I have been an outdoor enthusiast for much of my life. Much of this is grounded in the fact that I attended summer camp
for several years during my childhood
. Hardly a place to play video games
and eat pizza
, it was a quite rustic
experience, where we slept outdoors, where electronic devices
were prohibited, and where the swimming pool and bath house
s made up the bulk of any modern amenities
to which we had access.
Through these experiences
, I learned to enjoy the outdoors a great deal. Furthermore -- and maybe I'm just a dirty hippie
-- but I truly believe that camps provide the basic, raw material
s for turning people into better neighbors and teammates
. These things said, one of the things I enjoyed most about my experience as a camper was the meager
but quality selections of literature
provided by the camp itself. During downtime
s, we were often encouraged to pick up a book while we recharged our physical batteries
. Looking back, I have since realised what a great idea
this was; regardless of whether a camp is fully outdoors, or if it consists of fully air-conditioned
cabins and dining hall
s, it's good to give campers something to dig into that reinforces
the ideals learned in the outdoors.
When creating this list, I looked for books that had various specific emphases
. Furthermore, while some of the selections below may be more focused on one particular aim, all of them tend to be socially progressive
to one degree or another.
Admittedly, there is a moderate slant
towards ones that I read when I was at camp, but it doesn't include all of them, nor is the list exclusive
of others. I encourage others to add to this node and supplement this list, as I will continue to do the same. Furthermore, I am aware that some of these could be classified across categories. Opinions on how things have been categorized are welcome, as well.
Book List, with Commentary
(note: I have included the author's name, when possible)
Nature and the Environment
field guides -- High quality colour photo guides to plants and animals. Expensive.
) -- A classic, somewhat serious book, by the wise old Dr. Seuss that deals with environmental issues.
Society and Culture
The Giving Tree
) -- A lesser known, but nonetheless quality story on selflessness.
Touch the Earth
(ed., T.C. McLuhan
) -- A collection of stories, excerpts, poems and photos that tell the story of then Native Americans' ongoing struggle to exist. Perhaps not in print anymore, hard to find.
(Henry David Thoreau
) -- Thoreau's classic study. Suitable for older youth.
Once a Scout
and Trailing the Eagle
(Bill Young) -- While these two have an obvious bias towards Boy Scouting, they nonetheless tell the true stories and adventures of a boy growing up, with plenty of camping tales interspersed. May be hard to find.
Where the Red Fern Grows
) -- The classic childhood novel about a boy from the Ozarks and his two dogs.
Fiction: Short Stories
and Jack Tales
(ed., Richard Chase
) -- Two excellent collections of Appalachian folklore
(Jane Shaw Ward
) -- Short stories about a mischievous little forest creature.
The Velveteen Rabbit
) -- Suitable for younger children, story of a toy bunny who wants to be real.
, if desired
The Tao of Pooh
) -- A primer on Taoism, as explained using Winnie the Pooh as an example.
The Way of the Wolf
) -- Gospel stories, without all the associated stigma, told using allegorical tales of forest animals.