10 years & up
Various, see each book.
Do you ever just wake up one morning and feel like you can’t do society that day? A yearning to sit in the forest and stare into a hazy fire while something delicious finishes cooking? A desire to…go wild? Here are three of my favorite books that embody that concept: outdoor skills development, sustainability, and the beauty of sitting around a campfire covered in dirt with loved ones.
Wild Child: Adventure Cooking With Kids
Ok, first of all. This photography aesthetic is EVERYTHING and I wish I could put this filter on my entire life. I want linen dresses and jumpsuits like fashionable Scandinavian children while I set sail on a timber raft with a cloth bundle of provisions, like a protagonist in a Miyazaki movie. With all of that out of the way, let’s talk about why this book is fantastic…
Wild Child focuses on teaching easy recipes to cook outdoors over a fire with kids. It doesn’t use entirely foraged ingredients, but includes some (like fish and sea lettuce that are easily harvested) to include in the recipes.
The idea is to get kids excited and used to cooking outside, and then introduce more foraging basics. There are delicious-looking recipes like scones and apricot cake, along with grilled whole fish and baked tomatoes. I’ll be real with you and I really meant to cook one of these fine recipes to post with my review, but with finishing up the building of our homestead I just didn’t have the time.
However, being the proud owner of a homestead now means that my outdoor cooking potential is now available for every meal. We have plans to have a fire circle and brick oven outdoors for year-round use, and I can’t wait to not only make these recipes part of my regular routine but also cook meals with the younger family members when they come out and spend the weekend with us. Fingers are crossed that we will also be able to harvest all of the ingredients from our garden as well!
Wild Days: Outdoor play for young adventurers
By Richard Irvine, Published by GMC Publications
Ok, we’ve addressed how and what we’re going to cook while having outdoor adventures, but what about when we’re not cooking? What could there be to do outside? This is clearly a leading question, because I could watch tadpoles for hours and make dandelion crowns all by myself in the forest. But, in case you’re lacking a bit of inspiration let me present to you: Wild Days!
This hefty paperback book is filled with creative and unique activities with large and colorful photos. Making natural paint, artists charcoal pencils with burned sticks (remnants of a tasty lunch fire, perhaps?) as well as fire-building tips just scratch the surface of all this amazing book contains.
The book itself is broken up into three groups: Making, Exploring, and Games & Stories. I can see this book being extremely helpful for scouting troops spending a weekend in the woods camping, a nature school developing curriculum, or humans who just have a taste for outdoor adventure (guilty as charged and not sorry about it). The book also has some recipes for cooking over a campfire, and I love the wide range of kids featured doing the activities and enjoying the great outdoors. I am absolutely thrilled that this book is out, and I can’t wait to see all of your pictures of summertime adventures from this amazing book.
When We Went Wild
Nancy and Jake are farmers, but not the typically happy ones we see in a lot of story books. Their farm needs constant chemical use, and crops aren’t growing very well. One day, mired in depression and worry about their financial and environmental future, Nancy & Jake take a big risk and decide to go wild. Selling the equipment and chemicals not only improved their lives, it improved the lives of their land and animals as well.
In the back is an author’s note about how she and her husband let their own farm go wild, and it had many of the same positive outcomes as in the story. She goes into detail about regenerative farming, and how it has a multitude of benefits that affect more than just the farmers of the land.
Sometimes, the best thing we can do for the land is to let it go on its own restorative journey. The careful balance of a natural ecosystem nourishes itself, and can inspire others to take stock of how they care (or don’t care) for the land and see what’s best for the longterm health of their community and climate.
These books were all sent by the publishers linked near each title, but opinions and decisions to review and pair as I have above is solely my own.