Written & Illustrated by: Jennifer K. Mann
For Ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Girls Outdoors, Black Narratives, Social-Emotional Learning, Nature, Pint-Sized Professor.
Ernestine is about to go on her very first camping trip! Aunt Jackie and her cousin Samantha invite Ernestine to go with them on an overnight trip, and she is SO excited. When the trio arrive however, things aren’t exactly as Ernestine anticipated. Aunt Jackie packed a lunch Ernestine doesn’t really like, and there are fish where the cousins decide to swim! Will she still have a good time?
I love this book for a bunch of reasons. It’s so refreshing to see a trio of Black women & girls camping, and the story is great for social-emotional learning. Sometimes, things don’t go as we anticipate them going and being able to recalibrate and still have a good time is a crucial skill to have. The illustrations are adorable, and I love the way some pages have comic book panels showing the passage of time.
I really enjoyed this story, and it reminded me of the anticipation I felt going to Girl Scout camp as a child. Being in the woods is where I have always felt most at home, and being with other girls who loved nature and being outdoors was the best part of the entire year. My oldest friend Leeann and I were video chatting the other day. She’s a professor at a college in Maine and we were reminiscing about how formative all the adventures we went on as kids were, and it’s what drove her to work in environmental justice. Fostering a love and appreciation for nature and the outdoors will ensure that the young people today work to protect the land and wildlife.
This book was kindly sent to us by Candlewick Press, but as always, opinions are solely my own. I definitely recommend this book, especially if you have a camping trip coming up!
Jennifer is a children’s book author and illustrator on Bainbridge Island, just across from Seattle, in beautiful Puget Sound. She lives there with her husband and two children, six chickens, a cat, and one lively dog named Lottie.
Jennifer once was an architect, and spent many years designing stores for a big architecture firm in Seattle. Then she had children, and started reading beautiful picture books to them. Jennifer realized then that what she really wanted was to be a picture book author and illustrator.
Jennifer finds inspiration for her stories and art from memories of childhood, her children’s antics and adventures, and the often silly goings-on of their domestic menagerie.