dangerous Book for Boys: Gonn Iggulden
The Daring Book for Girls: Miriam Peskowitz
The Great Possum Creek Bush Fire: Yvonne Perrin and Dan Vallely
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: CS Lewis
The Lorax: Dr Seuss
The Market Square Dog: James Herriot
The Silver Brumby: Elyne Mitchell
The Wind in the Willows: Kenneth Graham
The Wishing Chair: Enid Blyton
The Magic Faraway Tree: Enid Blyton
When Charlie McButton Lost Power: Collins/Lester
Where the wild things are: Maurice Sendak

I’m thrilled that some of my #playoutdoors friends have added to this library and hope that this list just continues to grow! Tanya Andrusiak offers the following recommendations:

The Sneetches: Dr Seuss
The Very Best of Friends: Margaret Wild and Julie Vivas
Our Granny: Margaret Wild and Julie Vivas
Leaf Litter: Rachel Tonkin
Whoever You Are: Mem Fox and Leslie Staub
The Forgotten Garden: Caroline Repchuk and Ian Andrew
Backyard Insects: Paul Horne and Denis Crawford
Uno’s Garden: Graeme Base
Too Many Toys: David Shannon
George’s Secret Key to the Universe: Lucy and Stephen Hawking
The Butter Battle: Dr Seuss

And the fabulous Vicki Ehlers of Green At Birth offers these suggestions:

The Other Way to Listen: Byrd Baylor
Leaf Man: Lois Ehlert
Listen to the Rain: Bill Martin, Jr.
A Child’s Work – The importance of fantasy play: Vivian Gussin Paley

A suggestion by Naomi of  ElementaursWeslandia by Paul Fleischman, ill. by Kevin Hawkes


I have really enjoyed reading and then sharing the tips and inspiration contained in these titles.

Adproofing your Kids: Tania Andrusiak
Gardening with Kids: Catherin Woram & Martyn Cox
How does your garden grow? Great gardening for green-fingered kids: Clare Matthews
Keeping a Nature Journal: Leslie/Roth
Kitchen Garden Cooking with kids: Stephanie Alexander
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder: Richard Louv
Meeting Fairies – My remarkable encounters with Nature Spirits – a true story: R. Ogilvie Crombie
No Fear – Growing up in a risk averse society: Tim Gill
Small Fry Outdoors – inspiration for being outside with kids: Caroline Webster, Susie Cameron, Katrina Crook
The Idle Parent – Why less means more when raising kids: Tom Hodgkinson
50 Dangerous things (you should let your children do): Gever Tulley
Free Range Kids – Giving our children the freedom we had without going nuts with worry: Lenore Skenazy

There’s also list of parenting resources over at Adproofing: