mom baby and toddler walking the desert discovery trail saguaro national park west

The 18 Best National Parks Books for Kids!

National Parks are one of the amazing treasures of the US and we absolute love visiting them as a family. Here are 15 fun National Parks books for kids that you can read before your family vacation, or when you come home to reminisce about your adventures. These books will help you learn about wildlife, ecosystems and their challenges, and some of the people who helped advocate for the creation of our National Parks.

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1. Mountain Night, Mountain Day

By Anthony D. Fredericks, Illustrated by Kenneth J. Spengler

This is one of our favorite kids books of all time and definitely one of our favorite National Parks books for kids. My mom bought this book for Owen when we were in Glacier National Park and it has kept him captivated since he was 9 months old. There are tons of great pictures of animals in this book, and lots of hidden gems that become more fun as the kids get older, like finding the mouse on every page!

Link to buy here!

2. If I Were a Park Ranger

By Catherine Stier, illustrated by Patrick Corrigan

if i were a park ranger book cover

This book is very cute, and details some of the duties of park staff in a fun and friendly way. The illustrations have plenty of detail to keep your little one entertained while you read the longer pages. It may even inspire your kids to work for the National Park Service someday!

Link to buy here.

3. Wildheart: The Daring Adventures of John Muir

By Julie Bertagna, Illustrated by William Goldsmith

Wildheart is a graphic novel that tells about the life of John Muir – a pioneer for our National Parks. This is a great way to teach kids about the history of our National Parks in a lighthearted and fun way. From his humble beginnings in Scotland, to his childhood in Wisconsin, and finally some of his travels around the world.

Link to buy here.

4. Wild

By Emily Hughes

Wild tells the story of a wild girl raised by the forest, who is ensnared and brought into the “real world”. Through this story and it’s wild illustrations, you’ll learn that somethings that are wild are just meant to stay wild. We liked this one!

Link to buy here.

5. Tall Tall Tree

By Anthony D. Fredericks and Chad Wallace

Can you tell I like books by Anthony Fredericks?? A counting and rhyming book based on the tall, tall Redwood trees and the habitats they create for several creatures. This book will expose your child to several new species they haven’t heard of before including banana slugs!

Link to buy here.

6. Desert Night, Desert Day

By Anthony D. Fredericks, Illustrated by Kenneth J. Spengler

This one is written by the same author as Mountain Night Mountain Day, and has excellent illustrations. Your kids will love this book too with a whole new set of animals to learn before your National Parks vacation. Desert Night, Desert Day is also the perfect kids book to read before visiting Southern Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, or other states with a desert landscape.

Link to buy here.

7. National Parks of the U.S.A.

By Kate Siber, Illustrated by Chris Turnham

This book falls on my list of National Parks books to read for adults and National Parks books for kids, it’s just that good!! And who doesn’t love a book that both adults and kids can both enjoy. It doesn’t highlight every single park but it does show the most popular and has fantastic illustrations. There are lots of great facts throughout this book and we love to read about the National Park we are visiting before we go there to learn about the wildlife and the landscape we are going into. See also, National Monuments of the U.S.A. which was illustrated by the same person.

Link to buy here.

8. Who Pooped in the Park

By Steve Kemp, Illustrated by Robert Rath

Who pooped in the park is a entertaining book intended to educate about the animal tracks and scat found in National Parks. Of course, many kids find poop hilarious, so this is a good one to get them learning and laughing. There are many different editions based on different National Parks and the animals that inhabit them.

Link to buy here.

9. Secrets of the National Parks: Weird and Wonderful Facts About America’s Natural Wonders

By Aileen Weintraub

This book is for kids who are a little older because there are less pictures and more facts. It gives interesting facts and history about the National Parks in bite sized and easily digestible formats. The facts cover everything from the geography and geology of the park to the wildlife and people who influenced their establishment.

Link to buy here.

10. Redwoods

By Jason Chin

This book is best suited for older kids since it has a lot of facts about the parks and a little more complex story line. Redwoods has tons of good tidbits and is a unique piece of nonfiction mixed with an illustrated storybook. It would be a great book to get your kids excited about the trip before you leave!

Link to buy here.

11. Grand Canyon

By Jason Chin

Similar style of book to Redwoods written by Jason Chin, this book would be amazing for older kids. Amazing illustrations, exciting facts about the Grand Canyon, and a fun story to go along with. Grand Canyon will make you want to visit ASAP!

Link to buy here.

12. The Wolves of Yellowstone: A Rewilding Story

By Catherine Barr

the wolves of yellowstone a rewilding story book cover

The Wolves of Yellowstone is the perfect book to teach your kids about the food chain as well as about predators and their importance to the ecosystem. You’ll read about the disappearance of wolves from Yellowstone National Park, and the havoc it wreaked on the rest of the plant and animal species. As an adult, I learned a lot while reading this book too. It’s not often you can find a book that kids and adults enjoy.

Link to buy here.

13. The Hike

By Alison Farrel

The hike is a cute book about three friends who go hiking in the woods. You’ll follow them as they encounter wildlife and take a wrong turn. The illustrations are fun and educational sketchbook entries from one of the hikers.

Link to buy here.

14. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

By Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen

If you’re planning to hike, this is a good one to read beforehand. It’ll give you a fun book to recite while you’re hiking to ward off bears. We always sing this song while hiking (when we’re not around other people of course, haha!) and our kids love it.

Link to buy here.

15. The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs

By Kate Messner, Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe

While this book is not technically about a National Park, it’s an inspiring nature story that discusses the challenges of disappearing coral reefs that a lot of the National Parks face. The Brilliant Deep takes place in the Florida Keys. It’s a true story about a father and daughter that started growing coral to rebuild what was being lost through climate change. It’s a wonderful story about one person’s love for the ocean and their mission to restore the fragile ecosystem!

Link to buy here.

16. A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee

By Chris Van Dusen

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee is a fun and crazy adventure about Mr. Magee and his dog, Dee, where they encounter a marshmallow loving bear. Find out what sticky situation they find themselves in, and how they get out of it. This funny camping book for kids is perfect for your National Parks family vacation, especially if you’ll be sleeping in a camper!

Link to buy here.

17. Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail

By Jennifer Thermes

Grandma Gatewood is an amazing and inspiring woman who hiked the entire Appalachian Trail at the age of 67! She became the first woman to solo hike the entire 2,190 mile trail. You’ll definitely want to read this National Park book for kids if you’re visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park or Shenandoah National Park. Regardless if your National Park travels cross the path of the Appalachian Trail, you’ll want to read this incredible story.

Link to buy here.

18. B is for Bison: A National Parks Primer

By Greg Paprocki

B is for Bison is the perfect way to introduce your baby to 26 of the US National Parks while learning the alphabet! They’ll learn the O is for Old Faithful and L is for Lava while seeing cute illustrations.

Link to buy here.

What other National Parks books for kids do you love? Leave a comment below! And if you’re looking for some National Parks books for yourself here is our list of the Best National Parks Books for Adults. Happy reading!

If you’re ready to plan your National Parks adventure with kids and looking for itineraries and the best family friendly things to do, check out our National Parks page. We also have specific reading recommendations for Glacier National Parks Books and Yellowstone National Park Books.

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